1. Where are you originally from and when did you move to LA?
I’m originally from Charlotte, NC. I moved to LA about 4 years ago.
I hear you’re friends with Mr. Dalvin and Devante’ of Jodeci what advice have they had for your music production career?
The advice they given me is to pay attention to details and that it’s important to learn how to create a hot song not just a hot beat. Every aspect of a song is important from the sounds you use, to the vocal production, to the mix.
3.What gear/software do you work with when it comes to beat production?
The type of gear/software I use changes depending on the project and the sound I’m trying to achieve. Currently for pre-production I use Reason, MPC 1000, Motif ES Rack, Nuendo, Alesis ION, Microkorg, P4 PC, G4 Mac, Avalon Pre’s, Rosetta AD Converters, and a Yamaha mixer. In addition to this my business partners Da vid Whiteside and Laura Watkins bring a lot of live instruments into the mix, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and live bass.
4. What is the LA music Scene like?
Exciting and stressful. You have to always be on your grind out here. You have to watch-out for the fake promises and phony people, and avoid wasting your time on projects that have no future. If you can do this, and your determined there are a lot of opportunities for hot producers in LA.
5. Who are some of the companies you’ve done production for?
BET, HBO, The Oxygen Channel, Clear Channel, Def Jam, Arista
6. What’s the difference in shopping music for television compared to record companies and Artist?
Shopping for television requires that you have full songs ready or very produced instrumentals. Televisions are looking for songs with vocals, good subject matter, great mixes and extremely polished. Record companies will do business with you if you have a hot beat or a beat with a hot hook on it. While you still want to put your best foot forward as far as the sound quality and the mix, they aren’t quite as picky as television because you still have time to make adjustments.
7. Who are you hyped about working with right now and what is it about them that has you amped? Who would you like to work with in the future if you could work with anybody?
Right now I’m excited about the work I’ve been doing with Devante’/Jodeci and his new crop of artists. In addition to this I’m working on a new album with a hot new artist named Hassahn Phenomenon. I’ve got E Bucks and Phantom 5 working close with me on this project and it’s set to release in late summer to early fall. Hassahn is hot! He’s gonna make a huge dent in the game. I’m looking forward to working with anybody in G-Unit, Beyonce, or any hot new crunk artists from the South.
8. What would you like people to know about your production company?
Phantom 5 Music Group is the next big thing in production. Our creativity and ability to create a hot song from production to mixing is making us the new cats in demand more and more everyday. We are about to change the game.
9. Where do you think Hip Hop and R&B are headed in the future?
I think we are in an exciting place right now in our industry. There is no limit to how far we can soar as long as we keep experimenting while maintaining the elements that make hip hop and R&B what it is. I think your going to see a huge independent movement over the next decade especially in our genre as artists fight for more control of their music. Technology is going to push hip hop and R&B to new heights.
10. How do you go about constructing a beat?
Well, that depends on who is in the session with me. If David and Laura are in the studio with me we work together to come up with a hot idea, riff, or concept for a beat and then build components around it. If it’s just me, I usually search and search for a sound that I like. That sound could be a snare, kit, guitar riff, vocal sample or a stab. I find something interesting and start to build around that. It’s funny because sometimes by the end of the beat that sound may get replaced or muted, but usually a sound or riff is the spark that gets my creative juices flowing.
11. How important are sounds and sound placement in your production?
It’s the most important thing. Producers have to understand that the sounds you choose to use will determine whether you have a hit record or just something mediocre. It’s important to buy sounds that are warm, and thick so that they will breathe and cut through the mix. Futhermore, if you don’t pay attention to where you place these sounds you will have a mess on your hands. Sometimes less is more, you have to know when and where to put that hi hat, shaker, and perc. Picking the right snare can make or break a record, and the right kick can hold a track down with a very minimum bass line. Sound selection and sound placement is everything.
12. If you could give advice to other producers; what piece of gear or software would you tell them they can’t live without?
Your own creativity. Believe it or not You are the best piece of gear you have in your studio. I’ve known cats with every piece of gear you could ever want in their studio but couldn’t produce a hot beat to save their life. Your creativity sets you apart from everyone else, how you use the gear is important….not how much gear you have. Millions of people may have the same gear as you, but your creativity will influence you to use the gear differently and pull different sounds out of it.
13. What is the next piece of equipment or software you plan on purchasing? And Why?
I’m going to purchase the new M-Audio Trigger Finder controller. I love the way the pads feel, and it offers a lot of real time control over the software programs I use.
14. You were at NaMM this year what did you see and learn from that experience?
That software products have really stepped up to the challenge. The trend now is pairing hardware with software and making them work with each other instead of against one another.
15. Where are you headed in music the next couple of years?
Major establishment of Phantom 5 Music Group in the main-stream production world, and a lot more production work for major and indie artists. I’m also planning to release several new artists we are currently working on.