Entries for Beatmaking

Beatroot 2013 Producer Profiles


I was again honored to create video profiles for the Beatroot 2013 Grand Championships finalists. All 6 producers battled hard with styles unique to each of them, making for an event full of energy and hard hitting beats. Congrats to Mr. Carmack for taking the 2013 title.

A Beatroot History with Kavet the Catalyst

I had the honor of spending some time with Kavet the Catalyst to talk about his past as a beatmaker and what inspired him to create Hawaii’s first beat battle, Beatroot.

Kavet and I go way back, we listened to the same underground hip hop tapes back in the late 90s/early 2000s and I had sent him my first beat album, Pendulum while he was the host of the legendary Lightsleepers show on KTUH. When I moved out to the 808 state, he was the first cat I contacted, and the rest is history.

Beat block.

My two part definition of beat block is: the mental brick wall preventing one from completing a beat; a point in time when leaving a beat to die is necessary. These are circumstances I’m far too familiar with and something I continue to struggle with even with “x” amount of years producing beats.

In the case of the mental brick wall, this situation relies on the following negative characteristics: self doubt, distraction, laziness, lack of ambition, and procrastination. The good, these can be overcome with their positive counterparts: confidence, focus, motivation, drive, and doing something now. If this is what you have to deal with, you’re more than equipped to overcome beat block. Don’t sweat the imperfections so much, stay tuned to one task at a time, and take as long as you need to – you can always revisit your work. Most especially, follow your gut and trust your ears. » Continue reading…

When is a beat done?

To this day, I ask myself that question. With this post I’d like to dig in a little deeper, provide some background, and reveal my own decision making process and how it results in an end piece.

First let me explain what I do know about my musical preferences, especially that of my own music. I like simplicity. There’s a quote by Claude Debussy (classical composer) that resonates with me, “Music is the space between the notes.” I’ve found throughout the years that the type of music that moves me isn’t heavily orchestrated, it’s mostly works that are less busy, more airy & open.

I place importance on the groove/feeling of a beat rather than the amount of audible layers it has. If I can physically “feel” a beat, then it has moved beyond ear candy to something more personal. I equate “feeling” to the bodily chills that some beats give me or the “fuuuck! this beat is the shiiiiit!” moments I have when hearing certain tracks. If a beat can do that, it has penetrated my being. I’m not impressed by overly complex compositions or the amount of layers/samples that folks cram into their works. If it doesn’t have a consistent groove that keeps me nodding my head nor an ounce of soul, then it has failed to capture me. Some of the greatest beats I’ve heard in my life have been simple 2 bar melodic loops with drums on top (see some of RZA’s early works). That’s the type of dude I am, and those songs are ones I probably still listen to today. » Continue reading…

The process of “The Process”

A few days ago I released a short film I created titled “The Process” which is a small glimpse into the way I create beats and the various tools I use. Through sound and imagery I hoped to express the “essence” of beatmaking rather than detail every step involved. I figured there were enough well-done tutorials out there that accomplished that task so I thought it’d be interesting to create something less explanatory and more open to interpretation. I wanted to capture some of the less glamorized details that tend to go unnoticed when a hip hop instrumental is born. » Continue reading…

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