Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hip Hop Producers - Jon Phonics Interview

Certified Banger: Can you tell us your necessary background details so we can build on basics for the rest of the interview? For example: who you are, where you are from, projects you have worked on, people you have worked with.

Jon Phonics: Name: Jon Phonics Location: West London, planet earth Affiliates: Ill Rhythmikz production squad, Triple Darkness/Nine Planets, Manor Enterprise, G.B.P.C. (Ginger Bearded Producer Crew) Additional info: Debut album half past calm just dropped! Cop dat shit! Look out for beats on releases from Verb T, Sir Smurf Lil', Teef, Mr. Drastick, M9ine, Triple Darkness, T-Bear, Sonnyjim and more!

CB: How would you describe your sound? Is there any one track that would best define your style?

JP: I don’t think there is really one track to define my sound, I’m still constantly working on my sound man, 'still searching for the perfect beat' like it says on my t-shirt right now. But there are a few tracks I'm very proud of. The sound on the ‘Half Past Calm’ record is really a very organic, sample based, boom bap sort of sound. I was kinda adamant that the first thing I dropped would have that sound to show where exactly it is I’m coming from, and to try an highlight the lack of that essence and reality in the hip hop we hear right now. But there are many different chambers to my sound man, I’m roaming the bleak disco of my soul and the DJ's spinning some crazy twisted soulful shit right now!

CB: Who have been your biggest musical influences and which Hip Hop producers have inspired you?

JP: Growing up I shared a room with my older brother so obviously I digested a lot of his music when i was younger, my dad taught me the guitar at an early age. When I was about 14 my friend graham showed me a lot of George Benson and Wes Montgomery shit that put me onto listening to jazz and soul for pleasure. In terms of hip hop producers Premo was the first person I was tryna imitate when I started, Havoc, Pete Rock, Rza, DJ Krush, Charlemagne, Dilla, 88 Keys, Easy Mo Bee all crazy nice on the boards. Guys out now that bug me out are B.R Gunna, Godz Wrath, Chemo, Madlib the list is endless man! That’s just a few...

CB: Do you have a musical background? Do you play any instruments?

JP: I used to play drums in a live drum n bass, funk band (big up Arabada), like I said before my Dad taught me the guitar when i was real young. I forgot a lot but have been reacquainting myself the past year or so, play the keys a little, I also found out recently the udders of a cow are sick for live dubstep percussion.

CB: How did you find out that you were handy when it came to crafting beats?

JP: I guess sometime in 05 when my first beat CD full of swagness found its way into the grubby mitts of Doc Brown and Mr. Drastick and them guys made a video for the track.

CB: Do you feel like many producers are overlooked or overshadowed by the MC's that rap on their beats?

Not really man, I think if a producer wants lime light they'll get it, but most of us are indoors type of guys, lol, who like playing the behind the scenes role. Those who want to know about producers, get to know about the producers, so the recognition is more honest and deserved.

CB: What are your three pieces of equipment do you value most when it comes to production?

JP: I highly value the time I have with my PC when it wants to work, my MPC of course and I don’t think it’s really equipment but me and my records get bi-i-zee

CB: What other programs/equipment do you use?

JP: I use Cubase, sometimes other sequencers to keep it interesting, I have a Micro Korg, the drums, the guitar, a bass guitar also, a heap of percussion, fingers and thumbs...always buying more shit when I got the dough.

CB: What process do you go through when writing a track? Do you start with a tune, a sample, a drum beat or a concept? What happens next?

JP: I always try to keep the process different I tend to change my process every few weeks, sometimes i just chop samples and add drums, sometimes I’ll just layer synths over a kick and a snare, sometimes i start with the drums and jus chop tiny pieces around it. Then I make a cup of tea come back and if i like it goes from the MP to the PC, and if not it gets straight switched off, that happens pretty often.

CB: How do you prefer to work when collaborating with rappers? Do you both get in the studio and write together or is there a separate process?

JP: It varies, some rappers I work closely with, they'll come round to mine an we'll get down making stuff just for them, sometimes I get my beats sent back to me from rappers who have just obtained my instrumentals and spat to them. I always like to get the acapella though and work the beat around it once it’s been spat to before the mixing process no matter how it started.

CB: Have you ever been given some invaluable advice when it comes to producing? What tips would you give to an aspiring Hip Hop producer?

JP: The most invaluable advice I ever heard was in a lyric, "our sound is hot because we stay true to hip hop", I think Big Kwam said that. But to aspiring producers I would say, work on them drums! All day drums, drums are the most important thing...and also, its pretty simple, don’t talk about it, do it.

CB: What can we expect from you in the future? Are you currently working on any exciting projects?

JP: Expect the unexpected! Look out for projects from all the Triple Darkness camp, M9ine, Cyrus and Nasheron. Look out for another Jon Phonics release eventually, a new Verb T album which is sounding real nice, a lot of crazy beats on there. More Nine Planets shit, Maybe an Ill Rhythmikz release, there’s an album produced entirely by myself and JJ Malone (Ill Rhythmikz) with an artist called Kinetik, coming out later this year, a Sir Smurf Lil’ project. More shit man - hopefully some scandalous court cases from all the people breaking they necks to this shit!!

CB: Any last words or plugs?

JP: If you like what you are hearing look out for Teefs new album 'Honour Amongst Teef Vol 3', I got a track on there, 'The Facade', Triple Darkness' new album 'Anathema', Prophets new album '64 Angles', download my album for free here. Everyone stop being brainwashed into putting 808 snare fills in your beats! That’s some foul shit. lol. And big up Aidan for the interview, and thanks to you for reading. Stay locked like estate windows! Peace!


Franko Fraize said...

yes blud

big interview with a big producer. half past calm is a classic and its crazy you can get music this good for free. definatly doing hip hop how it should be done


G Rob XL said...

big up jon phonics! half past calm is heavy. looking forward to hearing more of his stuff
peace.. djrr