Friday, 7 November 2008

Hip Hop Producers - Vee Kay interview

After producer Vee Kay sent me a copy of his forthcoming album 'The Audio Workout' I had to know more. The LP is excellent, full of good vibe boom bap rap and a few little surprises too. We hooked up an interview to let you know exactly what he's all about:

Certified Banger: Yo Vee Kay! How are you today?

VK: All good thanks fella.

CB: Let’s get things cracking, I’ll switch things round a bit: Tell us about your latest piece of work: ‘The Audio Workout’.

VK: Well, the record is a long time coming, it's been 4 years since my last solo release, in that time I've been busy, but I decided that it was time to have my name at the front again, rather than in the liner notes, haha. It's a collection of songs that have been recorded at my Studio over the last year or so, well, the best ones anyway, so there's a variety of tracks on there, from the classic sounding hip hop to the more up tempo double time type tracks. Listening back to my last release, the whole sound of it was similar to that golden age hip hop, and that was pretty much it, so this one's tracked my maturity in production. There's still the classic hip hop sound on it, but I've peppered it with other bits and pieces too.

CB: Your instrumentals, certainly on this album, are top quality – I’m a big fan. What do you aim for when making a beat? What sound do you look for?

VK: Cheers mate, appreciate it! Without a doubt, the most important thing when making a beat is that it catches you straight away, ‘cause no one's gonna want to use a track that sounds s**t or doesn't grab you. The drums gotta bang too, I'm a complete sucker for big drums, I listened to nothing but boom bap for years, so I was immediately grabbed by big heavy drums and breaks. It's also gotta sound as original as possible, because when sampling, you're already taking something that’s been finished, so now you've got to try to mould it into something completely different, so that the first thing someone hears isn't the track you've sampled, but the track you made, using bits from other songs.

CB: What inspired you to make your first ever beat? Can you remember it? Tell us more!

VK: I started off as a rapper, and I worked with another Producer, who had been in the business for years, so we went ahead and made a demo, this was way back when, probably about 10 or so years ago...anyway, didn't work out, so I started learning how to make beats. I went to college to do a course, but it was s**t, and I left after about 9 months after showing the tutor how to MIDI up a sampler, I'd been going to studios for a few years to record, plus I read every magazine and book I could, so I just learnt by listening and watching. From there I just started collecting bits of kit, trying to find out what worked best for me, and the end result is the Sweatbox Studio. So I guess, back onto track, my inspiration was just so that I could have something to rap over, that didn't come off the latest Ja Rule 12"

I think I made my first ever beat on a cracked copy of some weird sequencer that Roland made, it came with a sound canvas, and it was so s**t, there was a massive latency problem and the sounds were your horrible generic MIDI sounds. I had an Akai S20, but really couldn't figure out how to use it for ages, I remember making my first 2 bar loop on it, but not figuring out how to save it, so I left that bad boy on for about a week straight, until I got bored and wanted to make another loop, so I just deleted it.

CB: So you sample? What, in a typical digging session, do you go for? What makes for good Hip Hop?

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