You’re working on an album with Dame Grease. How’s it coming so far?
Yes, this project is going to be my official debut album and the title is Minute after Midnight. The name derives from the Cinderella story and how and it parallels to hip-hop. In the story, you have the magical pumpkin which changes to a carriage (the cars), the gown (the clothes and jewelry) and the ball (the clubs) and all these things are based in fantasy but what happens after midnight? It all disappears. I feel like I represent what comes after all that in my music. A lot of people, they tend to focus on the shows and the press and the fame and all of that, but they don't always recognize that there's a person after that and with my music, I try to represent a lot of the real things that are going on. Dame Grease is going to be executive producing my entire project and providing a bulk of the tracks. He's going to oversee it and really help me make it what I want it to be, which is a classic.
What is Dame Grease bringing out of you?
Honestly, a lot of the music that we’ve been working on has been incredible. He’s an O.G. in the game and he’s a legend. With him, he really helps me to become even a better artist than what I already am. He pushes me and he gives me a lot of good advice, ideas and direction. A lot of what comes out is fantastic. The first song we did for the album is going to be the first single. That’s how we work. The music that we do is really good. It’s great because I never had the opportunity to be in the studio with a producer before. I’ve always done it on my own with my own direction, so to have somebody helping me out, it’s fantastic.
How’s the album coming?
It’s in the early stages right now. I feel I got about eight records in so far. I think so far it’s coming along good, but you know with me, I’m a perfectionist and I’ll probably do a good 40-60 songs and I’m going to pick the cream of the crop and make sure that it’s done the right way. Things are looking great. I got some great records and some features and collabs coming up. It’s coming along great so far. I can’t complain.
You’ve also released mixtapes like The Excerpt. How do your mixtapes help you?
They helped me a lot in many different ways. They helped me progress as an artist and each of them were great stepping stones, each doing better then the last. The Excerpt is an example of great music and things being said word of mouth. The internet is the backbone of my career. When I put it out, I want to make sure that people were listening. I got a lot of critical acclaim. The blogs and websites really allow people to listen and to see the different sides of my musical ability. I couldn't ask for anything more. I'm basically doing a lot of things and embracing the internet. New media is the future.
You’re involved with a lot of different sites and always have new interviews up. You really do embrace the internet.
I do. It’s funny that we’re talking about this, because I was about to write a song about that this morning. I just had a conversation with Buckwild the other day and we were talking about some shit. I gave him my CD and we were talking about how the CD is going to be obsolete in a couple of years. I don’t hide behind anonymous names. When you see “Donny Goines” commenting on HipHopGame, that’s me. I want the people to see both sides of it. I am an artist and a fan. I’m also a writer. I definitely try to embrace all of these aspects of it and embrace all of the different sides.
You also worked with Disco D. What was it like working with him?
I’m going to be honest, he changed my life in a lot of ways. If it wasn’t for him, there were a lot of things that I never would have figured out. With him, he taught me so many things. I wouldn’t say so much on the musical side, but he taught me a lot of personal things and how to deal with shit. He used to take me to meetings to places like Def Jam. He would take me to sessions and I saw a lot of dope producers coming up now. Basically I learned a lot of things from him as far as the business end of it because I was actually his personal assistant. A lot of people don’t know that. I was his personal assistant and I was doing music and we became friends. He’s the reason why I have a tattoo on my shoulder of a record. He influenced me to do that because he told me one day that when you’re serious about something, music is your life. He showed me the MPC on his arm. I was like, ‘Damn! He’s got dedication. He’s focused. I gotta get me one of those.’ He really taught me a lot of things about life. He was a good friend of mine and I miss him a lot.
What was it like hanging out with Disco D?
He was crazy. But crazy in a good way. I want to address something real quick too. When he committed suicide, I felt like they was kind of talking negatively about the whole situation. They were talking about how he was bipolar and et cetera, but everybody is a little fucking crazy. Shit was crazy and I thought a lot of people focused on this bipolar thing. He told me he was bipolar, but he was really calm and cool. I mean, he had outbursts here and there like everybody else, but he was a cool dude. I never in my life met somebody like him. When I first met him, he just welcomed me with open arms and he didn’t know me from a fucking hole in the wall. He let me in his house. He had a great studio and I would be in there all of the time. He was a great fucking guy. And it’s a shame that he went out that way, but in general, he was just a really good guy and you don’t meet many people like that in life and especially in this business.
You release a lot of freestyles and songs on a consistent basis. How important is that to you?
Consistency is key. I look at that very, very seriously. At the end of the day, you have to be consistent and drop music on a consistent basis. If you don't, people will either be tired of your old material or when your new music doesn't come, they're going to forget about you. This game is like a fucking rat race. You gotta be there. You gotta be inching and inching your way to the top. As soon as you let up, somebody's going to be right behind you, ready to take your spot. I don't feel like I'm No. 1. I just feel like I'm consistent. I have a consistent amount of listeners and they just keep growing daily. And they hear new music and new material and new things from me all the time. That's why I work on so many different projects and I don't rest on my laurels. For instance, I dropped The Excerpt on October 15, then the Off the Books mixtape on January 21 and after that The Non Fiction EP on March 31 all while doing features, freestyles and other miscellaneous things. I try to drop new projects every couple of months and it's very important to me. I don't want you to judge me on old things and I'm a man of my word. I want people to understand my words. That's basically what it is.
Do you worry that your songs won’t stick for a long period of time?
People get bored. Let’s be real. People get bored with stuff real fucking quick. The average person on the internet, I’m pretty sure they’ll click on it and listen to it for a minute or two. They’ll probably listen to a song for a few minutes. There is so much stuff out there. Even if you have an amazing project or song, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be on every website or every blog every day or every other day. Everything has its run and you have to come with new things. And I also look at it where I feel like The Excerpt Page 1 was a great project and it was slept on by a lot of people, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to keep pushing that project. Hopefully people will backtrack and go back and check out that one too when I drop new, dope projects and they’ll check out my catalogue. Having one song or one concept, it’s very lazy in my opinion. You should definitely be working hard to better yourself and better your craft and just put out more creative things. A lot of people don’t do that nowadays.
What’s the next move for Donny Goines?
I'll be honest, I'm all over the board! (laughs) Right now, realistically, my focus is on the debut album. I'm really focused on that and finding the right situation for my album so I'm talking to the major and distributors now, so if you labels are reading this, get at me. I'm putting together some great fucking records. Even though Dame Grease is going to be producing it, I plan to have a lot of other producers contributing to the project and I'm going to make sure that it's in the right hands. DJ Static and Dub Z are the two main producers on board besides Grease and I will also feature Statik Selektah, Ron Browz, Apple Juice Kid and M-Phazes just to name a few. I'm also speaking to Double O from Kidz in the Hall and chasing down Buckwild. (laughs) Artist-wise, you can expect some dope features. I've been talking to NYOIL, Skyzoo, Mickey Factz, Poison Pen and many more. Nothing is written in stone though so we will see how it all turns out. I'm a firm believer that artists in New York are very self-centered and don't want to work with others but I am going to lead by example. Now's the time. Holla at me and let's make some great music and get it in.
Speaking of that, you have an email for producers to send you beats on your MySpace. What kind of beats do you want?
I’m so glad you asked that question. I’m so glad you asked that question and I’m going to tell you why. I feel like a lot of times people pigeonhole me and they put me in a box. A lot of the music I make has a New York sound, but that doesn’t mean that that’s the only sound I’m looking for. That’s all the producers send me! It’s crazy. I love to work with various producers from various towns. I used to rap over a lot of Disco D’s beats. Apple Juice Kid is another good example. He sent me a beat that is like nothing I’ve ever done before. So when it comes to music, I tell people all the time, please do not send me what you think I want to hear. Send me what you think is dope. It could sound like anything. It’s not a good look for producers to pigeonhole me. It’s always an error because you don’t know what people are thinking. And I just like different shit. That’s me, personally. I just listen for what’s dope. It doesn’t have to be a certain genre or a certain sound. It just has to be hot, point blank, period. That’s it.