staying busy. We're pushing that Ray Cash - Clangin' and Swangin'. We're
also pushing our arsenal of beats and staying busy around the clock.
Clangin' and Swangin' come about?
started working with Ray about two years ago through our associate Joey
Fingaz. He didn't even know we made beats. After a couple of sessions,
we told him we made beats and he asked to hear something. He liked what
he heard and we had five tracks on his debut album on Sony, C.O.D. We
had other tracks that didn't make the album and we were just sitting on
them. We were like, Let's put it out as a mixtape.
Clangin' and Swangin' doing so far?
project is doing well. The project is basically like a mirror image of
his album. It's crazy. Everybody loves it just like C.O.D. They say that's
a classic album and one of the most slept-on albums of the year. A lot
of people judge him before they hear him, but the people who give him
a chance love him.
it working with Ray?
is one of the most gifted lyricists in the game. The dude is nice. He's
got a lot to rap about. He's straight hip-hop with that story-telling
rap. He's not about the dances and hokey-poke rap. It's a real throwback
style. Plus he's real professional.
with Ray is cool because he's so versatile. He can take any beat at any
tempo and flip it and he doesn't sound like he's not being himself. We're
the same way with our beats. He's really good in the studio and he knows
what he's doing. A lot of guys don't know what to do in the studio but
Ray definitely does.
did a lot of tracks with Ray but they didn't obviously all make the album.
Are you happy with the tracks you got on C.O.D?
I'm happy with any placements we get and I was happy that we were able
to work with him in the studio. A lot of times you send a beat off and
it goes to another artist in another city and they hear it later on. Ray
actually came in and we recorded all his material together. I couldn't
be happier with it. Plus it's getting great reviews, so that helps.
one of the most classic piano samples in hip-hop (The Charmels' "As
Long As I've Got You," originally used for Wu-Tang's "C.R.E.A.M.")
on "Cash Rules." How did that come about?
always thinking about things we can flip. We were thinking about "Cash
Rules" being perfect for Ray. At first we had it as an uptempo track
at 90 BPM's. That just didn't sound like Ray. We took it down to about
75 BPM's and it sounded hot. It was perfect for Ray. There was definitely
some pressure there because I loved the Wu's Enter the 36 Chambers.
fact that RZA and the Wu signed off on allowing us to use that, because
we used Method Man's vocals, it's just a real compliment to us and it
shows that we're on the right path and it shows that we're doing the right
thing. It's easy for people to hate and say that we shouldn't touch a
sample like that, but we obviously did it right if RZA signed off on it.
that go down?
just make the music and the powers that be clear the sample. The reason
it didn't make the original album was because the sample wasn't cleared.
It made the online version that sold on iTunes. That's why we put it on
Clangin' and Swangin' because we wanted to make sure it got the proper
exposure. It might even go on his next album so it gets its proper run.
a very diverse range of sounds on Clangin' and Swangin'.
wanted to show that we could do an entire album. If somebody asked us
to do an entire album for somebody, we want to be able to show everything
in 60 minutes. That's what we did here. We showed all his different styles
and all our different styles.
a beatmaker and producer, you don't want to sit in the studio all day
and make the same type of beat. I'll just get burned out on a sound. A
lot of times you get going on a certain sound and you make five or six
songs with those same sounds and you just kind of burn out. That's what's
allowed us to have a very diverse catalogue. When we're in the studio,
whatever comes up comes up.
be doing more work with Ray Cash?
having us do 75% of his next album. We're trying to get most of his next
album. Our future together is looking good. We're definitely going to
be doing some big things with Ray.
it working with 50 and M.O.P?
was an experience. A lot of people have to put in a lot of work to get
there and that was our first placement. We learned a lot about the business.
There were some bumps along the way but that was a great experience overall.
was a great experience for us. We had worked so hard to get to that point.
When you get a phone call like that, it just makes you smile because a
lot of times you're just walking into the future blindly making beats.
People are doubting you and then when things finally click into place,
it's real gratifying.
going on with the Kickdrums and Little Brother?
was hooked up by DJ Mick Boogie. He's doing his thing and nationwide he's
getting a lot of recognition. He's doing a mixtape with Little Brother
and we sent him six to ten beats and they ended up choosing one of our
tracks and rocking over it. We like to get the best of everything. We
got the best of mainstream with 50 and the best of the underground with
Little Brother. The only thing left is the pop world.
have Mick Boogie and Joey Fingaz been to the Kickdrums' career?
really been pivotal. Everybody always says it's all about who you know.
Of course skill plays into that, but the more people you know, the better.
Mick and Joey have helped us hook up with a lot of people. That's definitely
helped our career out.
DJ is the backbone of hip-hop. Hip-hop has taken a turn in the past ten
years and the MC is in the forefront, but the truth is everybody needs
a DJ to be affiliated with. We've probably collab'd on at least 75 mixtapes.
That's a huge amount of exposure. If you're a rapper on 75 mixtapes, your
name is going to get out there.
with us has also helped them out because it gives them exclusive material
like the joint we did with Little Brother. It's a really good working
relationship. We help each other out.
the Kickdrums first come together?
is a small city. There's a circle of people that are doing this and if
you're good at what you do, you'll stand out. My partner Alex stood out.
We were both recording out of our basements and we got to a point where
we had to acknowledge what the other was doing and we just clicked.
have similar backgrounds. We're friends. We respect each other as people
as well as creatively.
both have the same work ethic. We know that we have to work around the
take us through the making of a Kickdrums beat?
heads are better than one. That's the best way to put it. We just bounce
back and forth on ideas. We'll start with a concept and go from there.
Alex is a talented musician. He plays a number of instruments. If we need
any of that, Alex can do it. We also do a lot of mixing. A lot of people
say our tracks sound like they're already radio-quality. We mixed three
tracks off C.O.D. that missed the whole New York, multi-million dollar
mastering because they sounded so good.
also live on different ends of the hall in the same apartment. We both
have the 500mb jump drives and we'll just trade them when we start a beat.
Two years ago we used to do all our tracks separately and now we work
together on almost every one. The mixing has to be right. The sequencing
and chorus have to be right. Like Matt said, two heads are better than
of course when you're working with two people, you'll bump heads a lot
but at the end of the day, we respect each other's opinion.
do you use?
of us have MPC's. I have a lot of instruments. I have electric and acoustic
guitars. We have Mackie monitors. A lot of people don't have good speakers
but we dropped a couple thousand on speakers and you can hear everything
so clear. We use the Fantom. We have a lot of keyboards and compressors.
We have the Mackie mixing board, Pro Tools and plug-ins. It's the typical
studio when you don't have millions of dollars.
next for Kickdrums?
have a world of opportunities ahead of us. We don't want to look too far
ahead. We just want to place some beats. We don't know what's going to
be hot tomorrow so we're just focusing on today. We're just trying to
brand our name and venture into other businesses. Right now we're just
focusing on today.
you want to say to everybody?
really needs a change for the better. People have to realize that there
has to be diversity. When you're listening to Kickdrums music, it's good
music all around no matter what we venture into. There's going to be good
melody and it's going to be laid out correctly. We're not trying to play
anybody. We're trying to bring something that you'll enjoy listening to.