BEATNICK DEE ~ Big Noise Radio Interview
Beatnick Dee is an independent Hip-Hop producer now residing between the South West and Southampton in the UK. Having been brought up in both California and the UK, he developed a diverse mix of musical influences, ranging from Soul, Funk and Reggae through to West Coast Hip-Hop, Prog, Psych Rock and Jazz. He utilizes these genres in his music, producing a multifarious sound. This versatile producer has worked with many noteworthy emcee’s. Beatnick Dee is currently in Los Angeles interning at Tres Records and furthering his ‘hip-hop exploits’ with stops in San Diego, San Francisco and New York.
Q. Big Noise: Can you tell the people a little about yourself? Where do you hail from?
A. Beatnick Dee: I go by the name of BEATNICK DEE. I was born in San Francisco, California but have spent most of my life in the UK in a small town called Wells. I’ve been producing Hip-Hop for around 5 years. So far I’ve worked with some really talented people, both established and up and coming. I studied digital music production at Southampton Solent University and received a BA honors degree.
I live near Glastonbury, which holds a world renowned music festival, the biggest in Europe. I’ve been lucky enough to go every year since I was around 8 or 9. I got to see The Roots, Slum Village, Dilated Peoples, Rahzel, Cypress Hill and Jurassic 5 to name a few all around that time. Seeing a live hip-hop show so young definitely helped shape my taste for great music.
Q. Big Noise: How did you come by the name of Beatnick Dee?
A. Beatnick Dee: I was originally just ‘Beatnick’, but there were a couple other dudes with similar names and I just thought I had to add to it, or change it. It makes sense though as my real name is Nick, last name Doherty. I was with my boys Leaf & BVA from the Three Amigos trying to think of names. They were really high and saying the craziest things. Some stand out names were ‘Gold Platypus’, ‘The Beat Molester’, ‘The Pig With Wings Beats’, ‘Apocanick’ and ‘The Beat Party’. They were all just a bit too ‘leftfield’ for me though..haha
Q. Big Noise: How did you get involved with the hip-hop movement? Around what time?
A. Beatnick Dee: I’ve always been into beats, when I was younger I didn’t pay that much attention to lyrics, it was the music that really got me hooked. I’ve been a fan of hip-hop literally since I was 8 years old. I bought turntables, started collecting records and Dj’ing around 2005. Big shout to my man Jon Leathart who got me set up at the start. He lent me some huge speakers and taught me a lot about hip-hop production. I’d go to his house with some of my parents records ready to sample. He had an MPC 2000xl at the time and I remember would say how I wanted a beat to sound and he’d kind of engineer it. I really loved banging out drums on the xl. After making beats at his place for awhile I ended up getting my own equipment, slaved away at a super market job to buy an MPC 1000 that I still use today.
Q. Big Noise: Who are some of the artists you are working with?
A. Beatnick Dee: The Regiment, Co$$, Blu, Shawn Jackson, Sene, Joe Scudda, Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks, Iron Braydz, MadKem, Silent Knight, Klarity, Brotherman and at some point Leaf & BVA of Three Amigos from back home. I’ve either done music, or have stuff forthcoming with all of these people.
Q. Big Noise: Can you tell us about some of the projects you’re working on?
A. Beatnick Dee: I do a lot of work with Co$$, from Leimert Park, LA. We’ll be putting a whole project together sometime in the near future called ‘Things Take Shape’. We have a lot of songs stashed. I’m doing a remix for ‘Now Til Infinity’ ft. Reks and Naledge which was on Co$$ and Numonics’ ‘Revelations’ mixtape. That’ll be part of a whole remix project for that album.
I’m also working on a production album with emcees from the UK and US, including some of the people I’ve mentioned. Maybe with a few instrumentals thrown in too. I’ll probably put out some kind of ‘beat tape’ this year as well. Just had three tracks on Co$$’s recent ‘Future’s Past’ mixtape, including ‘Through The Flames’ Feat. Blu. There’s a few other things in the pipeline. I’m all about that ‘shiver down your spine’, ‘screw your face up’ type of music. Emotive music. That’s the kind of music I strive to create. Stay tuned.
Q. Big Noise: Any upcoming release dates you can tell us about? Physical or digital?
A. Beatnick Dee: I produced the title track on Co$$’s debut album ‘Before I Awoke’ coming out on Tres in June. Really proud of that song. That’ll be on Vinyl, CD and digital download. I should also have beats on Vinnie Paz’s next solo album, as well as Joe Scudda’s debut solo LP this year. Iron Braydz from London has an album coming this year called ‘The Slugger’. I’ll have a couple beats on there as well.
Q. Big Noise: Where can people buy your music past or present?
A. Beatnick Dee: I have some free downloads up on my SoundCloud page no purchasable releases solely by me as of yet though aside from beat placements on other artists albums.
Q. Big Noise: What inspired you to become a Producer? Any favorite gear you like to use?
A. Beatnick Dee: As mentioned earlier, I’ve always had an ear for beats. I was so curious as to how tracks were made and it just seemed like something that would be a lot of fun to have a go at. I’m contributing to the genre I have a huge passion for. Those that know me realize how much I love Hip-Hop and how hungry I am for this. At present I use an Akai MPC 1000, with Logic 8 on a macbook pro, an E-mu midi controller, Numark turntables and the M-Audio MicroTrack II for field recordings such as live percussion. I’ve been using Krk Rokit monitors for about a year now and the sound quality is incredible. I recommend them to anyone producing.
Q. Big Noise: Where do you find inspiration for your music and your production?
A. Beatnick Dee: I gain inspiration and motivation from various things. Sometimes I’ll watch a thriller movie and get really hyped up and into it and just feel in the zone for making new music afterwards. Sometimes books, hearing some amazing music. Hearing a dope sample. I listen to everything from Thai psych rock, to Soul to European prog rock and everything in between. Sometimes I’ll se my alarm really early and just try and be as productive as possible throughout the day. Just waking up and saying to myself ”Ok, I have to work hard at this if I want to make this a career” can be enough to get me out of bed! Not every time though..ha
Q. Big Noise: Do you prefer to sample from vinyl or do you use digital samples?
A. Beatnick Dee: I do both. I’m big on digging as I sell records too. I’ve been digging all around Europe, the US and Thailand. It’s a lot of fun and still really exciting. There’s still amazing music out there that not many people are up on. It’s been said by many before but there really is nothing like stumbling across a random record store and finding obscure records with incredible samples on them. There are some Lp’s you won’t ever find an original copy of that can be found on mp3 online. Likewise with records, some Lp’s just aren’t on any blogs. I’d say I prefer the process of recording off a record, the feeling of it, getting the speed how I want it straight away, the warmth etc.. I think to cover both gives yourself more of an advantage. I’d like to think there’s still people that care where a sample comes from, or if there’s a story behind it.
Q. Big Noise: Who are some of the Producers you respect or admire?
A. Beatnick Dee: Thes One comes first as his work with People Under The Stairs influenced me allot. I’ve been a fan since they started. Right now I’d say 14kt, Sid Roams or Dj Khalil are my favourite producers. Khalil has the perfect balance between making underground bangers for people like Evidence and mainstream hits for Eminem while maintaining his signature sound. Alchemist, Black Milk, Marco Polo, Pete Rock, Premier, Dilla, Nottz and Exile. UK beat makers include Lewis Parker, Beat Butcha, Harry Love, Mr. Thing, and Mark B.
Q. Big Noise: Are there any artists you’d like to work with in the future?
A. Beatnick Dee: Man, so many. I’ll just name some emcees I highly rate right now… Evidence, The Grouch, Finale, Pharoahe Monch, Elzhi, Blaq Poet, Sean P, R.A The Rugged Man and OC, from the US and Jehst, Yungun, Cappo and Life from the UK.
Q. Big Noise: Where do you think the future of hip-hop music is headed?
A. Beatnick Dee: People are definitely beginning to experiment more, and I feel there’s a couple new movements really buzzing. History repeats itself too though and I see people going back to the classic 90’s ‘boom bap’ sound but with a new twist. Another thing is artists straying from record labels and going for brand support instead. One thing I’m tired of though, is hearing people say hip-hop needs ‘saving’. There’s wack artists and dope artists, that’s the way it’s always going to be. I think you just have to dig a bit harder to find artists you really like. In general though, I believe the genre is healthy. Any given week there’s new, listenable music coming out for free. People just need to stop complaining and just contribute some good music.
Q. Big Noise: How can folks contact you for business?
A. Beatnick Dee: Check me out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Much respect to The Regiment and Big Noise Radio for making this interview possible!
BEATNICK-DEE “Latest Tracks” | Produced by Beatnick Dee | Audio Stream
Beatnick Dee “Latest Tracks” Produced by Beatnick Dee, Released by Tres Records, Audio Stream via Sound cloud.
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Image: Beatnick D