Bangin Beats With Beatnick Dee An Exclusive Interview by Alkota Beats
Yo peoples, check out this in-depth interview with hip-hop producer Beatnick Dee, immaculately put together by the founder of The Beat Broker brand, Alkota Beats out of Alaska. This is a great interview! Take a minute to play the “20 for 12″ Beat Mix joint below while you peep the interview.
Q. Alkota: Take a minute to introduce yourself to the readers who might not be familiar with you or your production.
A. Beatnick Dee: Peace to everyone reading. My name is Beatnick Dee. First and foremost I’m a producer, also a record collector and dealer, sometimes Dj, journalist & interviewer and Rep for Tres Records. Some of my production credits include Co$$, Blu, Sene, Joe Scudda, The Regiment and more.
Q. Alkota: You recently moved back to Cali (LA specifically) from the UK to be closer to the music scene and pursue your passion for music as a career.2. Can you share some of your experiences in making such a big leap?
A. Beatnick Dee: Creatively and career wise, LA is where I want to be. I spent 2 months in here last year, met some great people and had a lot of fun. It had been an idea to move to Cali at some point. The trip went better than expected and cemented my idea, so I ran with it. I’m very lucky because I was born in San Francisco, so I have dual nationality and it wasn’t a hassle to sort out a visa to make the move. I miss friends and family of course but it all boils down to one thing. I believe in my music enough to go where ever I need to be.
It’s like starting all over again, building up a new network, meeting new people and making new friends. Having lived most of my life in south west England, in the heart of the countryside it’s been a huge change. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some good people, dope producers and rappers and I’m loving LA life overall. Very thankful to be here!
Q. Alkota: I understand you are a representative for the local LA independent hip hop powerhouse label Tres Records.3. What type of working relationship do you have with Tres Records?
A. Beatnick Dee: I’m basically a Rep/Intern for Tres. I do a lot of the writing which includes artist bio’s, press releases and controlling our social networking sites. I interview artists, sort out stock, send out records etc… All kinds of things.
Through my collaborations with Co$$ I got in touch with Chikaramanga, he liked what he heard and I was able to meet up with him whilst in LA. I happened to be at the label when we were putting together Co$$’s debut ‘Before I Awoke’ which I produced the title track for. It was really dope to help out on a release I was a part of and see the work that goes into putting out a release.
We’re putting out House Shoes’ debut album June 19th. This is a really big release for us so we’re very excited. Tres have been going for 8 years now and we’re one of the few independent Hip-Hop labels still pressing vinyl.
Q. Alkota: Rumor has it you are the go to guy when it comes to digging for records and samples. Do you dig for yourself only or do you offer digging services for other producers and beatmakers?
I do both. I’ve been digging for quite awhile now and I’ve been lucky enough to get my fingers dusty all around Europe, Thailand, and now the States.
A. Beatnick Dee: I sell a lot to other producers. People know they’re going to get some crazy obscure loops from the records I offer.
I’m a hip-hop producer of course, so I have the ear for samples, loops, drums etc. I go through all styles from electronic sounds to dramatic soul, psych, prog, reggae etc… I deal in a lot of foreign breaks so I provide stuff that people have never heard before. Samples that you wouldn’t be able to find easily and that will make your music stand out.
Q. Alkota: Do you do any non sample based production, i.e. sample free/original music?
A. Beatnick Dee: I do. Most of my music starts with some form of sample though, then I layer a lot of instruments and synth sounds over the top. My album will have a few non sampled beats. I like to experiment and having original tracks definitely has it’s advantages.
Q. Alkota: Your drums are dope! Can you give us any of your secrets to getting such unique and tight sounding drum samples?
A. Beatnick Dee: Cheers! Layering. That’s the main thing. Drums are so important to me, almost the most essential part. The right EQ, tuning and sounds are what can really make a beat. If you’re using a sample, I feel that you have to do the loop justice if it’s something crazy. If the sample is dope but the drums don’t have the right swing/sounds/pitch/knock then the track as a whole is really lacking in my opinion. Definitely chopping breaks instead of using the whole thing.
Q. Alkota: Do you have any instrumental projects/beat tapes out right now?
A. Beatnick Dee: ’20 For 12′ presented by kevinottingham.com is my new Beat Mix. It’s a 20 minute continuous mix of brand new, exclusive, unreleased, for sale and beats from forthcoming projects. It’s basically to showcase the sound I’m trying to promote as well as my variety.
Q. Alkota: Charging for beats is always a topic of interest to up and coming producers and beatmakers interested in making a little scratch off their production. The problem is, most people don’t know where to start and how much to charge.
A. Beatnick Dee: Start at about 5 grand per beat. Hahaa.. nah it aint the 90′s anymore, everyone knows that. Charge what you think it’s worth, work out how much the artist is willing to spend, work around their budget if you’re down to work with them.
Bare in mind the particular beat, what it’s for (free/sold project) and if you feel it’s one of your best tracks then you’d probably want to find the best place for it and get a fair price. If you’re just starting I see people selling anywhere between $100-350 for beats. If you’ve been producing for awhile and have a few solid placements with well established artists then upwards of $500.
Q. Alkota: Can you give some advice to the new guys on how much to charge for beats and how to start making some money off beats?
A. Beatnick Dee: It can be hard to know when to work for free. Try to build a relationship with an artist you like, mutual gain is very important. Find someone to do a joint project with. Which placements will give you exposure? If it’s someone you really want to work with from a fan perspective, then working for free is cool. It can be a great achievement working with artists you admire. Trading is a great thing too, as producers we have that advantage. Get a verse or song from giving an emcee a free beat. Hone your craft. Make sure your beats are of good quality before trying to sell, that way you’ll build up a good rapport. Network with artists and when you do have beats for sale you’ll have a chain of people to work with. Getting your name out there first is important though.
Q. Alkota: What projects are you currently working on for 2012?
A. Beatnick Dee: My debut production album ‘Creative Medicine’ which will feature Joe Scudda, Co$$, Sene, Denitia Odigie, Koncept & J57 of Brown Bag All Stars, Dynas, Blame One, Sav Killz, Hasan Salaam The Regiment, Late Bloomers, MadKem, Saheed and more. I also have beats on a lot of these artists’ previous or forthcoming projects. Working on more placements too. I have a track on Vinnie Paz’s next solo Lp coming later this year. Working on a couple more beat projects as well.
Q. Alkota: When you aren’t digging for samples & records or making beats, what do you do for fun?
Skateboarding, hiking, hanging with friends and fuckin around. I try to check out hip-hop shows when I can. Or just any music events. Now I’m in LA I’m spoilt for choice! I’m getting to see people I never had the chance to, living in the sticks of the Uk.
Q. Alkota: For the tech heads… what software or hardware setup do you currently use to make your beats?
Logic on a macbook pro, MPC 1000, M-Audio Oxygen 49, M-Audio Micro Track II, KRK Rokit 6 Monitors, Technics 1200 MK2 turntable.
Q. Alkota: For artists and labels interested in contacting you about your production, what’s the best way to get in touch?
beatnickdee(at)gmail.com for all inquiries including beat sales, samples, drums, etc. Big shouts to Alkota for the interview and thanks to everyone reading this!
Keep it locked to Big Noise Radio for authentic hip-hop music from Beatnick Dee and Alkota Beats!
Article: Alkota Beats
Image: Beatnick Dee