New York Hip-hop Producer “Ray West” Of Red Apples 45 Record Label ~ BNR Interview
Ray West is a Bronx born producer who has been involved with hip hop culture since the late 80s. Started out DJ’ing, grew into production and became a movement over time. With a strong team of musical collaborators and co-producers, the Red Apple family was born. The music is sample driven. Made with a variety of analog gear; such as the MPC 60, MPC 2000, MPC 1000, SP 1200 and Moog synth. Live precision. Dedicated to the preservation of hip hop and DJ culture. We recently caught up with Ray for an interview.
Q. Big Noise: For those who aren’t familiar with you can you briefly introduce yourself and where your from?
A. Ray West: I was born and raised in the Bronx. Late 70s so I grew up in the 80s. During that time hip hop was really exploding and I am a product of that environment.
Q. Big Noise:Can you elaborate on the Red Apples 45 brand, when did you start the company?
A. Ray West: Red apples 45 was started in 2012 by myself , Ag & Abdul Jabar … We started it so we can put out whatever we felt … We wanted to put out vinyls and collector type pieces. We wanted to have total creative control of our brand and do it for the culture..
Q. Big Noise: Who directed the “These Rappers Under The Hex” video, where was it shot?
A. Ray West: The video was directed by AG , myself & the good brother Crestal from France. He is a dope producer as well and has a record coming out called “CM Jones” on ascetic records. The same company we partnered with for LUVNY. It was shot in the Bronx in Pelham bay park and on 138th street … Under the 3rd ave bridge . Couple other locations. All Bronx locations…
Q. Big Noise: Do you collect vinyl records, how big is your collection?
A. Ray West: I am a big vinyl collector… I have about 60 crates , more on shelves bins of 45s . Sometimes I think they are multiplying.
Q. Big Noise:If you had to name just one… who’s your all time favorite emcee and why?
A. Ray West: KOOL KEITH always been my favorite. I always Liked to listen to him. Been that way since ultra all threw octogon and his solo stuff. He has the ability to make me feel all types of ways. He is more then an MC , he’s like an entertainer.
Q. Big Noise: How long have you been producing?
A. Ray West: I have been producing now for about 15 years …
Q. Big Noise: Please share your first memories of hip hop culture and what inspired you to become producer?
A. Ray West: My earliest hip hop memory was hearing Roxanne from UTFO on an old school box that an older kid from my neighborhood had. I was like instantly attracted to it. That initially had me buying records. Dragging my dad to the local record store. Gettin the fat boys ,whodini, L.L … All the greats. By 12 years old I was DJIng….Eventually I got a sampler & started looping records… I didn’t take production serious till the mid 90s..When I got my first real sampler. The MPC..
Q. Big Noise: Some of your favorite tools of the trade are?
A. Ray West: The MPC 2000 XL is my favorite. I have a Moog synth that I luv too.
Q. Big Noise: Are you a trained musician?
A. Ray West: No. I play by ear.
Q. Big Noise: Your favorite producer(s) of all time?
A. Ray West: J DILLA. No doubt. He was a big inspiration to me .
Q. Big Noise: How does living in NYC influence your music?
A. Ray West: I love being from BX/Ny and living here is special. It’s fast pace but when you grow up here it’s your speed. My man Menocal always says “the Bronx is the center of the planet”. Lmao. True!
Q. Big Noise: How do you feel about the current state of hip-hop, do you consider your music underground?
A. Ray West: I don’t pay too much attention to the radio / big biz type scene . I don’t think much relevant music is being broadcasted there. I guess we are underground but I try to avoid labels. I feel if I could describe red apples music and my personal approach Is street-jazz music.
Q. Big Noise: How was working on the Luv Ny project who came up with that idea?
A. Ray West: AG and myself came up wit the name LuV Ny years ago while we were brainstorming . Later on It came to life as that project. The project came from having all the great musicians on the record in my studio. I started thinking how all these brothers were from different parts of ny … It became like a show case .. It was really amazing to be in studio with all of them. I wanted to share the experience . That’s when we started filming every one and making little short films about where everyone’s from & Thierry perspective .
Q. Big Noise: What other projects are you currently working on for 2013 what should heads be looking for?
A. Ray West: We have a vinyl coming out with BLU, OC ,Dave Dar & of course AG. I’m finishing an LP with OC.. Me and DFLOW are working on his solo project. Also a full LP with AG and John Robinson. We have a partnership with the Paris based label ascetic and it’s been really great to work with guys who really care about hip hop culture and makin Quality products.
Q. Big Noise: Any last words for our readers?
A. Ray West: Thanks for taking the time and letting me share my story. Blessings to all who contribute to keeping our culture alive and pure. Thanks to MRC / Big Noise Radio Squad for connecting with me. Come check us at redapples45.com Redapples45@ twitter Quality records made in the Bronx…
A.G D.I.T.C “SCRATCHING MY NAME” VIDEO
DIRECTED BY UNCLERAERAE SONG OF OF PIANOS IN THE PROJECTS RED APPLES 45
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Interview: Big Noise
Image: Ray West