Music Producer Freddie Joachim Interview by Big Noise Radio
The timing, the sound quality, the sample selections, the arrangements… It’s hard to find anything that’s not significantly dope! Freddie Joachim’s passion for music production and soulful vibes, shines through on almost every track he creates. Like a scientist, he experiments in the laboratory, discovering new techniques and methods to the madness; dope mad beats that is! He’s not restricted to any one machine or technique, the journey of discovery results in rewarding timeless music for our enjoyment. Deejay, super producer and new father, music producer Freddie Joachim hails from San Diego, California, the golden state. Some might compare him to the great J Dilla. If you dig Hip Hop Jazz, Boombap Soul, funky beat making and music production, Freddie Joachim is one music producer who definitely checks all the boxes. We recently caught up with him to talk about his get down and the music.
Q. Big Noise: Hey Freddie what’s good Sir! Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, we’ve been dealing with a few things like everyone else. We would like to thank you for taking the time to talk with us. I’ve been a big fan of you music and techniques. Can you give us a brief introduction, tell us a little bit about what you do?
A. Freddie Joachim: Hi my name is Freddie, I’m a music producer and DJ. Been djing for about 25 years, and producing for about 20. I think most people know my music as hip hop with a heavy jazz and soul influence.
Q. Big Noise: The music production is some of the best we’ve heard, it’s drenched in hip-hop, soul and jazz… So, did you start deejaying around 1996? What were some of your favorite records back then? Have you ever gotten into DJ battles?
A. Freddie Joachim: I started djing when labels like Rawkus were taking off. Okayplayer was a brand new website and home to The Roots, Jazzyfatnastees, Reflection Eternal and more. Reflection Eternal’s Train of Thought LP really stuck with me. I had a very short lived battle career. Maybe 3 or 4 battles. Even though I was heavily into the turntablist culture, I wasn’t good enough to win battles. But I really idolized DJ crews like the Skratch Piklz, Beatjunkies and Allies at the time.
Q. Big Noise: Word! As you started getting into music production… How did the studio setup evolve, what equipment did you cop? What’s your audio gear setup like now? Do you quantize the beats, yes / no; what’s your preference?
A. Freddie Joachim: I actually started producing on a computer first, using a very basic midi sequencing program along with keyboard sounds. I basically bought what I could afford, which was very little. A lot of used gear off craigslist, and eBay. Not much has changed. I don’t really hold onto gear I’m not using, so I sell, trade, or give away a lot of stuff.
I still utilize the computer as my main music making piece, but I have a bunch of hardware samplers, keyboards, and outboard gear. So right now, it’s a little bit of a hybrid setup, where I use both software and hardware to record, edit and mix my music. I don’t really have a preference for quantizing. Usually just snares, but everything else is loose. Sometimes no quantizing, but a lot of re-takes to get the recording just right.
Q. Big Noise: What producer collaboration has been most memorable for you as a DJ and music producer? After studio sessions, do you spend time with the artists you work with? Is that important? Who are the music producers you’re feeling?
A. Freddie Joachim: I mean most people know me for the track Waves I did with Joey and then later with J.Cole. Even though I wasn’t in the studio with those guys when it was recorded, I did have a 30 minute phone conversation with Cole, which was crazy. I still have his phone number saved in my phone.
I was able to work with a UK artist, Xam Volo, while he was here in LA and we recorded at the very famous Westlake Studios. So I got to see where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller and other countless albums were made.
But other than that, I don’t really go into recording sessions with artists. A lot of it is done via emails since we all live in different cities. But it’s great to build a good relationship with artists, and see how they evolve and grow.
Some music producers I really look up to are the classics like, Dilla, Pete Rock, Premier, Dre, Hi-Tek, DJ Khalil, etc.
Q. Big Noise: Nice! The list of projects is fantastic; DC Shoes, Nike, Adidas, Monster Energy, K-Swiss, HBO… The performances, locations and affilliations are amazing; Asia, South Africa, Europe, North America and sharing the stage with artists such as, Jean Grae, Joss Stone, Jimmy Cliff, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (ATCQ), Teeko, DJ Babu, Rakaa Iriscience, Bobbito, Scoop Deville, Blu, Choice37 and others, dope! What would be the ultimate artist collaboration for you next?
A. Freddie Joachim: I’d like to work with an artist that just really enjoy, it doesn’t matter their stature. Any of the big artists that influenced me when I was younger like Talib, Mos, Common, Dre, etc.
Q. Big Noise: On YouTube we see you using so many tools of the trade; Ableton Live from Germany, Akai machines from Japan, Serato, NI Machine and so many more… Your studio always seems to be loaded with nice gear. Do you have any favorites? What are some of the vintage machines you like to work with?
A. Freddie Joachim: Gear comes and goes in my studio. I don’t really hold on to pieces of gear if I’m not really using it as much. My favorites have been the MPC’s I’ve owned. I feel that machine has become the staple of hip hop production. In the future I’d like to own various instruments like a Rhodes and a vibraphone. Maybe an MPC 3000 and SP 1200 just to own a piece of history. But at the moment, I just do not have the room for more stuff. The baby has to sleep somewhere, ha!
Music Producer Freddie Joachim – 02.26.2021 Jazzy Hip-Hop Beat MPC Studio | YouTube
Published in February 2021: Music producer Freddie Joachim making a jazzy hip-hop beat on the MPC Studio Produced by Freddie Joachim, Released by Mellow Orange.
Q. Big Noise: Yo that’s funny I’m sure your woman agrees with you on that. You’ve got some excellent beat making tutorial videos on YouTube. We know you add a lot of live instruments into your music, exactly how many instruments do you play? How important is live instrumentation to your hip-hop music production?
A. Freddie Joachim: I don’t know how to play any instruments realistically. I can play them to save my life, but in no means do I consider myself a musician. I enjoy playing the keys and guitar, I wish I could play them a lot better. I like adding live stuff to my production, just to keep it a little fresh and groovy, also it’s easier than trying to find samples that fit certain beats.
Q. Big Noise: Working with German based record label Jakarta Records, you released the instrumental beat album / EP “Beyond The Sea of Trees.” Can you tell us more about the EP, what was the motivation behind the project?
A. Freddie Joachim: The LP was a collection of songs that I felt were more mature and organic. I linked up with a few artists that I really like, and were nice enough to be apart of it. Most of my previous albums were a collection of instrumentals that showcased my range as a producer, and I wanted this one to have a centralized feeling.
Q. Big Noise: You’ve worked with some seasoned hip-hop artists. Joey Badass, the single “Waves,” on Joey’s debut album (now playing on Big Noise Radio), “1999 Mixtape” and later, his “B4DA$$” album. “Waves” was also used by renowned rapper J.Cole, for his single release entitled “False Prophets,” also used in J.Cole’s music video for his HBO documentary “Eyez.” In 2021 the single received a RIAA gold record. The prolific music catalog we see on your Bandcamp page is incredible. Did you start, or get signed to any record labels, as the Freddie Jochim brand grew?
A. Freddie Joachim: I was never exclusive to any label, and still not. I helped move and shape Mellow Orange, with my bay area friend Yusai. We just had a like minded outlook on music at the time, and decided to build a label for artists to grow. But I’ve worked with a few labels throughout the years, releasing some of my music and producing for their artists.
Joey Badass "Waves" Produced by Freddie Joachim via Pro Era Records | Soundcloud Audio
Published June 2012: Joey Badass “Waves” Produced by Music producer Freddie Joachim, Released by Pro Era Records via 1999 Album.
Q. Big Noise: Just like J Dilla and some of the other greats, your record collection must be something to see… What record, no matter how many times you listen to it, never gets old for you? Where do you see hip-hop headed within the next 5 years?
A. Freddie Joachim: I’d probably say Midnight Maurauders by A Tribe Called Quest. I listened to that album from start to finish all the time when I was younger, and it still sticks with me. Like any genre, hip hop will change with the times. I just hope there’s still a group of hip hop artists that continue to talk about interesting things and showcase their music as a growing art. Instead of flaunting, although I still enjoy the ridiculousness of that at times.
Q. Big Noise: Congratulations on the beautiful family and the new little one! Being a new father and beat maker, did your routine change and has it affected your production? Does your family support your love for music?
A. Freddie Joachim: Everything changed when we had our son. I have little to no time to make music, because he is a 24/7 job. That’s not a bad thing. I really have to enjoy these times now while he’s young, because when he gets older, he won’t want to hang out with dad anymore. I still try to get in a few beats here and there when he’s sleeping, but it’s tough when you’re already drained at the end of the day. My family has always supported music, and hopefully I can pass on that same interest to my son. Regardless if he wants to get into the arts or not.
Q. Big Noise: Okay I’m feeling you on that Sir, life work balance. What’s cooking in the back of your mind, what does the vision look like moving forward. Can you share some of your goals for the remainder of the year 2022?
A. Freddie Joachim: I think from now moving forward, I’m just going to be releasing music on my own, without the use of a label. I have a couple small projects in the works, so hopefully everyone will get to listen to those soon.
Q. Big Noise: We’ll be looking forward to that, always excited to hear what’s cooking. What would you say to aspiring music producers and beatmakers, what was most instrumental to your success?
A. Freddie Joachim: I guess, just be true to yourself and what you want to do in music. I feel I’ve never really had to conform too much to what’s popular or trendy. I feel I’ve been pretty genuine with my music, and all the music I’ve put out has been my true self. Honestly, if I started producing music I didn’t truly enjoy making, just to make a buck or become popular, I don’t think I’d really enjoy music in general.
A lot of my “success” is a lot of luck, but more importantly just being consistent with my sound. I have evolved as a producer, but I haven’t strayed too far away from the music I truly enjoy creating.
Q. Big Noise: Nicely said my brother, that’s some great advice! Thanks for taking time out for the interview. We really enjoy your music and the way you make beats, you got mad skills… No doubt! Any last words or shout outs?
A. Freddie Joachim: Big thanks to you guys for having me again, and supporting my music, as well as all the listeners and supporters throughout these years.
Music Producer Freddie Joachim – 11.01.2021 Jazzy Lofi Hip-Hop Beat In The Lab | YouTube
Published in November 2021: Music producer Freddie Joachim making a jazzy lofi hip-hop beat in the lab Produced by Freddie Joachim, Released by Mellow Orange.