Onewerd: A Balance of The Styles…
<strong>South of San Francisco</strong>, lays a somewhat quaint, often overlooked region of California’s Bay Area, known as ‘<strong>The Peninsula</strong>’. In itself, it’s <strong>a totally different area than ‘The City'</strong>, as Californian’s call it, and it’s been that way for over 150 years since the line was officially drawn in 1856. It’s a part of the fabled tech-hub known as ‘Silicon Valley’. You know, the place that birthed Apple. and Facebook. and Google. And Yahoo. Not to mention the thousands of others. With the tech boom came the immigration, and into the area poured countless entrepreneurs from all over the world, forming a melting pot of people and places, meeting with ideas and innovation. This is where it takes place, and <strong>Onewerd</strong>’s music is just that: A melting pot of people, places, ideas and innovation, rolled into one. Juuuust the right balance of many different styles and influences, with his own unique twist to it.
<strong>C</strong>urrently in the process of rolling out his 2nd new project of 2015, <strong>Onewerd</strong> is prepping an instrumental EP titled <strong><em>Axiomatic, </em></strong>and has released two new singles ‘Burn It Up’ and ‘Dig The Groove’. We caught up with the producer/emcee to discuss gear, creating things, his collaborative record with JB Nimble, live music and where you might catch him hanging out before his April tour alongside Brooklyn’s <strong>JB Nimble</strong>. The duo released <em>The Waiting Room</em> LP in February.
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<strong>Study Music : Let’s start with Onewerd the artist, then we’ll move into the person off-stage and outside the studio. What gear did you use in the studio for the making of <em>Axiomatic</em>? </strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> This is my favorite question! Most of the project was written and arranged in Ableton….A big part of my work flow has been collecting a sample library that I can transfer from one CPU to another, which helps to speed up creative decisions and have a familiar palette of sounds to draw from. Some of it is based on sounds I’ve sampled from gear I have…an Access Virus, Korg MS2000, Roland JP 8000 and some [additional] outboard processing. I don’t necessarily think outboard gear is superior to plugins and software, but it’s inspiring just to use a certain piece of gear sometimes, and that makes it worth it for me.
<strong>SM : What was the creative process like for the making of <em>Axiomatic</em>? </strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> When we first spoke about this project, I was definitely inspired to create something that drew from primarily Hip Hop roots. I knew I wanted to sample traditional Funk, Rock and Blues sources, so I pretty much started with digging into [my] sample libraries and looking for some tasty choices. I wanted to put my own electronic/bass-oriented spin on things, so there was a fair bit of programming and sound-design that went into the process as well.
<strong>SM : You also just released the collaborative album with JB Nimble, ‘The Waiting Room’. You’re rhyming as well as handling production duties on the entire album. How does the process differ between creating the instrumental stuff and producing stuff that will have vocals? </strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> This is also my favorite question! When I started making beats, it was strictly for the purpose of having something to rap on. A combination of factors gradually led me to producing more involved instrumental work and remixes, which started to get in the way of my rap beats. I’m starting to feel comfortable with a balance between the styles, and having a more specific set of intentions and goals when I’m producing a track. [Doing] the project with JB Nimble was particularly dope, because I was a big fan of his album <em>The Jester’s Dance</em>. It gave me a pretty specific reference point to start from, and it was fun as hell to try to add my own twist to beats that I thought would fit his style!
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<strong>SM : You seem to take inspiration from a lot of different genres and styles. What artists have inspired you over the years? </strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> My biggest influences as far as production and rapping are probably the anticon collective, Living Legends, Rhymesayers, Quannum Projects and Def Jux… Pretty much a shameless ‘indie rap’ nerd…
<strong>SM : When you’re not working on your own music, what have you been listening to recently? </strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> G Jones, Hail Mary Mallon, Hellfyre Club, Mr. Carmack, and Om Unit [have been] on pretty heavy rotation lately. The ‘Soundcloud community’, so to speak, has probably been the biggest influence on my musical tastes in recent years. It pretty much ripped the lid off of my [previous] influences and has given me a window into a ridiculous mix of styles.
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<strong>SM : You’re based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Let’s run down some of your favorite places around the pond. </strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> Favorite Bay spots?
<strong>SM : You got a favorite restaurant or place to grab a bite to eat?</strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> I’m a Peninsula head, so shout out to Rave Burger in downtown San Mateo!!! Dope local business, the homie hooks up the ill Jalapeno burgers…bruh…
<strong>SM : How bout for drinks?</strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> I don’t really drink anymore, but I spend a fair bit of time rapping in bars, so there’s that…
<strong>Where do you tend to go for records & music?</strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong>: Amoeba, player! [ed. note: quoting The Grouch’s ‘Bay to LA’ lyric, in reference to the San Francisco, Berkeley & Los Angeles record stores, ranked #1 in North America by Rolling Stone Magazine]
<strong>SM : Where are some of your favorite spots to catch live music at? </strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> Shoot, if [live music] is there, I’m down…Shout out to the Honey Hive Gallery out in the Sunset! [a ‘borough’ of San Francisco]. They’ve been holding it down for a lot of independent artists, Daniel Berliner [the curator of the venue & gallery] is doing something cool out there… Also, 50 Mason (Downtown San Francisco), The Legionnaire (Downtown Oakland), El Rio (SF), Milk Bar (Haight St. – SF), Hotel Utah (SoMa – SF), Elbo Room (Mission District – SF)…too many to name…
<strong>SM : Any favorite spots for art in the city or general SF bay area?</strong>
<strong>Onewerd :</strong> The Mission, and the Duboce Tunnel (RIP). Walls, trucks and alleys…
Onewerd’s Axiomatic EP will continue to roll out over the coming weeks leading to ‘The Waiting Room’ Tour. Cities and dates can be found up top in the Events & Tours section.
SubjectJazz: The Theatre of Sound
We caught up with Paul from <strong>SubjectJazz</strong> for a discussion on the album ‘Bullet For The Jazz’, the creative process, studio gear, what he’s listening to, and where you might find him digging for records and hanging out around his hometown of Paris, France.
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<strong>Study Music : Lets start at the foundation, what gear did you use for the making of ‘Bullet For The Jazz’?</strong>
<strong>SubjectJazz:</strong> During the time I was working on the ‘Bullet’, I was working with my records, the [Akai] MPC2500SE & MPC2000, sometimes SP sounds sampled on my [MPCs], Fender jazz bass and [all run] into Logic Pro for the final edition. I didnt have the SP’s at the time. [Since the recording of ‘Bullet’] I’ve changed it a lot, the setup, with the [E-Mu] SP’s and the [Akai] S950, only using the MPC2000 as a sequencer, and a Mackie for the mix…
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<strong>SM: What was the creative process like during the making of ‘Bullet For The Jazz’? </strong>
<strong>SJ:</strong> First, [I’d] listen and dig through movies from 1940-1967, take pieces of films…traditional French films mainly, [but also] gangster, jazz, experimental, Chinese…then [I’d] try to adapt the feelings of those, the old world mentality, and some specific scenes of everyday life into the composition…[to patch together] several pieces, and translate the music into images…like short stories, [like] the theater of sound…
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<strong>SM: What artists and records are you listening to right now, old or new?</strong>
<strong>SJ:</strong> When it comes to listening to records [for the actual records themselves, not for sampling], I’ve been listening to a lot of instrumental stuff these last few months, like DJ Krush or DJ Shadow, [which I] didn’t listen to a lot before, but it’s damn ill. Lewis Parker also, and all of the Lord Finesse library, Buckshot…
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<strong>SM: …and in the Crates?</strong>
<strong>SJ:</strong> Concerning actual records, it’s growing week after week…It’s all about sampling, so every kind [of genre]…70’s Italian records made my last month…Blue Note ones…always the same color to my ears… right now Yusef Lateef!.
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<strong>SM: You’re based in Paris, France. What are some of your favorite record stores or places to go digging in the area? </strong>
<strong>SJ:</strong> Monster Melodies, Groove Store and Betino’s record shop…Discogs when it begins to be hard to find [records] that I need to have. I prefer to let the ‘luck of the dig’ into good places [dictate] the rest.
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<strong>SM: Where do you spend your time outside of the studio? What are some of your favorite places to eat, drink or see live music?</strong>
<strong>SJ:</strong> Near Pigalle generally…favorite acoustic [venue] is Trianon, all day. Second… Bataclan. After, Duc des Lombards for mad live jazz. Mainly friends flats [for drinks], always better served by ourselves!
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<strong>Drinks in Paris</strong> : The International.
<strong>Eats in Paris</strong> : Blend Burger, of course. Best burger in Paris!
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<strong>UPDATE:</strong> Announcing <strong>’Bullet For The Rap'</strong>. Over the next few months we’ll be dropping a series of <strong>SubjectJazz</strong> tracks, produced in Paris and featuring a slew of different emcees from around the world. The first one is called <strong>’Bonne Nouvelle'</strong> and features Oakland, CA’s <strong>CTZN</strong> and Brooklyn, NY’s <strong>JB Nimble</strong>. The set is rounded out with the instrumental, and a piano driven bonus beat called ‘The Study’ featuring cuts added by <strong>MarzAttacks</strong>. It’s now playing on Spotify and also available on iTunes and all digital outlets.
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<strong>Bullet For The Jazz is out now!</strong>
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<strong>iTunes:</strong> <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/subjectjazz/id749023853″>https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/subjectjazz/id749023853</a>
<strong>Amazon:</strong> <a href=”http://amzn.to/1ot05eY”>http://amzn.to/1ot05eY</a>
<strong>Rdio:</strong> <a href=”http://www.rdio.com/artist/SubjectJazz/album/Bullet_For_The_Jazz/”>http://www.rdio.com/artist/SubjectJazz/album/Bullet_For_The_Jazz/</a>
<strong>GooglePlay:</strong> <a href=”http://bit.ly/1vVSDqh”>http://bit.ly/1vVSDqh
Astral: On making their record ‘Eleven’ and what you might find in their iPods…
<strong></strong><strong><strong>Astral</strong>, the Australian production duo made up of <strong>Melo & Lobe</strong>, released their official debut in 2013 with ‘<strong>Eleven (Deluxe Edition)</strong>’. The largely instrumental record smoothly blends jazz, hip hop and electronic music along with US and Australian guest emcees popping up for a few appearances. We caught up with Mastah Melo to discuss the making of ‘Eleven’, their creative process, what’s in their playlist and the next Astral record. <strong>Stream the record right here via Spotify</strong> and read on below the player…
<strong>[SM] What are you currently listening to? </strong>
<strong>Melo:</strong> We’re listening to a bit of CJ Fly, a bit of [some] Australian groups such as Loose Change and Theodore Kennedy, some Moods, Astrological, Flo Filz, Illa J, Kero One, Substantial. A bit of Mac Miller, Pete Philly, Mr Scruff, Miles Davis, J.A.M, Frank Sinatra, P. Smurf, Pez, N.E.R.D, DJ Quik, Mosaek. A bit of Phora and Lupe Fiasco’s earlier stuff and a bit of De La Soul here and there. Astro, Earl sweatshirt and some of Tyler the creator’s old stuff. Some drum and bass, mostly goodlooking records and LTJ Bukem type stuff, and some house and club music here and there.
<strong>[SM] For the making of first record, Eleven, what equipment did you guys use, and who/what inspired the sound & style of the tracks?</strong>
<strong>Melo:</strong> For Eleven we would get together at the studio and sample search…We liked jazz music to start off with, and both liked hip-hop, so we thought why not fuse them both? And make what we want to hear? [We’d] make around four beats a day…using an [Akai] MPD 26 and a Behringer NuControl Keyboard. The main software used was FL Studio, which we have been using for years, believe it or not. Lobe was using GarageBand [on] some of the tracks (don’t judge he’s actually insane at using it!)
…mix and master the [tracks] we liked properly, and add them to the record. Moods and Astrological were big inspirations.
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<strong>[SM] You each produce tracks and have solo material & group projects aside from Astral and beyond instrumental hip hop. What is the difference in the creative process when your working on an Astral project compared to solo work or with your group Clear Minds?
<strong>Melo:</strong> When making Eleven our goal was to have listenable instrumental beats and keep them clean, sticking them all with the same feel…when doing our solo stuff, because there’s no set project or mood, we can experiment and do what we want…for example in our spare time we like to make a bit of intelligent or atmospheric drum and bass and Lobe loves to rap as much as making his beats, [so] when he’s making a rap project it’s a bit different because when your making beats for rap …usually you change the structure…when producing tracks for lobes rap mix tapes [ Lobe: http://www.lobe.bandcamp.com ] we tend to make them more “rap” beats, all in great fun though…With Clear Minds, because we all have our own style, the beats have to be pretty diverse to showcase each member, it’s great fun having all four of us in the studio though because we’re all good friends.
<strong>How does making drum & bass differ from making ‘Hip Hop’… </strong>
Making drum and bass is a lot different because its a lot more time consuming…With this it’s a similar structure, but a different sound completely. You have airy pads here and then fast drums with a big 808 kick bass here, [while] playing everything on the keyboard, with no samples, takes a lot more time and thought. Hip Hop will always be our first love though…
[SM] What can people expect from the next Astral record?</strong>
<strong>Melo:</strong> People can expect a clean pair of shorts. ‘Eleven’ on steroids, ostarine and creatine [mixed] into one needle. It’s gonna be real different, but at the same time you’ll tell we produced it. It’s still Astral.