Category Archives: Music

sweeps-city-nights

Sweeps- An Interview

I found out about Sweeps when I had heard his album city nights. I was floored with his sampling capabilities and his beat choice. The album flowed so seamlessly and I was in love with the album. I knew I had to reach out to to talk about his album and the journey to where he is today, especially after so many projects.

Below you will find an interview that covers his production style, his musical background, and of course, his infatuation with Nujabes.

 

What’s your musical background like? Did you grow up with music around the household, and if so, what type of music?

Yeah there was always music playing. My parents would play a lot of different things like Pink Floyd, Sade, U2, and BB King. I was really into hip-hop growing up and I got into old-school hip-hop when I was a teenager. 

 

Growing up, what got you into making hip hop beats?

Whenever I would listen to hip-hop I would always be focusing on the beat. It was like this early on for me. However, when I started making music I was making house music because that was what interested me at the time. I didn’t start making hip-hop beats until about 2016 or so.

 

In the reddit thread where you posted your album’s vinyl pressing, you mentioned being a huge fan of Nujabes. How’d you come across his work and what was it like hearing his music for the first time

I got really into Nujabes when I was in high school. This was in the early Youtube days around 2007-2008. I stumbled across his music from related videos when I was digging for new music back then.

 

We’ve talked a little bit about the sampling you’ve done. What were your main sources for sampling (both genres and platforms such as digital/CD/vinyl etc.)

I find most of my samples online. I’m not very picky about genre or style. As long as gives me an emotional reaction and it is simple enough to chop up, I will try to make something out of it.

 

When you’re sample hunting, what are you personally looking for?

I’m usually drawn to melodic content and sonic textures. I try to write songs that are rich in melody so I try to find samples with dynamic melodies and unique sounds.

 

One of the most enriching aspects of your production has been the drums. They feel so tight and full. How’d you go about mixing and them and did you ever wonder if the drums would overpower the other instrumentation?

Thank you! I put a lot of time into finding the balance between the drums and instrumentation. It really just takes practice, using reference tracks, and trusting your ears to get a good mix. I use a lot of multi-band compression and sidechain compression to make them stand out and have more punch.

 

Is this album sample exclusive, or did you perform or get live instrumentation on it to add more to the music?

There are a few tracks on “City Nights” that I wrote melodies for. I almost always start with a sample and build elements around that. I find the magic really starts to happen when you layer things.

 

Ableton is your main DAW of choice based on our conversations. Was there something that drew you to Ableton versus another DAW? Are there any tips or tricks you’d give to producers that are producing hip hop that also use Ableton

I was really into deadmau5 when I was searching for a DAW. I learned that he used it so I figured that’s the one I should learn. I feel like most of them all do the same stuff, it’s just how you use it. 

My tip would be to experiment with other genres and build an understanding how different sounds are made. I find that my early start producing house music has given me many techniques and workflows that I apply to making hip-hop beats. 

 

The artwork on the album was made “…by collaging old retro-futuristic artworks together”. What inspired you to take this approach? And did you ever have other versions of the artwork that you might release later for fans to see the development to the final version?

I was in the process of making “Tomorrow” when my buddy gave me a bunch of old sci-fi books. It became so clear to me that the style of artwork on the covers of these books should be the imagery behind Sweeps. It was a perfect match to the sound of the music I was making. I don’t think I’ll release any early versions of the artworks…they’re not as good as the final haha

 

After listening to “Tomorrow” your first release from 2017, your progression is clear. Your drums have improved a lot, mixing is more balanced and the overall feel of the album as a whole is incredibly consistent. What’ve you learned from your first release since it dropped, and what advice would you give producers and artists on their first release in terms of their sound and striving for that ‘perfect’ sound?

Thank you! I’ve definitely learned how to better market my music and build the Sweeps brand since then. 

Some advice would be to not overthink things. I was producing and releasing music for about 7 years before I started the Sweeps project. There were a lot of times where I went down the wrong direction or released things I wasn’t happy with. I think these things are inevitable, so try different things and learn from them. If you overthink things and never release anything, you won’t learn from the experience. If something fails, move onto the next thing. If something works, keep doing more of that.

 

What’s the next step? A tour, the next album, collaborations?

I have a few things coming up. I have a finished project that has been complete for over a month, but I am just waiting on my label to move forward with the release. I am building a live set to perform my music. I am also working on getting my music into music libraries for sync placements.

 

Lastly, to date, what is your proudest musical achievement?

There’s a few that come to mind. I think getting a track to 1 million Spotify streams was a pretty big moment for me. 

 

I naively thought you were doing this independently. You mentioned a record label. Who found who, and why’d you decide to work with the label that you do? Do you feel they’ve been able to help push/market you better?

Vinyl-Digital found me and reached out to release my first beat-tape on cassette. Later we also signed a deal to release my stuff on streaming platforms. They have been helpful in getting some tracks on Spotify playlists. 

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you stick with a label, or would you recommend an artist go independent. In a climate where artists’ mixtapes likes Chance the Rapper and Joey Bada$$’s 1999 make it huge and put artists on, do you think the label is needed? Of course, the two examples are rappers and not beat makers/producers, but I think the question still stands.

Labels can be helpful as an extra set of hands to get the word out about your music. Some labels are better than others at this. If you are an independent artist and you are approached by a label, I would recommend taking a serious look at their social media. If they seem like they can do a better job at marketing than you alone, then it might be worth it. I highly recommend negotiating with the label for a non-exclusive contract, so you still maintain your freedom.

 

Check out his music below and follow him on Social Media to get the latest information on when music releases!

spoti.fi/2Ex6vmB

www.soundcloud.com/sweepsbeats

www.sweepsbeats.bandcamp.com

https://www.instagram.com/sweepsbeats/

https://twitter.com/sweepsbeats

 

Morti Viventear Interview

I would like to thank Morti Viventear first and foremost for accepting the interview request. This was conducted over email and done after the release of Sleep Deprived Pessimist: Nautilus Edition. If you haven’t heard it, check it out here and check out our review of it here! Without further ado, let’s begin!  Continue reading Morti Viventear Interview

Elephant Gym Concert Review

There are very few bands that I know of that could put on as energetic of a show as a 3 piece. There also fewer bands I know of that could pull off a 2 piece. Both Elephant Gym and Vasudeva pull of both of these feats off splendidly in a packed room at the Mercury Lounge on a Sunday night two weeks ago. Between the high octane energy and the great banter, I left the show in good spirits and hopeful for where some underground music is headed. Continue reading Elephant Gym Concert Review

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Morti Viventear – Sleep Deprived Pessimist- Nautilus Edition Review

Ever since hearing Lovecraftsmanship and reviewing it on the website, I’ve been hooked on his work. There is something so fresh about his production style and the fact that his drums are well layered and intricate.  In my review of Lovecraftmanship, I compared him to DJ Shadow and J Dilla. I stand by those claims simply based on his crafting of a beat, but he takes it in a direction much more akin to Flying Lotus and his style of production. When Morti re-released Sleep Deprived Pessimist, I was excited to hear what he had to say, and to say I was surprised was an understatement.  Continue reading Morti Viventear – Sleep Deprived Pessimist- Nautilus Edition Review

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Top 10 Albums of 2018

2018 was a wild year for everyone involved. At the beginning of the year, I decided to listen to 300 albums that I never listened to before, both new and old. Within the list of 300 albums are quite a few albums from 2018. Because I set out in the beginning of the year to listen to a variety of music, I wasn’t sure how it’d affect my 2018 list and what I sought out. Interestingly enough, there’s some surprising variety. Continue reading Top 10 Albums of 2018

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Interview with No Alarms

After seeing the EP posted on reddit, and being downright addicted to a genre of music that I hadn’t visited in years, I decided to reach out to Andrew from No Alarms to talk to him about how the band came to be, some of his inspiration, songwriting approach, and more. He’s an absolute gentleman and I want to take this time to thank him for getting back to me. Continue reading Interview with No Alarms

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Dance With The Dead – Loved To Death

Hearing Dance with the Dead for the first time was like a breath of fresh air. I had been submerging myself in the synthwave genre and listened to artists like Carpenter Brut, Perturbator, Gost, Wavshaper and Com Truise. But, as a musician that loves metal , I always wanted some heavier guitars featuring some of that electronic music goodness. Hearing B Sides Volume 1 was glorious, and once the band announced teasers for the new album, I knew I was going to fall in love. August 14th, the album dropped, and it’s been in heavy rotation ever since. Continue reading Dance With The Dead – Loved To Death

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Foo Fighters Concert Review – MSG July 17, 2018

It’s odd to say that I didn’t have music around my whole life. I had only really started listening to music around the age of 13 when I picked up my guitar. My friend Jason, of the same age, started showing me all the bands he loved and grew up with. He showed me Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Maroon 5, and this band call the Foo Fighters. The band name intrigued me. What on earth was a “Foo Fighter”? Then Jason shows me this video of a long-haired Jesus man walking up to a mic and singing the opening lines to a song that would change it all for me “Keep you in the dark , you know they all pretend…” More than a decade from that day, 3 albums, 1 EP later, and I got to see what a “Foo Fighter” really was.

Continue reading Foo Fighters Concert Review – MSG July 17, 2018

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Why Video Game Vinyl?

Vinyl’s comeback has been huge. A new generation of people are falling in love with the crackle, ritual and physical experience of holding and reading a record while listening to music. Out of that entire culture is a very niche, but every growing subculture, of people that enjoy video game music on vinyl. According to Blip Blop, a website dedicated to Video Game Vinyl (VGM vinyl), 2016 had around 90 releases on vinyl, while 2017 has nearly 130. Not only is that a huge jump from the previous year, but that’s essentially one VGM Vinyl release every 3 days. So what’s the big deal? Why do people care? Let’s take a look at the various reasons why people buy VGM Vinyl, and vinyl as a whole.  Continue reading Why Video Game Vinyl?

Darren Korb PAX East Interview

The WhatsItTech team was fortunate enough to go to PAX East 2018 this year. During our trip, I was able to lock down a few interviews with some brilliant people. One of them was Darren Korb, composer of the Supergiant Games Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre. Below you will find the written transcription of our interview. Continue reading Darren Korb PAX East Interview

Vox Vocis – Star Meissa Album Review

If anyone hasn’t done so already, check out the review of the ‘ debut album In The Arms of the Sun by Vox Vocis. That album completely blew me away and made me jealous because if I could somehow go back in time, that would be the album made. When I caught wind of the news that the band was recording their second album, I was extremely excited. I am happy to say that the band did not disappoint. This will be a breakdown of the entire album track by track . Continue reading Vox Vocis – Star Meissa Album Review