On the verge of launching his most ambitious project to date, the Los Angeles-based GENR8 touches down to chat about where he's been, where's he's going, and most importantly, to drop an exclusive free tune on Kmag readers straight out the GENR8ION lab.
In many ways, this past year has been about reintroducing yourself to the masses as a producer and artist. For those who may not be familiar with your past work, fill us in with a quick sketch of your accomplishments and history in the scene.
I originally hit the ground running with a well-received project known as Alliance in 2004 along with now established pop music producer Ill Factor. Our first break came shortly after starting to put ourselves out there when we entered a remix competition on D&B Arena for an EZ Rollers tune titled "Road Runner."
This competition received an overwhelming number of entries from across the globe. In the end our remix was picked along with Austria's Body & Soul. We would go on to release our first production "Jive" on the coveted Intercom Recordings. After that we kept the pace up with releases on Bad Taste and Human imprint for which we did a remix of BT's "The Great Escape" in '05.
Around the same time I also did several collaborations with DJ Craze, Infiltrata (12th Planet), Body & Soul, South Africa's Counterstrike and released tunes with Cartel and Evol Intent. Later on I became known for another production outfit called The Chosen which was a darker themed project and released records with Habit, Ohm Resistance and Nemesis. Since then I've released solo works on Skynet's Nvision and Gridlok's Project 51 and have also done a few remixes with and released on AK1200's Big Riddim Recordings.
This past year has seen an explosion of material from you on both the drum & bass and dubstep front - has expanding the styles you produce helped inspire this?
It has! Many times when working on techno rooted music which is really hypnotic and repetitive in nature it's easy to get tired of listening to the same thing over and over while you are carving out your vision. By going back and forth between the two production realms I find it can help alleviate some of that monotony of "loop based" production.
D&b will always be in my production essence in one way or another but I've found that expanding from that rhythmic paradigm into other variations of expressing what I enjoyed primarily only in drum & bass for a long time has given me a refreshing angle in the studio
I notice you seem to be pushing both your drum & bass and dubstep productions on the same platform - talk a bit about how you see the two vibes/genres working together and why you resist separating the two projects into two different labels or even artist names as many others do.
I guess I'm attracted to the challenge of demonstrating that the two seemingly opposing forces can coexist under one "brand." I believe many people out there (including big dubstep producers) hold d&b very dear to their hearts but are simply jaded after years of hard work to push that sound with little to no reciprocation.
If you listen to many of these guys, you'll find they still rep d&b in a lot of their live "dubstep" sets but when it comes to giving it equal exposure there's a bit of a shortcoming for it most of the time. D&b is treated like the pit bull of bass music. You can take it out to the park but you have to be very selective about who you let it play with. I want to prove that it's possible to have a pitbull that can play with all the other dogs without anyone getting bit.
As far as the label goes I could probably make things easy and go dubstep-only and turn a higher profit given the overwhelming demand for that sound at this point in time, but that's not the primary goal for me or GENR8ION. I aim to keep a real connection with my original passion for drum & bass while moving forward with the natural progression of the music.
I still consider it "drum" and "bass" focused music and the added flexibility and accessibility has opened the doors to a significant new set of possibilities and opportunities for dance/bass music as a whole.
Your recently released "Now the Future" EP seems to capture this vibe/philosophy perfectly and also serves as a great introduction to your new label. Talk a bit about the title of the new EP and how it relates to the philosophy behind GENR8ION and what sort of vibe we can be expecting on future releases.
I'm a strong believer in the "2012" shift many are talking about the world over. While for some it's an incredibly hard and dark time with little to no hope for others it's a time of significant progression in our universe where we are about to truly begin what we were put on this planet to do. The incredible advances in technologies of all kinds and their abilities to turn things around significantly for the better simply can't be ignored any longer.
I feel this EP symbolizes the "kick off" of what my true life purpose is: to make forward-thinking music with soul that stimulates and inspires people. And like everyone, I too have many aspects to my personality that I'll convey through my music (dark, fun, trivial, accessible, deep, sensual, aggressive, etc.). Whatever the vibe is, you can count on the explosive beat structure and crunchy synths many have come to expect in my productions...
What many may not be aware of is that you're also a professional sound engineer. What does that mean exactly, what sort of formal education is involved and do you have any advice for any readers considering entering a professional career as a sound engineer?
I did audio post-production for several years when I lived in Miami and got my foot in as an intern in a post-production house before eventually getting hired as a head engineer for 2 years. For the last 7 years I've taught sound engineering and production at the prestigious Full Sail University and now here at the Los Angeles Recording School.
I much rather prefer teaching the craft rather than engineering someone else's art form even though I still do some occasional freelance gigs. Even though the money can be exceptionally good in some projects, the high stress and anxiety you have to deal with because of someone else's egotistic attachment to the material can be very frustrating.
I prefer to use the skills I have to work on my own material and call the shots in my own productions. But coming into it green at first I did understand that hitting the "frontlines" for this career was important in giving me the skill set and experience to be able to take on my own production path later.
I imagine a great deal of your vision with the GENR8ION project has to do with your evolving role as an educator and teacher in audio production over the years. Talk a bit about your vision to push the label beyond the usual confines of releasing music - from what I understand, you also want the website to become a space designed to educate the masses on audio production - this sounds exciting, tell us more!
We are currently in the process of developing a work-flow that meets or exceeds that vision, one where I can capture "in session" videos that both educate and inspire people interested in following similar journeys as my own. We want to have a direct relationship between the releases on my label and the instructional videos/blogs and we plan to make most of this material available free on the website for subscribers.
I understand you also want to let Kmag readers in on some exclusive material...
Yes! One of the dopest remixes I've done in a long time which I did simply out of falling in love with the original when I heard it for the first time in a movie called "Metropia." The artist's name is Krister Linder, who is hands down a musical and poetic genius in my book. Before this song I had never heard of him and I am so fortunate to have followed my instincts because it yielded this monster of a dubstep production. The tune is titled "Dare" and since it's an unlicensed remix we cannot officially release it. However I have gotten the go-ahead from Krister to do this exclusive Knowledge mag mpfree of the rework.
Last but not least, I hear you're going to be a daddy soon - congrats! Aside from diaper duty, does this change the way you're looking to the future, if at all?
That's right! I am incredibly excited about the baby and it definitely will change the way I go about both my personal and my professional life. As I've lived and learned, I've become pretty selfless in my dealings and consider myself fortunate in seeing the virtue in that.
The main thing I see changing to a degree is the fact that I have to retrain myself to look after the well-being of three people now. This in turn has given me a much more intense drive to make a successful livelihood out of my music career otherwise I'd have to seriously consider doing something else to provide for my new family.
I have a very optimistic outlook for my music/label and have many caring supporters that want to see me succeed so I find myself in a great intersection of resources and purpose. I am also very blessed with a loving, compassionate partner who has been quite supportive of my career and will make an amazing mother to our child allowing me to concentrate on bringing home the bread.
What else should we be looking out for from you on the project/release/tour front in the months/year to come?
I'll be in the studio with tenacity this coming year so you'll be getting hit with GENR8 bits from all corners! Also once the demand is there we plan to have production seminars all over the country and abroad to coincide with GENR8 DJ tours so keep your ears peeled, I promise it will be worth it!
As told to: Chris Muniz
Photo: Regal D
Be sure to bookmark the GENR8ION Soundcloud to stay up-to-date on the latest project developments.
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