Sunday, November 21, 2010

D.I.T.C. (Special Guest Blogger Edition)

I know from week to week I post rap songs and the original sample they use and I wanted to expand it for this post. For this post I wanted to bring in my friend in and also Blogger Tia Olivia Brown Scott as the special guest blogger for this post. In this post she picks at me and up and coming Flint Music Producer Brandon Corder brains about the process how me and him go about looking for samples, what we listen for to create different concepts. So let me stop right here before I give away the whole interview and let her take over the show!

The art of making music is a skill that has to be well-crafted and appreciated all at once. Sometimes, we get caught up in the artist on the microphone when more than often, it's the song's harmony that's actually making our heads nod.

It's the right placement of a certain snare that causes instant smiles or a beautiful string arrangement that pulls at our heart strings that makes us really feel the song and helps us to connect with the artist.

With that said, good production is the foundation to a good song and the using of samples and various forms of eclectic instrumentation only adds more flavor to this melting pot of melodies.
However, not everyone is blessed with the ability of putting music together. It takes a certain person with an ear and love for the art of production and what it stands for.

Brandon Bell and Brandon Corder are two men who definitely have the ear and the love so without further ado, let's take an intimate look inside their minds as they discuss the art of production, its process, sampling, and much more. Walk with me.

How long have you been making music and what made you want to get into production?

B.Corder: I have been making music since I was about 12 or 13 and I’m 25 now. I got into music production because I got infatuated with taking sounds putting them together to create moods and it became a way of how I expressed myself and thoughts I was thinking.

B.Bell: Well I haven’t been making music; my part of the production process is going through old records and just sitting listening to them, and trying to find dope samples to use. What made me get into was because over the years I’ve grown into loving different genres of music and also wanting to see Hip-Hop or just music in general be taken to another level with different influences.

Who are your musical influences?

B.Bell: Wow! Where do I begin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, Jay-Z, J-Dilla, Phyllis Hyman, Teddy Riley, Roger Troutman, just to name a few…*Laughs

B.Corder: There are a lot of musical influences but just to name a few Kanye West, J. Dilla, Just Blaze, Jay-Z, Tribe Called Quest, Musiq Soulchild, Timbaland, Pharrell, Mary J. Blige, and the list goes on and on.

What is your inspiration when going through the creative process?

B.Corder: During the creative process I’m mostly inspired by my moods and thoughts. Usually when I create I’m trying to express some sort of thought, which usually inspires the final song as well. So I usually go off that thought and create around it to paint a picture.

B.Bell: I know when Me and B.Corder go through a process; it’s like Guru and Jay-Z process from the movie Fade to Black. We take some time just to sit down, and we really don’t do too much talking, and let the play music. Our body language says enough if something is dope or it's not going to be used. I think the inspiration for me is to see the passion that was put into those records and be able to see them come back to life in a different way but at the same time innovative for the culture.

Do you search for a specific sound when going through records for samples or does the feeling just hit you when you hear it?

B.Bell: I know working with B.Corder and Nameless the processes are totally different. I remember when B.Corder started to work on “On My Way to Tokyo”, we were coming from an interview with Robo Rob and we were on the expressway. He was explaining he wanted the album to sound like a movie, have that same big sound like Kanye West’s “Late Registration”. So I went home and listened to Late Registration a couple of times, and started to go digging. I came upon different Library albums from composers as J.C. Pierric, Daniel janin, and Leon Ware that had music that gave you that rush you might feel looking at certain scenes from a movie. With Nameless, I know he wants to go left field as possible, so I really go for the unconventional samples that no one would go after because his sound is so unique, he wants to keep pushing the envelop to better his craft and his signature sound.

B.Corder: Yes and No. I do have a specific sound that I mainly listen for but at the same time I’m always will to experiment if I hear something that catches my ear. I love strings and horns so by default I listen for things that are real stringy, if that makes sense. *Laughs

Ever worry about the legal consequences that come along with sampling?

B.Corder: Yes and No to this also. Of course I don’t want to be sued but at the same time I don’t worry about it much. As long as everything is handled legally, things will be ok. It’s just a added step to the song process.

B.Bell: Well we’ve seen what has happen to people when they don’t go through the right channels to get stuff cleared, they get sued. My thing is make sure you do what you have to do to get it cleared, and also make sure you’re ready to sign a hefty check to clear them. If you can’t do that and you want the world to hear your music, put it out for free so it won’t be a problem with the person that originally made the song because you’re not getting any profit from it.

Who are some of your favorite producers today?

B.Bell: I love Black Milk; I think he’s really set the bar with his latest album, Ski BeatzJust Blaze , Justice League ,  9th Wonder, Madlib, Focus, and The Neptunes.

B.Corder: Today I listen to a lot of Kanye because he’s always evolving and coming with new innovative ideas, he’s a natural trendsetter. I’m always checking for anything that Pharrell puts his hands on. Ski Beats is like reinvented these days, so I’m always listening to what he’s doing now. I keep my ears open to everything pretty much.

As far as sampling goes, who do you feel like is the best to ever do it?

B.Corder: Tough question. I don’t really think there’s a best to sample. Everybody samples different in my opinion. I love the way J. Dilla samples, I love that whole Roc-A-Fella era when they really brought back soul sampling with Blueprint. Bink is another underrated producer. I love the way that DJ Toomp takes samples but then he puts a southern twist on them.  Ski Beats samples differently as well. They are all dope in their own ways though, its hard to say who does it the best..

B.Bell: Damn….that’s a hard one I mean it’s really a toss up between J-Dilla, and Just Blaze, but I have to pick one, it has to be Dilla.

What artists would fit the best on your production?

B.Corder: There are many artists that I would love to work with that I think fits my production. Of course people like Jay-Z and Kanye West because their so diverse. Curren$y fits my production well and luckily we had a chance to do work together already, matter of fact that whole DD172 camp fits my production. Put it like this, anybody that’s actually saying something in a song I can adjust to just about.

B.Bell: I think B.Corder's production is people who are really passionate about music. I can personally say the money is not the biggest thing, it’s about the love and the acknowledgment you get and if you not in it for that, you might as well get a demo of Fruit Loops Program. 

What is your take on the current state of Hip-Hop and R&B?

B.Bell: We have came a long way in the past 5 years. It was moments I thought we lost it, but it’s coming back around and you see more people passionate about the art and also not letting the labels control their music. But at the same time it’s still a lot of garbage out there but people have a choice now which is great.

B.Corder: I was just having this conversation the other day. I don’t know where mainstream Hip-Hop and R&B is headed, it’s all watered down these days for sure. The Independent labels are where it’s at these days. It seems to me that more and more independent labels are forming and they are having their own in house producers and artists and that’s the circle of people they deal with. People are taking advantage of the internet opportunities and making it happen for themselves instead of depending on these bigger labels. 

What are some of the up and coming projects on your agenda?

B.Corder: I have a few things that I am working on actually. One that’s already in-stores is Trademark’s “Issue 2” and this month he is set to release “Issue 3” which I had a chance to work with him and Curren$y again and it will be in stores nationwide on November 23rd. I did some scores for the Paris Hilton Show which I’m not sure when that airs or what network will end up being on. I’m also working on a few projects of my own that will be announced at a later date.

B.Bell: Well I’m working on J.A.’s debut album “Hello Saturday”, “No Blinkers” with a other Hip-Hop artists from Flint, and also a beat EP with Nameless called “School Daze” ( I want to say that’s the name)


  1. This is all very interesting. Do you play any instruments?

  2. Nah...just lend a ear...thanks for the comment...

  3. Brandon: I liked your format for your blog post! I hadn't thought of using an interview in the text of a blog. It keeps everything interesting and fresh. Nice Job!