1. How long has the process for the new album taken and when did you start work?
I began serious work on the album in April of this year although a lot of the beats on the album had been made over the last 18 months or so. The recording process took place in various places from April to July and mixing was done over 3 weeks in august.
2. How have you approached the new album, Magic City, after the success of your debut release, Big Things?
The approach was essentially the same as the first one except I looked further a field for MC’s to work with this time around. I just got my best 15-20 beats together and set out to record some songs.
The success of my previous recordings weren’t really on my mind. I was just focused on making some new music.
3. What is the theme behind the name, Magic City?
The Magic City title was influenced initially by a trip to the famous ‘Magic City’ strip club in Atlanta. It was after a night out there, with my friend B-Side and Bobby Creek from Jatis, that B-Side said I should name the album Magic City. It was meant as a joke but then I thought about it and I figured the concept made sense on another level. Being that all the guest artists are from different cities in the world, New York, London, Atlanta, Auckland and Christchurch. And they each bring a piece of magic from their city to the album.
4. Do you feel pressure to live up to your critically acclaimed debut, Big Things?
No not at all. I was happy with how my first album was received but I was just learning how to make songs on that record. I know my abilities have improved and I understand the process better now. I moved into this album with confidence and I think it shows through in the material.
5. Have you been happy with the feedback, globally, for your work?
Yes, definitely. Its great to know that people respect my talents and enjoy my music. The feedback let’s me know I’m on the right track.
6. How has all the accolades helped you to be heard and recognized in the general Hip Hop scene?
I don’t know if they have made much difference really. The awards I’ve received in NZ have relevance in the music industry here, and I appreciate that, but outside of NZ it’s still about working to get my name out. I don’t think too many international hip-hop heads, industry or otherwise, could give a shit about who won the New Zealand producer of the year award.
7. You are the Dirty Records label boss. Tell us about the label.
Dirty Records is owned and operated by myself and Callum August. The label started out as an imprint under the Kog Transmissions label. In early 2003 we incorporated the company as a separate entity from Kog. Callum does the business and admin side and I do the creative/A&R side. We have a distribution deal with FMR in NZ and Australia.
9. What artists are signed or affiliated with Dirty Records?
The Dirty Records roster at present consists of myself, Scribe and Frontline.
10. How does being the boss of a record label and being business-minded help you to make music with complete creative control?
The way that we’ve managed to set up our company and our relationship with FMR means that Dirty retains complete control of all our product. From songwriting to mixing, videos, artwork and packaging. I get the final say on everything including my own stuff.
11. How have you grown and benefited from working and performing with artists from all over the world?
Without a doubt. Its dope to travel and experience working with different people and catch some inspiration. Just vibing off other artists and being in places where creativity is at its peak is a buzz. I’m like a sponge when I travel. I soak it all up and pour it back into the music.
12. How has the skill of DJ-ing helped you when producing beats?
I think DJing made me pay closer attention to music. I don’t think the technical skill of djing really applies to my production. But listening to all those records for so long can’t hurt.
13. What were your earliest experiences from when you first started DJ-ing and producing?
My first attempt at trying to make beats was something I used to do for fun with a twin cassette deck. I would record a section of a beat, pause the tape, rewind and record the same section again. Do that enough times and you end up with a nice little tape loop. I was about 12 when I discovered that technique.
14. What has been your most memorable moment in your music career?
There have been so many. I would say the most inspiring moment/period to date would be when I first met and started working with my people at Grind Music Inc. I was staying in Harlem for a couple months before I started work on Scribe’s album. Working in studio with Sean C and LV making beats, recording with Aasim and just talking shit and hanging out with everybody that came through was mad fun and educational. That was the best 2 months of my life so far, creatively speaking.
15. Who are some of your musical inspirations?
RZA, Premier, Alchemist, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Nottz, Dr. Dre, LV, Sean C, Roc Raida, Prince Paul, The Bomb Squad, Marley Marl, Pete Rock, The Beatminerz, Bob James, James Brown, Isaac Hayes the list goes on…
16. What were some of the few things or artists that got you into Hip Hop?
The first rap artists that got me into Hip-Hop were Public Enemy, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Eric B & Rakim, BDP, EPMD, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and The Fat Boys!
17. What advice have you got for budding Hip Hop artists?
Be yourself first and foremost. There’s no need to play a role. All the greatest figures in Hip-Hop are real and represent themselves in their music. Fake shit gets spotted a mile off.
18. What do you see for yourself in the future?
I see happiness and contentment. I see a lot more music being made and played.
19. What can you see in the future for the New Zealand Hip Hop scene?
20. Can we expect to see you gracing our shores to promote the new album?
Most definitely. I’ll be over there with Scribe for Big Day Out to start the year off and then I’ll be back again soon afterwards I’m sure.
RELEASE DATE :P-MONEY “MAGIC CITY”: 16th JANUARY, 2005
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