Q & A with RJD2
Old 4th January 2011
  #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by symmetricalSound View Post
not sure if you know but def jux is dead now.
yeah I know Def Jux is on a different path now, I just thought RJ made moves prior to the shift
Old 4th January 2011
  #122
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hereticskeptic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by symmetricalSound View Post
yup, they affected hiphop in a massive way despite what some people thought of it.



stone cold classic!
Indeed! Those who know, know. I keep tryna get C-Rayz to hook me up wit Vordul for a track, but I guess he's somewhat out of the loop at the present time. Pardon me being off-topic (not asking RJ any questions). I guess I should stop with this post. Kinda dope to see cats on GS with respect for the Jukies though!

Last edited by hereticskeptic; 4th January 2011 at 09:08 PM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 4th January 2011
  #123
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symmetricalSound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by variation View Post
yeah I know Def Jux is on a different path now, I just thought RJ made moves prior to the shift
well afaik from fairly good sources def jux is literally no more. obviously the artists involved are gonna be doing their own thing but the label is over.

there was talk of a dubstep remix album involving some of the people that did this to be a kinda send off but it never materialised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hereticskeptic View Post
Indeed! Those who know, know. I keep tryna get C-Rayz to hook me up wit Vordul for a track, but I guess he's somewhat out of the loop at the present time. Pardon me being off-topic (not asking RJ any questions). I guess I should stop with this post. Kinda dope to see cats on GS with respect for the Jukies though!
getting vordul on a track would be big, ever since i heard cold vein i dreamed about having vast on a track.

@rjd2 - hopefully you don't mind the little tangents too much, 'tis the nature of conversation
Old 4th January 2011
  #124
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hereticskeptic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by symmetricalSound View Post
getting vordul on a track would be big, ever since i heard cold vein i dreamed about having vast on a track.
Hell yeah bro. Vast is nasty too. My group got tight with Rayz and have done a bunch of music with him, but I really wanna do a track with Rayz and Vordul on it. Would be crazy energy. Vast has a new video out that's pretty dope.
Old 5th January 2011
  #125
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hey there rj
i tried to keep up with the thread so i hope im not making you repeat yourself. i love your music. i have the horror and deadringer and are seriously my fav albums.

ive never had the chance to check you out live and pretty much the only question i have is what do you use in a live performance? i have an mpc2000xl, G4 mac with some cheap DJ software and my bass. I mix between those two while playing bass. first and foremost im a bass player (upright and electric) so, im trying to incorporate that with my set... somewhat like squarepusher whos amazing at what he does, but more hip hop/trip hop and not as IDM/electronica as he is. im really not a traditional dj per say - i dont scratch or even have turntables to scratch (i have one TT to sample and thats belt drive!) however i dont want to pose as a dj just "playing" music.

im looking into abelton live/more computer based dj software, but i wanted to know your thoughts about that equipment.

anyway, thanks for the thread, the priceless music you put into this world and keep up the great work.
Old 5th January 2011
  #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Hey RJD2, it's great to have you here and i'd like to echo some of the previous comments by thanking you for finding the time to drop by here, read the posts and respond to our questions, much appreciated.

Im curious to know how much procesing you generally apply to your samples, especially drums. Do you tend to do much in the way of compression, etc or do you usually rely on the processing that has already been applied to the sampled drums and try to retain as much of this original tone/character as possible?

What about when recording you own original drum tracks. Any processing on the way in and what would be commonly found in the signal path at mixdown?

Many thanks in advance.
Hi RJD2, just re-posting in case my questions happened to slip past you.
Many thanks.
Old 5th January 2011
  #127
Gear maniac
 

dialectic-read over this whole thread, i believe almost all of it was already covered. if there's a specific question you have after that and it wasnt covered, let me know and ill break it down further.

mumkai-if you youtube "rjd2 live" im sure you'll get a number of images that should show both my band and solo live setups.

for whoever asked-people used to always compare me to shadow, that's the root of the joke. i think i've luckily(mostly) shook that by now.
Old 5th January 2011
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
dialectic-read over this whole thread, i believe almost all of it was already covered. if there's a specific question you have after that and it wasnt covered, let me know and ill break it down further.
I know you have previously given examples of how you process your samples within the sampler such as chopping techniques, layering drums, pitching, using the decay portion of the drum hits etc which was most insightful but I was curious as to your use of more traditional processing such as compression etc.

So do you tend to use much in the way of compression on your drum samples and if so is this to primarily to add character to the drums or to help glue the various hits together and make the break more cohesive?

And when recording a 'live' drum kit what type of processing, effects etc would be typically applied?

Many thanks
Old 5th January 2011
  #129
Gear maniac
 

usually with sampled drums, processing can't do much as far as character. maybe eq bumps to make the kicks hit harder, but mostly its not really much.

with live drums, i do rely on pretty heavy eqing and sometimes light compression. i often set up chains that are 3-4 compressors and 2-3 eqs, and i patch the drums thru em, and leave them all on bypass so i can try each one and see what works best. sometimes, its mashing it with one unit, others its a subtle amount of ducking on each one, consecutively. both plugin and outboard gear i use, but i find i have more luck w/ outboard comps. i use the stock PT eq ALOT, as its very utilitarian, not for a"character" type of thing.
Old 6th January 2011
  #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
i use the stock PT eq ALOT, as its very utilitarian, not for a"character" type of thing.
Yeah, me too! It gets the job done.
Old 7th January 2011
  #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
usually with sampled drums, processing can't do much as far as character. maybe eq bumps to make the kicks hit harder, but mostly its not really much.

with live drums, i do rely on pretty heavy eqing and sometimes light compression. i often set up chains that are 3-4 compressors and 2-3 eqs, and i patch the drums thru em, and leave them all on bypass so i can try each one and see what works best. sometimes, its mashing it with one unit, others its a subtle amount of ducking on each one, consecutively. both plugin and outboard gear i use, but i find i have more luck w/ outboard comps. i use the stock PT eq ALOT, as its very utilitarian, not for a"character" type of thing.
Thanks for the reply.

You say that when processing drums you tend to have more luck with outboard compressors, any particular favourites?

Do you use any other type of processor such as a transient designer or Culture Vulture for example, to shape the tone of your drums (sampled or live kit) and obtain a particular sound?

Again, many thanks for finding the time to answer our questions, much appreciated.
Old 7th January 2011
  #132
Gear addict
 

.`

How would describe the progression of making tracks, from being a complete noob and then looking beyond

By this I mean , in terms of development how would you summarise your progression, style developments

eg

started making mixtapes (even those just for personal listening)
making mixtapes taught beat structure and sampling
this lead to making remixes for mixtapes
strated digging for loops from vinyl
started adding other sampled sounds to these loops
discovered the power of chopping and started chopping the loops up and continued adding other sounds
started adding own instrumentation

sorry this may seem a loose question and the above is just as an example of how I imagine one may develop in terms of starting from square 1 as a dj

thanks
Old 7th January 2011
  #133
Gear maniac
 

dialectic- Lucas LLA's, ELOP, CL1B, LCA2B are the HW comps i use the most. 1176. there are so many great hardware comps too. love the UAD stuff, use it alot. i havent used anything like those you named before.

akaiaddict-that's actually really close, honestly. almost spot on. really, the most important IMO is that i was always doing SOMETHING. i never had a master plan, but i was always doing something that was contributing to the overall good, even when i didnt know it(trolling CL for synths!).
Old 8th January 2011
  #134
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I frikkin' can't believe I just saw this thread for the first time,...
Every day I browse this forum and not even once my eye caught this thread. I always skip the first 4 sticky threads because they explain the rule,..so stupid.

I've been playing your stuff in my car for years.
Great to have you here.
Thank You.

Boosh - Bushcollectors - Amsterdam - Netherlands
Old 8th January 2011
  #135
Gear interested
 

Hey RJ,

Thanks for doing this Q & A, some awesome information in this thread.

Is Vinyl the only medium you sample from?

Also, can tell us a bit about how the song "A sons cycle" came about and what inspired you to create it?

Its a beautiful WAV file to look at and the dynamics are amazing. By dynamics I mean piano, forte etc not compression. There are not many Hip Hop songs with such varying dynamics, in fact I can't think of any others, do you know of any?
Old 8th January 2011
  #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labcat View Post
Hey RJ,

Thanks for doing this Q & A, some awesome information in this thread.

Is Vinyl the only medium you sample from?

Also, can tell us a bit about how the song "A sons cycle" came about and what inspired you to create it?

Its a beautiful WAV file to look at and the dynamics are amazing. By dynamics I mean piano, forte etc not compression. There are not many Hip Hop songs with such varying dynamics, in fact I can't think of any others, do you know of any?
vinyl-pretty much, but im not a purist. the drums on "true confessions" came off a mid-90's rock cd.

A SONS CYCLE-its funny you ask this. the story behind this song is one of the most interesting things in my catalog. IMO its something that's never been done before in a rap song. im surprised not more people have noticed it. ok, here's the long story behind that song.....

i had done the beat that was "part A" of this song a long time ago, but it never found a home. i knew it was dope, but didnt know where it should go, or how it should change. i got a vision at one point of the beat as 1 part of a 3 section song, but instead of it being a/b/c, the transitions would BLEED OVER EACH OTHER. of course to do this, they'd all need to be in the same key, and also DIFFERENT. that's why part 2 starts w/ glockenspiel-its very high, and it can blend over part 1 at the transition w/o clouding it, or making it muddy.

so i wrote 3 different parts instrumentally,all in the same key.

part 1-the synth part. (catalyst)
part 2-glock/rhodes part. (illogic)
part 3-soul sample part (NP)

then, i arranged it so the transitions faded in and out.

BIG THING:
sorry, i need to point this out: the last few bars of part 3 are arguably my biggest accomplishment on the mpc-EVER. why? here's why:

the soul sample/part 3 section changes 1/2 way thru. it switches to the chord changes of part 1, to prep for the return of part 1 at the climax of the song. but it was a sampled based thing, chopped up chords that had NOTHING to do w/ part 1-it came off a record 2 years after i did the synth part, how could it?

but the chords in part 1 are very wierd. its a minor key, there's a flat 2 chord in the middle, and it resolves to a MAJOR 1 chord. then starts again on a MINOR 1 chord. bizarre. the kind of thing that would be million to one "find it on a record" type of thing.

so what did i do? basically, i took the soul sample chops, and thru various pitching degrees, played the chord changes from part 1 using chopped up/pitched samples from part 3. it was very cerebral, but i pulled it off. its just the last 2 times thru NP's verse-the 3rd section-but that 4(8? cant remember right now) bars are one of my biggest coups on a sampler ever.

OK-that's the beat. its done. THEN, i somehow got the idea of it being a rap song w/ 3 mc's, and where the verses would do the SAME thing the beat does at the same places-overlap. so 2nd mc would be rhyming the same thing right over top 1st mc, etc etc. eventually, we decided that a repeated "hook" of sorts should go at the transitions, so its the same thing each time, easier to execute, etc.

so i pitched this idea to a few mc's, and after 6 months, i realized it just wasnt gonna happen. they never got back to me. but i believed in the idea, and thought it had never been done in rap, and wanted to pull it off. so i pulled the concept, and brought it catalyst, illogic, and np-3 guys from cols that i had never gotten to work with. they nailed it. bam. song done.
Old 8th January 2011
  #137
Lives for gear
 

rj - big fan, thanks for this q & a. some really interesting information. thanks

seriously i was blown away when i got since we last spoke on vinyl, i lost a few days with a big bag and that album.
Old 9th January 2011
  #138
Gear Head
 

RJ, Would you be willing to discuss the vocals on "One Day"? It sounds like the original vocals were double tracked, but I've often wondered if the short delays were your solution to a challenge with the original sample. Your placement of the vocals is beautiful. The phrasing fits the track perfectly.
Old 12th January 2011
  #139
Gear interested
 

much respect rj i love your catalog, both as a producer for rappers and instrumental beat maker.

i was just listening to your new record. i really dig the beats on there - not a big fan of the rappers and singers but thats an other story. i wonder if you could tell a bit about the song "bring the horns"

which of the sounds did you start out with?
how much of it is samples? which of the instruments did you play yourself?
the guitar sounds like some solo from somewhere but it could just as well be recorded. you said you werent especially good on either of your instruments so i guess you didnt do it yourself in that case.

it sounds like you had two drum breaks one with the percussion and one with drums. and then added extra kick, snares and hats on top. or did you do the percussion yourself? maybe you could tell about how you did the drums?
Old 12th January 2011
  #140
Gear maniac
 

sethD-thanks much. the phrasing thing actually came from the fact that the tempo of the sampled song was radically different, so there wasnt an obvious placement. so i took it in big chunks, and then went for a more "float over the beat" type of thing, rather than a rhythmic thing.

jako-im assuming you mean "let there be horns"?

it started from finding 3 different horn samples at the same time. so i got an idea for a song that would just be like horn overload. and went off and did it. its about 60% samples, i'd guess? there's actually 3 different drum sounds. all of them are breaks, and i didnt do alot of doubling of the sounds, its mostly just eq. the first break does have an extra kick.
Old 13th January 2011
  #141
pcp
Gear interested
 

weatherpeople...!

respect! i had to register simply to give you props, i thoroughly enjoyed reading your responses and the general banter.

can we get any more information about your side projects? Is The Insane Warrior just you, or are other people involved? Live instrumentation vs sampling amount on the new record?

Do you enjoy hearing emcees use your instrumental tracks on mixtapes or the like? Have you ever encountered this in a live setting, or met any future collaborators through this method? I used "weatherpeople" for a mixtape recorded in December, but we haven't released it yet.

When's the next project coming out with a grip of emcees on it? That being said, I've mostly enjoyed your instrumental stuff more than the material with emcees, so if the answer is "never", that's cool too.

also, i'm hungry. what should i have for lunch?
Old 16th January 2011
  #142
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RJD2, would you mind discussing how you go about recording those vintage keyboards and synths. Any particular 'go to' amps or mics?

Many thanks in advance.
Old 16th January 2011
  #143
Gear maniac
 

pcp-im gonna talk more about "the insane warrior" record once its out. i want people to listen to it without any expectations.

i dont really know WHERE im gonna go next, as far as the next rjd2 album. but im recording alot right now, and i can kind of see a lane that i MIGHT take this stuff.... i get a kick out of things like bands covering songs or mc's rocking over beats and stuff. i dont necessarily want it presented as official recordings, but for shits and giggles, its great. lunch-have a nice salad; salty vs. sweet always wins in a salad. lots of ways to do it.

dialectic-99%, im tracking synths direct. i honestly have done AB tests btw direct, or DI to mic pre, and the difference is so subtle to me, i dont even bother really. i try to think about the playing and writing, and just let the tones be what they are; the beauty of old synths is they have a character that is easy to coax out, tonally.
Old 21st January 2011
  #144
Gear addict
 

RJ - Using the MPC 2000 XL, do you ever sample at 45rpm? If so, how do you deal with how this throws your sampled notes out of standard semitone scale? I just discovered this problem myself, and I've been looking for ways around it. I'd like to hear how a legendary pro such as yourself tackles this problem. Thanks.
Old 21st January 2011
  #145
Gear Head
 

Hello RJD2.

Been a fan for some years now since I heard Deadringer for the first time, more exactly the song The Horror.

I'm just wondering, besides from being a music producer, I'm also a filmdirector. Actually with serious goals.

I think your music, especially songs from Deadringer should be perfect for the types of films I'm directing.

I've allways had the vision that the day I make my first big independent filmproject (talking 'bout big screen), I would like to use a couple of your songs in som scenes (together with Mr. Oizo, if someone do care).

Well, to get to the point... Can this vision come true? Do you think you would be interested in the future? For payment in exchange?

Well, probably a hard question to answer as you haven't seen my work and it's a pretty long way left to get to that point. But would be thankfull if you could play with the vision just the way I am.

Thanks!

EDIT: Oh, besides of that. Allways wondered so I guess this is to time to get the answer. Is The Horror sample based or is it you playing the riffs? Doesn't sound like a sample for me, but you are the master! (If it is sample based, wouldn't mind if you told me which one).

Once again, thanks!
Old 21st January 2011
  #146
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I remember producing a charity concert at NYU years back featuring J-Live amongst others, and asked RJ's manager at the time if he could come down and headline. Manager said no; RJ emailed and said yes. He drove in from Philly, was very personable, down-to-earth, and a complete professional. Oh yeah, and he ***-ing rocked it!

Thanks so much for always being the real deal, RJ and I'm loving reading this thread!

Tab
Old 21st January 2011
  #147
Gear maniac
 

haha, thanks tabnetic. remember that show.

drolls-pitch back down about 50, itll be close. gotta use your ears, might have to adjust a few cents. use a keyboard that tunes to 440, alot of records dont pitch to 440 even tones properly.
Old 22nd January 2011
  #148
Gear addict
 

In the MPC when editing the Envelope of a sound did you ever find a use for changing the Dcy md:End to Dcy md:Start ?

or is it vice versa.

Whichever one is the default is what I've always stuck with. Ive always struggled to see a use for using the opposite of the default.
Old 23rd January 2011
  #149
Gear interested
 

This may be a bit personal but I'm interested to hear about the royalties you get, and how much the record label gets, etc. either on your latest record or an earlier one. maybe proportions or something
Old 24th January 2011
  #150
007
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007's Avatar
 

I bought Deadringer when it first came out and loved every bit of it, been a fan every since.
I'm also quite fond of Mad Men (one of the very few tv shows I watch) and only recently discovered the opening theme was an RJD2 track, lol, I had no idea! I thought it was specifically composed for the show. RJ, how did that MadMen gig come about, did they simply approach you with the licensing offer and that was that?

Love your work and thanks for the Q & A!
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