Q & A with RJD2
#151
31st January 2011
Old 31st January 2011
  #151
Gear maniac
 

Hey there,

I don't know too much of your work, a couple of songs here and there, and the stuff you did for the Marc Ecko game, but I've been meaning to check it out ever since I heard the interview you did on NPR for The Colossus.

In the interview I thought you did an incredible job of not only explaining the work that goes into sampling, but showing how it exists as an art form to people who probably never thought of it as such.

Anyways just wanted to give you props for that and ask what 3 maybe 4 albums of your work or collaborations would you recommend for someone just getting into your music?
#152
31st January 2011
Old 31st January 2011
  #152
Gear maniac
 

thanks jake. i'd suggest the studio albums:

deadringer
since we last spoke
the third hand
the colossus
inversions
#153
31st January 2011
Old 31st January 2011
  #153
Gear interested
 

Hello from Paris.

First thing first, I want to excuse for my English.

I'm listening your music since the defjux days and from my point of view you're one of the greatest for pushin' the enveloppe in sample based instrumental music.

First, I want to give you props for giving light to the process because sample based music is often associated with simple jacking. You show that is about work, creativity and music loving.

Second, since my beginning in beatmaking, I have always tracked down all the pieces of knowledge i can get from interviews. Beatsmith legends always give little tricks here and there but they never go as deep as you. I want to sincerly thank you for that.

And.....I got a question about your process ! Listening to your NPR's interview, I was wondering if you have a some song in mind when you stack and tune together a 64-sample bank. Or are they generally just tuned and stacked ready to be used in a future song.

Thank you.
#154
31st January 2011
Old 31st January 2011
  #154
Gear maniac
 

fjean-sometimes i will build a single program of an instrument chopped up and save it for later, but that's rare. more often, the song starts as one little loop or sound, and then gets built out from there, so im not often chopping up samples, building programs, without sequencing or programming some part of them. make sense?
#155
1st February 2011
Old 1st February 2011
  #155
Gear interested
 

Thanks a lot.
the fxs
Thread Starter
#156
1st February 2011
Old 1st February 2011
  #156
Lives for gear
 
the fxs's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
just heard the first snippets of the insane warrior LP...
sounds really good to me.
...
so that's what you've been doing with all those huge modular synths.
#157
5th February 2011
Old 5th February 2011
  #157
Lives for gear
 
nukmusic's Avatar
 

thumbsup
#158
5th February 2011
Old 5th February 2011
  #158
Gear nut
 

damnn RJ,
I listened three times through the Insane Warrior LP
and had to buy it dude.

Your a genius!

Also good look on the FLAC/multiple format downloads.
sucks being forced to pay for a low quality MP3.

Keep progressing man, your gonna go down as a legend someday
#159
6th February 2011
Old 6th February 2011
  #159
Gear maniac
 

thanks subby-salute!
#160
14th February 2011
Old 14th February 2011
  #160
Gear addict
 

Back again...

if it's not too much of an ask could we please revisit this..

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.


I wasnt sure if it was missed or if there was no answer for it or something else.

No worries though, just thought I'd putit back out there.

thanks
#161
14th February 2011
Old 14th February 2011
  #161
Gear maniac
 

It depends on the sample, and how short a decay (or sample) you want... If you set it to Dcy start you can get a much shorter sample or decay... So it depends...
Not to hijack the question... But it just seems a little obvious...
#162
14th February 2011
Old 14th February 2011
  #162
Gear maniac
 

never really messed w/ it.
#163
15th February 2011
Old 15th February 2011
  #163
Gear addict
 
HoPMiX's Avatar
 

Skinny Deville

I was working on some solo tracks with Skinny Deville of The Nappy Roots a few years back and Atlantic sent me a disk of your tracks. We were loving it so much we recorded 3-4 records that night. The project halted and nothing ever came of it but i still have one of them in constant rotation on my ipod.
I gotta send you that ish. Wonder if you still have the track.
#164
15th February 2011
Old 15th February 2011
  #164
Gear maniac
 

HopMIX-ha, i remember that time! you know how that stuff goes....DM 'em!
#165
16th February 2011
Old 16th February 2011
  #165
Gear addict
 
fengland's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA-I-Addict View Post
Back again...

if it's not too much of an ask could we please revisit this..

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.


I wasnt sure if it was missed or if there was no answer for it or something else.

No worries though, just thought I'd putit back out there.

thanks
I use decay start all the time - lets you make really quick sounds like turning an open hat into a closed hat, etc. Decay starts from the beginning of the sample instead of the end.
#166
18th February 2011
Old 18th February 2011
  #166
Gear interested
 

Hey RJ

Huge fan here! I've been a long time browser of the forums but I just HAD to sign up to ask you this question...you mentioned that you wear the engineer hat when you decide what kind of processing you use on live instruments to make them sound sampled...theres a sonic quality to your productions that i can never achieve on my own stuff! My stuff sounds tooo 'clean' ...so how exactly do you process your live instrumentation to sound like they were sampled? Could you please go into detail about that? Thanks so much for doing the Q&A i'm learning a lot !
#167
18th February 2011
Old 18th February 2011
  #167
Gear maniac
 

IMO the #1 thing is to use the actual instruments that you would hear on a record that you'd like to sample. i love the nord stuff for live, but a real rhodes is the only thing that sounds 100% like it came off a zawinul recording, so to speak.

mics are your friend. mistakes are your friend. room sound is your friend. the classic records of the 60s and 70s werent bland recordings that got spruced up by a superstar engineer. turning a knob or a plugin or patching a comp in is not going to do it, IMO, if its a motif rhodes sound going direct. YMMV. thanks, rj

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacriligeous View Post
Hey RJ

Huge fan here! I've been a long time browser of the forums but I just HAD to sign up to ask you this question...you mentioned that you wear the engineer hat when you decide what kind of processing you use on live instruments to make them sound sampled...theres a sonic quality to your productions that i can never achieve on my own stuff! My stuff sounds tooo 'clean' ...so how exactly do you process your live instrumentation to sound like they were sampled? Could you please go into detail about that? Thanks so much for doing the Q&A i'm learning a lot !
#168
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
  #168
Gear interested
 

Thanks for taking the time to spread some ideas around RJ

I was curious as to how you rate your productivity, everyone seems to go through periods of time where things just don't click creatively, how long have you gone 0-fer (so to speak)?

Do you often get together with other musicians to bounce ideas around or is there a favorite source of inspiration?

Thanks
#169
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
  #169
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophic View Post
Thanks for taking the time to spread some ideas around RJ

I was curious as to how you rate your productivity, everyone seems to go through periods of time where things just don't click creatively, how long have you gone 0-fer (so to speak)?

Do you often get together with other musicians to bounce ideas around or is there a favorite source of inspiration?

Thanks
i guess im productive when i feel like it. i dont fancy myself too much so, but then i look back and realize ive done what, 7 solo albums and 3 collab albums, it seems like alot.

im not too good at the producer/muso collab thing. mostly just cause i havent dont it, i think. ive always linked up w/ singers or mc's. i like defined relationships. i dont wanna sit around w/ a dude wondering who's lead and who's laying back. i'd love to get hired as a player, and i like hiring and [playing w/ people, but i find it works best when im either in charge, or a hired hand(rare).
#170
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
  #170
Gear interested
 

Hey RJ

This thread is absolute gold.


From an engineers perspective where do you stand on loudness?

How do you achieve that head snapping impact without crushing everything?
#171
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
  #171
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleep Tree View Post
Hey RJ

This thread is absolute gold.


From an engineers perspective where do you stand on loudness?

How do you achieve that head snapping impact without crushing everything?
I dont have a STANCE per se; Kanye's record kinda proved to me that smashing the hell out of something can provide some cool sounding effects. ultimately, so much of my music rests on the idea of volume dynamics-i take a page out of nirvana's playbook, who took one out of the pixies, who took one.....etc..... so i literally CANT afford to hard limit the hell out of stuff on my records. by definition, a loud anything is only loud because its next to something that's more quiet.

i will say this-anyone who just blanket equates "impact" with "compressing" has never over-compressed something themselves. it sounds like dogshit, and can suck the life out of a great drum sound in an instant. "impact" has more to do with tonality than dynamics, IMO. of course compression can give something a sense of urgency, but its very easy to overdo.
#172
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
  #172
Gear interested
 

How vital is the sample chain for preserving the tonality of drums that are lifted from wax?

Over the years have you gravitated toward certain needles(DJ or Hi-Fi), turntables, or mixers that capture the sound you're looking for?

Deadringer was composed with modest gear, but still has a great aesthetic.

Are the characteristics of your drums developed more through the layering techniques you discussed earlier?

Bob Power talked about layering snare drums with the attack of a cowbell to provide that extra "pop!" The level of craftsmanship that goes into this stuff is amazing.
#173
22nd February 2011
Old 22nd February 2011
  #173
Love your stuff RJ. Keep up the great work.
#174
22nd February 2011
Old 22nd February 2011
  #174
Gear addict
 
captainate's Avatar
 

RJ,

I'm going to be a parrot and say thanks a ton for doing this. Nice to know that some kid out of Eugene OR can get the hell out of here and make something of himself! (Perhaps a short bio would be nice if you can manage)

At what point in forming a song do you work with a vision? Or is it constantly changing based on source material you're finding?
#175
22nd February 2011
Old 22nd February 2011
  #175
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleep Tree View Post
How vital is the sample chain for preserving the tonality of drums that are lifted from wax?

Over the years have you gravitated toward certain needles(DJ or Hi-Fi), turntables, or mixers that capture the sound you're looking for?

Deadringer was composed with modest gear, but still has a great aesthetic.

Are the characteristics of your drums developed more through the layering techniques you discussed earlier?

Bob Power talked about layering snare drums with the attack of a cowbell to provide that extra "pop!" The level of craftsmanship that goes into this stuff is amazing.
bob power's brain is important. needles/chain/etc arent. every second spent asking "whats the best needle" is a second that could have been used THINKING, doing, making, PRACTICING. do do do. dont buy buy buy.

thanks guys.
#176
25th February 2011
Old 25th February 2011
  #176
Gear nut
 

I appreciate this Q/A it was a pleasure to read and very inspirational.

What sparks your creativity, and what puts you in that "zone" to create a record? After all these years, is that same initial passion, thrill, or drive still there?

What do you think of limitations when it comes to equipment, and how it involuntarily stimulates creativity, vs having a plethora of options or features?

With all the equipment you've acquired, would you ever challenge yourself, and go back to making an entire album with just your 2000xl, turntable, and stack of records, recorded straight to adat, and releasing it as is?

Some pet-peeves of the industry? (And personal if you wish.)

And lastly, any advice for an 18 year old?
#177
25th February 2011
Old 25th February 2011
  #177
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
do do do. dont buy buy buy.
Word.
#178
26th February 2011
Old 26th February 2011
  #178
Lives for gear
 
spitfire8898's Avatar
 

Rj, like others have said- this is an amazing thread, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. There are SO many people out there that are struggling to have a career similar to yours, so this is a huge help to us.

That leads me to my question:


I read your answer detailing what you do for a living within music....(touring, publishing etc.) and it gave a good look into what needs to be done to have a career in music, but my question is:

How did you know when you were actually able to sustain a living doing what you love as opposed to a full-time 9-5 like so many of us have?

I'm sure most of us in this thread are like me, I have a regular job and then create music/ dj/ record hip hop on the side hoping to one day make a living doing what I love.

Any advice for those that are hoping to one day make that transition?

Thanks again for the Q&A...saw you in Austin in '04 and had a blast...
#179
26th February 2011
Old 26th February 2011
  #179
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfire8898 View Post
Rj, like others have said- this is an amazing thread, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. There are SO many people out there that are struggling to have a career similar to yours, so this is a huge help to us.

That leads me to my question:


I read your answer detailing what you do for a living within music....(touring, publishing etc.) and it gave a good look into what needs to be done to have a career in music, but my question is:

How did you know when you were actually able to sustain a living doing what you love as opposed to a full-time 9-5 like so many of us have?

I'm sure most of us in this thread are like me, I have a regular job and then create music/ dj/ record hip hop on the side hoping to one day make a living doing what I love.

Any advice for those that are hoping to one day make that transition?

Thanks again for the Q&A...saw you in Austin in '04 and had a blast...
for me, it was a very simple metric: will music pay my base expenses? in 1997-1998, it did. so i quit waiting tables and went full time. then, it died out. so i went back to a real job. 2 yrs later or so, i got a check for the copywrite single "holier than thou"-it was about 3 months of my expenses. i took the plunge again. that time, it stuck.

i didnt turn down one paying gig for maybe the next 3 years or so. if you arent getting some checks on the side at a minimum, i dont see how youre close. nobody goes from 0-60 in 2 months, IME. if you're the first, great.
#180
26th February 2011
Old 26th February 2011
  #180
Lives for gear
 
spitfire8898's Avatar
 

Thanks for the quick reply! That gives a great insight to those that are in a similar position...

That does make a second question pop into my head, and I hope I'm not breaking a rule by asking more than one...

What was the most important thing you did to ensure you were getting paid for your work with emcees? You mentioned the single with copy...

I'm not asking for an entire breakdown on the business of music, because isn't the venue for that, but perhaps the most important thing you did when you were starting out. I'm in the process of getting ready for getting my first few placements, and want to make sure I get my fair share, so the advice would be an immense help. I've had a handful of placements fall through due to the emcee flaking out, so hopefully this one will pan out...Thanks again!
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