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Q & A with RJD2 Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 29th January 2012
  #301
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapfreak View Post
Is it just me or does the title track from the new movie Haywire sound an awful lot like RJ's Since We Last Spoke:

(1) Haywire Soundtrack - Haywire - YouTube

RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke - YouTube
yup, it sure does.....even stranger that its david holmes.....feel like im through the looking glass here.....
Old 28th February 2012
  #302
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smokingrobot's Avatar
Hey - i've been wondering about this since the album came out:

The apregiated synth that drives Iced lightning (not the sort of main melodic idea line that opens the track) - is that one of your synths or is it a sample? if its yours, what kind of synth is it if i may ask? I've always loved the way that sound came together and often curious about its construction (synth, kind of fx on it etc)
Old 28th February 2012
  #303
KT1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokingrobot View Post
Hey - i've been wondering about this since the album came out:

The apregiated synth that drives Iced lightning (not the sort of main melodic idea line that opens the track) - is that one of your synths or is it a sample? if its yours, what kind of synth is it if i may ask? I've always loved the way that sound came together and often curious about its construction (synth, kind of fx on it etc)
Me too its a sample.

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Old 28th February 2012
  #304
Gear Maniac
 

most of that song is sample based, robot; the arpeggiation included.
Old 28th February 2012
  #305
KT1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
most of that song is sample based, robot; the arpeggiation included.
It's dope. Always loved that joint.

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Old 5th March 2012
  #306
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smokingrobot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
most of that song is sample based, robot; the arpeggiation included.
hey man - you're a scholar and a gentleman, thanks for being patient and takin' all my questions man, much appreciation!
Old 5th March 2012
  #307
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smokingrobot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by KT1 View Post
Me too its a sample.

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ahhhh, you know it then! haha
Old 5th March 2012
  #308
KT1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokingrobot View Post
ahhhh, you know it then! haha
Yup one of my fav joints. Man you need to.check the new.stuff. in my opinion its some of rj best work! I only know because I asked earlier in this thread! Haha.

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Old 16th March 2012
  #309
So a technical question that hasn't been asked yet Mr RJD2 sir:

Monitoring. Oh monitoring, what are your thoughts on this. Some people will tell you mixes should be done on $15,000 3-way monitors built into the wall inside a hermetically sealed bunker constructed to the exact dimensions of Ramesses' Tomb - Madlib mixes some of the best hip-hop music of the last decade on a budget micro system in his hotel in Brazil.

I'm the least audiophile person around town when it comes to production, signal flow, expensive gear etc. But I must say, I do worry about the quality of my monitoring situation simply because I want my music to sound how I intended it when other people play it at home. Is this a consideration you generally leave to the mastering guys? Oh and has anyone ever told you that your name sounds a bit like the robot R2D2 from STAR WARZ!?? Yeah I'll get my coat.

Last edited by MmBuddha; 16th March 2012 at 12:39 AM.. Reason: I wizard is never late, he arrives precisely when he means to.
Old 5th May 2012
  #310
Gear Maniac
 

RJ is probably pretty busy, maybe some one else knows the answer to the question - which sample in "Here's What's Left" caused the clearance issue? I realized that I also sampled the same Grover Washington Jr. track, so I was kind of curious.
Old 10th May 2012
  #311
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Dkelloway's Avatar
 

You mentioned the "Synthetic Substitution" drum loop earlier - I was wondering how you got certain kicks to punch like they do when you program your drums. Would you do this through pitching, placement, and layering a similar sounding sample on top of the kick?

thanks
Old 10th May 2012
  #312
Lives for gear
Is RJ actually still fielding questions? Does he just pop in once every 3 months or what?
Old 18th May 2012
  #313
Gear Maniac
 

i'll pop in when i can. got a life to attend to as well, haha

bebopcola-i reserve the right to not answer questions about samples, cause, well, in my day why that is was self-explanatory...

dkelloway-any and all of the above. this isnt rocket science, folks. if your snare is not loud enough, make it louder. turn it up, or everything else down. try all those tools; they may work, they may not. dont buy snake oil, if that makes sense...
Old 19th May 2012
  #314
KT1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
dont buy snake oil, if that makes sense...
Sometimes a one liner comment like this actually speaks a thousand words! Thanks
Old 19th May 2012
  #315
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jrhager84's Avatar
 

I can't believe rjd2 is here! Very detailed answers by the way. A joy to read. Thanks for doing this!

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Old 28th May 2012
  #316
Gear Head
 
Heretic Beats's Avatar
 

Hi RJD2. Just a little story about how your music completely has won me over:

Back when "Deadringer" was new, I used to listen to it everyday on the bus on my way to school. Back then it felt like a slightly more accessible "Endtroducing" - but because of this I had this admittedly snobbish attitude that your music was somehow a "lite version" of DJ Shadow's. One has to remember it was the time of RJD2-DJ Shadow comparisons. And those of my friends who were hip to "Deadringer" mostly didn't know "Endtroducing" or only vaguely. So I would always be the snob who argued that RJD2 had just ripped DJ Shadow off (even though I listened to "Deadringer" all the time, haha). But I was 17, and I guess at that age, one can be very "absolute" - there's only room for one kind of a artist, etc.

Anyways "Since We Last Spoke" came out and I was really impressed. I could see where it was going. YOU were getting too snobbish for hip-hop, but not fully yet. SWLS WAS/IS a hip-hop record to me, but it dared expand on the genre's boundaries, and there was really some talent in play here. Also it felt more personal so the DJ Shadow comparisons weren't as relevant to me. Although I just remember sitting often with both you guys' records trying to figure out how you programmed your drums so ill, LOL (I was just starting out as a beatmaker - with only a PC to my disposal back then).

"The Third Hand" came out, and you had shifted in my eyes completely away from hip-hop. I really felt that you had become as snobbish as my self. Like sampling and the hip-hop traditions/deeds weren't good enough for you anymore. I hated that record. I wanted the 100% sample-based-beat-genious-RJD2, not the new synth-and-so-so-singing-RJD2. I guess my hate for the record stemmed more from me not accepting you evolving as an artist than it did from the album actually being bad. Must be. Cus I own the LP today, and though I still think your worst project to date, it has kind of grown of me. It's kind of like a 3/6 stars record to me. It feels like an identity crisis, a transition period. But I have discovered its qualities with time, because...

... then came "The Colossus". It took me a while to get interested enough to buy the vinyl, because the reviews were generally good, but not great, and I feared it was too much like the last album. Boy was I wrong. This album in combination with the YouTube video where you show off your basement full of gear was like a revelation to me. I listened to the album day and night like I had done with "Deadringer". But where "Deadringer" stood in my mind as your masterpiece that couldn't quite match "Endtroducing", "The Colossus" felt like you had 100% come into your own. It's an acquired taste. Perhaps I wouldn't have liked it as much at another time. But the way you seamlessly blend old hardware instruments and effects with vinyl samples has never been done before. And the songs actually felt like songs. It's a hip-hop record. AND a soul-record. AND an indie-pop record. All at the same time. And it feels so organic.

But as aforementioned the seamless blending of samples and real gear couldn't work better. One often becomes in doubt "am I listening to a sample or a played instrument now?". And it doesn't even matter. Because you treat it all as sounds. Sample or not, you put the sounds together right and make it sound right. The YouTube video just helped me understand what and how you are making music. I'm beginning to ramble I think, and I can't remember my point, other than just to put down the relationship I've had to your solo-records.

Oh and I really like your hip-hop collab albums as well (Soul Position, Aceyalone, etc.)


... and just for the record: of you and DJ Shadow, YOU are the superior producer today. (Yes I know the "who's-the-best" thing is lame, but I know/hope that it means something anyway to hear it).


Oh yeah now I remember my point (because I just can't stop sucking up to my hero): you are among the three beatmakers/producers/song-writers who inspire my style the most. You are one I look at and often try to emulate. I have long ago found my beat-making style, and it wouldn't be what it is without your works.

Peace!
Old 3rd June 2012
  #317
Gear Head
 

Rj, I just read through the entire thread. Pure gold. I loved the video of your studio. I could tell you're passionate for other things besides music, like your cobbler. I was a little upset that the video ended before the interviewer even took a bite! What's up with that?

Anyway, my question is with your monitors. To date, I've done all my music either recording live or with software samplers and crappy speakers. I just purchased an mpc2000xl and will be purchasing some monitors as well (sub $1k). From the video, it appears you have yamaha ns-10s? Would you recommend them as my only monitors?

Thanks again,
Alex
Old 10th June 2012
  #318
Here for the gear
 

wasssup RJD2, i was pretty pissed i had school down here in florida and couldnt make it up to waka, how old were you when you started makin beats, and when youre matchin up samples do you usually tune them to be in sync or do you just look for samples that just work together?
Old 13th June 2012
  #319
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jrhager84's Avatar
 

You'll be pleased to know I'm doing a cover for 'A Beautiful Mine' on YouTube. I'll link when it's done... ;-)
Old 1st July 2012
  #320
Here for the gear
 

Hey RJ,

Thanks alot for taking the time to do this Q&A, I've learned alot in this thread! My best friend and I used to listen to Deadringer all the time way back when we were in elementary school, about 6th grade! Pretty much anything I would have asked already got answered so I just wanted to post and say thanks for the tips!
Old 10th July 2012
  #321
Gear Nut
 

Hey RJ - whats up? Thanks for doing this Q + A - the time you've spent answering questions is incredible. Its very inspiring to see an artist of whom I have a great deal of respect for take the time to speak candidly about their process in such a down to earth way.

(I joined GS just to ask you a few Q's, btw!)

Firstly, how do you maintain a cohesive sound on your tracks when you draw from such diverse source material? (be they samples/instruments or a combo of both)

Is it simply a matter of judicious EQ, compression and reverb - or are there certain other processes that you draw upon to get things to 'gel' and sound like they live in the same universe?

Secondly......As an artist your sound has clearly evolved and changed over the years. When you look back at some of your earlier recordings, are their any shortcomings that you see in that work that you have actively decided to work upon with projects working into the future?

Or do you maintain an 'all eyes forward' mentality, putting old projects to bed, and simply focusing on the next project?

Thanks RJ - triple respect you for taking the time to do this!
Old 27th July 2012
  #322
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Can i have the cobbler recipe? No joke, i need to know how you maintain the moisture without a ton o`butter.. What did you use? Milk?
Old 27th July 2012
  #323
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OGunslinger View Post
Hey RJ,

Thanks alot for taking the time to do this Q&A, I've learned alot in this thread! My best friend and I used to listen to Deadringer all the time way back when we were in elementary school, about 6th grade! Pretty much anything I would have asked already got answered so I just wanted to post and say thanks for the tips!
sure thing, thanks. citizen-i never really shot for cohesive, in fact, ive shot for the opposite, at least song-to-song. i think really fundamental things like sense of harmony and rhythm are the things that make ANY composer identifiable. think of it like "music DNA". i look back on EVERY song through revisionist lenses, or what i can do better now. i dont know how else to improve myself as an artist, other than taking a critical eye to my own records.
Old 27th July 2012
  #324
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ezionjd View Post
Can i have the cobbler recipe? No joke, i need to know how you maintain the moisture without a ton o`butter.. What did you use? Milk?
you can sub olive oil for butter. if you freeze it, at least for pie crust, it is ALMOST manageable by hand(just barely). its easier in a crumble vs a pie crust. also, google "vodka in pie crust", i havent used it yet but know folks who swear by it.
Old 27th July 2012
  #325
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
you can sub olive oil for butter. if you freeze it, at least for pie crust, it is ALMOST manageable by hand(just barely). its easier in a crumble vs a pie crust. also, google "vodka in pie crust", i havent used it yet but know folks who swear by it.
Wow, thnx for that.
Never thought i`d get baking tips on GS, and on top of that from a legendary talented beatsmith.
With all that hardware, i bet you got no kids and wife yet, huh?
Plenty of time to sit around and mosey on with circuit boards.
Damn, i kind of envy you.

Keep up the good work. (In the kitchen too!)
Old 18th October 2013
  #326
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RJD2 is on Cratediggers @ fuse:

RJD2's Vinyl Collection - Crate Diggers - YouTube
Old 18th October 2013
  #327
Lives for gear
 

And his new album is out as well:

Amazon.com: More Is Than Isn't: Music
Old 19th October 2013
  #328
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
nikkelk: sample clearance.

my views on this are directly related to the current state of the music industry. namely 2 big things:

1-your average indie record is lucky to recoup expenses. if it generates 10-30k, that's an indie win.

2-big labels are slashing staff left and right, with not much hope of this turning around.

SO, with that said here's how i feel: dont bother clearing a sample if you would be the one paying for it. i think its insane, personally. if a LABEL would be paying for it, then it makes sense, cause they will have the money, and more so, they will have PROJECTED SALES TO COVER THIS COST.

i am going to open myself up here for a huge flame war, hopefully not, but when i see people advise to "always clear samples", i see them as speaking from a POV that has a dog in the hunt either way. they probably have more experiences with-or AS-folks who wrote music 30 years ago, hear sampling, and think of puffy/diana ross, and ASSUME THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER IS STILL GETTING SHAFTED.

i dont care to enter into a semantic debate about "art and sampling". im strictly speaking from a POV of the simple economics of it.

and the simple economics of it are this: if you are releasing an indie project, bottom line, its easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. and this has to mostly do with the fact that 90% of copyright holders want an advance on sales to sample something. but it just doesnt make sense in this economy.

now, the other side of the coin: if you actually generate some money on a record, and manage to get it out of the label, then i feel it is only right to do what you can to reimburse, or try to, the copyright holder(im calling them CH's from now on). at the very least, dont be surprised if they find out and come after you.

i know this all might sound very ****ed up and immoral to some people, but the bottom line for me is that i hold the artistic statements of things like nation of millions, endtroducing, de la soul is dead, etc in a higher creative regard than i do their power as a commodity. so, if a few CH's might get infringed upon (in a global sense) for our culture to produce works of art like that, i consider it a net win from the utilitarianism standpoint. they, in highsight, shouldered a huge litigious burden, but in turn, gave us something that solder boy tell them will never ever even bother to give us, and technically, CANT.

i want to be clear-i have no disdain for any CH's, and i hope they are all filthy rich already. BUT, im a touring musician. i never had someone spend a quarter mil promoting an album of mine. i know that if a record wins or loses, its because i A)busted MY ass, toured all year, promoted the record, handled my biz, didnt waste time getting ****ed up every night, etc, NOT cause i was a lazy **** who happened to find an unused bob james loop first.

lets flip it around: FF. im now 55-60. i've had 25-35 years to tour, sell, license, and generally profit off of my own record. some young kid samples a portion of my record, makes a song out of it. if it generates $500k, then yes, i think i deserve a portion of that. but 50k? 5k? at which point are you just splitting hairs? these are valid viewpoints that IME don't get explored.
Just for everything you said here you are my new favorite producer man. Totally real guy. I admit I've only dicovered you after hearing the theme song to MAD MEN (perhaps like most people did) but I'm going to pay a lot more attention to you now!
Old 21st October 2013
  #329
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rapfreak View Post
This was great, thanks for sharing!

I couldn't help but notice that at around 6.57 there was an old 1/4 reel to reel laying around and I'm curious to know what purpose this serves exactly, whether it is used to extract samples from old reels that have been obtained, to process audio signals by running them onto tape and then back into the DAW/sampler, or if it is used for creating a tape delay/echo?

Can anyone provide any insight into this?
Perhaps the great man himself would be so kind to satisfy my curiosity!
Old 21st October 2013
  #330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
This was great, thanks for sharing!

I couldn't help but notice that at around 6.57 there was an old 1/4 reel to reel laying around and I'm curious to know what purpose this serves exactly, whether it is used to extract samples from old reels that have been obtained, to process audio signals by running them onto tape and then back into the DAW/sampler, or if it is used for creating a tape delay/echo?

Can anyone provide any insight into this?
Perhaps the great man himself would be so kind to satisfy my curiosity!



RJD2 is a constant tinkerer so my guess is a little of all the above. Although I'm guessing it's used more for effect/archiving than to bounce from/to DAW.
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