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Q & A with RJD2 Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 20th December 2010
  #61
Here for the gear
 

Hey Rjd2, I'm a huge fan of yours.
Been a lurker on these forums and saw that you were doing a Q&A could not pass that up, so I joined.

Still playing Deadringer just about everyday, your work is absolutely priceless and a great inspiration to me.

A few questions for you:

1) At what age did you begin producing?

2) What or who were your inspirations?

3) What is your personal favorite song that you have produced?


Once again love all your work!
Old 20th December 2010
  #62
Lives for gear
 
the fxs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KvnFo View Post
Hey Rjd2, I'm a huge fan of yours.
Been a lurker on these forums and saw that you were doing a Q&A could not pass that up, so I joined.

Still playing Deadringer just about everyday, your work is absolutely priceless and a great inspiration to me.

A few questions for you:

1) At what age did you begin producing?

2) What or who were your inspirations?

3) What is your personal favorite song that you have produced?


Once again love all your work!
good questions thumbsup
can't wait to read the answers
Old 20th December 2010
  #63
Lives for gear
 
illacov's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
third world:

that drum sound looks like this:

-completely dry, small space.
-extremely muted snare and kick. the "wallet" trick, but i actually prefer these pucks that i made out of beer coasters.
-played hard. i have the drums tuned relatively low, and hit pretty hard.

mics:
front of kick: realistic d12 knockoff
behind kick, pointed at kick: alesis monitor wired as mic
OH 1 and 2: realistic 1070.

that's it. they all go into a 6 channel altec 1592? mixer, its just 6 mic pres. then, a graphic eq that is pretty heavily notched in and out in places. recorded as 1 track. done.

fyi, its the exact same drum kit and setup as "games you can win". this should give you an idea of what was done in the mix, vs. track.
And I thought I was the only dude rockin Omnidirectional Dynamics on drum overheads!

We must be related LOL

I have a pair of Turner SE14 I scored off ebay for 25 bucks this year. They are SWEET!

I made a Radioshack speaker into a subkick and I really dig it.

With the Alesis monitor did you run it into a really clean preamp or something with lots of gain.

I'm going to add a step up transformer to my sub kick so it takes less gain to get the level right, they can be had pretty cheap.

Cool tracks btw.
I'm living in the Philly area now, but I'm originally from Syracuse, NY

Peace
Illumination
Old 20th December 2010
  #64
Gear Addict
 

I just listened to to "Lazerface's Warning" RJd2 remix.
it has been a while since I heard this one


those drums are wicked hard.

good job
Old 20th December 2010
  #65
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
isayitlikeitis: these are all aspects of making a living that i had or still have

-djing
-touring
-releasing solo albums
-producing other ppls albums
-remixes
-publisher
-licensor
-mixtapes
-on spec/ad work/work for hire

just as important is that i know how to live on beans and rice if i need to.
Kinda what I do, but I need to get more into touring.
Cool, thanks!
Old 21st December 2010
  #66
Here for the gear
 

RJ-

Thanks for answering all the questions, especially the technical on sampling and tuning, and copyrights.

I just a record in a friends collection he was selling last week and was very pleased to hear the sample you took from it! I was amazed on how you flipped it, so I was just starting to go back through all of your work and give it a second listen this weekend!

I have a few questions on the creative process:

1. How many tracks do you start that you actually complete and then fully produce? 10%? 100%?

2. Do you work on one track at a time start to finish or do have many concurrent tracks going on and work on pieces at a time?

3. Record collecting: how much of your time did/do you spend digging/collecting records? Did you have favorite digging habits/shops or did you acquire a collection(s)?

4. Do you cut your breaks up and keep all the hits within a program, or do you take hits and make assemblages of different hits in programs or both?

Thanks for answering!
Old 21st December 2010
  #67
Gear Maniac
 

1. How many tracks do you start that you actually complete and then fully produce? 10%? 100%?
2000, IT WAS PROBABLY ABOUT 40-50%. NOW, ITS MORE LIKE 80-90%. MOSTLY CAUSE I CAN TELL A WASTE OF TIME EARLIER NOW, THAT'S ALL.

2. Do you work on one track at a time start to finish or do have many concurrent tracks going on and work on pieces at a time?
I USUALLY WORK ON SEVERAL THINGS AT A TIME, OR AT LEAST TAKE A FEW DAYS TO FINISH TRACKS. USUALLY WEEKS IF ITS A SOLO ALBUM. I PUT IT TO BED WHEN THERE'S NO MORE TINKERING TO BE DONE.


3. Record collecting: how much of your time did/do you spend digging/collecting records? Did you have favorite digging habits/shops or did you acquire a collection(s)?
USED TO ALOT, LESS NOW. IM A DOLLAR BIN GUY.

4. Do you cut your breaks up and keep all the hits within a program, or do you take hits and make assemblages of different hits in programs or both?
I BUILD SINGLE PROGRAMS NOWADAYS. THEN, I CAN LOAD A PROGRAM AT A TIME, AND TRY DIFFERENT ONES AGAINST EACH OTHER. ADVANTAGE OF USING THE SAME MACHINE FOR 6-8 YEARS IS THAT IT KINDA DOESNT MATTER. I CAN MOVE SOUNDS AROUND, OR SWAP PROGRAMS, ALL SOMEWHAT FAST.
Old 21st December 2010
  #68
Lives for gear
 
Lando Calrissian's Avatar
RJ,

How do you fit vocals over the sample heavy tracks that you produce? Do you have any tricks in terms of carving out space in the sample?
Old 21st December 2010
  #69
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Marrvel View Post
RJ,

How do you fit vocals over the sample heavy tracks that you produce? Do you have any tricks in terms of carving out space in the sample?
other way around. carve out space in the VOCAL. alot of my "acapellas" actually have sounds underneath them. ive got a bag of tricks to make something thats not exactly acapella work over a beat, one of them being extreme eqing. no real notching out on the inst part, really.
Old 21st December 2010
  #70
Lives for gear
 
utters's Avatar
 

thanks for all the great answers, nice to see a proper Q&A going on here, with enthusiastic and informative answers by a clearly passionate and tasteful musician

anyway, blah blah.

You say you never blow up your own samples, but please please please please please please please:

what are the musical samples on 'look of pain' by soul position?!!!!

I love that beat!!!!

Would love to know, hey you can even PM me and I promise not to tell anyone heh
Old 21st December 2010
  #71
Lives for gear
 
utters's Avatar
 

also, can't believe no one on here has mentioned the fact that this guy got one of his beats to be chosen to be the theme tune to, oh, only one of the greatest TV shows of all time...

don't think I don't recognise that break from 'soul is... pretty purdie' though heh
Old 21st December 2010
  #72
Here for the gear
 

You must have missed my post, really want to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KvnFo View Post
Hey Rjd2, I'm a huge fan of yours.
Been a lurker on these forums and saw that you were doing a Q&A could not pass that up, so I joined.

Still playing Deadringer just about everyday, your work is absolutely priceless and a great inspiration to me.

A few questions for you:

1) At what age did you begin producing?

2) What or who were your inspirations?

3) What is your personal favorite song that you have produced?


Once again love all your work!
Old 21st December 2010
  #73
Lives for gear
 
PhonoquO's Avatar
 

Hi RJ! Congrats on all the great music!

wondering what your opinion is of native instruments maschine? do you see it as a viable alternative to the mpc for yourself? what's your favorite feature or trick on the mpc?

I wish you continued success with a true art form!

M
Old 21st December 2010
  #74
Gear Maniac
 

thanks guys.

phonoquo-dunno, never used it.

sorry i missed these, i was focusing on the more tech stuff:

1) At what age did you begin producing?
around 20 or 21 or so.
2) What or who were your inspirations?
all the obvious 90's rap producers. prince paul, large pro, atcq, primo, blah blah blah.
3) What is your personal favorite song that you have produced?
different songs for different styles. "thine planetarium", because of what went into it, is probably the most complex thing i've ever done on an mpc, so im proud of that. it literally used up every bank of sounds of all 4 assignable programs. writing wise, probably "games you can win".
Old 21st December 2010
  #75
Gear Maniac
 
Chaotic's Avatar
 

RJ,

What would you say is the most important move you made, or break you got, that took you from being a bedroom dj/producer to making a living off of your music?? Did you send out a billion presskits/demos to labels, managers, A&Rs, etc.? Did you have a friend who was already out there put you on? Was there a specific performance of yours that turned the right heads??

Im in my early 30s, been doing the DJ/production thing forever. Ive had the opportunity to open up for some of my hero's, independently released some tunes, made a real deal video, performed 100's and 100's of times etc. BUT im still sitting in a 4x4 cubicle, doing the 9-5 thing. (right now actually...sshh)

what worked for you??


(on a side note, the 30 min mix you did on Breezeblock goes down in dj mix history, legendary!!!!)
Old 21st December 2010
  #76
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
isayitlikeitis: these are all aspects of making a living that i had or still have

-djing
-touring
-releasing solo albums
-producing other ppls albums
-remixes
-publisher
-licensor
-mixtapes
-on spec/ad work/work for hire

just as important is that i know how to live on beans and rice if i need to.
chaotic-its all right here. really. no big one. lots of little ones.
Old 21st December 2010
  #77
Gear Nut
 

i have a technical question:

in that one video interview at your home studio i noticed you have a hammond (i think an m3)? well i picked up an m3 over a year ago and was trying to put some hammond oil in it today but i have no idea how much i'm supposed to put in there, there's a cover and i can't see how full the 3 oil cups are. should i fill the funnels to the brim?
Old 21st December 2010
  #78
Lives for gear
 
KevWest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyville View Post
RJ posts on GS?

I'd be surprised.
he was on future producers a few months back doing Q&A I think the users scared him away
Old 22nd December 2010
  #79
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by third world View Post
i have a technical question:

in that one video interview at your home studio i noticed you have a hammond (i think an m3)? well i picked up an m3 over a year ago and was trying to put some hammond oil in it today but i have no idea how much i'm supposed to put in there, there's a cover and i can't see how full the 3 oil cups are. should i fill the funnels to the brim?
probly but you should ask at a hammond forum. im not a tech
Old 22nd December 2010
  #80
Lives for gear
 
PhonoquO's Avatar
 

have you ever longed to make a beat strictly with casio toy samplers? i've got a few and have considered doing this when i have time.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #81
Gear Nut
 
Phiktion's Avatar
 

RJD2,
I am interested in your process when working with emcees. When working with other artists, do you tend to have the beats finished before the artist writes and records the vocals, or do you finish it up after you hear what they have come up with? How much input does someone like Blueprint or Copywrite have in the music that is used for these projects?

I used to write rhymes to a lot of the music on your Dead Ringer album. Do you ever make an instrumental that you feel is something that should stand on its own without vocals, and then have to beat emcees away with a stick because they want to drop vocals all over it?

One last question, I think I heard Ghostwriter in a Wells Fargo Commercial a few months back, was that you??
Thanks for taking time to do this! I got to see you with EL-P & Mr Lif at the Boulder Theater back in 2003, great show!
Old 22nd December 2010
  #82
Gear Maniac
 

When working with other artists, do you tend to have the beats finished before the artist writes and records the vocals, or do you finish it up after you hear what they have come up with? How much input does someone like Blueprint or Copywrite have in the music that is used for these projects?

I SEND THEM BEAT CHOICES. THEY CHOOSE. THEN, I DO THE SONG ARRANGEMENT. SEND BACK. THEY CUT. I MIX. DONE. ACEYALONE WAS THE FIRST GUY WHO LET ME CHOOSE WHICH BEATS WOULD BE ON THE ALBUM-FOR THE MOST PART.

I used to write rhymes to a lot of the music on your Dead Ringer album. Do you ever make an instrumental that you feel is something that should stand on its own without vocals, and then have to beat emcees away with a stick because they want to drop vocals all over it?

NO, CUZ I DONT SEND RAPPERS MY SOLO ALBUMS BEFORE I PUT THEM OUT.

One last question, I think I heard Ghostwriter in a Wells Fargo Commercial a few months back, was that you??
YES.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #83
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
i've gotten to a point now where, in essence, i kind of "think like a band" when im on the mpc, and "think like an mpc" when im playing parts live. so ive gotten to a point where the lines have gotten blurred btw the two, depending on the song. also, there are songs that are all live, all sampled, and then a mix of the two. so that blurs the lines to your ear, really.
That really came across when I listened to Colossus. Sonically everything blends. If the some of the instrumentation wasn't played/arranged so well you could confuse it with a sample and the samples blend with the played parts. In either case the sounds are recorded and mixed extremely well.

Blurring those lines like you did is unique. Some of the new tracks now call attention to any keyboards/live instrumentation by not blending it in. (I'm guilty of this myself sometimes) It's kind of obviously layered over the (obvious) samples as a kind of "distinguishing" counterpoint instead of being worked/blended into the song. Often, elements jump out of the mix like a disclaimer for the producer/keyboard manufacturer.

The Colossus lets you just sit back, vibe and listen. Even someone like me who over-analyzes every track can just zone out and not feel the need to source the sounds. Everything just flows.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #84
Gear Maniac
 

Bringitback-thanks. i appreciate that.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #85
Gear Head
 
Pablo Padilla's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWest View Post
he was on future producers a few months back doing Q&A I think the users scared him away
not surprised
Old 23rd December 2010
  #86
Lives for gear
 
Circuitt's Avatar
 

Was Here's What's Left comprised of all samples? nice electric piano, rhodes?
Old 23rd December 2010
  #87
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Circuitt View Post
Was Here's What's Left comprised of all samples? nice electric piano, rhodes?
all samples.
Old 24th December 2010
  #88
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for sharing all that knowledge with us man

I'm on an mpc2500 so a lot of this is making a lot of sense to me

peace
Old 26th December 2010
  #89
Workflow methods...

Hey RJD2,

Thanks again for doing this and I hope you had a good Xmas day.

I wondered if you'd care to talk about sampling records versus playing "real" instruments in terms of the creative and sonic advantages and disadvantages.....
Could you also cover the average speed of your workflow involved with each approach?

Also, do you mainly prefer studio work or touring?

Cheers
Paul G
Old 26th December 2010
  #90
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Hey RJD2,

Thanks again for doing this and I hope you had a good Xmas day.

I wondered if you'd care to talk about sampling records versus playing "real" instruments in terms of the creative and sonic advantages and disadvantages.....
Could you also cover the average speed of your workflow involved with each approach?

Also, do you mainly prefer studio work or touring?

Cheers
Paul G

lol at a guy who is more famous than me in some parts of the world asking ME questions-should be the other way around, lol! thanks paul, i appreciate it. wow, this guy here^^^^^ folks is obviously A) humble, and B) a REAL music fan/musician. i thought i was the only guy asking other musicians questions. anyway...

i see the big sonic advantage being in samples, cause you acquire tonalities that you will never-ever-be able to recreate, they last for one song, and then they are over.

w/ playing, i like the freedom it allows in the writing aspect. i would always get frustrated w/ samples, cause if you wanted a bridge, you;d have to use a totally different sound most of the time.

my compromise is usually to play the verses of songs-if im playing-super repetitive. no wanking. it gives it more of a groove/sample type of feel. then, you add the spice by writing different parts, or turnarounds, etc.

if im on the sampler, a beat gets done usually in about 25-20 minutes for ruff draft. mind you, that doesnt include all the hours/days i spent looking thru records. then, another few days to do the song steps, touch it up, dump it in PT. for a BEAT. for an all sample song, like "iced lightning", that usually takes about 4-5 days of work, but not 8 hour days. couple hour days.

touring vs. studio? studio, mostly because the downtime isnt so painful. the 90 minutes im on stage, i love touring, but the 12 hours of travel/prep time makes it much harder. but i've never taken a year off since i started touring, so i might feel differently after that happens-someday....
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