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Q & A with RJD2 Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 26th December 2010
  #91
Lives for gear
hey rjd2,

love your work, especially your early stuff, but then I've just got colossus and although I've only heard it once I think it's going to earn a hard won place on my portable mp3 player for a while.

You mentioned you have a bag of tricks for dealing with background notes on vocal samples. Would you mind sharing a couple? I normally just use EQ'ing when I can but I don't find this works to well for me too often. Do I just need to practise more? or get better samples?


Hope your having a merry Christmas.
Old 27th December 2010
  #92
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
this guy here^^^^^ folks is obviously A) humble, and B) a REAL music fan/musician.
think this applies to both of you equally, big ups to both of you for taking the time out to do these threads.
Old 27th December 2010
  #93
Hey RJD2,
You're too kind, really
Thanks for your detailed reply. A mixture of affirmation and information for me.
Thanks also for the insight on writing the verse groove first, it makes perfect sense. I'll think I'll permanently adopt this strict approach in future as it would be easier to get into the mood of the piece from the get go, rather than noodling through a mountain of potential ideas and changes.
Yes, I have found after many hours in the studio that I still prefer the sound of great samples but I share your frustration about their musical limitations and also the sloppiness of the original playing annoys me on occasion.

What are the main reasons you also play your own drum breaks?

Cheers for letting us know the speed of your workflow.
How do you keep yourself inspired/hyped for a long day in the studio?

Enjoyed your comments on touring vs. the studio, this question might seem a bit extreme to some but I retired from touring as the negatives of the downtime did out weigh the euphoria of being onstage. I do miss the good times but being the natural born nerd I am, I far prefer spending hours in the studio experimenting with new sounds and techniques.

Your studio looked great on the video i saw! I especially like the electronics workshop heh

Congratulations on all your ongoing success.......
Old 27th December 2010
  #94
Quote:
Originally Posted by symmetricalSound View Post
think this applies to both of you equally, big ups to both of you for taking the time out to do these threads.
Thanks Man!
Old 27th December 2010
  #95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Thanks Man!
being able to get this kind of insight in invaluable, i've only been producing 2-3 years and only been on GS a few months so i was a little awe-struck when i saw your thread and this one.
Old 27th December 2010
  #96
Gear Maniac
 

thanks paul. congrats to you as well; we're all lucky to make a living off of this. OK, a few things to address, guys....

1.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
.
How do you keep yourself inspired/hyped for a long day in the studio?
this is a critical thing, IMO, to delve into.

TIME MANAGEMENT.

i only do long days if the mood strikes me. to put this another way, i constantly make sure that i am only working on music-in the studio-if i am chasing the muse, so to speak.

no long days slogging it out. no slaving over an idea that doesnt want to come out and show its head.

i decided at a point that I get more net results from having 10 rough sketches, and 1-2 of them develop into good ideas, than to have 3 finished ideas. part of this is that FOR ME, when an idea is good, the song just writes itself, and it happens in an afternoon. BAM. really quick. i used to slave over ideas, and while i've gotten some results i like, in hindsight, its not the preferred method. to ME. YMMV.

there are alot of times im not inspired to make music. i go read a book, clean the house, etc-do other ****. this dynamic works well for me.

3-totally unrelated to the topics at hand, but related to my being here:

i am not fully reading my DM's right now. so you know, i came on board for this thread to share info in a public forum. if i allow my interaction to devolve into personal conversations about things that don't directly benefit the populist nature of a PUBLIC, online forum, then the next step for me is to just bail on the "info sharing" side of things. i dont want to get to that point. word to the wise. dont let it.

if i've got any unread DM's in my box right now that are hounding me for a response, i suggest you either delete them before i read them, bring whatever you want to talk about on the public forum/thread side if its critical, or.....i dont know.... but yea......be cognizant, guys.....if its business related, totally fine. just let me get to it on my own accord, and please be respectful of my time here as well. thanks.


OK-back on track, guys. hope this is helping you all think about how you make music.
Old 27th December 2010
  #97
Lives for gear
 

Which contemporary producers do you rate?
Old 28th December 2010
  #98
Gear Head
 

First off, you are by far my favorite producer. Deadringer and Third Hand are trapped in my Ipod forever

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
thanks paul. congrats to you as well; we're all lucky to make a living off of this. OK, a few things to address, guys....

1.


this is a critical thing, IMO, to delve into.

TIME MANAGEMENT.

i only do long days if the mood strikes me. to put this another way, i constantly make sure that i am only working on music-in the studio-if i am chasing the muse, so to speak.

no long days slogging it out. no slaving over an idea that doesnt want to come out and show its head.

i decided at a point that I get more net results from having 10 rough sketches, and 1-2 of them develop into good ideas, than to have 3 finished ideas. part of this is that FOR ME, when an idea is good, the song just writes itself, and it happens in an afternoon. BAM. really quick. i used to slave over ideas, and while i've gotten some results i like, in hindsight, its not the preferred method. to ME. YMMV.

there are alot of times im not inspired to make music. i go read a book, clean the house, etc-do other ****. this dynamic works well for me.
This just reminded me of something I'd forgotten during a rough patch. I had a couple hard years where I forced myself to sit down and stumble over ideas and concepts while stressed.... with nothing coming out of it but half assed uninspired **** i'm not proud of. Its a frustrating strenuous waste of time. Thanks for confirmation : )

one random question....are you a party going social guy, or do you mostly keep to yourself?
Old 29th December 2010
  #99
Gear Maniac
 

binarymilton- just blaze if my favorite modern producer, i think. 80% of what he does is just brilliant to me, and that's a really high success rate IMO.

i like boi 1da. i think some of the arrangement choices he made on drakes album were pretty leftfield, and very creative. i think he's really great, really good feel.

the JUSTICE league guys have done some great work on rick ross' new album.

misterE: you bring up another good point. i have friends, but im not a partier. i dont get wasted. you'd be surprised how productive you can be if you stay home all the time and most of your life is centered around music.
Old 29th December 2010
  #100
Gear Maniac
 
Simon FP's Avatar
 

^^^I'm speechlees,
just like when I heard KRS-ONE said that lil'wayne was the best mc ever....
Old 29th December 2010
  #101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon FP View Post
^^^I'm speechlees,
just like when I heard KRS-ONE said that lil'wayne was the best mc ever....
Dude, your KRS remark was so ****ing unbelievable I actually had to look it up to confirm he really said that ****. RJD2 liking some of the production on stuff that just happens to sell big is nowhere near that.

People have broader tastes than commonly thought.
Old 29th December 2010
  #102
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon FP View Post
^^^I'm speechlees,
just like when I heard KRS-ONE said that lil'wayne was the best mc ever....
ok, now that was very unnecessary.
Old 29th December 2010
  #103
Gear Maniac
 

stepping in here to impose a moratorium on any more responses to Simon FP. we've got 4+ pages of civility. keep it that way. this line of talk=dead, ok?

one last note to Simon FP: this might be hard to believe, but there are actually nooks and crannies of the internet where you can go and have arguments over semantics and opinions. if that interests you, i strongly encourage you to find those places.

alright, we're back on topic folks.
Old 29th December 2010
  #104
Gear Head
 

Like everyone else in here I'm a big fan of your work and really appreciate you doing such a great Q and A. Thank you.

I came to Cincinnati for college and caught your show this past year at the Soutgate House (great venue--hope you can come back). Although I'd been bumping your albums for quite some time I didn't know a thing about your shows, so I went in not sure what the nature of the show would even be, as far as live vs. DJ, etc. I gotta say, I was blown away by the live performance overall and especially the entertainment elements you put into it, the suit and rotating-belt-beat-pad thing were just sick and of course got the crowd really going.

Do you have any specific insight on how you develop ideas or try to push your live shows? Any future ambitions or plans?
Old 29th December 2010
  #105
Gear Addict
 

do you have a mailing list for tour dates
Old 29th December 2010
  #106
Here for the gear
 

RJ...just wanted to thank you for the years of great music.

What inspired you to sing on your latest albums? I feel like the backpack crowd was caught off-guard, but you did it really well and made some great songs.

What is your involvement with the upcoming MHz project and can you give us any details? (Table Scraps is dope)

Whether you know it or not, your name holds clout and you could work with probably any mc in the game. Are there any rappers that you want to work with that you haven't got on your instrumentals yet?
Old 29th December 2010
  #107
Lives for gear
 

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.
Old 29th December 2010
  #108
Gear Maniac
 

joey thomas-thanks man. glad you liked it.

the 2010 tour i did was really a culmination of having 4-6 pots on at once over the last 6 years. i never would have built the spinning remote mpc crotch thing if i hadnt got into DIY electronics. the band, dj, singing, playing aspect all just kinda happened over the years. what it really came from is being able to draw on a number of different things, and see how they could apply to each other. also, i wouldnt have done the suit thing if i hadnt been touring for the last 10 yrs and realized it has huge entertainment value.

LT-not currently. just check my site- rjselectricalconnections.com, its always being updated w/ dates.

dougf-singing on records came from sampling vocals for records. i know some see it as this huge departure, but for me....its just not. exact same element to the music, just done differently.

working on the MHz record now.

tons of rappers i want to work with, and while i appreciate the kind words, it doesnt always ring true. there are lots of rappers who dont respond when i reach out. some who just flake. the list is too huge, but honestly, jay-z luda clipse jay elec are probably top names at the moment, off my head.....
Old 29th December 2010
  #109
Gear Maniac
 
Simon FP's Avatar
 

sorry
really didn't wanted to argue or come off as arrogant or disrespectful, I was just very surprised, I can be ghost now.
Old 30th December 2010
  #110
Gear Head
 



WOW. RJ, PLEASE work with Jay Elec. I'm massaging my monitors just thinking about it
Old 1st January 2011
  #111
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISayItLikeItIs View Post
I wanna know when we get to hear more music this dope...

Dude, that track wit Masta Ace is dope... definately worth checkin Kno's (producer) catalogue, his beats are on point! Have a listen to his solo album, "Death is Silent", the beats are off the hook. Pity bout his rhymes!!!! Need an instro version of this album
Old 2nd January 2011
  #112
Lives for gear
 
hereticskeptic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
doom cut doomsday holding a 58 in his hand. art trumps gear 100% of the time.
word up! That's wild to find out.
Old 4th January 2011
  #113
Here for the gear
 
Deconstruction's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
there's individual things i have learned, like sampling the decay portion of a drum hit, not the big transient part. then, assign the attack and decay so it has no transient at all. it just whooshes. now, think of this like spackle. after you chop a break, and reassemble it, you paste these little pieces into any places where there's silence. you can smooth things out like this. even if its not a silence portion. it can make an awkward decay sound more natural.
RJ,

I'm rather late to picking up on this thread (haven't checked in here for a bit), but was excited to see you doing Q&A and just wanted to say thanks for sharing this stuff.

I was floored to read what you produced Deadringer on, as the production on that album set a new bar for me when it came out. Just further proof that talent always trumps gear.

The quoted bit above is brilliant, and I would not have thought of that. I have a beat in mind that I want to try this out on.

I think this may have been asked already in a different form, but I didn't see an answer. (Apologies for any redundancy) I've always viewed software like ReCycle (or even Pro Tools with the tab to transient function) to be a faster way to do what an MPC can do in terms of cutting up a sample. The process on the MPC always felt pretty laborious to me, even once I got faster with it. I get the impression from what I've read, though, that you don't really bother with software and stick, still, to the MPC for that purpose. Is that accurate? And if so, is that mostly due to the fact that you are so comfortable on it? Or are there other benefits I'm overlooking?

Thanks again for this thread,
-J
Old 4th January 2011
  #114
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deconstruction View Post
RJ,

I think this may have been asked already in a different form, but I didn't see an answer. (Apologies for any redundancy) I've always viewed software like ReCycle (or even Pro Tools with the tab to transient function) to be a faster way to do what an MPC can do in terms of cutting up a sample. The process on the MPC always felt pretty laborious to me, even once I got faster with it. I get the impression from what I've read, though, that you don't really bother with software and stick, still, to the MPC for that purpose. Is that accurate? And if so, is that mostly due to the fact that you are so comfortable on it? Or are there other benefits I'm overlooking?

Thanks again for this thread,
-J
sure thing, thanks for the P's. ok, answer:

yes, its comfortability. i can navigate PT and MPC largely w/o thinking about it. im sure there are faster things out there, and if i get time, i might learn some, but to me, having a streamlined workflow is infinitely more valuable than a "more valuable tool". from VALUE and FEATURES, this isnt true, but from the POV of TIME, these things are your mortal enemy:

-shopping for gear online
-learning new gear
-fixing gear

there's also conceptual things that are tied up in my use of both PT nad MPC, so to move to something else, it would take me even longer to learn the "loopholes".
Old 4th January 2011
  #115
Lives for gear
 
hereticskeptic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd2 View Post
sure thing, thanks for the P's. ok, answer:

yes, its comfortability. i can navigate PT and MPC largely w/o thinking about it. im sure there are faster things out there, and if i get time, i might learn some, but to me, having a streamlined workflow is infinitely more valuable than a "more valuable tool". from VALUE and FEATURES, this isnt true, but from the POV of TIME, these things are your mortal enemy:

-shopping for gear online
-learning new gear
-fixing gear
True indeed! I think it's easy to get wrapped up in the gear selection process, and lose sight of what you need the effin gear for. I keep making gear decisions, only to have people speak against them. It gets confusingl, when you're in the process of building a setup from the ground up. Still, a lot of what I've been told not to do, or buy, has saved me from making hasty decisions in an attempt to get going NOW. That being said, when people start getting into the "don't get a preamp and mix in Pro Tools, get a channel strip and mix on the way in", I see their point, but I know it isn't as big of a deal as they make it out to be. I'm doing a gritty form of hip hop (very akin to what Def Jux had goin on), and could honestly care less about equipment, in comparison to getting **** written and recorded. It's a wild process. I love it, and I hate it. heh

By the way RJ, my group has been doin some **** with Rayz the past 2 years. You should check out our website if you feel so led (it's in the sig). Rayz has a new joint up, near the top of the page. Love the work of all you guys who were with Def Jux. Be powerful king. Peace
Old 4th January 2011
  #116
Gear Head
 

Amazing to see you answer questions here! Love your music and you seem like a very cool and down to earth guy

First, a random story..

"Since we last spoke" is easily one of my top 3 albums and in '05 when i got my daughter i listened to it a lot.. for months, the easiest way to make her sleep was by standing with her by my shoulder and listening to it.. 1976 was "our" favorite for this, it worked every time

fast forward to fall of '09.. one afternoon my girlfriend at the time and me was cuddling and watching some boring documentary on tv.. we started talking about music and she didn't know you, so i told the story about my daughter.. oh well.. tv was boring.. talking was boring.. so cuddling turned into having sex.. a minute later 1976 came on as background music in the documentary! my girlfriend wasn't amused by me yelling "That's the song! That's the song!" but my mind was blown!

I don't have any music related questions, but.. when you toured in Scandinavia last year, Dokkedal/Dixen was opening act.. did you have anything to say with that or was it chosen by the promoters? (dixen is an old old friend of mine, so interresting to know if you knew em allready)
Old 4th January 2011
  #117
Here for the gear
 

What up RJ

Deadringer and Soul Position classic works of art

I watched Revenge Of The Robots and remember EL-P mentioning you consider yourself a "super producer" and something along the lines of being better than DJ Shadow. Now this question is not intended to stir any pots or cause any friction, I'm just curious to the origin of that joke and what it was all about ... and as well could elaborate on your relationship with Def Jux and why you are no longer with them?

Thanks for your time and thanks for sharing your thoughts
Old 4th January 2011
  #118
Quote:
Originally Posted by variation View Post
Def Jux and why you are no longer with them?
not sure if you know but def jux is dead now.
Old 4th January 2011
  #119
Lives for gear
 
hereticskeptic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by symmetricalSound View Post
not sure if you know but def jux is dead now.
Indeed. I was gonna chime in, but figured RJ would have told him. It was dope while it lasted and plus, you can never get rid of the music that's already been released. The Cold Vein will never stop being in rotation, among others.
Old 4th January 2011
  #120
Quote:
Originally Posted by hereticskeptic View Post
Indeed. I was gonna chime in, but figured RJ would have told him. It was dope while it lasted and plus, you can never get rid of the music that's already been released
yup, they affected hiphop in a massive way despite what some people thought of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hereticskeptic View Post
The Cold Vein
stone cold classic!
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