Entries in Producer (6)


Vibing out with Detroit MC and Producer Nolan the Ninja

Nolan the Ninja started off as an admirer of Guilty Simpson’s work, and from that he went on to build a musical relationship that grew and has now collaborated with the legend himself. The multi-talented artist produces and raps and has just released a beat tape ‘'lo-fi l∞ps.’!’ which conveys a nostalgic, lo-fi approach of beat chops & loops.  

Stimulate Your Soul chats to Nolan about what it was like collaborating with Guilty Simpson, the first beat that got him hooked on producing and what we can expect from future projects. Margaret Tra writes. 

You just released a beat tape, tell us about how it came about? 

To be honest, 'lo-fi l∞ps' just randomly happened. (laughs) Initially, Dart Adams of ‘Producers I Know’ contacted me about featuring on a compilation project that he was working on. I accepted, then sent him a batch of beats. Once he heard the joints, he decided that he wanted to put out a solo beat tape on me instead. Ironically, the exact set of cuts that I sent him are the 10 tracks featured on the tape. Again, it unknowingly came into play...

Who are your influences?

Music, in-general. I don't have a set artist or band that I look to for influence. Growing up, I was exposed to all genres. My mother was a neo-soul (R&B) fan, my brother was into alternative rock, etc. I learned something from each format of audio, doesn't matter who or how. As for my personal favourites, I enjoy A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, J Dilla, Madlib, Boot Camp Click, The Roots & so forth. I could go on forever. (laughs) As of late, I've been listening to Da King & I, though. (They were a duo signed to Dallas Austin's label in the 90’s.)

What was the first beat that got you into becoming a producer?

Actually, it was a song that I did for ZelooperZ. He's a protegé of Danny Brown. We came up together on the Detroit music scene because we're around the same age. When he was working on his first project, he heard that I was learning how to produce. Then, he asked me for some cuts. Shortly after, I sent him the beat that would later become "CartiAIDS". Honestly, I didn't think that he would use it but he surprised me. He even shot a video for it, which surprised me even more. Listening to it now, I cringe every time that I hear it. The reverb is mad high, there's no melody behind the drums, it's just mad f*cked up. (laughs) Anyway, that's what started me.

You're an emcee and a producer, which one do you prefer?

Well, rhyming came first so I'm going with that. Nonetheless, producing is great as well. It's cool to create music without having to create words to go along with the track. Sometimes, I just want to vibe out & hear nothing but instrumentation, you know? I love them both, though.

You've collaborated with Guilty Simpson and Red Pill, what was that like?

Those are my peoples! I've learned so much from them. Especially, Guilty. I used to only see him on the internet to now, being on a first name basis with him. Same with Pill. I saw him on YouTube back in 2010 or so. Now, I actually have their contacts & able to hit them up whenever. I started out as a fan, to essentially being a friend of theirs. Like I said, they're mad cool & people that I look up to.

What other projects are you working on?

Well, I'm sitting on a few projects. I just love to create. Even if I finish a batch of material, I'm still booking sessions to keep the creative flow going. That's just how I work, though. Nonetheless, everybody'll get a chance to hear everything throughout the next year & a half or so. Keep an eye-out for updates!

Could you walk us through your production process?

Eh, nothing to it. Since I'm a sample-based producer, I start with a record to flip. From there, I chop it & then proceed to add the drums, sound bytes or whatever sounds right. Basically, nothing much. (laughs)

What stimulates your soul?

Life! There's nothing better than experience life & growth...



Twitter: @NolanTheNinja





Letting Go With Soul Producer NoMBe

Originally a classically trained pianist from Germany, NoMBe hits us hard from LA with a new soul sound merged with IDM. Taking on several roles from producing to singing and song writing, NoMBe interweaves his craft with ambiguous samples, fresh beats, and unique vocals. He has some new projects on the horizon, but chooses to keep the mystery alive. No doubt his next project will showcase a new growth in this ever-evolving artist.

We chat to NoMBe about his recent EP Change of Hearts, his transition from classical music to IDM/soul, and how moving to LA helped shape his musical career. Ayla Dhyani writes.


Tell us about your recent EP, Change of Hearts.

First, you have to understand that it’s the greatest EP of all time (laughs). I’m not sure what to tell you. I have mixed feelings about it because, like most artists’ first projects, it took so long to complete! So it shows a bit of a progression in my art as well. A lot of love went into that one and I’m glad it resonates so well with an older more conservative crowd. The recurring theme I suppose is letting go and making appropriate decisions that allow you to grow. So when I talk about an escort or an Indian arsonist there’s this connotation of growth out of necessity.


How has the move to LA helped shape your musical journey?

It helped me a lot with figuring out what I want to do sonically by observing what’s already out here. There’s so many ways to do you! Cheaper rent as opposed to NYC also gave me some time to focus on music and build clientele so I could phase out the day job. I’m really happy I moved.


Do you find that there’s a large scene in LA for your style of music?

I wouldn’t even know what that scene would be to be honest! I think my audience consists mostly of folks who are open to every style of music. But I am definitely meeting a lot of like-minded people out here, which is motivating. I think LA is a fertile ground for those seeking to make their own scene so there’s a lot of potential for sure! There’s also a group of phenomenal psych soul singers emerging all over. I’m excited.


You were trained as a classical pianist. How did the move into IDM/soul come about?

I guess I always wanted to be a soul singer and love producing /experimenting with samples. It just took me a while to find the right application of my voice. Everything else fell into place.  On the piano I also admire simple songs and how powerful 4 chords and a voice can be when setting a mood.


Who are your biggest musical influences?

Man, that’s a tough one. Mostly current artists. I was just listening to Hozier’s album and it’s extraordinary, Toro Y Moi, Tame Impala, Flying Lotus, Air, Jamiroquai. I am a die-hard Bill Withers fan, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Henri Mancini. I pick apart what I like from different artists. Radiohead, Q-Tip, Feist, Quantic, Nujabes, Daft Punk, Jimi Hendrix, D’Angelo. I could go on for days.


As a wearer of many hats, what are you more passionate about in terms of song writing or producing?

I used to be way more into production, but the older I get the more I want to just write acoustic songs that last. I enjoy it all, but making cool sounds or samples in my DAW is definitely addicting. I look forward to just writing but get really antsy to produce the damn thing!


Any other projects we can expect from you in the near future?



What stimulates your soul?

Family, sounds, love, good food, finding something you thought you lost… and oddly enough doing interviews!


Want to hear more from NoMBe?








Invading Hip Hop With Aussie Producer Katalyst


Aussie producer, Katalyst, has been recognised in the industry for a number of years, receiving numerous ARIA awards and world-wide critical acclaim. His well-received Quakers album, released in 2012, is a collaboration with 7-Stu-7 and Geoff Barrow from Portishead. The album features a selection of 32 MCs including Dead Prez, Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Prince Po, Jonwayne, and Bootie Brown among many others. Katalyst is currently working on the next Quakers release for Stones Throw Records due to drop in the early party of 2015. His upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand with Guilty Simpson will include some new and exciting material not due out until next year, so be prepared for some new sounds and serious tight beats.

We chat to Katalyst about his involvement in Stones Throw Records, the Quakers project, and his upcoming tour with Guilty Simpson. Ayla Dhyani writes.

You’ve worked with so many great artists. Are there any significant moments that stand out for you in your career?

I was pretty happy to complete the first Quakers album. It was quite a massive project with 40 songs and 33 rappers, and it was really nice to just wrap it up and deliver it to Stones Throw. It was really one of the first records I released without having to deal with any of the admininstration and just focus on creating. In Australia I usually do it on my own with Invada Records. It was also nice to do a project with my mate from Portishead, Geoff Barrow, who sort of conceived the whole Quakers project. It was a pretty great achievement to get that finished and it was quite well received.

How did Quakers come about?

I was actually over in Europe visiting Geoff and had just come back from Amsterdam where I saw a Heineken sponsored gig with Black Milk and a whole lot of different producers, as well as a live band. And it was there that I saw Guilty Simpson perform as a sideshow. So when I got back I was talking to Geoff about it and he said he’d been thinking about an idea for a record that we could do together. We came up with the idea of doing a massive record with a lot of short tracks and a whole lot of different rappers on it. So I guess it was kind of conceived in his lounge room probably around 2010.

How has Stones Throw helped you with your career?

Well I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Madlib, J Dilla and MF DOOM, and a fan of the designer as well, Jeff Jank, who is pretty amazing. They just manage to not get swept away with the latest trends in a lot of instances and are just continually putting out good quality music. They’ve got a great fan base, especially in Europe, so it was just nice to get the work out through them and have a good push behind it. They’ve all been good to work with. The Katalyst and Space Invadas work that I’d done previously was out through BBE World Wide, who aren’t nearly as active or as big of a label as Stones Throw. So it was definitely an extra injection, and these follow up projects are going to come out through them. It was just nice to find a home with like-minded people, I guess. 

Tell us about your intention to leave Sydney and move up to Byron Bay.

Yeah, I’m going to try to do that before the year is out. I just need to finish these records and get a few things in place, but I’ve always enjoyed the vibe up around Byron. It’s obviously a very beautiful place and I’m keen to set up a studio when I’m up there. To do that in Sydney is pretty hard with the property prices, so it felt like a good time to make that move. Especially considering I don’t actually do a lot of work directly out of Sydney, apart from hooking up with artists as they come through town. I think it’s going to be really nice creatively as well. There’s a lot of natural beauty, and just to be in a different space after being in my current location for nearly 15 years will be good. There’s a good expanding creative community up there, with a lot of people making a lot of different stuff, whether it be music or art, and more and more people are moving up there over time. So there’s bound to be a few interesting opportunities that will arise through the move. I might start recording some bands and producing some other artists as well as just doing my own stuff once I get the studio set up, so that will be something slightly different that I’m looking forward to.

You’re working on the next Quakers project at the moment. Do you know yet when you’ll drop that album?

I’m hoping to get it out early next year, but it just depends on Stones Throw as to when they can schedule it in. Obviously they have other releases to consider, but ideally it will be out early next year. I’m looking to tour it over in Europe maybe this time next year, during their summer. It’ll be quite a bit of work to put the show together obviously with so many MCs involved. We’ll probably try and take six or so people over to Europe and do a run of shows. So that’s the plan, but we’ll see what actually happens.

Can we expect anything different from you in your upcoming tour with Guilty Simpson?

Well, we’ve been working on some stuff. I can’t really say exactly what it is at this stage, as we haven’t announced it yet. But we’ve been working quietly on a lot of tracks over the past two years and I’d say we’d be playing some of those for the first time live, so it’ll be exciting to see the crowd reaction. I’m really looking forward to performing Fitta Happia with him. He’s performed it a fair bit, but it’ll be the first time we do it live together as Quakers and Guilty Simpson. Guilty is just such a great live performer and really one of the best real MCs out there today. The last time he was in Sydney it wasn’t the greatest gig, as it was pushed back and it wasn’t that well promoted. So I think it’ll be a really good show this time around at the Basement, which is such an iconic venue. Hau is going to be performing at the show in Sydney as well with his new mixtape that he’s about to release, so that’ll be great. Big shout out to Hau! So I’m just happy to be involved and will probably play a lot of the Quakers stuff if I DJ before Guilty as well. Including some of the beats that aren’t out yet, so people can expect to hear a lot of new sounds that are due for release in 2015.

What stimulates your soul?

Creativity is probably one of the main things. I find soul in a lot of different things, whether it be in art or photos or music. But I think all the music that I do definitely has a soul influence. I think it’s a pretty broad spectrum of things that stimulates my soul but they’re all in the realm of creativity.

Want to hear more from Katalyst?






Crafting zaps and zings with The Gene Dudley Group

When you first sit back and take listen to The Gene Dudley Group, you can only wonder how many people were involved in creating this musical masterpiece filled with deep soul and funky music, but the joke it seems is on you.  It is in fact, a one-band man. At the age of 11 Gene Dudley knew how to play the guitar, by 15 the piano and at the age of 16 the drums. The 27-year-old self-taught instrumentalist resides in North London, his method is to grab an instrument, learn it and once he gets bored move onto something else.  

Gene Dudley reveals to Stimulate Your Soul about what it’s like creating music in your undies at his home studio, how he created an electronic synth which he dubbed the ‘Space Bongo,’ and why he stopped playing the violin because it would make a grown man cry. Margaret Tra writes.

You are one talented man; they say men can’t multi-task… how do you do it?

Thank you. I don’t really know how – I just do. I’ve loved playing music since a really young age. Once I get a grasp of an instrument, I get a little bored and grab something else. It’s a great way of brining that naive joy back into music making. Grab an instrument – and once you’re getting a sound out of it you’re well on your way!

You have a studio in your bedroom, do you or do you not make music in your undies? If so does this have an effect on your sound?

You could say that. The main way it affects my music is that I record music when I really feel inspired. When I don’t I go and do something else. Having your own studio is an ultimate freedom as far as that goes.

How did you learn to play all these instruments?

I’m self taught on every instrument I play. I’m not anti education in anyway, but I had a good understanding of guitar by the age of 11. That went across to piano smoothly at about 15, and drums was at the age of 16 – after school & college. I went to learn about recording as a student. That meant free studio time more than it did getting educated and I really got to feel for how to make complete music. Doing music by yourself makes it a great hobby, a way to fill your time whenever you feel up for it. Horns I got into a few years ago in my early 20s – I just went out and bought a cheap starter trumpet and was watching you tube clips how to play the basics. It grew from there. I got obsessed with it and within a few weeks was recording parts on it. Now I have a decent grasp on it and love it! Same happened with saxophone. Only that came really quick. That’s an enjoyable instrument to get going on! You can get a sound in a day. A melody in a week. Do a gig after a few months. I’m no expert but knowing the rudimentary in lots of instruments can get you pretty far with the right arrangements. Having limitations can help make song writing decisions for too!

In a live performance you chose to use young musicians to help you out, why is that? And how do you select them?

They’d be flattered by the term young musicians. It came really naturally – I got offered a gig supporting The Hot 8 Brass Band in London and asked around some friends and there it was. I’ve been doing music a while now. So I know a lot of great musicians and people.

You are quite experimental, what would be the weirdest tool you’ve used as an instrument?

I’m into my soldering and building equipment and effects. I built this electronic synth drum which I named ‘Space Bongo’ it gives out these tasty Sly & Robbie style zaps and zings. That’s probably up there in the weird list.

Is there one instrument you are completely bad at playing?

I bought a violin. Big mistake… I can do this fast tremolo thing on it that I’ve recorded a few times – but everything else I try and play sounds repressing, depressing and would make a grown man cry.

Walk us through your musical process. What would a typical session be like?

I normally throw some piano chords on a track first. Then I jump on drums and lay a beat. Grab the bass – get me some low end. Then I grab a trumpet or sax and start making up some melodies – layer those up nice and thick. Grab some effects, tape echo and spring reverb mostly. Start getting fresh with all that lot, maybe pop some guitar in after to link it all together. It can make for a great day.

What is next for you?

Plenty of gigging! Want to spread this record out to people who are in need of a new record!

What stimulates your soul?

Surprise, surprise – music. It’s so broad, that even when you’re totally bored of one angle of it, you can turn to a totally fresh angle and the love comes right back.

Listen to The Gene Dudley Group.


Flipping beats and samples around with self-confessed audiophile Freshtone  

He’s a self-confessed audiophile, and although he hasn’t been in the music industry for long, he’s slowly making a name for himself. His name is Jamie Kielland, or better known by his stage name Freshtone. Freshtone is a DJ turned producer, reigning from London but now calls Norway home. Traditionally he normally taps into oldschool, UK garage, 2 Step and drum and bass, but he’s also dabbled in hip hop, which is how he first grabbed our attention with his J Dilla tribute album.  We chat to Freshtone about his latest release, why J Dilla was such an inspiration for him to become a producer, and he walks us through his production process. Margaret Tra writes.

You haven't been in the music industry for long, how are you finding it?

Not long at all, actually only about three and a half years now! It has been an interesting journey. I started because one day I really wanted to learn the piano, so I bought a Midi keyboard, and realised I needed a program to go with it, so I talked with a couple of people and they pointed me in the direction of reason!. After some seriously frustrating time of learning the program, I latched on and didn’t just play piano anymore, I started producing, or so what I figured was producing.  

I find the industry to be like a big maze! You try to stick your head into every door possible, and sometimes someone sees you, but mostly people see you but they don’t pay attention to you.

How much of your work is producing rather than DJing?

Well I used to DJ years ago, doing such things as house UK garage and drum and bass, but after the move over to producing I really haven’t spent too much time on my DJing. Maybe I should unpack the old 1210's and have a spin soon.

Was it a natural step for you to turn to producing?

Natural? It was more of an accident; all I wanted to originally do was play piano. This obviously grew into producing slowly as I have no past knowledge, nor schooling of music in any such sense.

You've worked with artists' across the world, any particular artist that has shaped you in any way?

I can’t really say I have been shaped by any specific artists, or particular artist, but all the ones I have worked with are fantastic, and I send much love and respect out to them, hoping a positive outcome for their music lives.

What role does J Dilla play in your life?

J Dilla is more than enough to describe the reason I think I carried on making music. His music was just so amazing. Each beat was perfect, and each sample perfectly chopped and mixed! EQing was amazing and well you get the point, I love J Dilla, and he has a massive amount of respect from me.

As to do with a role he gave me, I think I started making music which he would have made then slowly realising that many people copied his style. So I’m trying to veer off and create my own things, currently while emphasising a couple dinks from the Dilla.

Are you working on any new projects?

Right now I’m working on a couple things, possibly a new album, but mostly on some track ideas for a record labels compilation release which should be quite exciting.

Tell us about your latest release.

‘The small things’ was actually built up from countless nights sitting up and just flipping beats and samples around. I wish I had a better story to tell about it, but really it’s just a ''Best of Freshtone'' you could say.

How do you produce your music, do you sample or create original beats?

I have to say it really depends, I play mostly 90% of all the instruments you hear layered over my tracks, but I use samples as a ''reference.'' You could say I build up off them, and all of a sudden I sit with a whole new song without even hearing the original sample.

What Stimulates Your Soul?

Food, music and love! Definitely, I can’t stress how much music stimulates me, if I didn’t have music. Well I just don’t even want to say what I would do!

Want to hear more from Freshtone? Jump onto his website.