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T.JONES: "What goes on?"
SAMIX: "Just working."
T.JONES: "You just produced 95% of the "Midriff Music" LP by Josh Martinez. Tell us about the album."
SAMIX: "It has 10 tracks of more upbeat material made for the summertime. A lot of Josh"s older pieces have been slower and darker. This is a total 180Ã'° change from his older works. It was supposed to be fully produced by me, but Josh added a remix by someone else at the last minute."
T.JONES: "When you produced an entire album like "Midriff Music" did you have a different approach?"
SAMIX: "Yeah. I would say it was more with what samples are chosen, especially voice samples. I like to have samples from movies and other stuff that run through the whole album, which all reflect the same kind of idea. I think it brings everything together more, rather than the project being just a bunch of tracks thrown together."
T.JONES: "What other projects with your production were just released?"
SAMIX: "Besides "Midriff Music", I also have a track on Coley Cole"s new album, "Goldplated Straitjackets" from the Lost and Found Generation and a track on the upcoming Chicharones album, which consists of Josh Martinez and Sleep. That is coming out soon. I have a lot of single tracks on multiple projects."
T.JONES: "When producing a song, do you have the beat ready for the emcee or do you create the beat while they come up with the theme, concept, or lyrics?"
SAMIX: "I usually have a big collection of beats and let the emcee choose. Then, I tailor it to the emcee. It throws me off when someone says, "Make a beat likeÃ¢?'¦". Then, I'm spending the whole time trying to make a beat sound like something that is not mine. If that"s the case, I lose interest. It"s better if an emcee chooses a beat."
T.JONES: "Do you have a favorite drum machine or sampler?"
SAMIX: "Actually, everything I make is in Fruityloops. It has gotten a bad rap, before people found out 9th Wonder uses it. But, I am very comfortable using it and I am able to make the final product sound like it came out of a MPC or other drum machine or sampler. I thought of getting a MPC but I think it would alter my style too much and I would end up chopping samples into a billion pieces and coming up with beats that sound like every other underground producer"s beat."
T.JONES: "Can you explain the creative process of producing a song?"
SAMIX: "It sounds corny but it"s just a feeling you get when you know it is right. Whether it"s hearing a certain sample or hearing an emcee redo a verse, while you hear it, you just know it is right. I and the emcee just bounce ideas off one another until we find something we like. It wasn"t really this way for "Midriff Music" because I was in San Diego and Josh was in Canada."
T.JONES: "When did you first begin producing hip-hop?"
SAMIX: "It was back in high school, about 7 years ago, which consisted of 2-bar drum loops and 2 bar samples. It was more experimentation, trying to figure out bars and beats and samples and sounds. Actual recording and producing didn"t happen until the middle of college, when I met Sayre from the Lost and Found Generation and made "One Side Away"."
T.JONES: "How did you meet the people from Lost And Found Generation?"
SAMIX: "I had a music business class at UC Santa Cruz and Sayre sent out a class-size e-mail saying he had a hip-hop website. That caught my attention because I had been looking for something hip-hop related at UCSC. I e-mailed him and found out he was an emcee, so I told him that I had some beats. We met up a couple times. After that, I didn"t hear from him for about a year. Then, one day, he called and told me that he wanted to record. From there, he started bringing in more emcees and musicians he knew. That is how LFG started and grew. Through Sayre, I met Ashkon, Cole, Ben Mills, who played keys on "Midriff Music", and a bunch of other very talented people. It"s cool to know that such a small thing we started is now growing into something that will put Santa Cruz on the map hip-hop wise."
T.JONES: "Out of the released songs you produced, which one are you most proud of?"
SAMIX: "It would be "Time Alone" from Josh Martinez"s "Midriff Music" because it accomplishes everything I want in the beats I make. It evokes a ton of emotion, breaks down and builds up, and evolves over the 4 and half minutes. This makes it interesting to listen to. It started as a 2-bar loop which was cool. Once Ben recorded the keys, I knew it was something way better than a great 2-bar loop that would have a bigger effect. Some people told me that they cried after listening to it. This is good because that means it touched them deeper than their ears. This was only accomplished with the help of Ben"s musicianship."
T.JONES: "Since there are a myriad of different emcees in Lost & Found Generation, how do you choose which beat goes to which emcee?"
SAMIX: "It"s pretty much first come, first served. A lot of times, someone will choose a beat and not do anything with it or lose interest in it. Then, it circulates through the crew and sometimes, outside the crew. We are close with Rec League Records out of Santa Cruz so a couple of my beats have been going to their projects lately."
T.JONES: "Was most of "Midriff Music" recorded without Josh being near you?"
SAMIX: "Yep, the whole thing. I met him once in L.A. at a show. He expressed interest in doing a song or two. I sent him beat CDs with some skeleton beats. He recorded to them then. He then decided to do a whole project with me and him, which I was hoping he would want. I didn't meet him again until February of this year, when "Midriff Music" was all done and just about to be released. Everything was done by sending material back and forth online or through the mail."
T.JONES: "How is recording songs from a great distance different than having an emcee with you in person?"
SAMIX: "When they are there in person, you get direct feedback allowing you to change the beat accordingly. You also have a say in the vocals, different takes, effects, and adlibs. It is kind of nice to not have the emcee there in person as well, especially if the emcee is very nitpicky and over your shoulder saying, "Put this here and put this there". You have a little more freedom with the beat when the emcee far away. Josh was very good at giving me freedom with the beats, which is especially evident by allowing a third of "Midriff Music" to be instrumental pieces."
T.JONES: "What equipment do you use?"
SAMIX: "Record Player for samples, CDJ800"s if I need to mix anything or scratch some samples. Cool Edit Pro for recording. Fruityloops for the beats."
T.JONES: "Which instruments are your favorites?"
SAMIX: "Upright bass is my favorite. I really like percussion instruments like vibes and marimbas."
T.JONES: "How do you making a living before or outside music?
SAMIX: "I work for the IT department for a hospital down here in So Cal. It takes a lot of time and energy away from music but the pay is good. So, I can put it towards music."
T.JONES: "Word association. I am going to say the name of a person or group and you say the first word or phrase that comes into your head. Okay?"
SAMIX: "Sure thing."
T.JONES: "Fat Joe."
SAMIX: "Rather have Big Pun back."
T.JONES: "Dead Prez."
T.JONES: "Pigeon John."
SAMIX: "Not a fan."
T.JONES: "The Stone Roses."
SAMIX: "Never heard of them."
T.JONES: "Manny Fresh."
T.JONES: "The Rza."
T.JONES: "Kutmasta Kurt."
SAMIX: "Hit and miss."
SAMIX: "Hard. Then soft, then hard again."
T.JONES: "George Bush."
T.JONES: "What emcees would you like to produce for in the future?"
SAMIX: "Mr. Lif, Motion Man, Black Sheep, and Nice & Smooth, for sentimental value. I could name my favorite emcees too. Gza, Mos Def, Big Pun, Zion I, and Nas. They are out of reach in one way or another. Then again look, at what 9th wonder did. Zion I."
T.JONES: "As a producer, who are your biggest influences?"
SAMIX: "DJ Premier, DJ Shadow, Rjd2, Daft Punk, Hybrid, and Quantic."
T.JONES: "What song made you fall in love with hip-hop?"
SAMIX: "Black Sheep"s "Black With N.V." Simple but hot beat. Amazing lyrics and wordplay. There are multiple meanings with social commentary. It is probably in my top 3 songs of all time. I could listen to it all day."
T.JONES: "Where were you on the September 11th terrorist attack? How did you deal with it and how do you think it has affected hip-hop?"
SAMIX: "I was driving to my summer job, heard about it on The Howard Stern Show, and thought it was a joke. It was very surreal to me. I thought I was watching a movie. I think it is like any other huge event. When it comes to hip-hop, it provides more material for expression and conversation. Hip-hop will take the issues and topics which have been buried over the years and bring them to the forefront."
T.JONES: "What has been in your CD player or on your turntable recently?"
SAMIX: "The new Daft Punk, although it"s garbage compared to their second album. Nice & Smooth"s first album, Coley Cole"s 12" b-side "Eternal Curse", and a Nina Simone "Best Of" collection which I put together."
T.JONES: "What is the major misconception people have of you?"
SAMIX: "Because I am quiet, people think that I must not have any opinions on things or that I must be scary or unapproachable. They turn my quietness into something bad and think, "Ahh, he does not say much. Watch out for him." I am very shy and it takes time for me to come out of my shell. I'm not one for busting in a room saying, "Look at me. Listen to me! I am the best! Rah rah rah!""
T.JONES: "What is in the future for Samix? Remixes? Albums? Collaborations?"
SAMIX: "I"m working on Sayre"s next album. I"m hoping to do a project with Avie of LFG but he is very hard to keep track of. Hopefully, I'll get to do something with Zion I or Mr. Lif and continue my relationship with Josh Martinez and Camobear Records. I should have a track on the upcoming Chicharones album as well. I really should do my own solo album but I am my worst critic. I never feel anything I do is good enough. I can always hear the smallest things that should have been fixed and it drives me nuts. There is a brewing idea of remixing Coley Cole"s album "Goldplated Straitjackets". I'll try to get in on that if it goes through."
T.JONES: "Any last words for the people reading this?"
SAMIX: "I hope you enjoy what I come up with. I appreciate people taking the time and money to hear my beats, especially considering the sea of options out there in record stores. Check out www.lostandfoundgeneration.com to hear other projects I have produced and the projects LFG has come up with. Also, check out "Goldplated Straitjackets" by Coley Cole. It just received 4 stars in URB magazine. Thanks for the time, Todd."
Thank you SAMIX!