Music

Interview: KVBeats

by Kil

Being a producer myself, I realize one of the hardest things is getting your music heard, especially if you’re not a MC yourslef or in a group. When you look at the majority of the successful producers in the game, they all were a part of a crew and that help get their name of there. Primo was in Gangstarr, Dilla had Slum, Pete had CL, RZA had the Wu, 9th had Little Brother, etc. So any help I can give a fellow producer to help get their music out there, I’m on board.

I first got put on to KVBeats through okayplayer where he was giving me advice on putting together my home studio. Since money was cool enough to take some time out to school me, I slid through his blog and found out that he put together an album featuring some of the big names in hip hop (Slum Village, Royce Da 5’9, Odisse, Pace Won, Smooth the Hustla, Lil Vic, DV Alias Khryst and Doo Wop) and put it all together through myspace! I was blessed to grab KV for a minute from his busy schedule of promoting the album to ask him about how the album came about, his favorite produced hip hop album and what hip hop is like in Denmark…yup, money’s from Copenhagen, Denmark.

How did you get started making beats?

Basically I started messing around with a sampler way back in the early nineties on my Amiga 500 computer, but it wasn’t until I was working with my man Azerel in 2001 that I really felt the urge to produce my own beats. I would say 2003 was the year I really got heavy into beatmaking.

What is hip hop like in Denmark?

These days it’s very low key. Here in our capital of Copenhagen we’ve got a few minor jams and one weekly club event poppin’ off. The yearly ‘MC’s Fight Night’ battle is the biggest hip hop related event with mainstream coverage since ‘8 Mile’ came out.

What made you decide to make an album?

I was sending beats to artists through Myspace for the longest time and handing out beat CDs at shows, but that never amounted to nothing. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and invest in my own talent. I was probably 4 cuts deep into the project when I decided to go for the whole album.

Your project has features from some real big heavy hitters. How did you go about putting your album together?

I started contacted artists through Myspace back in 2007 when it was still a live community and always wrote ‘Serious Collaboration’ in the topic of my message. I sent every artist 2 beats picked specifically for them and asked them how they felt about the beats and didn’t just pick whatever. Also I made sure they understood how much I knew about their back catalogue and expected from them not just to go in the studio, light up a blunt and press record. In my opinion this is one of the major things setting my album apart from other producer records out right now. I know how I want my hip hop to sound and expect nothing but the best from the artists I work with.

Oddisee came through Copenhagen on his first European tour and stayed on my couch for a few days, that’s how that collaboration happened.

Little Vic is a talented emcee I knew years back from Myspace, we had already recorded a mixtape joint together and I knew the chemistry was right. Back in October when I was in New York I went out to kick it with him in Long Island and record a little promo video:

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Mic Geronimo was out here in Denmark to perform in 2007 and got a hold of a beat CD from Danish emcee J-Spliff. My beat for ‘Clap To This’ was on the CD since I had given it for Spliff to use earlier. I don’t know why he put that particular beat on the CD, but Mic obviously digged it, recorded his own song over it and put it up on his Myspace page.

By chance I stumbled upon the song and heard my beat underneath his vocals. At first I was shocked that my beat had been used without me knowing, but on the other hand it sounded great and Mic G is a legendary Queens emcee. I got in touch with him and his manager, and Mic explained how he had tried to find the creator of the beat but couldn’t. He gave me credit on his Myspace page and we agreed that I could put the song on my album.

About a year later Radio DJ Peter Rosenberg plays it on his “Late Night” show on HOT 97 in New York and Mic G wants to release it as a 12″ single, but the vocals were never sent to me. So what you hear is the exact version of the song he recorded over my demo beat tweaked by my sound engineer Anders Schumann.

How was it collaborating with the artist on the project?

Some were very straightforward, solid working relationships, others were challenging to say the least. I learned a lot about networking and communicating with artists on the grind. Cappadonna from Wu-Tang actually ripped me off, he was supposed to record 2 verses for a song and I was naive to transfer money upfront. I never heard back from him or his manager.

What is your favorite song on the album?

Probably the Slum Village track (‘We Do It’), ‘cos that was the first collaboration that started the whole idea for the album. Also I’m a big fan of them dudes since I heard the Fantastic Vol. 2 album and Jay Dee’s production. I sent them the ‘Things I Need’ beat that Pace Won ended up using, but they picked another joint straight off my Myspace page and recorded over that rough mp3 version. That first demo sounds mad grimey!

What type of equipment do you use to make beats?

I’m a big FL Studio user since the ‘Fruity Loops’ days. I actually punch in all the samples on my PC keyboard, no midi controller or nothing. Bought an MPC1000 a couple of years ago out of curiosity, but couldn’t adjust to it and sold it the same year. Chop my samples in Cool Edit and arrange the songs in Cubase 4. I use a Technics 1210 turntable for sampling.

What do you think is the best produced hip hop album and why?

It’s really hard for me to mention just one, but if I have to I’d say Gang Starr “Moment Of Truth”. What makes it great production wise is that Premo really defines his (back in ’98) new chopped up style throughout the album which revolutionized the whole beatmaking game.

Who is your favorite producer and why?

Difficult one, I’m a golden era cat so I’d say a mixture of: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Kanye West, Jay Dilla, Madlib and The Bomb Squad. They all represent that sound of break beat chopping and soulful hip hop I love.

Where can people buy the album at?

The digital version and the instrumentals can be downloaded on iTunes, Napster and Emusic and the limited vinyl LP (300 copies on blue wax) should be available very soon at Fatbeats.com in the US, HHV.de in Germany and Jet Set distribution in Japan. If you want to pay the shipping charges you can also order it from me directly at konvee@gmail.com – straight out the trunk nahmean :)

Tell the people where they can check for you at (twitter, myspace, facebook, blogs, etc.) Do you have any shout outs?

Kvbeats Youtube
Kvbeats Twitter
Kvbeats.blogspot.com – for more background stories
Kvbeats Myspace

Shout out to you for understanding my struggle and doing this interview, Jim Drew (Soulspazm Records), JJ Jensen (Foundation Media), Benny (Ill Adrenaline Records), Dj Spin Easy, Anacron, Dj Noize, FredNukes, Little Vic, The Asmatik (Breathe Easy), D.V. Alias Khryst, Pace Won, Prince Po, Oddisee and the rest of the artists who worked with me on this album.