• Sonny Digital Interviewed by Nardwuar

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    Nardwuar went hard at SXSW. The legendary interviewer spoke with a bunch of artists, including Snoop Dogg (his ninth interview with the rapper), Desiigner, Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, and Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic. However, one of the standouts was an interview with renowned hip-hop producer, Sonny Digital.

    A native of Atlanta, Sonny’s most popular productions include hits like ILoveMakonnen‘s “Tuesday,” 2 Chainz‘s “Birthday Song,” Future‘s “Same Damn Time,” and YC’s “Racks.”

    Watch the convo above.

    Related: Nardwuar Interviews Metro Boomin

  • Brasstracks Discuss How They Produced Chance the Rapper’s ‘No Problem’

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    Rising production duo Brasstracks recently sat down with Genius to discuss how they produced Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem.” The song, which features Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, won a Grammy this year for Best Rap Performance and peaked at No. 43 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

    In a six-minute video, Brasstracks break down the story behind the song and how they used stock sounds in Ableton Live to create it. The duo insists they didn’t use samples in the track, though it was inspired by Kanye West’s old style of sampling.

    Brasstracks also explain how they connected with Chance. “Everything we’ve ever put out, we get so many people saying that Chance the Rapper should get on it, and one day we tweeted that exact thing,” they say. “He retweeted it, and then he followed us. So we DM’ed him.”

    The duo recently wrapped up a tour with Big Gigantic and Keys N Krates and dropped an EP, Good Love. In 2016, they contributed to Anderson .Paak’s single “Am I Wrong” featuring Schoolboy Q.

    Watch Brasstracks break down “No Problem” above.

    Related: Chance the Rapper Performs ‘No Problem’ With Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz on Ellen

  • Watch DJ Premier’s Interview With The Breakfast Club

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    After years in the making, DJ Premier finally paid a visit to Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club. The legendary DJ and producer covered his entire career, from growing up in Texas and joining Gang Starr to working with The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, and Nas. The hour-long conversation is a must-watch for fans of classic hip-hop, production, and DJ culture.

    Watch it above and grab his new single with Miguel, “2 Lovin U,” on DJcity.

    Related: DJ Premier Discusses Scoring VH1’s ‘The Breaks’

  • Watch DJ Vice and Perez Hilton Go on a Taco Run

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    DJ/producer Vice recently caught up with blogger and TV personality Perez Hilton for a new episode of Electric Taco.

    In the video, the two discussed the current state of DJing and how the Los Angeles club scene has changed over the years. Hilton, who is famous for his celebrity gossip website, also talked about his lifestyle changes, becoming a father, and meeting Madonna.

    Watch above as Perez and Vice grab a bite at Project Taco in Los Angeles.

    Related: DJ Vice and Travis Barker Go on a Taco Run

  • Nardwuar Interviews Vince Staples

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    Legendary Canadian interviewer Nardwuar has dropped his first interview of 2017. This time, he caught up with outspoken Long Beach rapper, Vince Staples, who recently made a stop in Vancouver for his Life Aquatic Tour.

    In classic Nardwuar style, Staples fielded a barrage of unusual yet hilarious questions. Topics covered include the time he nearly drowned as a kid, his frequent collaborator, No I.D., Snoop Dogg, and why the old style of gangbanging is out. He also touched on little-known facts about his life, including his love of Joy Division and Microsoft Encarta. As always, Nardwuar brought along some gifts.

    Staples released his latest single, “BagBak,” in February. The track is slated to appear on his next album.

    Watch the interview above.

    Related: Drake and Noah ’40’ Shebib Interviewed by Nardwuar

  • Prolific Hitmaker Max Martin Tells His Story

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    Max Martin
    Max Martin (photo credit: Axel Öberg)

    Martin Sandberg, a.k.a. Max Martin, recently sat down for a rare and exclusive interview with the Swedish magazine, Di Weekend.

    A native of Sweden, Martin made a name for himself in the ’90s by writing and producing hits for the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and Britney Spears (his mentor was the producer behind Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants” and “The Sign”). The 45-year-old has since crafted hits for Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, The Weeknd, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, Ellie Goulding, among many others. His most recent number one single is Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!

    According to Di Weekend, “Max Martin has seen 58 of his songs place among Billboard’s Top 10. 21 of them have made it to the #1 spot. Only Paul McCartney and John Lennon have had more. As a producer, Max Martin has had 19 number one Billboard hits. Only Sir George Martin can boast of more.”

    The extensive conversation, Martin’s first since 2001, provides an in-depth look at one of the most successful songwriters and producers of all time. It also offers valuable songwriting and production insights.

    Below are some of the things we learned from the interview, which we recommend reading in its entirety.

    He believes the greatest pop songs are multi-dimensional.

    “You must be able to have more than one favorite part in the same composition. First out, you might like the chorus. Then, once you’ve grown a little tired of that, you should long for the bridge…”

    However, as a producer, his main concern is the vocals.

    “I’m very present whenever we record the vocal track. Some producers let technicians handle that part, while they themselves chill out on the couch. But I like to be there myself, handling everything on the computer myself. I want to know exactly what went on and I need to be able to recall it all. Singing involves a great deal of psychology. If the artist isn’t having a great day or finds it all boring. My role becomes that of a coach. Getting the very best out of the artist. Helping them perform at their very best when it’s game time. One way to get them there is to bring them out of their comfort zones. To coach them a little, get them to try new stuff.”

    He credits being a singer as his greatest asset.

    “From day one, the one thing that I’ve had the most use of in this profession is my background as a singer. To be able to sing and demonstrate your vision when you record a demo has been crucial.”

    He pays attention to the body language of his listeners.

    “People who lose their concentration give themselves away very quickly. If they start fiddling with their phones as the second verse kicks in, there may be something about the tune that wasn’t good enough. Something also happens when I listen as if with other people’s ears. I get nervous and think to myself, ‘Shit, this part is a bit too slow.'”

    He believes that collaborations have kept him relevant over the years.

    “It’s my collaborations with others that have made me able to stay on beyond the average lifespan of a songwriter. I’ve been blessed to work with so many young people. How do they do it? They make me work hard to keep up. I feel so humbled by this fact.”

    He keeps his ego in check by staying grounded.

    “My wife has been the greatest help. In making sure I stay grounded. My wife and some of my friends. But it’s hard. I can certainly understand artists who suffer because of their egos. This is also why I’ve chosen to stay away from what we’re doing now (the interview context). If nobody recognizes you, if nobody cares, it’s easier to avoid getting carried away. That’s way harder if you’re a famous artist. I’ve seen many examples of when things have gone really wrong.”

    He doesn’t understand jazz, but he loves it.

    “I’ve also started listening to jazz. A lot. I don’t understand jazz, and I find that liberating. The music stays just music. I just listen instead of listening to what kind of bass drum they’re using, you know? I’m simply not musically equipped for jazz, but I love listening to it. I love Chet Baker. It’s driving my daughter crazy. ‘Oh no, not Chet Baker again.’ She’s heard me play his music so much that by now she knows all his songs.”

    Related: A-Trak Discusses the Business of Remixing

  • Drake Talks Meek Mill, Kanye, and Dr. Dre in Interview With DJ Semtex

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    DJ Semtex and Drake
    DJ Semtex and Drake (photo source: Instagram)

    Drake recently sat down for a rare and extensive interview with DJ Semtex on Apple Music’s OVO Radio show.

    The conversation covered a wide range of topics, including working with Dr. Dre on Detox, his experience as a biracial artist, and allegations against him of ghostwriting and style jacking.

    Semtex is a veteran DJ and radio host from England. He was one of Drake’s early supporters in the UK, so the interview was a special occasion.

    Listen to the hour-long convo below.

    Here’s a breakdown of the topics:

    – Lil Wayne’s early support of him (2:30)
    – How he went from being on Degrassi to working with Dr. Dre (4:50)
    Views (9:20)
    – “One Dance” (12:30)
    – Why Jay Z and Kanye’s verses on “Pop Style” are short (16:15)
    – Kanye’s negative comments about him and DJ Khaled (18:10)
    – The meaning behind his line “Say I’m actin’ light skin” on “Childs Play” (20:00)
    – His experience as a biracial artist (21:10)
    – Not being recognized as a pop artist (23:34)
    – Missing the Grammy Awards (26:27)
    – Quentin Miller and Meek Mill’s allegations that Drake doesn’t write his own lyrics (28:48)
    – Beef with Meek Mill (34:48)
    – Working with Skepta and other UK artists (44:05)
    – Being accused of stealing other people’s styles (52:20)
    – Being “on top of the game” (54:20)
    – Why his upcoming “More Life” project (55:40)
    – Working with Giggs, a UK rapper who’s featured on “More Life” (57:00)
    – The impact of OVO Radio (1:00:10)

    Related: Watch Drake’s ‘Sneakin” Video Ft. 21 Savage

  • DJ Vice and Travis Barker Go on a Taco Run

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    Vice has returned with the first episode of season 2 of Electric Taco featuring Travis Barker. The Southern California native touched on numerous topics including his start with Blink 182, learning how to DJ, and how he balances his busy lifestyle.

    Watch above as the two catch up and make their way to Hugo’s in Agoura Hills, California.

    Related: DJ Vice and Mario Lopez Go on a Taco Run

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  • Pharrell Talks Politics and Music Business on ‘The Breakfast Club’

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    Pharrell on The Breakfast Club

    Pharrell stopped by The Breakfast Club show on Monday to talk about his new film, Hidden Figures. The Grammy-winning producer also spoke about politics and the music industry.

    On the current political climate:

    “I personally think that women and millennials will essentially be the larger number that ends up saving us in four years … Women have compassion. They think about the world. They birthed the world. The whole entire world came through the conduit of the woman’s body. Women consider that.”

    On Trump winning the election:

    “This pressure that’s gonna come about is going to make the best art, the best music, the best design, the best fashion. It’s going to be amazing. That’s one of the good things that’ll [come from the election].”

    On the challenges of working in the music business:

    “It’s not like in football where they actually sit down and have you take a course and [teach you] what to avoid and people to stay away from. They don’t do that in the music industry. This is the most abused industry ever … There’s some really nice and brilliant people that are in the music industry right now, but we need more of those people to be empowered so that they can continue to empower the artists.”

    Watch the full conversation below.

    Related: Watch the Video for Kid Cudi’s ‘Surfin” Ft. Pharrell

  • DJ Vice and Mario Lopez Go on a Taco Run

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    DJ/producer Vice has featured a variety of celebrities on his Electric Taco show, but the guest for his season finale might take the cake — or should we say — taco.

    The Los Angeles native recently caught up with none other than Mario Lopez, best known for his role as A.C. Slater on the ’90s TV show, Saved by the Bell.

    Watch above to see them talk shop as they drive to El Sauz Tacos in Glendale, California.

    Related: Vice and Chef Roy Choi Go on a Taco Run

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