What's up my man.. thanks for letting Official Crates interview you. First of all.. tell the people who you are and where you’re from?
What's up sir! I go by Beatnick Dee. If I was as high as my friend was when I was thinking of changing my name, it might've been Gold Platapus haha. I'm from the Countryside, South West UK but I was born in San Francisco. I've been back in Cali, Los Angeles to be exact, for almost 4 years now. I'm a producer first and foremost and also a record/sample dealer.
Now I first heard about you via beat digging circles.. you come very highly recommended… you are a well respected
record dealer.. selling samples and breaks. How did you get started? How long have you been digging?
Why thank you, my dude. I've always been fascinated by vinyl. When I was younger, there was a lot of hip-hop coming out at the time that was vinyl only. I started buying 12''s and then raiding my parents collection. They had Jazz, Fusion, some Rock, new age stuff, a few random things from my dads travels. I've been digging for about 10 years. My Dad found an old turntable in a skip (dumpster) and that's what I listened to all my first records on. It lasted a few years, then I got turntables. Started making beats after that. The record dealing thing just started from making some extra cash on the side. I figured I'd sell it to cater to producers looking for breaks/samples. I started that in around 2005/6. Time went on and it grew, digging more, and selling more. People were hitting me up for records to sample, specific genres and sounds. Now I do record shows sometimes, sales by appointment, direct, ebay etc..
I especially like that you deal with a lot of overseas breaks/loops… that's my thing… things I can’t just walk into a record store and find over here. I know you travel the world.. and your International Beats series is CRAZY for real. Where is the best place in the world for digging to you?
Glad you dig the breaks series bro. That's a tough one as far as best place. I still really need to go to Japan and dig. Seems like they have EVERYTHING. Bangkok is a really cool place to look for records. Although, you dig for 10 minutes and your hands are BLACK. Most of the stores there are open front style and the smog/pollution there is pretty bad. Also Prague is great. Eastern Euro prog stuff is pretty cheap there. I wouldn't be surprised if prices have gone up there now though. Also, to be honest LA is amazing to me. It's a melting pot of cultures so you can find stuff from all over the world. Compared to England, it's a lot cheaper and easier to find good stuff here.
Whats your craziest digging story?
I definitely have a few. One that springs to mind is one night a few friends and I were out having a few drinks on sunset blvd and
found a Russian Book store, we were a bit drunk at the time and we go in and I start having a conversation with the owner. Real quirky Russian dude. I asked about records of course and said he had a lot of stuff in the back. We arranged to meet and I came back with a portable. I'm going through his records, and this back room smells pretty bad and is real dusty and dirty. He was a bit of a hoarder. He's sitting back there at his little office and starts watching Porn! All casual like it's nothing, while I was digging RIGHT THERE! So weird. I found some amazing stuff for cheap in there so that awkward situation was worth it haha. I never went back. It was just funny to me how a random night out drinking turned into finding some dope music!
Another one happened in 2011. Those in LA know that the owner at Record Collector is notorious for being a dick basically lol. Very judgemental of customers. Check the reviews on yelp. Everyone has a bad story about him. Nothing in there is priced either. His partner is kinda friendly, mad quirky and farts the whole time. He was telling me about Prince, Michael Jackson, and Pete Rock digging there in the past.
The owner is always asking people what they want. He's not cool if you say ''oh I'm just looking'' or ''I'm after some prog rock''. He wants you to tell him a specific record you want. He thinks his store is a museum. To be fair it kinda is. The back room is like a maze of records. So I go in there and turn on the British charm a little. We chat away and he's getting on my nerves, asking tons of questions and ranting away about
hipsters and people that don't understand music or whatever. I just want to focus. Anyway... I find a shelf of library records. Its mostly the Italian Cam label. I came away with 20 or so. $25 a piece. Quite a few of the really sought after ones. Fine Machine, International Panoramic, Drammatici e suspense/Metralleta Stein were among them. I went back a week later and he said now they're $35 which was weird. I also got a sealed copy of the exit 9 record there for way under the going rate. I copped a few more Cams and made a pretty nice sum off selling those. I think a lot of diggers know the feeling of getting some dope records at a great deal from a dealer/store owner who's known to be an asshole haha. Bare in mind this was my first time in Cali pursuing music/networking and whatnot. I was subletting a place and the money I made from those records helped me survive and pay rent for a couple months while interning a Tres records in Korea town. Good times.
Official Crate Music also has a “Top Five Record Reviews” section..I’d love for you to contribute one day… would you be interested in that?
Absolutely. I've been thinking about it already. It'll make me go through my collection again and revisit stuff I haven't heard in awhile!
How long have you been producing?
Around 8/9 years but more seriously since 2010.
What is your process? Do you find loops first or.. do you match loops to drum patterns? How do you go about making a beat?
photo shot by Chris Baliwas (@reallynathan)
I do both of those but it changes from time to time. Usually I'll take a loop from a record or I'll just be inspired by something I'm listening to. Sometimes I'll play some keys or synth over a loop, and start building over it, then eventually take the sample out so I'm left with something original. That's a fun way to do it. Other times you have to simply let a dope loop rock. I think Just Blaze said that. I really enjoy merging samples with synth/vst sounds though. Kontakt have some amazing instrument sounds that are so close to the real thing. A little tweaking and it sounds like you really had someone come in and play sax over your beat.
Now i’m really feeling the new lp… 'Creative Medicine'.. you really show your versatility on this Lp. What is it like stepping out as an artist now.. and not only the producer?
Man this album, my debut, really was a labor of love. My passion project. It's cool to be able to step out like this. I always wanted to
do this type of project and was always inspired by Dre, Pete Rock, Dilla doing these type of projects. Producers really don't get the credit they deserve. We're kinda like the unsung heroes of the industry. I really appreciate you checking it out and glad you felt the versatility. That was my goal. I love all kinds of music, of course and the same goes for Hip-Hop. It's ok to love 'boom bap' style production AND more current 'trap' style beats/artists. I'll listen to Roc Marci, then Rick Ross right after haha. It's all inspiring energy.
I wanted to combine all the elements I love, dusty drum breaks, clean hard drums, spacy synths, mellow soul, 808's with various tempos, taking you on a little journey I guess. I also wanted to have a couple singers involved to further show the range and
possibilities. I can't see Big Twins of Infamous Mobb and Thes One from People Under The Stairs ever being on the same project again! I think it worked..
I love the cut with Dynas.. “Truth”.. and “This Ain’t a Love Song” with Yung Miss… "Be Free" and “Burning Clouds” are crazy too.. What was the best part about making this lp?
Thanks man! The best part was putting it out and finally letting it go after all the hard work that went into it. Seeing the reaction and hearing that people enjoy it. It was definitely a fun and eye opening process. I learned a lot. To do these things right, there really is so much that goes into it behind the scenes that fans don't really know about. Saving sessions from hard drives, lining up vocal layers without the session, coordinating content video and single wise, getting sites to premiere songs, getting the artwork right, cd, vinyl production, press releases.. so much. I'm really glad I did all this though.
I see that you also recently signed with the Soul Assassins Production Team…congrats on that! How is that going?
Yes, my deal is with Fredwreck specifically. He works out of the Soul Assassins studio with Dj Muggs. We're working on various things and he shops my beats around basically. So far I've had some demos back with The Game, and Jon Connor too. Not sure if they'll come out yet but I'm enjoying the process and it's great to hear these songs either way.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
I'm focusing on placements for the most part right now, and just sending a lot of beats to Fredwreck. I'd love to do an instrumental album at some point. I definitely have the material. I want to work on a follow up to Creative Medicine within the next couple years as well. It just might be more instrumental this time, but we'll see. I have a song coming out on Jehst's new album next year. He was always a huge influence growing up in the UK on 'underground' hip-hop over there.
Any advice for someone just starting out digging.. or producing for that matter? What advice do you have for people who want to follow in your footsteps?
Have fun first and foremost. If it's something you're really passionate about then do it for that. If you get to a point you want to pursue it as a career then go for it. Definitely don't do it the other way around, pursuing it as a means to make big bucks or to become 'famous'. The minute it stops being fun though, I'd probably let it go.
Anything you want to add?
Huge congrats on the new site man! Everything looks great. Thanks for the records too, had to cop a few. I appreciate the interview and all the best with your future endeavours. Keep digging for the fiery vinyl.
Any shout outs?
Massive Shout out to Jason aka Korea Danger & Jorge aka Cholo Jorge. These guys help manage me and they put a lot of work in, helping put my album together. Also big up Fredwreck, thanks for the opportunity!
What's your contact info for anyone trying to reach you?
Facebook: Beatnick Dee
Beatnickdee.com has music/videos/updates/records etc..
Bandcamp cd/digital: https://beatnickdee.bandcamp.com/album/creative-medicine
Vinyl Ep - US: http://www.undergroundhiphop.com/beatnick-dee-creative-medicine/KU016EP/
Deluxe version + International Breaks - http://hiphopdrumsamples.com/collections/international-breaks-series