You probably find yourself always interested in the people behind the music and how songs came to be. Some artists jump out at you because of a certain sound or vibe they create. Sometimes you look past the artist name, past the song title and see that “produced by” such and such and you already know it’s going to be good.
My short list of producers that never disappoint:
- The Neptunes
- Just Blaze
- and Trifeckta
Trifeckta, a Saint Louis based producer whose worked with many talented artists including:
- Rockwell Knuckles
- Fiend (International Jones)
- Sean Falyon
- Black Spade
- Tef Poe
was kind enough to give us some insight into how he does what he does.
HHM: You create epic tracks that hook listeners from the first note and keep us locked in till the end (at which point we replay the song). Tell us your thought process for arranging a song.
I appreciate the appreciation and the opportunity! Ultimately my goal is to make or be a part of something that makes you want to listen to it more than once. But having said that, my process for creating something like is pretty random.
Something simple as a word/phrase, an environmental sight/sound, a random thought, etc. Life is change, and my process changes all the time. I try to make sure that when I get a strong impulse or idea, that I attack it, or at least voice record it. Ever have a fly/mosquito in your crib, and cant quite catch it? For me, its like that.
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There are only so many hours in a day, and as much as I’d like to be in the lab 24/7 to capture lightning in a bottle, I have to stay on top of my responsibilities that afford me the opportunity to pursue music, as well as share time and attention to my family, as most of us do.
I’m like Floyd Mayweather with my time right now: I pick and choose my spots, and when I get a crease, I go for it, from whatever angle I’m given.
Through seemingly random happenstance, I was chatting with your brother a while back and he told me a story about him listening to “Government Name” by Rockwell Knuckles and him suggesting you make music like that without realizing you produced the song. How’d you progress from your first beat to where you are now? How do you brand yourself as a producer without getting “in the way of the music”?
I just make whatever I can with the time and inspiration created/provided. Yeah, there are some times I sit down and say, “Aight; today we gotta get 2 hip hop beats and one abstract beat made” or, “lets crank out 5 beats: 3 of em better be dope.” I hardly even meet the lofty goals/expectations I place on myself, but I figure if I aim high and small, I’ll better my chances of making the shot.
I make whatever. Because I try. I listen to all types of music, and try to capture the essence of what makes a good song infectious, and then, in my own way, try to reproduce that …”thing”, that makes you love the song, subconsciously. It’s a little bit of math, attention to detail, understanding the trends, and gut feeling that I picked up from studying all of my favorite musical influences.
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A great deal of the time, it results in me doing too much to a track (overproducing); but you live, learn, and hopefully apply what you’ve learned, and be able to show growth. I go back through beats/songs every December/January, just to see where I made gains, where I’m being hard-headed, and where I’ve regressed. It’s fun, to me.
I don’t really focus on “branding.” My main focus has always been to try to make sure my work is received as entertaining, creative, and dynamic. I want the artist to get it, and feel like they need to meet it with their best effort. I do aim to make an event out of it at times. Not so much in the promotion of the music, but the music itself. But I figure, “Why not make a moment out of it? Why not try to make it entertaining?”
What piece of engineering or production advice made the largest impact on you?
I think the biggest thing I’ve been told was to get the beats out there. Jake One, Just Blaze, Symbolyc One, and countless other producers that have achieved far more success than I may ever achieve, have all pretty much said that as an up-and-coming beatmaker/producer, its what you have to do.
You ultimately want to make a name for yourself, and it only comes from getting your art/product out where people can check it out. And for most of us in the beginning, you’re nobody. Who you gonna sell beats to with no track record/resume? Yeah, you may sell some, but in the very beginning, you’re more than likely giving it away.
Not to say you have to give it all away to any and everybody, but you have to be realistic and make some kind of peace with the fact that, if you want people to hear your best and consider you a person worth mention, you’ll need to put your best out there. Find a few artists within your reach that you may want to collaborate with on a song or two. Communicate that in a respectful and clear manner, and see if you can come together to create something that you’re both proud to share with others, and use as promotion of your creative and technical capabilities. And if it doesn’t come out as well as you’d like, …well, you gotta learn somehow, and there’s a lesson in everything.
What projects do you have coming down the pipeline?
Rockwell Knuckles and I have a project together on the way called “With All Due Respect”, but not before some work that I have on Tef Poe and Rockwell Knuckles’ “David Ruffin Theory” that will be released, and tracks on Family Affair’s “Suite 105”.
I also work directly with artists like Fiend(International Jones), Black Spade, and Sean Falyon, from some of everywhere, that have completed works coming soon. There’s a few more good people that I’m working with, but I hate to name drop and then it end up never being released, so definitely stay plugged via my twitter and soundcloud for all of the new stuff unfolding within the next few months.
Where do we learn/hear more Trifeckta?
Easiest way, is to follow me on twitter (@trifeckta) and check out the soundcloud page (soundcloud.com/trifeckta). I’m good for “retweeting” my newest or favorite completed work, as well as work that I admire from my associates within The Force family tree, St Louis hip hop culture, RedBull Big Tunes, music collaborators, favorite bloggers/writers/publications/visual artists/sites/etc., and everything else from all walks of life.
Check us out; click some links.
Be sure to let us know what you think via the comments section.
Also, Thank Trifeckta via Twitter <- It’s as easy as clicking the link.