The stage is set for the 2012 SLUMFest Beat Battle finals. The contender, Fugitive Beatz, glares at his opponent, the reigning champion, after playing 60 seconds of presumably his best beat battle material. With a victorious smirk of anticipated victory now reminiscent of Barack Obama during the latter 2 debates, JBJR (born James Bishop) tells DJ Who which track to queue. 10 seconds in to the intro of the JBJR track, the collective crowd’s mind is blown. JBJR’s 10 second intro erased all memory of what his would be contender sounded like.
That was my introduction to JBJR.
HHM:Your instrumentals have a really rich and clear sound. What’s your approach to getting that sound? Take us through your basic mixing process.
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Well, I actually do all of my mixing in my DAW, FL Studio, since I don’t have any studio equipment and I mix while I actually work on my production. I used to mix my stuff down the best I could with different effects and compression tools and take it to my car since my setup before June of this year was pretty much on its last leg. I had a 7-year-old Dell Latitude from ITT Tech that had failing battery life, one good internal speaker since the sound card was jacked up, and very low RAM and hard drive space….and I used to compete in beat battles with that!
I got a new desktop, which more or less was a low end gaming computer this June, and learned some new stuff from a friend of mine in the industry and he just put me on game about using as much raw sound as possible and it just went from there. When I say raw sound, I mean no compression or filters unless it’s for an intro or something to that effect. After that, it’s just experimenting with highs, lows, and volume. I try to make it as easy as possible for an engineer to manipulate if it ever needs to be professionally mixed down.
HHM: You’ve clearly been honing your craft for some time as a producer and engineer. How did you to get to your current level of awesomeness? Who influenced you as an engineer and producer as you developed. Take us from your start to now.
Lol, I wouldn’t call it awesomeness since I just do me and hope people like what I put out. I just practice as much as I can and learn from whoever is willing to teach me that has more experience than me. It took me roughly 7 years off and on to be where I am now skill-wise, and I’m nowhere close to where I want to be musically.
My influences are definitely some local producers like Trifeckta, Foxx and Rick Tha Ruler of Starstrukk Productions, Tech Supreme, Skyy Stylez, Black Spade, Basement Beatz, Urban Legendz etc. I do have my famous influences like Pete Rock, J Dilla (R.I.P), Just Blaze, 9th Wonder, Timbaland, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, S1.
I started getting interested in production back in high school when my cat Bell Boi did a PowerPoint presentation in Japanese class that piqued my interest and it went from there. He showed FL Studio and helped show me the basics and I ran with it. Got in the beat battle scene when I met Trifeckta at a friend of mine’s listening party and he told me check out one, met DJ Who at Atomic Cowboy and the rest is history.
HHM: You run an amazing community, called the Producer’s Network, on Facebook that has over 750 members. How did it come about and where would you like to see it go in the future?
Ah The Producer’s Network. I started that around the end of 2010, beginning of 2011. I got the idea when Trifeckta and I were discussing some stuff with helping producers find an outlet and help each other get better and I just took the initiative and made the group on Facebook. It started off locally, then with people I met from YouTube, and they added people, those people did the same, and so on.
It REALLY took off when I added 9th Wonder to the group and he tweeted about it. I kid you not, I had 200 requests in one hour that day alone. I would like to to grow more outside of Facebook since I have well over 700 people in the group and get a website going and even events, but just need to invest more time and money in it when the opportunity shows itself.
HHM: What piece of engineering or production advice made the largest impact on your growth?
The best advice came from Trifeckta himself when he told me, “Be an asshole to yourself and your craft”. I live by that and it works, seriously.
HHM: What should we expect from you in the future? Where do we go to keep track of you and hear more JBJR aural dopeness?
Well, I’m going to look into traveling more out of town when the time and money presents itself and go to different cities and try my luck at beat battles. I did some production with Indiana Rome’s new album Trillogy and some stuff with Vega Heartbreak and looking to work with more artists as well as trying to get placements.
I just released a remaster of my first beat tape called “Just Beats, Joy, & Rhythm: Cookin’ Soul (Viewtifully Remastered)” and it’s on my Bandcamp, as well as DatPiff so definitely check that out.
Definitely check out my crew too, His Master’s Dance (HMD) Productions. Look them up, It’s myself, Bell Boi, Epidemic Phaze, ZeroBeat, and Kick Ass Alyssia. They all have projects coming out soon so be on the lookout for them as well!
Please be sure to thank JBJR via twitter < It’s as easy as clicking that link.