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- Hi B-jam, congratulations on your first win!
Can you shortly introduce yourself to our readers?
B-Jam: I'm from Edinburgh, UK, and I've been making tracks for about 10 years. Never more so than these days though! Since I started entering beats to STBB about 7 months ago I've been making at least a track a week and it's been so good on multiple fronts. I'm also very active in the STBB community which is a joy as it's such a great friendly crew of talented beat makers from around the globe.
That's great to hear man!
Can you clarify your artist name?
B-Jam: For around the first 5 years of making tracks I was just called B-Jam and mainly released soul/funk/disco edits, but I always had another side to my musical tastes which was for the more eclectic sides of hip hop, downtempo and electronica. I had been releasing beats and DJ mixes from that side of me under the name Enos, (the name of the first chimp in space!), for a few years and when I gave a couple of tracks which sounded like a combination of my B-Jam and Enos sides to the vinyl label I used to be on (Smokecloud), the manager suggested releasing them on a 7" titled B-Jam vs Enos v1 which ended up doing really well. There was a v2 released a year later on the same label but by that time I'd adopted the B-Jam vs Enos moniker entirely as just about everything I was making suited it.
How did you learn to make beats?
B-Jam: Practice practice practice. I used to spend too much time learning about making/producing/mixing rather than actually playing and doing it myself, and while that put me in a great position to know my tools, I wish I'd been making as many beats 10 years ago as I do these days, as it's notably sped up my ongoing development as an artist.
What equipment or software (DAW, VST’s etc) and production process did you use on this track?
B-Jam: As with all my tracks these days, I primarily use Maschine Mk3 standalone along with a Komplete Kontrol Mk2 keyboard. VST wise the main one is Serato Sample, which along with the hands on Maschine Mk3 workflow rather than using a mouse and keybaord in a DAW has been a revelation in terms of having a far more creative and lightning workflow. I've also got a load of hardware synths but they weren't needed for this particular track. When I've composed and arranged everything I take the project into Cubase for final mixing and mastering.
What was your approach to get started?
B-Jam: I laid a basic beat down so I had the backbone groove so I could experiment with the sample chops in a rough context and get the ideas flowing.
How did you make use of the sample?
B-Jam : I tuned and chopped one of the piano samples and one of the chip tune samples in Serato Sample into 16 chops that I wanted to use which were then playable on the 16 pads of Maschine. One on one track, one on an other, in the same group, and then did something I'd been meaning to do more of for a while, which was to stack the samples so they play as one by using pad link. I mixed each track so the piano chops were the main upper register parts and the chip tune chop the main lower register part, added some FX and some group processing, and then jammed out some sequences. I then took the best ones and used them in my arrangement along with the drums, vocal samples (all from vintage sci-fi movies about space ships), special rule percussion, FX, and finally a sub bass line which was comprised of a filtered sampled bass guitar note.
I've never flipped chip tune samples before but I certainly will again. One of the best things about making beats for STBB is that the challenges set up each week often push you to do things you've never done before, so it's great for learning fresh new creative ways of beatmaking.
How did you go about the drumwork?
B-Jam: I use Algonaut Atlas for my drums which is a drum sampler/AI browser, which led me to quickly pull together a fresh new drum kit that I liked based on what it's learned that I like from my vast sample library of drum hits. I kept the drums pretty stripped back and simple as I wanted plenty room for the rest of the parts to breath. I usually have quite a lot of percussion but this only has a little. More stripped back tracks are something I want to get into making more often so this was a great successful experiment in doing that.
How did you incorporate the rule?
B-Jam I had used the very start of one of the provided samples which was mouth clicks as wide percussion, so to incorporate the given rule I done something similar and recorded a percussive rhythm made with my mouth and used that as my alternate wide percussion part.
Are there any interesting aspects about the track you’d like to share?
B-Jam: It's the shortest beat I've ever entered to STBB. I usually make tracks about double that length. If I had more time I'd probably have made it longer but the track as it is still more or less says everything I wanted it to so all good.
Yeah man, it definitely left me wanting to hear more!..
Any recent projects/collabs going on?
B-Jam:. I'm finding it hard to find time to do non STBB tracks at the moment, especially with the STBB monthly and side comps running, but I do have a beat tape that I've been slowly working away on for a while so hope to get out at some point this year. I've also started some collab beats with fellow STBB'er Granny David which are sounding promising. If only I had more than two days a week to work on beats!
- Glad to have you on board B-Jam and thanks for taking the time to this Q and A.. keep up the dopeness!
Interview by JoaGymshoe for STBB Forever and beatmakology.eu