Interview with STBB Forever Beat Battle #697 Winner, Sonic Skater
Can you shortly introduce yourself?
My name is Ian aka Sonic Skater, I'm 22 years old. I've been playing instruments since 5th grade (2007 - 2008) and I got into beat making and music production around the beginning of high school.
What was your first STBB entry?
My first STBB entry was STBB 419 (5 years ago?!)
Can you tell us about your musical or other inspirations.. acts/ producers etc?
This changes constantly, I'm always listening to new music and what I'm into at the time varies a lot. I would say Robert Glasper, Weather Report, Jeff Beck, J Dilla, MF Doom, and Tyler the Creator have always been at the top of my list. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Kaytranada, Yung Bae, Steely Dan, Thundercat, Tame Impala, Knower, and Vulfpeck.
How did you learn to make beats..and do you play any instruments?
Beat making has always been a self-taught thing for me, I didn't know anyone personally who was doing it growing up. Lots of youtube videos and reading technical manuals hah. I took lessons for Trumpet in 5th grade, and was in band in middle school. I lost interest in that when I started learning to play guitar and bass from my dad around the same time. I'd consider guitar my main instrument. We had a drumset in our band room which I played on before school, I can still hold a beat on drums nothing too fancy. Lately I've been teaching myself piano/keyboard. I guess I've always been a multi-instrumentalist just because my family all play instruments and I get bored easily and want to create a new sound.
What equipment or software (DAW, VST’s etc) and production process did you use on this track?
This one I kept everything pretty simple/sparse/dry. I used Fl Studio, the only VST I used was Massive for the synth in the first breakdown section. Other than that everything is just drums and samples.
How did you make use of the sample?
As Renzo said the sample is pretty much O'naturallè̩ haha. Chopped it up a bit and played around with different configurations until I got something I was happy with.
How did you go about the drumwork?
The drums/swing on this one is my favorite part of the track. Nothing is quantized, besides a small tweak here or there to keep the groove I wanted. I actually recorded each drum track with my computer keyboard haha. I have a Maschine MK2 and a midi keyboard I could have used but I was in a rush to get it all down. I like mixing straight and swung drums, I think that's where a lot of the groove comes from on this one where the kick, snare, and hi-hat will be in slightly different grooves in the same bar.
Are there any interesting aspects about the track you’d like to share?
I think I pretty much covered everything. I actually started grouping tracks in the mixer and getting ready for the mixing/mastering phase but said fuck it and just posted it haha. I think mixing/mastering is still the area I struggle most with. I was reeeally impressed with Joa's track this week I even pulled it into my DAW to see if I could reverse engineer it haha.
Any recent projects/collabs going on?
Nope! I'm sure I'll do more of these battles in the coming weeks, it's been a lot of fun.
Anything else you'd like to say?
I didn't realize I'd been doing these battles for 5 years until I filled this out, that's crazy! Thanks for keeping this forum running, I've improved a lot musically from the challenge of it and hearing everyone's submissions every week. And thanks for all the votes everyone! Peace