1. First off, introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Jake One I'm a producer from Seattle that has been doing beats for about 17 years now. I've worked with some of the biggest and smallest artists in hip hop during that time.
Alkota: I've been noticing a trend with some of my favorite producers lately who predominately do sample based production. There seems to be a shift from chopping samples to producing original music featuring more synthesizers and live instruments.
2. Do you still heavily sample when you make beats? Or are you doing more sample free and original production? (elaborate on why you do original/sample free music, do you like chopping samples more/creating original beats?
At this point I pretty much do it all. When I started trying to incorporate more live instrumentation in my beats, I was extremely particular of maintaining a certain type of sound. I'm always going to sample records but there is a different type of satisfaction that comes with making something that can't be duplicated. I started being concerned about the consequences of sampling around 2003 when I started working with major label artists and kept losing all of my publishing to sample clearance. Since that time I've been sued a couple times over sampling on some of my indie releases which is some bullshit because the records aren't really generating much revenue in the 1st place. All of the fans who are discovering samples online and posting about them are basically giving a treasure map to all of these publishing companies to sue sample based producers. Not really much you can do about it so it is what it is.
Alkota: I remember reading an interview with you in Scratch Magazine circa 2004 where you talked about keeping your day job and making beats on the side.
3. Are you making records/beats for a living/full time career or do you still hold down a 9-5/Day Job?
I haven't had a job since 2005. It got to a point where I was making enough money to survive without a day job and I needed to take producing more seriously. The upside of being self employed is that I get to do music whenever I want for the most part. The negative is that you never know when you are goin to get paid so you have to do a lot of saving lol.
4. What advice would you give someone whose interested in pursuing a full time career as a producer/beat maker?
I think every year it becomes increasingly more difficult to make a living doing music. So many of the revenue streams in which a producer could get money are drying up all over. When I started working with artists with budgets in the early 2000's I would get paid all the time for records that didn't come out. Now it is hard to get paid even after a record comes out! Even a lot of the people I know that are household names doing music are struggling to get by for the most part.
Alkota: We live in a unique time where everything is free. Free mixtapes, albums, and free downloads where everyone is making beats, rapping, and engineering. To sum it up: Over saturation.
5. How can up and coming producers and artists stand out and get heard with so much music over-saturation?
The easiest way for a new producer to make a impact is to produce a artist and establish a sound with that person that people want. You can also give beats away to every artist and try to flood but if you only have one style that shit will die out super fast. I think a lot of young producers worry about their tag more than they worry about having a dope original style. If you are doing some shit that is dope and unique you will be recognized for it eventually. Might not be overnight but it will happen.
6. Whats your current production setup look like?
ASR 10 is pretty much the brain of the operation. Everything is pretty much programmed on it. I record and edit in pro tools. I also have a bunch of vintage keyboards that I usually sample back into the ASR.
7. Do you mix/engineer your own records or do you have an engineer you work with?
I mix my own beats for my demos at home and when it comes to finishing a song I work with Vitamin D and he gets everything tight.
8. Lets talk workflow. Walk me through your beat making process.
On a good week I might make 5 beats or so. Sometimes I feel it other times I don't. I usually don't make beats with anybody in the room unless I'm working with a musician or something. I get inspired by a lot of different things. Usually I hear something new that I think is dope and I go from there.
9. What can we look forward to from Jake One in 2011/2012?
Right now I'm producing Brother Ali's album and working on White Van 2 as far as full projects. Also have some stuff happening with a bunch of big names but I don't like talking about it until the record comes out because I feel like I've jinxed myself doing that in the past.
10. Any closing thoughts on the music industry right now or shout outs?
Shoutout to my wife and my daughter.
11. For artists or labels interested in getting some Jake One production on their next project, whats the best way to contact firstname.lastname@example.org