First and foremost can you provide a brief bio about your journey as a beatmaker...
I have to credit my brother ILL-J for starting me off on my journey in hip-hop music. He was part of a well known hip-hop group called Sun Valley Crew (SVC) which started back in 1995. They released two albums during the 90s. I was heavily influenced by them and I tagged along their shows while I was still part of a garage band back then. I started making beats with a keyboard which I recorded onto a cassette tape. Then I did beats on the Music Generator game for the playstation1 which I also recorded onto cassette. Eventually, my brother and his group mates took me in and showed me the ropes on how to use ACID PRO. I used ACID pro for a good 7 to 8 years making several albums and mixtapes with my group Turbulence productions. Now I use Reason. I use the same CASIO keyboard I started making beats with as a midi trigger now.
The first time you made a beat was in...
1998. It was on the CASIO keyboard I mentioned. It was out of sync and the quality was poor but I was still trying to be like DJ Premier nonetheless. I had no metronome. I recorded drums on cassette, re-record the drums plus other elements on another cassette tape. Just back and forth between two cassette tapes till the beat got done. It wasn't much, but that was the spark that started it all.
I read that you reside in the Philippines. What is the hip hop scene like in the Philippines and what are some of struggles associated with establishing hip-hop there?
Hip-Hop here is a budding scene. There's always a new talent emerging from here everyday. There are always Hip-hop shows and events big and small happening all across the metro. Emcees, producers, b-boys, djs, graf artists.. we've got them all in bunches. In terms of struggles, I believe that our talents here are severely under-funded. It could be so much more if more confidence and attention were invested in it. A lot of the most talented artists we have barely get by. We are still under-exposed in mainstream media as compared to artists from foreign soil. Even clubs play foreign artists more than do local ones. However, the tables are turning in our favor slowly but surely. Filipino artists are hard workers. We are still able to do so much with so little. That's the way Filipinos are by nature.
It appears that you an active advocate and member of this emerging scene. What can be done to improve the perception of hip-hop in the Philippines?
I believe we have already laid the grounds for its improvement. I believe the foundation has been set, the right seeds have been planted and we just have to be patient and vigilant while we wait for its fruition. Check out our battle scene on youtube (Keywords: Sunugan, Fliptop) and you will see that the battles reach up to 8 million plus (thats right 8 million) views. We are gaining ground in terms of capturing peoples' attention. Media needs to catch up. For more on local hip-hop log on to soulfiesta.blogspot.com, konektado.com and ssonictv.blogspot.com.
When outsiders think of the Philippines they usually focus on...
I'm not too sure but I believe it would be the heat, the traffic and maybe the poverty. We are a 3rd world country after all. But once you've been here for a while, you'll find that there many great places to see. The people are hospitable, talented and kind and the weather is perfect.
Hip-hop is an universal art form that allows people from different backgrounds to connect and interact. With that being said, how has the Weekly Beat Sessions helped you?
First of all, I've known ILLA and PMBEATZ since around 08 through myspace. They actually invited me to hop on weekly beats before but due to a busy schedule, I never got around to it till now. I think the site has done wonders for me. I get to improve every week. I feed off of other producers and gradually improve my craft. Soon enough, I invited my peers from around the scene here to join. I think it's good for everyone, we can all learn from each other and improve the quality of our sound as a whole.
How effective has the internet been in terms of connecting globally with other artists and people?
It's been great! I've been able to collaborate with Hasan Salaam from Jersey before as well as our friends and peers from all over the states. The possibilities are endless. Bring myspace back! haha
Do you have a specific process for making beats? Do you have any tips for upcoming beatmakers?
I start off with the drums. That is my backbone. When you're making a hip-hop beat, if the drums ain't hittin', you can forget about it! I try to pattern my drums the way a beat boxer would with his mouth. That's when I know it has that boom-bap feel. I pick out the baddest sounding kicks and snares, I even layer them if I have to. I guess my tip for upcoming producers is to spend time on your craft. Always be a student of your craft. There is always something new to learn from it.
What interests do you have outside of hip-hop?
I'm a part time teacher. I also host hip-hop shows from time to time I also play ball and I love keeping up with the NBA.I'm looking to get started with different business ventures. But yeah, I'm mainly a beats person.
Pacquiao or Mayweather?
Pacquiao hands down. Much respect to Mayweather fans but I think Mayweather dodged Pacquiao so much that I don't even think he should be Pacquiao's main concern anymore. A fighter's job is to fight. If he sets any more conditions before fighting Pacquiao, you know somewhere in his heart, he's scared of the Pacman. Mayweather maybe talented but Pacquiao has the mental advantage as well as the heart over Mayweather. Mayweather has so many other things on his mind, he won't win on just talent alone.
Manny Pacquiao is revered as a local legend in the Philippines and is beginning to experience the crossover appeal that other famous pugilists have received. What makes Manny Pacquiao so magnetic and charismatic?
I believe it's because all the hoopla around him doesn't change him. He embodies the Filipino spirit to a tee. His character is indeed how many Filipinos are. He doesn't exude arrogance. He keeps his morals and principles grounded. His humility is what endears him to the public. Manny Pacquiao is approachable and amiable. He alienates nobody. He maybe tenacious in the ring but outside the ring, he's goofier than most of us.
Who are some of your local and international influences?
Internationally, it's always been DJ Premier and Pete Rock. Lately I've been keeping in tune with M-Phazes. M-Phazes is a beast. Locally, I listened to a lot of Lowkey da boy wonder, DJ Arbie Won and DJ Rye. Recently, I've been a very big fan of Bojam and his Flipmusic team. I learned a lot from those guys
Who do you want to collaborate on a local level and on an international level?
I've always wanted to collaborate with AZ, Keith Murray, Dilated Peoples and Rakim. Those were my favorite MCs growing up. Locally, I want to work with Gloc-9! I was already in the process of working with a local hip-hop pioneer Francis M but he passed away back in 09 due to cancer. Sadly, I also have to scratch GURU off my list. I did, however, do a remix of "Ex to next" by Gangstarr. Peep it on weekly beats.
What method of contact is preferred if an emcee wants to collaborate with you?
I try to put in as much work as I can with the time that I have. Hit me up on Twitter or Myspace.
Thanks a lot and peace, P!