Behind The Beats: Alkota Beats

Alkota Beats Mix by DJ Grazzhoppa by alkotabeats

First and foremost, present to the masses your background in regards to your career as a beat maker...

I’m Alkota, a producer/beat maker from the frosty Northwest, Anchorage Alaska. I’ve been doing beats steadily since around 2003. My placements, collabos, and features include Rasco, Bekay, Pep Love, Verbal Kent, Access Immortal, Deuce Eclipse, Planet Asia, Josh Boots, and a slew of up and coming indies. My production is primarily sample based boom bap, but I also do sample free joints. Sorry no trap muzik/down south or club joints. As of January 2011 I’m doing Music, Video, and Freelance web/marketing full time.

On an average Alaskan night, Alkota will be busy...

I wake up around 6 am daily and work on projects and honestly don’t stop until 10pm-2am. A majority of my time is spent blogging, prospecting, and handling business and marketing stuff. Right now I’m cranking out a solid joint a day, and will slowly increase the quota on myself. I’m doing music like 50% and freelance marketing 50%.

Describe the feeling that you experienced when you made your first beat...

Disappointment. HAHA. No…really, my first joints were terrible, it took me 8+ years to finally be happy with my sound and get my work flow down. Granted I was always happy making beats, but I’ve been steadily improving my sound and technique. I’ve had the chance to work with some really amazing independent rappers and labels and that feeling is what makes me happy. I am very happy when I hear someone kill a beat of mine.

Does that feeling continue to inspire you to create more beats?

I’m on a mission. Placements, catalog, and bangers is what I’m after. My goal is to work with the best established and up and coming artists. I think the downward spiral and poison that is mainstream hip-hop is opening the doors for more indies to shine and make a living doing music full time. Semi intelligent people can’t stand the trash these labels are putting out. Case and point: The Superbowl half time show.

You and I talked briefly about the state of the economy and being one's own boss. When did you make the decision to quit your day job and make beats for a living?

I wasn’t happy at my job. Making good money is not satisfying in a mundane work scenario. Too many people accept a bullshit existence in lieu of stability, security, and material things. My side hustles made enough money to cover my bills (music, video, marketing) so I figured there is no better time than a recession/depression to start your own business. Economic instability means your job is disposable, it’s better to diversify and become your own boss because your upside potential is unlimited. If you fail, fuck it, go get another job or keep trying. My father was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer a few months ago and that was a wake up call that it’s time to start living and finding a passion to pursue.

I also noticed that you are a savvy businessman who has tapped into the flash drive market by presenting a flash drive shaped like the E-Mu SP-1200. When was this idea conceived and will the future lead to the creation of more hip-hop themed flash drives?

I was reading an article in Entrepreneur magazine at Barnes and Nobel about a married couple who were artists turned business people. They took their artwork (drawings, paintings, etc.) and had them manufactured into 3D rubber USB Flash Memory drives and sold them. A light bulb went off in my head instantly. I ran home and googled everywhere to see if anyone had come up with a specialty drive shaped like the MPC-2000XL and SP-1200. After discovering no one else had seized on this idea, I financed the heavy investment and placed an order for my custom drives. I submitted the images of the drives to tech and hip hop blogs and it went viral from there. Engadget, Kayne West, and many other well read blogs helped me launch my new business overnight. In about a month, I will unveil the Roland TR-808 drive. This one is gonna be huge, hopefully all the snyth heads, electro fanatics, and DJ’s will jump on board with these new 8GB flash drives.

What projects are you currently working on and what artists are you currently collaborating with?

I’m working with this dude Cyrus of Harm City from NC/Baltimore on his project right now. He’s got beats from Alkota, M-Phazes, and Vinyl Frontiers. We got Rustee Juxx on one of my beats and some dope cuts by Dj Grazzhoppa. Rasco is supposed to make an appearance on my track too.

I just dropped a Digi 12” with Brooklyn’s Access Immortal called “The Legacy” that’s available on my Bandcamp Page. I’m planning to drop an EP here in the next few months with Access Immortal and hopefully get some dope features.

My dude Adamn from Alaska is copping some of my best beats at the moment and we are going to be shooting some videos for him, so watch out for that! Peep my dude Phonetic as well, he’s crazy talented. After you listen to him go get a map and find out where he’s from.

Shabaam Sahdeeq got a couple beats from me for his next project, Pep Love of Hieroglyphics grabbed a beat that will be the single on his next album, Verbal Kent from Molemen Records got a banging joint called Yellow Jackets. Sean Price owes me a verse, so hopefully well get him on something dope. There are a few other artists and developments that are going to happen, but shit falls through all the time and I don’t wanna jinx myself. But 2011 should be a good year for music. I’m just trying to stay focused and move forward regardless of anyone else.


What artists do you want to collaborate with in the future and why?

I'd like to work with some more of the BCC/Duckdown artists, since I really dig their music. Other than that, any and everyone that is putting out dope music and will get my beats heard! This joint with Rustee Juxx and Cyrus is gonna be a banger!

What makes production from Alkota stand out amongst the multitude of beat makers?

Honestly, I try not to follow trends and fads. When it comes to making music I do my own thing. I’m obviously heavily influenced by some beat makers and boom bap, but I don’t really give a fuck what everyone else is doing. I’ll borrow drum programming from different genres of music, but after that I just make whatever happens. Who knows…maybe I sound like everyone else!? But I certainly don’t copycat produced garbage. Additionally, I really try to limit my intake of hip hop and rap music to keep my ideas fresh and prevent subconscious biting.

What is the best way for potential clients, press, or fans to reach you?

Twitter
Website
Soundcloud
Bandcamp

If you are digging my music, support my Bandcamp page! I'm not getting rich off this shit at all, but my goal is to influence music in a positive direction, so every dime is put back into make new records.


Any closing remarks...

There are two debates that are really fucking annoying, played out, but constantly surface everywhere. If you spend anytime partaking in these discussions or debates you are an idiot. 1) Hardware vs. Software for making beats. It honestly doesn’t matter what you use as long as its dope. End of story, get over it. 2) Producer vs. Beatmaker. Do you really care what people call themselves? Do you honestly pay attention to what other people do? Shut the fuck up. Who cares if someone calls themselves a producer and truly isn’t. Go make a beat or read a book.

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