HunkE details his Production Style And Music Marketing Struggles
Your production style is very unique. You infuse rock with hip-hop. How long did it take you to come up with this style?
Creating that kind of style has been my goal ever since I started learning to make sampled beats (back in 2010). I didn't listen to hip-hop at all until high school - I was into the style of music that I usually sample, hard and progressive rock. I was one of those awful people who'd say shit like "rap is crap".
What inspired me to create this style is the fact that most people who listen to rock don't like hip-hop, and vice versa. So essentially the idea behind this style is to break down that barrier. I sincerely believe that anyone can develop a palette for any style of music.
What are some things that you struggle with in regarding to marketing your music?
As a niche artist, I struggle with finding my target audience: people with eclectic taste that ranges all the way from hard rock to hip-hop to electronic. My fans don't fit very neatly into any demographic, and that presents a tremendous challenge!
Another major struggle is my $0 budget. I got off to a late start - I was 22 and already independent (e.g. not living in my mom's basement) when I began learning about production - so I could never afford to make music more than a serious hobby. Because advertising is/never was an option, I've had to be more creative and find other ways to promote my music.
What I've found is that you can go pretty far by spending nothing more than your time listening to others, leaving feedback, networking and collaborating. The internet is truly the most powerful tool a starving artist can use!
What type of artists sound best over your production?
Artists with unique voices, such as Jabari K. My style is unique, complex and detailed, and that can really catch and hold a listeners ear. An artist will sound best over my production when they can counter that with a unique style of their own, because I don't believe that (in most cases) the listeners ear should pay any more than 50% attention to the beat.
I always wanted to ask this question. How do beatmakers inject emotion or passion into a beat?
This is a great question. I personally almost never start making a beat with a certain emotion consciously in mind. It usually unconsciously flows into my music. So I believe that the best way to inject emotion and passion into your music is, first, by being a deeply emotional and passionate person, and second, by not repressing that part of you, and third, channeling that into your melodies. A lot of people try to bottle up and distract themselves from their emotions (I'm guilty of this), but I think good musicians learn to bask in them whether they're positive or negative.
What Rock song is off limits in regards to sampling?
I'll consider sampling any rock song, but that said, I'll only sample songs that meet a certain requirement. Basically, if the answer to "can I pull a loop from this song that doesn't include drums?" is no, then it's off limits.
When I dig through samples, what I do is
1) load it into Edison
2) examine the waveform and identify sections without drums - almost always intros/outros
3) sample as much as I can from those sections. This can be very limiting, but it's also limiting when you use loops that already have drums. With my method I feel I can and need to be much more creative.