Producer/DJ/MC Klinik has been holding down Indianapolis for a decade. He takes pride in delivering an arsenal of hard-hitting drums to production tailor made for the likes of Zion Se7en, WateRR & Ty Farris, Black Eddie and many more. A dedicated crate digger, Klinik is always searching for the next sound scape. Here he chops it up with us about his history in the game, his full projects and what’s in store.
RD: Break down your history in beat making.
K: I’ve been producing since 2009. I started off making beats a little bit different than most cats in the hip hop scene. I actually started producing on my iPhone, with an app called Beatmaker. Shit was like 20 bucks but it had 16 pads, plus recording capabilities through the mic on the phone. So I’d just listen to a record and hold my phone up to a speaker to record a sample, then I’d chop it up on my pads and get busy. Around this time, I started a duo with an emcee named Realeyez called The Soulution (www.thesoulution.bandcamp.com). He told me if I wanted him on my beats, I’d had to start spittin too. So I started rapping right after I had made like 10 beats, haha. The first Soulution LP is mostly beats I made off my phone, I made like 800 beats on there before I upgraded my setup.
RD: One consistent aspect to your production is thick, driving drums. Do the drums come first? Is that something you listen for first in material that’s not your own as well?
K: Man, I actually get my main sample down most of the time before I lay some drums down. I gotta get drums to match the sample perfectly. I’m definitely a drum snob, I tend to stay away from the stiff sounding programmed drum sound. I ain’t with no average sounding drums, that shit gotta have soul. I like my shit to swing and I like my shit to bang. Drums are definitely one of the main things I’m listening to when I listen to other people’s shit. I study mad hip hop in general, so yeah the drums gotta bang and I like to chop my breaks up different from most cats to keep shit fresh.
RD: Speak on making Rap Monster with Ace One, was that your first body of work with vocals?
K: Yeah that was my first time remixing and recreating someone else’s project. Ace One is basically the Naptown James Brown. This dude is known has one of the hardest working emcees in Indianapolis. He was one of the first cats I met in the Indianapolis hip hop scene and he just showed mad love from the jump. He was already tight with Realeyez from back in the day, and he hooked The Soulution up with our first show and let us jump on his Rap Monster album over one of my beats. So the original Rap Monster album is one of the illest albums to come from Indy. Ace has been a part of mad groups, but it was his first solo album. So a couple years after he dropped it, he sent an A Cappella to a bunch of producers he knew. I started getting busy immediately after he sent them. I had some big shoes to fill, but I also enjoyed the freedom of being able to throw my own twist on some tracks that were already bangers. Remixing is way different than making an album from scratch it’s fun and gives the producer mad freedom. I like that shit.
RD: Your most frequent collaborator is Zion Se7en, what is it about him that sparks so much material?
K: Zion is just a beast, man. He’s a creative dude and always has been. He was another dude that showed mad love when I first started coming around the scene. Him and his brother Savage Trinity are the Verbal Godz, and I always thought they were the illest emcees in the city. We had built in a lot of different realms, but had only cooked up one track on the 2nd Soulution album back in the day. So some years passed and I hit him up, and he came through one morning to cook something up. He started writing to the very first beat I played, and that was the title track to The Zion Klinik. We both felt like it was a banger and that we should do an album. He can freestyle and can sing his ass off so writing a track goes by quick for him. He’s always been a creative dude through mad different creative phases. We knocked out the rest of the album and I brought the lab over to his crib to work on our 2nd album which became Serpent And Dove: A Man With No Eyes. He started shooting his own TV show on YouTube, and that evolved into a movie called Dirty Diana that he shot himself on an iPhone and then debuted in a movie theater here in Indy. It featured some tracks from Serpent and Dove about 4 months before the album dropped. We got some more shit in the works as well so keep your eyes peeled!
RD: Would you say he’s the strongest bond you’ve formed in music?
K: Everyone I collaborate with I consider brothers. We all hold each other down and it’s deeper than music. We all met through music but it’s all deeper than rap, everyone I build with whether it’s in person or online I’ve gotta connect with on a personal level, and we’ve gotta be on the same wavelength. Anyone I’ve ever worked with is always with that mentality. I’ve got a bunch of shit that hasn’t dropped yet, and I’ve got a bunch of emcees that cats in my city aren’t familiar with. I’m excited to hopefully be able to give them some ears they might not typically have. I’ve also got some cats overseas that are on the same wavelength, like my homies The Brotherhood from Ghana. They’re on Zion’s newest joint with me. They’re two brothers, Paul God and Guillotine Bars. I’ve got a loosie with Guillotine Bars on Soundcloud and we’ve got an album in the works as well.
RD: What do you want people to feel when they hear a Klinik production?
K: Hopefully they feel that shit in their soul! Hopefully it hits them the same way some classic hip hop does, but in a fresh new way. I try to make my beats as fresh as possible, while being rooted in the styles of the hip hop greats. I like to use classic production techniques that the forefathers have used. Hell, even sampling from vinyl in this day and age is foreign to most producers. So I try to keep my shit grounded in the classic vein, but with a modern flair.
RD: What project would you recommend to first time listeners?
K: For first time listeners, I’d say go back and listen to The Zion Klinik from Zion Se7en and myself, we dropped that right at the beginning of 2017. Its got some of my favorite beats I’ve ever made on there. There’s a joint on there for everyone regardless of what you’re a fan of. Grimy lyrical shit, posse cuts, soulful boom bap, songs for the ladies, it’s all over the place but it’s a cohesive journey if you bump it from start to finish. If you’re just interested in my beat tapes, I would peep 5 Samples or More & JBBL Battle Beats.
RD: Serpent and Dove just dropped, what other plans are in store for the rest of the year?
K: Serpent and Dove 2 is already in the works, so expect that from Zion Se7en and myself later this year. I just dropped an EP with my boy Black Eddie as well, that’s available on his Bandcamp (www.blackeddie.bandcamp.com) and all the streaming services. Up next is my boy Peter Haze’s mixtape Free Game. I’ve got six joints on there mixed in with some classic instrumentals as well. I’m mixing that down right now. After that is my boy Richalert’s album. He’s a dope ass emcee from Gary, Indiana that I linked up with, and we’ve got some heat in the works. Hopefully you’ll be seeing my name on a couple big name albums in the underground dropping this year. I’m just trying to stay busy and perfect my craft. I’m always down to work with someone if we vibe and it makes sense. So if anyone is needing some production, feel free to holla at me!
RD: You get 5 people to start a Klinik project, what calls are you making?
K: Yo, that’s a hard question! Let’s see, 5 living emcees I wanna do a project with… Lord Finesse, Roc Marciano, DOOM, Tristate, Scarface… That would be the most lyrical shit ever. Definitely a lot of storytelling joints.
Cop that Zion Klinik here https://theklinik.bandcamp.com/album/the-zion-klinik
Serpent & The Dove https://theklinik.bandcamp.com/album/serpent-and-dove-a-man-with-no-eyes
Follow him on IG and Twitter: Mefadoneklinik