This Producer Spotlight interview highlights Timepiece’s latest project with ProZay. Timepiece breaks down the album track by track. Be sure to click on the link to the much anticipated project Alley Muzik.
RD: Give us a little history on yourself and your background in making music.
T: I came up in a house full of music. I latched onto hip hop in the mid 80’s and never looked back. I always wanted to be involved in the music side of it, but never knew how it was done until I saw music videos with DJ’s scratching. I copped my first shitty DJ set up from Radio Shack at a young age. I soon started to figure out what sampling was via my dad’s record collection and started putting beats together using Windows 3.1 Wav Editor. I was hungry.
RD: It’s always fascinating to hear about how fans from far locales got into hip hop. What were some titles that got you hooked as a fan, and secondly which ones made you want to venture into beat-making?
T: I found out about the Def Jam era stuff from my older brother’s friend giving me a tape that had Run DMC on one side, and the Beasties on the other. I think De La’s 3 Feet High & Rising was the one that caught my imagination as far as sampling goes, and then Black Sheep’s debut album. These albums taught me about layering multiple samples which I still do a lot to this day. It’s a lost art.
RD: Talk about the evolution of your setup. Many guys master a certain piece and/or program and stick with it, others venture out. What did you start on, and what are you currently into?
T: When I started it was the waveform editor that came with Windows 3.1 Then when I figured out what a sequencer was I started using ‘Fast Tracker’ which was a DOS based sequencer that you could load samples into. In 97′ Fruity Loops came out, and I used that for a couple of years until I copped my first piece of hardware which was the Akai MPC2000. I used that forever until I transitioned to Logic and then in about 2010 I switched to Ableton. I’ve owned a bunch of other gear along the way like the ASR and the SP’s but I always find software the fastest.
RD: What led to you and Pro linking up for Alley Muzik?
T: When I initially heard Pro Zay rhyme it was on the NCL-TM track titled Four Horsemen. I didn’t completely know what to think at first, but I really liked the fact that someone had the balls to rhyme like that. It has a wild energy to it. I approached him to do one track and it turned out cool so we decided to do more. I really like the way he does his background vocals too with the opposing style. Then there are tracks where he rhymes in a completely different tone all together.
01 – CHECKLIST
This is the first piece that Zay and I did together to see if it’d work out. Be both agreed we worked well together and decided this would make a good intro because it’s got some energy.
02 – PEDIGREE ft. Lord Juco
My love of old TV and movies comes through on this one because that is where it’s all sampled from. I’d been wanting to work with Juco for a long while so I was real happy when he agreed to jump on board.
03 – COCAINE CORRAL
I’d had this beat for a while but I am glad Zay made it work the way he did. I’d heard him rap on swing rhythm before so I knew he could do it. I like the story in this one. The horns make it feel like an old spaghetti western movie or something so I took the liberty of taking it in that direction.
04 – 25
This was another beat from the vault that Zay made work. He understood the concept that the opening sample sets from the get go so the theme wrote itself.
05 – KNOWLEDGE ft. Tony Tone
I had a different beat originally for this track and I am glad I came up with another one because this one smokes the old one and it’s more effective at carrying the narrative. I wasn’t too familiar with Tone’s work before but he’s one of Zay’s homies and he’s nice.
06 – CONNECT ft. Killy Shoot
I like working with Killy because we see eye to eye on a lot of things when it comes to music and also other popular culture. I had a strong feeling that his style would compliment Zay’s and I think I was right. Adding all the telephone stuff in here was a last minute thing but I am glad I think it ties it all together nicely.
07 – HOMETEAM/NOSEBLEED
I love two part songs and have never tried doing one before so I was glad when Zay had the vision to put these two beats together. It was a nightmare to mix but it turned out to be hard.
8 – SLEEPING GAS ft. Scvtterbrvin
I knew if Scvtterbrvin was going to feature on here I would want to have some psychedelic sounding stuff to match his lyrics. Again, another team up that came together as I have worked with Scvtterbrvin before and I know we quickly and effectively he works so it was a no brainer.
09 – TONY’S OUTRO PT.2 ft. Tony Tone
I had to go back and listen to TONY’S OUTRO PT.1 to figure out what was going on with the title! I wanted a beat change up for when Tony comes in to take out the album and it really worked and picked up the energy. I like intros and outros that are short tracks.
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