Producer Spotlight: alejandrito argenal
RD: You’re a newcomer to many, give us some background info on yourself. When did you start making beats?
AA: I’m a music/sound curator from Nicaragua, and I focus on digging in the crates of Latin America and Spain. I’ve been collecting music and producing since the age of 11. I’ve been active as alejandrito argeñal since 2013 when I dropped my first tape Nuestro Agradecimiento with Amajin Records based in Germany.
RD: Music from your homeland of Nicaragua plays a clear influence on your material, who were some Nicaraguan musicians you grew up listening to?
AA: The funny thing is I grew up listening to music from all over Latin America and Spain, Nicaraguan musicians, in particular, didn’t play a huge role in my inspiration, but the culture and sensibilities of the people did. However, traditional Nicaragua marimba (an instrument similar to a xylophone) music and composition is a big inspiration.
RD: Do you feel what your doing now is an extension of what you heard many years ago?
AA: I grew up with the boom bap alongside Spanish music. Growing up it was obvious to me that the two had major potential to complement one another. I started out just making beat tapes and instrumentals because I was never fond of many underground emcees I had access to. I also felt like hip-hop music was too stale the producers and emcees weren’t fulfilling the role of artist, just fulfilling the prescribed cookie-cutter approach. Now, there are so many really talented emcees and producers as well, which is why I’m dipping my toes more into collaborating with some of those amazing artists.
RD: Canciones Que No Se Olvidan is the latest work, a blend of instrumentals and vocal tracks. How do you decide which ones get rapped on and which beats stay instrumental?
AA: My process is very intuitive, I’m all about the samples. The sample dictates what becomes of the track. Some tracks I choose to over-produce, some tracks are very minimal, and some tracks can’t even be considered beats or loops. As far as choosing which ones get rapped on depends on what I envision when I hear the track. I think most of what I curate can be rapped over despite my intentional chaotic arrangements and muddy layers.
RD: You have worked with Nowaah The Flood a number of times now, showing nice chemistry. Is he your favorite among the newer class of MC’s?
AA: He’s definitely my favorite emcee in the underground right now. He’s got such a dope and versatile style, drops raw one-liners, militant bars, and knows how to use his cadence masterfully. He’s not scared to rap over anything and he can transform a track like no one else can. I’m honored to be able to collaborate with such an elite emcee.
RD: What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
AA: Just to put out dope hip-hop artifacts that highlight the cultures that taught me so much and have contributed positively to my life and to so many. I want to be authentic, so you know I’ll never sample some jazz, blues, soul or funk because that’s not really my culture. Latin America has such a rich and diverse music culture and history that I really want to highlight with my production, in particular female vocalists. There’s something about the compositions and voices that captivate and emote. I want to maintain that integrity in the tracks while re-contextualizing it into raw Hip-Hop.
RD: If you could improve at any one aspect of beat making, what would it be?
AA: I don’t consider myself a beatmaker, or a producer in all honesty. That’s why I say I’m a sound curator because that’s really my creative process. However, everything you hear in my songs is intentional. I think mistakes, skips, hisses, misses, off-beat hits, and awkward layering adds character to music that relies on appropriating the musical past. It’s also hyper-stylized to feel like it’s an artifact of a distant time.
RD: Talk to us about your setup, what gear do you feature and do you have your eye on any specific piece to add on?
AA: I’m not a gearhead, but I use SP-303, 404, a few drum machines, Ableton, FL studio, vinyl, cassette, CD samples. I’m not really focused on gear and never have been honestly. I’m all about the vibe and sound and being resourceful with what you have.
RD: If you’re given an unlimited budget for your next project, what are the first five calls your making for guests?
AA: Thankfully I’m already working with some artists I’m a huge fan of, but I would love to work with Crimeapple, Shabazz the Disciple, Boldy James, Hus Kingpin, and 7xve the genius.
RD: Message to supporters/shout outs?
AA: Thank you to everyone who’s ever supported. Keep supporting independent underground artists, support creative integrity, and keep pushing the culture forward. I’ve got multiple projects in the works with some heavy hitters of course so stay tuned, and shoutouts to all the artists that have collaborated with me. Thank you so much for this interview and peace to all. One.
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