I’m pretty tough when it comes to production and beat making. I mean, I’ve done my share of producing (No, you won’t ever hear any of it.), but most of all I’ve done TONS of research on those whom I consider to be “good” producers. I examine each track. I literally wonder, “WHY?”, when I hear a sample a producer chose. I criticize drum loops and the velocity of snares and hats. It becomes a huge problem, especially when homies of mine, like Steve Vaynshtok, also known by his stage name ‘AbdeCaf’, come at me asking me to listen to a project he’s currently working on.
Especially because Steve and I get into plenty of “discussions” about music.
The latest one was about two nights ago. I told him that if music doesn’t have a meaning, if the beat the producer is designing at the moment doesn’t have a purpose, I really won’t care for it as much as I should. Again, I know it sucks, but I think why listen to an instrumental if there’s no purpose behind it?
Well, after our whole “discussion”, I asked him to send me an email explaining exactly why he sat behind his computer and began to make the tunes on his newly released EP, Unravel. Here’s what he sent me:
I named the EP Unravel because I felt like I was, as a human being, coming undone. For almost a year between April 2011 and December 2011 I was miserable and everything I did reflected how miserable I was. I was in my head all the time. I hated doing anything that required me to get out of bed and when it came to women, I was the worst type of person. I felt strands of myself becoming unraveled and I thought I really needed to get all that out of me because if I didn’t, then I’d be miserable for the rest of my life.
Dreaming: The reason I titled this song Dreaming was because I would have these beautiful dreams and that was my only reprieve from the pain of living every day, knowing the one person I loved most in this world didn’t give a fuck. I would dream about her and when I woke up, I’d have to come to terms with the fact that she didn’t love me, which was harsh. Thankfully, I got over it.
Sense Concern: Honestly this one just evolved from a simple synth I had picked out in Reason. I decided to see where it went. It was inspired by Sleep City Crisis. His music is so killer, I had to explore the concept of Soundscapes with this track because of how he was talking about that whole practice. I literally went in and messed around with the frequencies, added delays, effects, depth…I really went in on the mix. It was so satisfying even though it’s one of my more repetitive beats, like Mecca. Playing with the thickness of the pads and the variance of the chords I was using made me really happy. I really put a lot into the mixes of my tracks now.
Faded and Loveless: I sampled Bjork because she sings:
“while you are away
my heart comes undone
in a ball of yarn
the devil collects it
with a grin
in a ball of yarn
he’ll never return it
so when you come back
we’ll have to make new love”
I felt exactly that when my girl left me. I was sitting in my friend Jinxo’s (of MMC Da Click) room with a beat we had collaborated on and he asked, “Do you listen to Bjork?” I hadn’t heard much of her stuff before and when he played Unravel for me, I fell in love. We sampled it, slowed it down and I faded the vocals in and out. I named my EP after that song because of how well it fit. The name of the song is pretty obvious. I would get faded a lot to forget about how loveless I was.
Arithmetic: There’s a formula to good music. 20% skill, 20% vision, 20% passion and 40% determination and endurance. I endured for this EP. I put out 10 songs before actually starting this EP but none of them were what I wanted to be putting out. I finally found the formula to get my inspiration out the way I wanted to express it.
Feed Your Brain: This song is my opus. It’s my opera. For now at least. Water droplets for tears. Moans for the women I slept with. A sick fluctuating post-dubstep bassline for the 100mph my brain was going all the time. Strings and pads for the emotional aspect of it all and then piano for atmosphere. This song was named Feed Your Brain because I’d drink A LOT. I was feeding my brain. The photo for this song is even a bottle of whiskey and two glasses at 5 a.m. Not healthy.
Mecca: I finally got over it. I found my salvation, my Mecca. I was wandering through the desert of hopelessness for months and then I finally reached my Mecca when people started reacting to my music in a positive way. People loved it. I honestly felt the therapy of making music take hold. I felt like I had made it out of the desert.
We Mistook Each Other For Lovers: I think the name on this one is self explanatory. It’s about my relationship woes. It was going to be named after my ex, but she texted me when I released the old demo that was named after her and said a bunch of mean things. “Don’t fucking name your bullshit songs after me.” So to spite her, I left it up. But then I got over it. It’s not even about her so much as the feeling of loving someone and eventually shit falling apart. When someone doesn’t love you like they used to and you’re stuck thinking you made some kind of mistake, when really it’s just their issues fucking you up. I blamed myself a lot, but then every one of my friends just confirmed she was just off her shit. I can’t blame myself for trying.
Kassia: I named this song after my best friend. She was the only person there for me through thick and thin and she deserves the wonderfully happy, synth-drenched tune that she got. We would stay up all night and talk about our relationship woes and our life woes. I honestly love that girl, she deserves for all her dreams to come true just based off how wonderful she is. It’s her fault that this song is awesome. I had to do her justice.
I read the email Steve sent and without telling him anything, I listened to it. Listened to his EP knowing that he had gone through all his dilemmas and that he used a computer, some music applications and a few beat machines to release his frustration. He does a hell of a job explaining himself through his tunes. That’s the main reason I’m posting this, which is in a genre which I’m not to in touch with.