Hip-Hop production has many styles and approaches. This diversity of sound leads to many different avenues for the lyricist that often accompanies the producer’s work, to go down.
Trellmatic is a producer known for his soul sound approach to Hip-Hop production and is the guy behind the smooth sounds of the group AUTOMatic, a duo that also consists of emcee A.P.R.I.M.E., as well as providing tracks for many of the various House of M projects.
Coming off of the success of the new AUTOMatic release Transistor, it was time to see what makes Trellmatic tick.
Producing Hip-Hop is something that a lot of people attempt to do, but not many do it well. It’s really a learning process from what I hear. How did you begin your journey with Hip-Hop production? When did you know that you absolutely had to make a beat?
Well, it all started at the age of 6. For Christmas I received my first keyboard which was a Casio SK-1. It had the 5 second sampling function. When I heard my favorite songs on the radio or stereo, I used to hold the keyboard up to the speaker and press the record function on the keyboard and play out the sample amongst the keys. I was so fascinated by this ability and from then on it was history. I still have that keyboard ‘til this day. As a matter of fact I just pulled it out of the closet right now! The first time I knew I had to start taking producing seriously is when I heard Jay-Z’s The Blueprint album and Little Brother’s The Listening album.
You are a guy who samples when putting together your beats. Is sampling essential to the Hip-Hop experience?
Very essential. Sampling is part of what laid the foundation for Hip-Hop and music alike. People say that sampling is cheating and not creative, but to take a sample and recreate it into something totally different or give it a different meaning or perspective is not an easy process if done correctly. Also, sampling is a way to keep the actual “song” that is sampled relevant through time.
Speaking of samples, there are a lot of producers that take offense at people airing out what records they’ve sampled within their beats, yet there are other producers who believe it’s better the air out what’s been sampled in hopes of leading people to find new records to chop up. How do you feel about this issue?
I believe in airing out samples. You know it’s funny, when I saw A-Plus from Souls of Mischief 3 years ago at Stonefly, I thanked him and his group for doing this very thing.
If it wasn’t for groups like Souls of Mischief, Digable Planets, Black Moon, A Tribe Called Quest, etc. for putting sample credits in their cassettes or CD’s, I most likely wouldn’t be where I’m at today and wouldn’t have known who Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey, Ronnie Laws, Lonnie Liston Smith, Fazeo, or any other of these great artists are. Because of Hip-Hop groups doing this, it opened me up to a whole new genre of music that I hadn’t discovered in its entirety.
When you listen to your two albums with A.P.R.I.M.E., Audiology and Transistor, what do you hear sonically that sets them apart and/or ties them together?
Well, from a production standpoint I think the sound scape is much better than the first album. My sound is a little more dynamic, but not too far out of the box, which I think still gives people a little connection to Audiology. Lyrically I think A.P.R.I.M.E. has definitely grown as an artist. His wordplay has gotten ridiculous and you can hear the confidence on this album, more so than the first. Overall, I think Transistor has shown how we’ve matured as artists, period.
This is a tough choice since I like so many. If had to choose, the one that really had an influence on me to become a producer was Pete Rock. When I heard Soul Survivor, I knew this was something that I wanted to do one day. His bass lines were ridiculous.
What are your weapons of choice when composing a beat?
Dell Inspiron, FLStudio 9, Cool Edit Pro, Audition, Technics SL-D3, Event Monitors, Vinyl, YouTube, my brain, heart and soul.
Do you have any other music or collaborations in the works right now that we can look forward to? If somebody wants to get a Trellmatic beat, how can one do so?
Right now I have two joints on SPEAK Easy’s upcoming LP. I have one joint so far on Frankie Flowers’ upcoming LP. I have a joint on the upcoming Malicious LP. I just did a joint for Mr. Miranda out of Arizona for his upcoming Tribute to Rick James EP. I’m actually about to send some joints out as we speak to Kerse-1 and Qewl Miles. Also, me and A.P.R.I.M.E. are in the process of putting together The Lost Stations which are a collective of songs that didn’t make Transistor and a couple of new joints, so be on the look for that at the end of the year. If any artists are looking to get beats, hit me up at email@example.com or follow me on twitter @trellmaticmusic.
Milwaukee Hip-Hop is really gaining the respect of some people outside of the city, as well as new ears within Milwaukee. As somebody who has several projects under his belt, how do you feel about the music, talent level, and respect within the MKE scene?
I feel that Milwaukee collectively has a lot of talented artists. The one thing I don’t like about the Milwaukee scene is how segregated it is. This unfortunately comes from stereotypes and misunderstandings. I am fortunate enough to come across, and work with, some very talented artists from all genres of Milwaukee music.
Any shout outs?
Yes sir. Shout to JR the Supastar (aka Scalez), Scott Knoxx, Rusty P’s, Black Elephant, Stricklin, King Hell Bastard, Malicious, A-Biz, UMG, SPEAK Easy, Frankie Flowers, DJ JDL, DJ Mad Hatter, Kid Cut Up and No Request Sound, DJ Stephanie, Jank One, DJ Venus, House of M, Jihad Baracus, Reason, Dave Derrilykt, AudioPilot, B-Luv, Steph (aka Supasuga), Hanan, A.P.R.I.M.E., Soulmatikk, Gambit, Lou Tang, Ms. Cream, Tre Mag, CT, Dino, Razetastic, JC Poppe, Evan Christian, Nate from Green Tree, Nate the Bartender, Mr. Miranda, and any other local artists, producers and musicians that I may have failed to mention.
Check out one of Trellmatic’s fresh new smoothed out soul beats called “As We Were”.