PRODUCER PROFILE is a platform in where we interview music creators, i.e. producers/beatmakers, both locally and globally, and showcase their exclusive musical works. The goal of PRODUCER PROFILE is to further explore and reveal how these highly sophisticated and tight-knit communities of grassroots music creators are crossing borders, both in sound and geographic location. Their music is innovative and visionary – their music is powerful, brilliant, and unapologetic – and their music is part of a fast growing worldwide movement that is changing the way we listen, share, and consume music.
Name: Bones The Beat Head
Location: Nuremberg, Germany
Equipment Using: Software (mainly FL Studio & Steinberg Wavelab), Samples
Years Producing: 8
Label: Millennium Jazz Music / Dusted Wax Kingdom
Collaborators: The Jazz Jousters Collective and the netlabel Dusted Wax Kingdom amongst a few others.
Networks: SoundCloud // Bandcamp //
Thank you for being a part of our PRODUCER PROFILE series we recently have launched. STERYO is happy to support your music.
First of all thank you for this opportunity and the support! Also thanks to Gadget who proposed me and others to get featured on this series. I’m glad to give some insight about me and my music production.
Tell us who Bones The Beat Head is and where you’re from?
I’m Bones The Beat Head, an independent beat maker / Hip Hop producer of German-French descent, grown up in a small town in Baden-Württemberg (southern German state) and actually living in Nuremberg.
Where does your name derive from?
Sometime in 2007 I chose “Bones” as my artist name, but then quickly recognized that this name is widely used whether identically or with variety in the spelling, so I decided to think about a name affix that adds something individual to it and that also separates me from similar sounding names. Since about 2009/2010 I’m going by my actual name Bones The Beat Head. The name affix refers to the fact that my mind is (nearly) always filled up with beats and melodies that I like.
Your beats are so laid back – do you think your music represents your personality?
Yes, definitely in some cases. I like things plain and simple and not too hectic if possible. My mainly calm nature is somehow reflected through my production style and the convention of rarely touching the 100 bpm mark. I mostly make beats that were around 80-95 bpm. That said I don’t really like “fast” music like Drum & Bass or Techno for example.
Being that you’re from Germany, how did you first hear about beat-making or see beat-making – that inspired you to become one?
As a young teenager I got in touch with old school Hip Hop music by groups like Run DMC or EPMD. Since then I got also interested in the history of Hip Hop culture, especially hip hop music in general. But I didn’t understand much of the lyrics at that time, so I was more focused on the beats and melodies. After checking out a lot of hip hop music I began to analyze the beats and slowly found out about sampling, drum breaks etc., what even more intensified my interest for the beats primarily. The sample-based 90’s boom bap sound by artists like the D.I.T.C. crew for example obviously became and still is one of my biggest influences. Besides that, I started to dig a lot of other music genres like jazz, library, fusion, psychedelic rock, rare groove etc. with the intention to find suitable sample sources and to begin with producing my own beats little by little.
What was your first piece of music equipment you purchased?
The first music production equipment that I have purchased must have been the digital audio workstation FL Studio 5.
Tell us about the Nuremburg Hip Hop scene right now?
Due to not being a Nuremberg native and also not being really deep in the general Hip Hop scene as well my knowledge about the local scene is very limited. But like anywhere else the biggest parts where the rap scene and some smaller jams, live gigs and more mainstream oriented black music events in clubs that take place in Nuremberg from time to time. Further I rarely hear anything about graffiti or breakdance for example. The Hip Hop scene in other German cities like Berlin or Cologne is way bigger.
I noticed that you released a solo album titled The Repertory – Volume One, can you briefly explain the album?
“The Repertory – Volume One” is my debut album consisting of 15 instrumentals that were united through an unmistakable jazzy boom bap production style. It’s a collection of some personal favorites I produced between 2009 and 2012, enriched with tributes to Bill Evans and Ahmad Jamal. Plus it’s the first volume of an instrumental album series of a yet unknown number of volumes. It was released in August 2012 and is available as a Free Download at Bandcamp or Dusted Wax Kingdom.
Most of your collaborations have been with The Jazz Jousters collaborations, how did you guys link up?
Gadget sent me a message through Bandcamp sometime in September last year. He liked my album, told me about the Jazz Jousters projects and straightforward asked me if I want to get involved in upcoming projects. At this moment I was already a huge fan of the Jazz Jousters, so I felt truly honored and was excited to participate on the then actual Ella Fitzgerald tribute for the first time.
Here’s a question I’ve been asking – Do you think record digging is a science or an art, or both?
I think it’s more an art form for me, as the audition of music is highly subjective in my opinion. But it also depends on the intention why anyone digs for records. Digging for personal use only, for example to complete a discography with first pressings or the like probably depends on other motives than searching for specific sounds, sequences, drum breaks or some lyrics for cuts, what can be described as a more scientific approach to music or record digging.
How large is your vinyl collection today?
Not being a traditional crate digger at all I sadly own not more than a stack of [about] 80 records. The most of them also weren’t too hard to find, but at least I have an older Pioneer record player in my living room for enjoying them sometimes if the needle is not broken again. Because then I have to order a new one at the only shop in Germany that I know of, where remanufactured needles for nearly all older types of record players can be purchased.
As part of the PRODUCER PROFILE series, we ask the interviewed producers to discuss FIVE tracks. Let’s start with Gardens of Madeira.
Gardens of Madeira off Flocking Together
That one was made for “Flocking Together,” a Jazz Jousters special paying homage to jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd. As I was searching for samples and hearing through some of Byrd’s albums, I was immediately fascinated by ‘I Love That Girl’ from the 1969 album Fancy Free. When I heard the main melody of this track I directly associated the beauty of the Portuguese island Madeira. I saw a documentary about its landscape and gardens some days earlier on TV and was really impressed by the paradisiac atmosphere. With that association in my mind the title “Gardens Of Madeira” comes along. Due to the laid back groove I combined the samples with a slow drum break and some trumpet solo samples from other Donald Byrd tracks.
Sample Substitution off Another Manha
This one was produced for the Jazz Jousters session #16 (Joe Sample). At first I heard through the track a couple of times but had no idea at first which passages to use or what sort of groove I want to create. Then I chopped 3 or 4 short and nice sounding piano loops and played around with these. As I was satisfied with the melody I tried to find some drums and therefore tested some classic drum breaks.
A very well-known drum break matched promptly, so I had a basis for the beat and finally added some variety, low-pass passages and trumpet samples for not letting it being too annoying. The title is a mixture of the sampled artist’s last name and a part of the drum breaks’ track title, whom experts should know. I also like the ambiguity that is given by the title “Sample Substitution”.
Blue Mosaic off Shades of Blue
“Blue Mosaic” was made for the Jazz Jousters session #18 (Don Rendell). First of all I have to say that I really liked the given sample, “Shades Of Blue” by Don Rendell & The Ian Carr Quintet. There are a lot of nice and slow passages with piano, saxophone and bass that can be used for building up a classic sample-based beat.
I started with building up a melody, but needed several sessions before I thought that it was nice enough. Thereafter I recorded the drums and did some minor adjustments until I was surprisingly very satisfied with the product. I received a lot of positive feedback for this beat, so it’s probably one of the most popular ones that I ever produced so far. For the title I wanted to pick up the word “blue” and selected “Blue Mosaic”, because mosaic can be really fine as a design element, especially with blue tiles.
Reconstructed Jazz off your debut instrumental album The Repertory – Volume One
“Reconstructed Jazz” is somehow the “key-track” of my debut album “The Repertory – Volume One”. It is the first track after the intro and also one of my personal all-time favorites. The track title is representative for the whole album, as it is composed of reconstructed jazz samples throughout every single track and because the idea of making a whole instrumental album with a jazzy concept as basis was born during the production process of this beat. It was created sometime in July 2011, when I sat down one evening and tried to create a classic and unfussy beat upon a nice sample consisting of some piano and saxophone. After playing around for maybe about 2 minutes I already had a dope melody that I had to mix with a fitting drum loop. So I remembered a rugged drum loop I had sampled some time ago, so I wanted to try if that could work. Surprisingly the combination was immediately all around nice, so that I just had to minimally adjust the components before the beat was finished. Regarding the plays on bandcamp and last.fm this is the most popular track of the whole album.
and lastly, Back and Forth off The Next Chapter
This one was recently made for the actual Jazz Jousters session #20 (Gary Burton) and created during two sessions. I started to work on it at a Wednesday’s evening with searching for samples and building a melody, but didn’t managed to end up with something useful. During the second session at the following Friday I firstly started to record the drums and then played the sample-based melodies over them, what worked out very well after several tries. The beat ended up with a real laid back groove and features some low-pass, additional trumpet and flute samples plus a few single vibraphone strikes. Due to the fact that the vibraphone is played by a person moving mallets back and forth and left to right, I thought “Back & Forth” might be a good title for this one.
Any other projects you would like to share with us that you’re currently working on?
Currently I’m still participating in the Jazz Jousters Lab-Off Sessions by contributing beats and cover artwork. Hopefully, there will also be some collaboration with artists in near future with whom I got connected via Millennium Jazz Music and soundcloud lately. Further I’m loosely working on my second instrumental album “The Repertory – Volume Two,”which will be in the same tradition as the first volume and approximately be released at some point in 2013.
If you’re a producer/beatmaker and would like to be considered for STERYO’s PRODUCER PROFILE series, please submit a brief bio and five links of your music to STERYOmedia@gmail.com, ATTN: PRODUCER PROFILE.