Stu Bangas Interview
Stu Bangas has been taking off. Whether it’s on trips to Long Island to finish his new album with Blaq Poet or placing beats on your favorite MCs’ latest projects, the Boston-based producer has been staying busy and putting out quality music. In this exclusive interview, Stu talks about his current projects, beat-making process, and more.
You’ve taken on a lot of different projects. How are you balancing everything right now?
I love making beats. I’m kind of addicted to it. As far as balancing the shit, I try to make as many beats as possible and that way you have enough to go around. That’s the thing I’ve been doing lately, increasing my output and keeping the same level of quality or actually improving it.
How do you keep that quality when you increase the quantity?
It’s not really an issue. Me and Vanderslice, we both dig from a lot of different genres of music. I’ll go through a phase where I get addicted to a certain genre and then move on to something else. There’s so many different genres to sample and they all have their different sounds, and then switching up my drum sounds too. I don’t always use the same sounds.
Your Diggas With Attitude compilation dropped over the summer. What was it like putting that project together?
It was good. It was good to work with Ryan from Man Bites Dog Records. It’s tough whenever you put together a record with so many personalities on it. It can be a hassle, but it’s fun at the same time.
Was it a challenge getting all the verses you wanted?
Yeah, it’s tough. Some dudes are easier, like with Ill Bill or Vinnie Paz, I have a pretty good working relationship with them. Some dudes work faster and harder than others. Some things we didn’t have to handle because of some of Ryan’s connections. That was kind of like one less thing for me to do. But it’s tough when you have that many different personalities and you kind of have to work around that.
You worked with Sean Price on “Frankenberry” off Mic Tyson. What was it like working with Sean Price there?
I was real happy to get on that record. I made that beat and then I didn’t send it to anybody. I thought it was cool and shit and I had been talking to him and he asked me to send some beats over. He wasn’t picking any and I got discouraged and I wasn’t going to keep flooding him if he wasn’t feeling anything but my wife said, “Fuck it, send him some more.” Then he said he was going to use that one and I was super-excited. I always like working with Sean and I think the song came out really good too.
And you guys are working on an EP now, right?
Yeah. A couple weeks ago, I get a text from him at one in the morning and I just happened to be up and he told me to call him ASAP. He was in the studio with AG Da Coroner and he played me this beat and asked me to loop it and told me what part he wanted to use as the hook. I did it and sent it right over and the next day he hit me about doing a whole EP together and I said of course. He went on his European tour after that but I’ve been flooding him with beats. He’s been writing to them and we’ll see what happens to them. But I’m pretty excited about that.
You and Blaq Poet are working on the follow-up to your joint LP. How’s that coming?
We’re almost done. Vanderslice did half the beats and he did this crazy one that’s got Vinnie Paz, Chino XL, and Spit Gemz on it. That’s a Vanderslice beat from ‘08 that nobody used. I’m really excited about that song. Vanderslice did another one with Tragedy and Celph-Titled. Vanderslice really came through with some heat on this record and I filed in the gaps.
Did anything change with how you work together?
It’s the same style. I went down and recorded a few with him. It’s kind of tough to get out to Long Island from Boston so after we did a few, I just started sending some and he let me know what he liked and what he didn’t like. He’d send them back. But it’s easier to work with him on this go around because we’re used to working together. I would say it’s an easier process at this point.
How did your project with Esoteric come about?
Oh, it’s coming good. It came up a couple of years ago. I was talking to him in some fashion and I think he had heard some stuff I had done with Paz and Priest. I started talking to him on Twitter. I was always a fan of Esoteric’s so I just sent him some beats and he ended up picking a few for another project that hasn’t come out yet. I kept sending him stuff and asked him, “Why don’t we do a whole project?” He agreed. It’s a real easy process because we have the same style of music and beats. I think that project’s coming out pretty crazy.
Your next instrumental album is dropping too, Straight Death 2. How much thought goes into the track order and what beats actually make it?
I tried to take some stuff that people may have heard from me on other dude’s albums that they liked. I wanted to have some appeal to it that way. But then I put some stuff on there that’s unreleased beats that I wanted to use to diversify the sound from what’s been released. And this time around I also have some 24 bar verses from dudes like Q-Unique and Spit Gemz, Esoteric, Outerspace, and Twin. I had them rap to the theme of “straight death” and I got those things to spice it up. I don’t know, I think it sounds pretty crazy and I’m excited about the project. The preorders that have come in off my website are more than what I thought I would do, so I’m pretty excited about that.
You’ve worked with a variety of artists. Do you adjust your style to accommodate artists’ various styles or do you just make your style and hope it finds a home?
I always try to be conscious of the speed or tempo of the beat. Sean Price, Blaq Poet, Ill Bill, and Vinnie Paz records all have tempos where their flow fits in the pocket a little bit better. I really learned that working with Ill Bill on The Grimy Awards. He likes his beats faster than what I make. I must have changed our record three or four times with the tempo. It came out good. You get the sample and you’re going to go off the sample, tempo-wise, but when you’re making something with someone in mind, you might find a sample that would work at a certain tempo and you think of who would like it and you make it with them in mind. Tempo is key when it comes to rappers.
How close are you and Vanderslice working today?
We’re still working as close as ever. He’s got his stuff that he’s working on and he’s working with Awar and a couple of big names. I don’t want to jinx him and let the cat out of the bag. A lot of what we do is trading samples and drums. We just bought 200 library records off eBay and we’re going through them. We send each other all the beats we make and we send each other samples a lot, so we’re working closely.
What’s the most important element to you in a Stu Bangas beat?
I’ll do the sample first. I can’t flip anything I don’t like. The sample is key. But then the drums have to hit because no one’s going to like it if it doesn’t beat. And then the low end is important. A lot of beats don’t knock and we always try to incorporate that.
What’s your release schedule looking like this year?
I got the instrumental album coming out in two weeks. And then I think this year we’re going to try to get out the Blaq Poet record. I’m doing a record with Spit Gemz and I think we’re going to try and get that out this year. We want to space the Esoteric record out from what he did. We’re also working on a record with Reef the Lost Cauze and Blacastan. That’s coming out good. Reef’s a little busier, so Blac has been taking the ball and running with it, but everything he’s done has come out crazy. We’re doing that with Ryan also at Man Bites Dog. I’m excited to work with him again. I think it’s sounding pretty crazy. We’re hoping we can get on tour with that record and the other ones that we’re doing. We’re trying to get four or five records out this year.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XQfZC33GIE0″ target=”_blank”>Pre-order Straight Death 2