and when did "Da Riffs" form?
became official about a year and a half ago. I (erOc) was working at this studio
The Enterprise, when my manager Abby linked me with Zed. The first night in
the studio we laced a beat for Killah Priest, Main Flow (Mood) and crazy ass
Masta Foul. We worked well together, which is hard when it comes to makin tracks.
At that time Zed was living in northern Cali, so he would drive down like 6
hours and we would lock the studio out all weekend. Live, sleep, and shit beats.
We were makin like 10 joints a day. He decided to move to LA after shit started
gettin more serious, and that's when we bought the studio (The Red Room). Pimped
that shit out and just got to work 24/7!
Zed: Yeah, I moved
out to Cali to do music not knowing where it would take me. Abby and I went
to music school together, she gave me a call, and since, its been history in
the making. I was playing in bands on the east coast for about 8 years, and
I needed a change.
you start producing? EROC:
I was Djing for like 6 years doing clubs & battles. I got bored of playing
the same club records over and over and was like 'let me start making these
records instead of just playin em'. Got myself an ASR-10 and taught myself the
Zed: I got a couple
programs for free, and I started playing around with them, and wanted to do
video game music for the longest. It was a mixture of video game music, scores
for movies, and then started playing around with hip hop tracks.
did you start with? EROC:
I started with an ASR-10, 2 Technics and a gang of wax. Then I switched to the
Zed: Nuendo &
Reason, Roland keyboard, my guitars, & a bassoon.
your first beats sound? EROC:
Ever played the video game PONG? like the hip hop version of that.
Zed: I did it all
in Reason, so it was all the Reason sound banks, it was thick, lots of parts,
flutes, strings, organs. It was all DARK shit!! That Hardcore rap shit.
you improve? EROC:
I just started comparing my sound quality to the greats, seeing what I was missing.
I took some sound engineering classes and learned about Midi and Sequencing.
Basically just let my ear develop.
Zed: Just making
as many beats as I could, and listened to the critical feedback from those around
me (mostly Abby; the quintessential hiphop goddess). Every day was a beat marathon,
makin 6-10 beats a day just trying to perfect the imperfections.
do you use now? We
got a whole lot more shit now. MPC 2000XL for drums and sequencing, Pro Tool
Mix system for recording. A vintage Rhodes keyboard, a vintage Clavinette, Roland
3080, Emu Proteus 2000, Motif Keyboard, Kurzweil K2600 keyboard, the Studio
Electronics SE-1X for leads and synth bass, ZEDS got 6 guitars, 4 flutes, 2
chinese stringed instruments, 2 Basses, a Bassoon, and a bunch of crazy percussions.
sample, what type of sample do you look for? It depends on what type of track we're tryin to do. Sometimes we're
just looking for stabs or little shit to chop into the track that's already
bangin, but needs a sample element. Other times we'll go to the crates for inspiration
to start the track off. We don't like using samples that are real obvious or
have already been used mad times.
the first thing you do when you make a beat? Have
a vision, then a drink. Usually we pick a tempo and start a basic rhythm track,
then either throw some FX in or the sample we are working with. After that we
start layering in keyboards and guitars.
you make sure the drums fit the beat? EROC:
Just make sure your drum sounds are the right style for what you're tryin to
do, sound and pattern wise. For example, if you're trying to make a Club joint,
you're not gonna want to sample some Gravediggaz kicks. And the same goes for
the opposite, no one wants to hear an R-Kelly water drop snare on a head nodder.
Zed: A lot of times
we just jam out, E will be on the MP, and I'll be on guitars or keys, and we'll
just vibe out until it feels right. That usually ensures that the drums fit
the song. We'll go through 10 ideas before we settle on something that sounds
you know when a beat is finished? When
someone in the room tells us to stop adding shit' we have that problem, we're
always finding holes to sneak sounds in. We usually end up taking parts out
if they interfere with vocals after we get an MC on it.
I don't know if
we ever feel a beat is done until the MC or singer layers it down, from there
we can strip it down or add more.
worked with Method Man and Redman, what's that like? Meth
gave us mad love on that track, he was real, showed up to the session with the
fuckin bathrobe and slippers from his hotel on. Someone blessed us with the
Red accapella & we made the shit work.
a studio session with Young Zee like? EROC:
Zeeeeeee, that's my nigga 4 reeeeeal! Zee is a one of a kind individual! He
always rolls through on some crazy shit! My man can smoke an ounce in one night
and still write the dopest verse. We give Zee beats and he gives us a comedy
routine all evening, my man is down for whatever, whadupp Zee!!! Holla! Zee
got us workin with Rah Digga too.
Zed: Zee is a nut!
Nigga is mad funny & entertaining, plus he got the ill ass lines.
worked with Heltah Skeltah too, what's that like? What are they up to now? We
got like 6 Songs with Rock and 2 with him and Ruck. You can download them on
our website www.DaRiffs.com.
Rock is a good friend of ours, he's family when he comes to Cali. We just did
a joint for EA Sports NFL Street that's coming out in December. They're both
real focused in the lab' it's nice to see emcees actually studying their rhymes
before they drop em, so they don't sound like they're reading. They are working
on the next Heltah Skeltah Record' Rock played us a few joints that banged.
Definitely cop dat when it drops!!!
Zed: Yea, Rock
has one of the most powerful voices, we did some hard rock shit for EA Sports
recently, and he blew me away with his versatility, being able to rock any rhythm.
working with a lot of artists out west, who is the nicest MC coming out of the
west right now? There's
a lot of good raw talent out here right now. The underground is bubbling real
big over here. We fuck with Planet Asia, doing the whole next album 'The King
Medallions Project', also Scipio, Rass Kass'partner and protégé,
Bishop Lamont, and Sly Boogie' besides them we give props to Spitfiya, Maylay,
Six John, and Crooked I.
are you currently working on? EROC:
We're almost finished with 4 Joints for NFL Street (EA Sports), just waiting
on the mixing' we got Royce dA 5'9", Rock, Planet Asia, and Bishop Lamont.
We also got the title track on the next EA Need For Speed with Capone and some
joints with Stat Quo (Fight Night). We also produced all the music, hiphop &
drum n bass, for NBA Street, probably about 12 songs total. We're working on
full lengths with Ali Vegas, Planet Asia, and Scipio. Also in the works is a
mixtape featuring exclusive production by us with PNC Mixtapes mixed by Dj Warrior
and Dj Sickamore, hosted by ATLien Stat Quo. Peep our website www.DaRiffs.com
for tracks to download.
Zed: Yea, we also
scored a commercial for Circuit City recently, did a dancehall joint with SlipNSlide/Capitol
artist, Don Yute. That track is also in NBA Live 2005'and man we got a joint
with Lloyd Banks', but it didn't make the final cut for the album. BLAHHH! Word
is it might pop up on the Green Lantern LP'''..also did a few pop remixes for
some Warner Bros and Disney artists.
would you give free beats to? Nas,
Ghostface, Lloyd Banks, Jadakiss, Jay Z, Mobb Deep, MOP, Buckshot, BIG L R.I.P
MC's get beats off you? Holla
at Abby1ill@aol.com. She holds it down for the management and puts the smack
on all these labels for Da Riffs. Keep it Gully Girl!!!
PBC in NY, Abby 1 @ Ironix Management, Raphaela (you're part of our team girl!!),
all the fans who support our shit, artists, & industry peeps who've been
supporting us, BIG UPS!!! Hiphopgame.com (730), Sam Snizzle (holdin Hans Zimmer
down), Beef, Steve Schnur @ EA, & of course, the Most High for inspiration.
Props to Warrior & the rest of the mixtape djs for showing us luv!!