Name: Blastah Beatz
Key Track: “Survive” by Busta Rhymes
1)When did you get started making beats?
I started in 2003, on FruityLoops and my 450 mhz home computer. Back then I was 15, just messing around dropping factory drums over loops. But over time this led me to understand the basics of sample-driven production. I only got serious with beatmaking in 2006. Shout out to my mentor DJ Master Kutt for teaching me the basics of music theory and production.
2) How did you connect with Busta Rhymes for the mixtape track “Survive”? How did you make that beat? Did you just send him the beat or did they ask for you to track it out, etc.?
Ah man, it’s still unreal for me. Busta is one of my all-time favourite artists. I connected with DJ Kay Slay, sent him a few beats and next thing I know I get a Flipmode/Streetsweepers track on a Busta Rhymes project. Me and Slay also worked on “The Last Lyricists,” a track featuring Busta Rhymes, Papoose and Big Lou. They used a stereo 2-track for both songs.
3) What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in shopping your beats?
Excessive watermarking is prejudicial for you, but find the small tag you want to use as your trademark and always throw it in during the intro of your tracks. That way whenever an artist chooses to record to your beat and not warn you before, your ID will still persist.
4) What’s in your toolbox? Are you more hardware or software based?
I’m definitely more software based, mainly because of my location and budget. You don’t easily find good and cheap equipment in my country, and shipping gear in turns out to be really expensive (one word: Customs). I really want to make the jump to hardware though, it’s just a matter of time.
I always use the same formula to make a beat: Cool Edit 2, FruityLoops3, and Reason 3. I also use a MIDI controller for basslines and sparse instrumentation, KRK RP5 monitors for mixing and occasionally a Boss SP-303 for its crazy effects.
5) )What is the hip-hop scene like in Portugal? Where do you go to get records and equipment?
Although I’m not up to date with everything, I believe it’s developing strong. Nowhere near as the major markets, but you have a few artists reaching gold and platinum status so it’s a great look. There’s still a lot to be made and pioneered, I hope I can help in that matter. We have dope producers, MC’s, groups, DJ’s, breakers, writers, beatboxers and media outlets working hard to make our Kulture better: props to them all. To get records and equipment it’s hell on Earth, like I mentioned before. I’m not even in a major city so I’m forced to get all my records online, and my equipment is mostly virtual. I paid 350€ for my KRK’s; that’s 550 American dollars, just to make my point clear. There’s room for a lot of improvement in this aspect.
6) What do you do to shop and promote your beats, since you have so many underground placements?
The Internet is crazy. That’s how we connected even being thousands of miles away. I always wanted a manager to handle my business since I can’t fly overseas back and forth, but in the end I can cut the middle man with this tool. Everything you see in my discography, I got it myself by looking for the artists/managers/A&R’s contacts online and hitting them up with tracks. MySpace, forums, email adresses, everything works. You need to feel that you’re ready and your beats are on point before you do that though, you only get one first impression and unfortunately I wasted a few in my early stages.