Name: Ken B
Representing: Willingboro, New Jersey
Side hustle until first placement:
Audio/Visual Tech for the hotel, resort and conference center industry.
Key Tracks: “Black Magic” “Never Blue”
When did you first start producing and with what equipment?
While I was in high school I would piece together instrumentals onto cassettes by recording, then pausing at the end of a 4 or 8 bar break, rewinding the tape and recording the loop over and over again. I broke many play and rewind buttons back then. In 2002 I found a software program called Fruity Loops. A couple years after that, I attended an Audio Engineering school where I was introduced to Reason and thats what I’ve been using since.
How would you describe your sound?
Melodic, Cinematic, Vivid, Jazzy, Dream-like, Epic. I try to maintain the sound and feel of live instrumentation, but with that Hip-Hop groove.
Your “Blue Magic” remix was really good. How did you make it?Well, to be honest, the marriage of that acapella and my beat was kind of random. I had already composed and arranged the music inside of Reason, when I noticed the tempos were similar. I made some adjustments on the beats tempo/BPM (beats per minute) to match up with the acapellas BPM. Then I synced up the vocals with the track and mixed them down together in Cool Edit. The track just so happened to be in key with the hook so it worked out. When your doing remixes, all you really need is the tempo/BPM and its like a kid having the keys to a candy shop. You can flip the song and give it a whole new vibe, with your own little signature. This remix, I felt, represents my sound to a pretty good degree, and I hope people that dig that mellowed out sound like it as much as I do. I had a lot of fun putting it together.
What was the last piece of equipment you acquired? are you more software, hardware or instruments?
An M-Audio Radium 49 Midi Keyboard. Being computer savvy, I would say I’m more software oriented. That being said, nothing beats a good, clean recording of a live instrument.
What mistakes have you made in recording that you’ve learned from?
The first mistake is that I didn’t backup a lot of my early work and a hard-drive crash wiped out two years of worth of work. So BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!
The other thing I’ve learned is that not everything has to be loud in the mix. I recently read an article, in which, a mastering engineer showed how running your sound through equipment that simply made it louder, squashed the stereo image and compromised the dynamics of a good mix. It’s a lesson I’m still learning as I try to sharpen my skills in mixing and mastering. Quality and Dynamics are becoming more important to me as I’ve grown.
What artist would you like to make a beat for the most and why?
It’s a tie between Pharaoh Monch, because of his energy and the way he animates his voice on a track, Black Thought, because of his substance, and Jay-Z, because his conversational tone fits well over my music. One.Be.Lo. is another artist that I would like to work with.