[The big talk at last week’s Skyzoo listening session was the production work by one Eric G, so I’ve decided to republish this interview I did with him last year:-JLB]
About four years ago this young man from Washington State started clicking away on borrowed copies of Fruity Loops and Sound Forge software. Late last year he landed three beats on Torae’s critically acclaimed CD, Daily Conversation: “Callin Me” “Taylor Made” and “Think About It.” Today he has some placements in the works with One Be-Lo and several other independent artists, doing the long-distance grind from Seattle. So Nodfactor took a few minutes on iChat to catch up with a rising star.
Nodfactor: Where are you and Khrysis digging in this photo on your Myspace page?
Eric G: Ohh thats in New York. Thats the craziest place. There’s a upstairs and a down stairs all full of records and they’re all 2 bucks. I know what it’s called but I don’t wanna expose Marco.
Nodfactor: Oh, that’s Marco Polo’s spot?
Eric G: haha Yeah we all went there.
Nodfactor: Do you get most of your stuff off vinyl still, or do you grab stuff from the net too? There are so many MP3s of old records out there.
Eric G: Well when I had a job I used to buy records almost everyday, and I’d have so many songs I wanted to use that I wouldn’t even download. But now I dont really have money to buy records so I just download. You can get pretty much everything online anyways.
Nodfactor: So, how do you know Torae?
Eric G: MySpace. But me and Tor have met up like 3 times. One of the nicest people I know.
Nodfactor: Ok, so tell me about “Callin Me,” the first of your beats that I ever heard. Sick track.
Eric G. I made that in Fruity. I don’t really remember making it really, I just sent Tor a bunch of beats and he chose that one. But what he did to it made the beat. I remember when I made it I didn’t think I liked it that much. But when I heard the song I cried.
Nodfactor: Do you tap out your drums in real time or just fill in the little squares in the channel? Cuz the swing is nice, especially on the “call-in-out-your-naaaame”
Eric G: I fill in the squares in the pattern, but some times I’ll make new channels for a drum so it hits at a little bit different time. There’s a nob…the secret nob
Nodfactor: Do share, and help us to stop cluttering the atmosphere with these mr. roboto drum patterns.
Eric G: I don’t think its that secret go to the channel settings window and then go to the Function tab, then look in the lower mid left corner and there’s a box that says Time. You can mess with the nobs Khrysis new about the nob. Most people prolly know about it.
Nodfactor: I see where you mean. I tried the little swing adjuster at the top, but I didn’t like what it did and I would literally go into the channel and tweak the hit manually.
Eric G: Yea I used to do it like that… until i was put on to the nob.
Nodfactor: I gotta try that when I get home. I just upgraded to FL 8
Eric G: How is it??
Nodfactor: It’s not a whole lot different so far. They added this thing called Slicex, but I kind of like the Fruity Slicer better.
Eric G: I never tried that.
Nodfactor:Khrysis put me onto the slicer and 9th used to use it to break up the sounds. You can use a midi controller to play out the notes, or just click it in manually. I think Slicex does the same thing, but it breaks the songs up into more user friendly pieces.
Nodfactor: The only other difference I’ve seen is more sounds in the “Packs” in the browser to the left. I’m not on my home computer or I’d be more specific.
Eric G: Ohh I think I personally prefer 4. But I have 7
Nodfactor: I started on 6. What is Sound Forge like? I haven’t used that.
Eric G: Its cool, its just like Cool Edit. I actually have Cool Edit now. But I just use those to chop stuff most the time. The reason I stopped using Sound Forge was cause it had a limit on the amount of mp3s you could open in it.
Nodfactor: Interesting. that sucks.
Eric G: So I switched to using Adobe Premier to chop.
Nodfactor: Yeah, Adobe Audition is great cuz I can hear the MP3 before I even bring it into the program. Another reason I didn’t like Slicex come to think of it. I’m listening to “Think About it” and those are some really dirty drums.
Eric G: Yeah thats not on purpose. I think I made that in like 2006.
Nodfactor: What do you think is wrong with it?
Eric G: I dunno. I like the song. There’s always gonna be something wrong. But I’d say I’d change the drums.
Nodfactor: What’s your favorite beat so far? of your own.
Eric G: Prolly that one haha
Nodfactor: Funny. It’s your favorite but you’d change it. lol
Eric G: Yeah you know how that goes.
Eric G: I just really liked making that one. It was fun.
Nodfactor: What’s funny is I didn’t realize you and Tor were down with Justice League when I heard the album. My peeps are gonna clown me cuz I’ve been a flag-waver of Justice League since I was at The Source and we gave The Listening 4 Mics.
Eric G: The Listening is one of the best albums of all time. Period. Thats why I really started wanting to make beats.
Nodfactor: How did you link up with them?
Eric G: Man I met them in new york in January. Chaundon, Sean boog, khrysis, but I’ve yet to link with any others. I went out there for Tor’s release party and stayed at his house and Big Treal, Khrysis, Remo, Kil Rip, Boog, Michael Evans and Chaundon were staying there. It was really tight. Chaundon wasnt stayin there, but he was there.
Nodfactor: Who else have u made beats for?
Eric G: oh um Splash and me are always working on songs, we’ve prolly done about 80 songs. I’m working on a album with One Be Lo, I been doin’ songs with Supastition. Me and Big Treal are done with our album just gotta get the technical stuff sorted out. And of course SKYZOO.
Nodfactor: ok, listening to “Stop Frontin”
Eric G: Yeah he did nice on that.
Nodfactor: Did you filter to get this bass line or play it?
Eric G: Filter
Nodfactor: Do you tend to lay the drums first or let the sample tell you where to go?
Eric G: I usually start with a drum template with random drums in it. Then I’ll change out the sounds as I’m goin. Like I’ll loop the sample over what ever drums. Then sort it out while I’m goin.
Nodfactor: So you’re a guy with a computer in Washington and one day you decide to make beats. Next thing you know you’re on an album. What does that feel like?
Eric G: It feels crazy! Cause for instance I used to listen to Skyzoo songs like everyday now I talk to him on the phone about songs. I’m grateful for that.
Nodfactor: Have you seen your sound grow and evolve since you started?
Eric G: Yeah, for sure. I’m workin on a album with Young Cee, where we collab on the beats and the first two we’ve done are all played live. In the beginning I wasn’t even thinking about that.
Nodfactor: What are you using? midi or actual instruments?
Eric G: midi sounds. I got a couple vsts for fruity
Nodfactor: yeah, I want to get Sytrus but am just mad that I have to pay extra for it
Eric G: I thought it came with fruity
Nodfactor: nope, just as a demo
Eric G: I have to set the date back on my computer too 2007. Otherwise fruity wont work cause its registration is expired
Nodfactor: That’s nuts. What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a producer on the 1) techincal side and 2) business side?
Eric G: um the most important technical part I learned is to make the drum sorta off. As far as business, I mean I havent really delt with that side that much. I just send out beats, people rap then we have a song.
Nodfactor. ok, any parting words for the Nodfactor readers?
Eric G: Look for the Big Treal “Just Today” coming out real soon, the One Be Lo “b.a.b.y” coming out soon, me and Young Cee’s album sometime this year. And look for Splash’s new album The Ripple 2 which should be out also soon. And thanks for reading this if you got this far down.