Hydrosonics-Rough Draft

JLBarrow • March 30, 2010 • 1 Comment

NAME: Rough D.R.A.F.T

From: Cleveland, OH (now in Arizona)

Contact: Myspace

Nodfactor.com:So why the name Rough Draft?

Rough Draft: I used to be a graf artist in high school. My tag was KAOS back then. One day I was sitting in English class and had the most boring teacher ever, man. So we had to do a book report and she kept talking about the importance of the Rough Draft. I started tagging it and it looked good on paper so I changed my name. Today, I spell it Rough D.r.a.f.t.: Draft=Distorted.Reverberated.Amplified.Filtered.Thumpin’ .A lot of people have my name so I had to make it slightly different.

Nodfactor.com I like the “Watching Her Strut” beat on your Myspace page. How much of that is sampled and how much is played? if any?

Rough Draft

All of it is played.

Nodfactor.com

Nice. with?

Rough Draft

REASON and my laptop. No Midi controller, just the mouse pad. I input everything note for note.

Nodfactor.com

When did you first start producing and did you have any mentors?

Rough Draft

I first started making beats in ’93. I had a few mentors in the city. Jazmarc, Robbie Mann and Moe Tex. All those guys used the SP1200 and taught me. I bought my own SP in 1994. I consider those guys Cleveland legends to this day.

Nodfactor.com

I’ve read a lot of different stories about learning the SP. Some people actually read the manual, others were coached and some just jumped in blind. What did you do?

Rough Draft

I literally stayed up for 24 hours straight. When I bought my SP all I had was a ton of disks from my guys and a pair of headphones. That’s it. Jazmarc jokes about that even now. I was a fiend, man.

Nodfactor.com

Before you became a teen…93 seems like a million years ago now. What were your next moves after learning the SP?

Rough Draft

After I learned the SP, I bought the Ensoniq ASR-10 and MIDI’d them together. I used to do my filtered samples and basslines in the ASR, and had the drums thumpin’ out the SP. I put out an underground demo named “Uptight City” in ’94. People still talk about that demo today. I was doing a lot of performing and battling back then and earned my rep that way.

Nodfactor.com

Battling as an MC and as producer or just production?

Rough Draft

Was also doing a lot of production for local artists out of the small studio I had in East Cleveland. I do both, so I was getting at dudes on the mic and on the beats.

Nodfactor.com

When did you move to NYC?

Rough Draft

July of 2001.

Nodfactor.com

Was that a productive move for you? Music wise?

Rough Draft

It was more of a valuable life experience for me. I was up there with a wife and four kids at the time, so my urgency to make money was on a whole different level. More than often my music took the back burner for things that got me faster cash. I met Lord Finesse in the Bronx though. I think he’s one of the most down to Earth brothas in the industry.We kept in contact for a few months before I moved to VA.

Nodfactor.com

Say word? Ok. Did you guys share any production experiences?

Rough Draft

I left a few beats CD’s with him. He told me he felt me but that my sound was behind the times. Most of the time when I talked to Finesse, I was talkin’ to Rob…feel me? The few times we spoke was about life in general and not so much about the music. He’s a great dude.

Nodfactor.com

That’s what’s up. What did you think of his advice though? About being behind the times?

Rough Draft

I agreed with him and he was right. I moved to New York about 10 years too late. When I got there, I was still crankin’ out the old Pete Rock, old Large Pro, old Dilla sound. The whole emphasis of Hip Hop had changed to being ‘Gangsta’, and the sound had changed along with it. So I had to get up to speed on the current sound. It helped me grow as a producer. Now I can give an artist any sound he wants.

Nodfactor.com

What adjustments did you make sonically? Sampling less? Sampling different things?

Rough Draft

Tempo was a main adjustment. The sound texture was another. Less grit and more of a clean sound is what I switched to. NO JAZZ! LOL! Cats in the streets was not tryin’ to hear no jazzy beats. I started sampling from different sources than Jazz records. Started messing with rock, etc.

Nodfactor.com

Tell me about the beat battles you attended. Were those helpful in advancing your career at all?

Rough Draft

Honestly no. The first beat battle I was in was at CBGB’s Lounge and it had an all-star panel of judges. Finesse, Primo, Diamond were there, and I think Hank Shocklee was too among others. The judges wanted to see you actually push MPC pads and improvise on stage. I was one of the dudes who just had a beat CD though…no MP. So I blew out this dude in the first round but got taken in the 2nd because that brotha was doing things live on the MP for the judges.At Nuyorican and 5 Spot it was a different story.

Nodfactor.com

How so?

Rough Draft

At those battles I was outnumbered terribly. It was guys that had what I felt were garbage beats but had they whole damn neighborhood in the spot. So in those battles based on crowd response, I came up short every time.I didn’t come to the battle with no more than 3-4 people.

Nodfactor.com

yeah, I’ve been to the Nuyorican battles before. That crowd judging is a little suspect LOL

Rough Draft

So you know how it can be!

Nodfactor.com

Definitely

Rough Draft

Still was a learning experience though. Taught me showmanship. A lot of times the crowd want to see more than you just push and button and let your beat play. They want to feel your presence and personality.

Nodfactor.com

Yeah, the Fight Club cats were doing Beat club like that for a minute cats were PERFORMING on their MPCS. Was around 2005.

Rough Draft: I had just moved to VA by then.

Nodfactor.com Tell me about your crew the Synconauts

Rough Draft

My Brothas Jazmarc came up with the name about a year and a half ago. Were were part of a much, much larger collective called The Soulful Senate. Over the years things happened to members. Death, Jail, some just stopped rhymin’ and gave up on the dream. We stayed close like brothers though. It’s me, Jaz and Dominator. Jazmarc taught both of us how to make beats back in the day. Since then we have evolved into out own distinct sounds. Into our own. All three of us pull double duty on the mic and on the beats. Jaz uses the 3000 for most of his stuff, Dominator uses the 4000, and I use REASON now. I have CD’s of beats I did on the SP, the 60, and the 2000 though.

Nodfactor.com

You’ve done some music related things to pay the bills over the years. How did you get into the sound editing and voice over work?

Rough Draft

My kids used to dance at Uptown Dance Academy in East Harlem. They do a production every Christmas called The Black Nutcracker. They found out that I do music and we worked out a deal for me to do all the music editing for their productions. I used to be on the Connex List, an industry contact list provided by DJ Sonic and Lord Vader of the Wonder Twinz. I got the voice over work from being listed in there.

Nodfactor.com

wow

Rough Draft

I used to sell CD’s on Times Square from time to time, too. That, and at a couple of Bronx barber shops.

Nodfactor.com

I probably gave you the Heisman a few times not even realizing LOL

Rough Draft

Nothing has changed..I’m still looking for ways to get my music placed and earn income.

Ad agencies, Rocbattle.com, dance theatres..whatever. However I can get it out there and get paper.

Nodfactor.com It’s good that you are thinking outside of the record business. Because I think there is more money in advertising than records these days.

You hear the beats on some of these GMC ads?

Rough Draft: Man, I would LOVE to get music on one of these commercials. The car could be ugly, I don’t care.

Nodfactor.com There is a producer, Wendell Hanes that put out a book called The 30 30 Career. You should check it out

Nodfactor.com

Bet. So what’s on deck for 2010?

Rough Draft

I have the OK the release a few instrumental albums on the Cleveland based indie label ClevelandTapes. My guy Rafiq runs the label and seems to have a pretty talented, diverse roster. My music will be available for download online. I’m also in the process of posting beats to Rocbattle.com to see what that’s about. It would be cool if I could make a couple of dollars on there. I’ve been writing new songs to perform live. That way I can sell CD’s at the shows. I’m excited about the whole process of writing and performing again. The advertising thing is what I’m really pushing for this year though. I want my music in commercials and film, man. That’s looooong money right there.

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