Who: Illfonics (Matt Friedman and Jed Cappelli)
What: Produced the following tracks…
“Nananana” for Jim Jones,
“Enter Galactic” on Kid Cudi,
“Day Dreamer,” Gorilla Zoe
“Come Party With Me” and “American Girl” For LL Cool J.
Key advice: “You want your beat to sound as finished as possible because artists and A&Rs don’t want to have to imagine what it will sound like…”
NODFACTOR.COM: Why the name Illfonics?
ILLFONICS(Matt): Our friend actually came up with that a long time ago joking around. We were talking about the Delfonics and he said you guys should call yourselves Illfonics. We were having such a hard time coming up with so we used it.
How did you get started in production?
I’ve been playing instruments my whole life, bands and stuff. And in college I got an MPC and then got Logic and switched everything over to that.
I had saved up and got my MPC back in ‘98. Back then it had so little memory that it’s laughable now. That was the start of learning to sequence and cutting up samples. But once I got Logic it was a combination of dumping stuff into Logic and sequencing in there. Then eventually I got Battery for my drums. After that I never looked at the MP again.
Me and JED linked in college at NYU in the music tech program there. We were doing weird electronic stuff with really intensive drum programs. Detail oriented stuff where you’d be working on a track for three months. Then Jed linked up with someone in L.A. and started working on more commercial production, R&B and Pop stuff. When he came back we said lets give this a real shot. We started having fun with it. It was less stressful than the stuff we were working on.
How did you link up with Gorilla Zoe to do “Day Dreamer?”
We had a meeting with his publisher and he came in and we hit it off. We played some beats and he liked a lot of shit. Our first session is where we knocked out Day Dreamer. He’s supposed to come back tonight actually.
Most producers that read this site are comfortable with their sound but they’re trying to get a placement and you’ve had some real success. Is good representation the key?
For everybody it’s different. Everyone gets where they’re going in a different way. Our manager Toshi [veteran scribe Toshitaka Kondo] is out there hustling and meeting people. You have to get stuff out there and slowly over time building that respect and reported with people. Then you get those meetings.
What was the first track you placed?
The first thing we did was on the Re-Up Gang project [“My Life’s The Shit”] that came out on Koch and then the LL Cool J beats for Exit 13. We met with LL, hung out one night dropping off the stems for the mix for Come Party With Me and he said play me more shit. Then Toshi played him some other weird track that we didn’t think he’d like and he did. So that turned into two placements.
How would you describe your sound?
We’re very diverse. We do rock, pop, R&B, weird indie stuff. We try to have our drums really beefy sounding, using old school synths with an analog feel.
You’ve got the placements but still hold down a day job. You must not sleep much.
It’s tough. I work in advertising doing music supervision. It’s a lot of work and I get out of there and go straight to the studio. It’s really having two full time jobs. You gotta go at it really hard if you want to see any good returns.
Watch the video below to see how they made “Day Dreamer”