HYDROSONICS:Nick Cicero “We Got The Jazz”

JLBarrow • July 03, 2009 • No Comments
Name: Nick Cicero
From: Rochester/Syracuse NY
Key Track: “Hit Hop 559”

Contact: Myspace

(Originally published April 24, 2008)
When did you start making beats and with what equipment?
I started making beats 3 years ago. I had always been fascinated by the instrumental only tracks of hip-hop songs. I had tapes and cds of them that I would just play over and over. I started out composing a lot of jazz songs and classical compositions, and discovered through an experimental jazz phase that I could use my Apple iBook and Garageband to make beats. I know it sounds weak and all, but that’s what I happened to have available at the time. From there I moved on to my current setup, a MacbookPro with Logic 8 and Reason 4, MIDI keyboards, Numark Turntables, and the Akai MPD16.

Do you play any instruments? Any formal music training?
Yeah I’ve been playing jazz trumpet since I was seven, and been in music allmy life. Right now I’m a Music major at Nazareth College in Rochester NY. There are so many great teachers here that have taught me so much, and I’ve tried to take that knowledge and parlay it into my music production.

How would describe your style/sound? Well defining it is difficult you could say. Many producers will divide up between keyboard producers and sample producers, but I come from a classical theory background, so I can’t just sample, yet I love old records so I can’t just make keyboard beats. I would have to say that for personal enjoyment I’m making sample beats with as much extra instrumentation as the sample will allow. However I can do the 808’s and the synths that dominate popular music right now.
I like how you chopped the Grover Washington sample in one of your beats. What’s the biggest mistake you hear being made when using samples?
I think that the bigger mistake facing sample-based producing these days is the lack of digging that’s going on. The Internet is a great tool, and there are a lot of albums goingaround different forums and things, but for me I need to get dusty in the crates. That’s the essence of hip-hop. It was real cool when I “discovered” sampling. I have been collecting old jazz and soul records for years because I loved the music, so when I figured out that I was sitting on a goldmine, it was on. In fact I still haven’t made a dent in the records…and I’ve got a few crazy discs that I’m waiting for the right time to sample.

Have you ever participated in any beat battles?I haven’t had the opportunity. I did enter the Red Bull Big Tune contest but was only an alternate. There is the upcoming Beat Warz battle in Syracuse that will be my first official battle. I was in a Hiphopgame.com/Heatmakerz remix competition which I made the final 16, and I’m trying to get downto NYC for one of the many battles that take place there.

I see you have some TV deals in the works. How is producing for TV
different than for songs?

Well TV calls upon knowledge in a variety of music genres. I’ve written simple
doo-wop jingles, and I’ve also done large cinematic numbers for independent films. The important thing in composing for video is that you need to realize that people aren’t going to be watching and listening for the music first. If you can put your pride on the backburner you can really have fun decorating the action.

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