Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Steph Bottex manager of The Soundkillers (Reo, Phoenix, Dion Primo). Check the interview as he talks early success, what he looks for in a producer, and what else to expect from the team that gave you Beyonce’s “Hello”.
What lead you to managing producers?
I love listening to beats, I don’t need any words they’re the soundtrack to my days. The craftsmanship certain producers put into choosing their sounds, drums programming, and mixes I can appreciate that. In 2005 I put together a remix mixtape “The Remake Project Vol B. There was no real goal behind it at the time, I just felt certain producers that I liked really needed to be heard and what better way than having them remix songs that were already on the radio. Me and my homie Melo-x would go out every Friday when the labels serviced records to pick up vinyl’s so we could get the acapellas and send out to the producers. It was definitely a process getting all the vocals to the songs we wanted and finding the right producers cause it had to be hot. I didn’t want to release anything I wanted it done right. Since then I knew I wanted to be involved with the creative process and production.
What was the first record you placed and how did that come about?
You probably won’t believe this but the first song placed was “Hello” by Beyonce. We sent it in to her A&R got a call the next day that Beyonce loved it and the rest is history. Sometimes all you need is a great song! Thanks to REO for an incredible track and to Bey & The Writing Camp for a great song.
How did you discover REO?
I met REO while putting the remix mixtape together I used four of his remixes for the project. I was blown away by his production and I was a fan of his work instantly. We became really good friends with the same ideas it just made sense to work together. We believed in each other and a couple years after we formed The Soundkillers.
Your now able to say you manage a grammy winning producer, how does it feel?
It’s a great accomplishment just to be nominated amongst other great writers and producers that we look up to. We didn’t win but there are alot more great records to be done. I don’t believe one record is going to define The Soundkillers this is just the beginning.
What attracted you to Phoenix’s production?
Phoenix was brought to my attention by our writer Dion Primo. Phoenix has a very distinct sound nothing I can’t say that I’ve heard before it’s very unique and raw he’s definitely in his own lane. I really believe his sound now is what we’ll be hearing in the next couple of years get ready for flight Phoenix as he would say “Salutes”.
What’s different about these two members of The Soundkillers versus all the other ones you’ve came across?
It’s quite simple they work well together and have great chemistry. The Soundkillers isn’t a company where I manage producers individually. The Soundkillers is a movement, a group of ideas, a vision. As Reo would say “trying to put what’s in my head in yours”. A lot of times you may find someone who’s really talented but not willing to put in the work or vice versa but both Phoenix & Reo understand what it takes.
What is it you look for in a producer?
First and foremost I have to love the music. It’s really hard for me personally to work tracks that don’t inspire me. Secondly have to be able to work with the producer and be on the same page. What I mean when I say work together is someone who’s going to let me do my job and also give me what I need to get it done. Being able to work with other creative people is also key, you have to deliver when it counts. It’s not all about the track but the finish product: the song. Its one thing to be talented and dope but if you can’t deliver when its go time then you might not be ready or understand and accept the process.
Are you currently accepting other clients and if so how do producers submit music to you?
I’m a beat freak always looking to hear to new tracks whether client or not I always to try give some type of feedback. You can send mp3’s to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a bio.
Who is your current top 5 in the industry right now?
The Soundkillers, DJ Khalil, 40, Tha Business, D’Mile
Excluding your team who are some other underrated producers we should be watching for?
Be on the lookout for my dude Shamtrax out of NY he’s def a problem, and all around talent.
What advice would you give producers trying to break into the game right now?
Find an artist to develop that you believe in. A lot of times I see producers putting their artist on the back burner and shopping their hottest tracks to other artist. Your ability to develop an artist tells whether you’re a producer or beatmaker. Why would I want you producing my artist if you don’t take pride or do a good job producing your own? Build your network, twitter, facebook, and mySpace are cool but try your best to schedule meetings or get in the studio. Hire an attorney and manager with relationships that can refer and setup those situations. You want to be in peoples faces! There’s a difference when you can shake somebody’s hand, play your music, and see their reactions then just emailing an mp3. Those opportunities become less and less these days so make the most of them, be prepared! I should be able to find your music on the net. If I have a meeting with producer “John Doe” at 2pm trust me at 1:30 I’m looking him up on the net and if there’s isn’t any music to be found that’s a problem especially in this day and age when they’re so many different avenues thanks to the internet to have your music out there.
What would you like to see producers do less/more of in 2010?
Just be original and push the envelope stop trying to duplicate the producers on the radio. I won’t say what I’d like to see more or less of because I don’t think everybody should follow the same steps. Then everybody makes the same beats with the same sounds, and programs.
What’s on deck for The Soundkillers in this New Year?
We have a compilation we releasing in next couple of weeks called “Enter Active” its basically a playlist of singles featuring some of the hottest up and coming artists it will be release on our site www.thesoundkillers.com We also have an EP that will be released in the summer called Johnny Famous & The 15mins. Also be on the lookout for our artists Vo Megastar and Sliky P. We’re real excited about this year and you’ll definitely hear us on some of your favorite artist’s albums.
Any last words for our producers?
Be original create your own sound if you believe in stick to it, but allow room for suggestions and constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid to develop you own artist. Learn about the business it’s important to have some knowledge of what’s going on it is YOUR career. Have the right people in your circle that are going to keep you grounded and be real with you let you know your tracks are wack and need work from time to time. Also thanks to Chris B, Nodfactor and my whole TSK fam. Stay blessed!