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Up-close with producer Drvmroll – beatphreaks

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Drvmroll doesn’t just make beats. He makes sonic statements. The 24 year old rapper-turned-producer shared everything from his musical journey, inspirations and creative process with us.  

 
Who is Drvmroll. How did you get into music production?
 
Drumroll (styled Drvmroll) is Derek Amoah Asare. In High School I was a rapper who went by the name DBOi. I remember hitting studios to make tunes with friends back in 2009 or 2010 and we hardly got the kind of sound that we wanted. I therefore decided to get into music production just so I could make beats for my own music and next thing I knew I got hooked. When people ask who taught me to make beats, I tell them my determination, curiosity and of course Youtube!
 
Shoutout to Youtube! Aside youtube, did you have any producers back then that you looked up to, people who showed you the ropes and gave you tips and such?
 
I had none of that. I definitely did look up to producers like Jayso and Killbeatz at the time but I had no personal relationships with them or any other producer for that matter who “held my hand” or could have spoon fed me on how to do what. Youtube was my go-to place for help.
 
What inspired the name Drvmroll?
 
Drumroll was actually started with a friend as a production duo but that didn’t quite work out. With regards to the name, I knew I definitely didn’t want something with “beatz” in there because I felt like everyone else was doing that at the time. My colleague, who was quite into drumrolls at the time suggested “how about we just use the name Drumroll” and I loved that. I decided to carry on with the name after the duo got disbanded.
 
drvmroll
 
What are some of the challenges you faced starting out? 
 
So here’s one. I managed to get my first studio with the help of my mum (who is a massive supporter of what I do) and a few friends. I remember we’d sometimes get to the studio to record and rats would have turned the whole studio upside down, left torn cables and piss everywhere. That was definitely one of my challenges starting out. *sigh* LOL
 
Let’s go back to your learning process for a bit. How did you filter through the tons of information out there to find what you needed to get you started because we know that even with the myriad of tutorials on youtube it is hard to find relevant information and a lot of the tutorials are trash.
 
I learnt how to produce in stages really. I first focused on knowing how to use my DAW of choice, learning and navigating the interface. On youtube I would search with terms like “learn how to use…” or “how to use the mixer”, stuff like that. Every piece of information I looked for was narrowed down to exactly what I needed to know. I would like to point out that making great music is based on personal creativity. You can use whatever DAW they say is the “best” out there but ultimately it’s your creativity that makes the difference.
 
The second stage after I’d learnt to use my DAW was to focus on learning to mix and master. I compare my mixes from back when I started to my current productions and can gladly say I’ve come a very long way LOL! I’d probably say I’m still in the second stage of my learning process since I’m always online learning new ways to make even better beats.
 
Speaking of DAWs, which ones did you try out and what made you stick with the one you use now?
 
 I started out with Fruity Loops 8 ( now FL Studio) and currently use FL Studio version 12. I chose FL at the time mostly because I had no idea (and still have no idea) how to play the piano, and until recently had no music theory experience. I stuck with it because it made things quite straightforward for me and honestly I don’t want to use any other DAW, although for vocal mixing and final mastering I use Cubase and a new personal favorite; Studio One 3 from Presonaus.
 
How long have you been producing?
 
I’ve been actively making beats and producing since 2010 but things got real after Sarkodie released a tune I produced called Oluwa is Involved in 2014
 
 
We’ll come to your impressive roster of production credits later but for now can you tell us how long it took for you to develop an ear for what sounded really great and what you needed to trash?
 
Honestly I still battle with this everyday. I think I might have set my standards a bit to high for myself because of the kind of producers I listen to at the moment. I could make a really simple beat now and someone might walk in and think it’s super dope but I wouldn’t feel it. I used to trash the beats I didn’t like but I’ve learnt to keep them just in case they work for another artist.
 
How many beats do you typically make in a day and what is the fastest time you’ve made a tune that has gone on to become huge?
 
The number of beats I make depends on my mood really. I make just one or two beats a day on the regular but if I’m inspired enough I can go beyond that. The highest I’ve done is probably 5 beats in one day.
 
The fastest time I’ve made anything that has gotten huge is between 2 to 3 hours. I’m not sure exactly which of them is bigger but both Oluwa is Involved by Sarkodie and All Black by E.L took me less than 3 hours to make.
 
Impressive. Did you make those songs with the artistes in mind or you just happened to make a beat that fell into their hands.
 
I would say the latter; I made beats that happened to fall into their hands. Fun fact, Oluwa Is Involved was actually made for a Nigerian artist who wanted a mustard type beat. The artist’s name was Oluwa Icey and that was the name of the beat when a friend of mind who worked at One Nation passed it on to Sarkodie. I think the name of the beat definitely influenced the title of the final track.
 
Till date, what’s that one beat you made that you still cannot believe you managed to pull off.
 
I finished that beat yesterday LOL. But with regards to released tracks, it would have to be E.L’s King Without A Crown (KWAC). That beat was actually tailored to E.L’s specifications. He wanted something that had a trap bounce like Wiz Khalifa’s We Dem Boys so I knew I had to go for horns when I started that, then I decided to switch up the drum pattern from a 1/3 step to a 1/2 step for dynamic purposes.
 
What was that pivotal moment in your journey that made you realize you were on to something and could actually have a shot at music?
 
You know what, after Sarkodie’s song came out I still wasn’t convinced I was good enough. And then EL’s songs came out. The response I got to these songs, especially from producers like Jayso and Illkeyz (who has been a massive part of my growth as a producer), was all the motivation I needed.
 
Is there anything you know now that you wish someone had told you when you were just getting into production or probably before you got your first major song.
 
I’m still learning quite a lot but I definitely wish I had a grasp on music business when I started out. Making music is so much more than just producing dope records and uploading them onto the internet. There’s levels to this music business thing.
 
Speaking of the business of music, have you received royalties from any of the songs you’ve produced so far?
 
So far I’ve mostly just operated by taking cash for beats. I haven’t received royalties from any of my productions but I’m definitely working on sorting that out. At the moment I’m still trying to decide which agency to go with, and that is partly the reason I’m taking my time with releases this year.
 
How long did it take to create your “sound” and what inspired it. What influences your music today? 
 
I honestly still feel I haven’t found my sound yet but one thing I’ve been commended for the most by people that listen to my music is my attention to detail. With regards to influences, late last year I got introduced to a sub-genre of Electronic Music called Future Bass and instantly fell in love with how the producers that made Future Bass used melodies from Jazz, RnB and Soul amongst others. I can say that my current sound is slowly beginning to revolve around that.
 
Drums, Melody or Bassline, which one is most important to you in a song? Talk us through your typical workflow.
 
I think it’s crazy how I’ve become so big on melody and chords. I feel those two elements are the most important in my current workflow. I start almost all my productions with a good chord progression and then build everything else around that. However occasionally I start with drums.
 
Where do you find inspiration to make music.
 
I find a lot of inspiration on Soundcloud. I’ve come across some pretty amazing artists/producers on there. These guys are mostly really young (some even under 20) and are already making amazing music. And most of them aren’t even mainstream! They really inspire me to get better.
 
We know every creative has times when no matter how talented they are they fall into some sort of rut. How do you generally deal with creative blocks of that nature
 
When I’m in that kind of rut I usually turn to computer games like Fifa or Assassins Creed or sometimes just hang out with great friends.
 
Composing, Arranging, Mixing or Mastering…What part of the production process do you find the most tedious or challenging.
 
I have gathered over the years that once you’ve got good samples, high quality VSTs and are good with sound selection (especially based on their parts in the frequency spectrum of a song) then mixing is actually pretty easy. So the hardest part for me is getting that main melody and drum groove that I feel is going to drive the entire song. The next hardest thing is definitely arrangement.
 
drvmroll
 
What are some of your favorite plugins to use these days. 
 
I love Kontakt 5, which on it’s own, is just a sample player but with the right plugins is LIT! It’s my go-to plugin for Orchestral elements (Big Horns, Cellos, Choirs, etc). It is definitely capable of so much more though!
 
For Analog synths I love Sylenth. I would definitely pick Serum which is another industry standard synthesizer over Sylenth in terms of sound quality but for both sound quality and CPU efficiency, Sylenth is King!
 
I also quite like Spectrasonics. I don’t even know where to start with these guys! People frown on the size of their sound libraries but believe me it’s worth it. My favorite plugins from Spectrasonics would be Keyscapewhich comes with over 70 types of keyboards, Omnisphere for ethereal sounds which is a must have if you are into Trap-Soul, and last but not least Trilian which is purposely made for basslines.
 
Oh and I also use the Waves bundles quite a lot, as well as the FL Studio stock plugins for mixing.
 
drvmroll
 
Are you using any hardware at the moment? If you had a million dollars to build your dream studio, what would you get? 
 
The only hardware I know and own right now is my laptop. But in my opinion a good audio interface/soundcard is very vital. If you got monetary power, you should definitely try the Avids. Otherwise, Presonus and Focusrite have some very affordable but great audio interfaces as well.
 
If I had a million bucks I would get a highly tricked out laptop and PC ( I’m talking over a 100GB RAM, 5TB hard-drive space on each if possible. I would definitely get some really expensive microphones, audio interfaces, pre-amps, studio monitors, headphones, live instruments and MIDI controllers.
 
What has been your most memorable studio session till date?
 
I would say some of my most memorable studio sessions so far happened while working with M.anifest and Jayso on Manifest’s Album Nowhere Cool. M.anifest was “that guy” I never thought I would end up producing for since he already had another genius like Yung Fly that he worked with. I think learning to produce AfroBeats vibes came in handy because that was one of the main reasons we synced so well on the project (shoutout to Illkeyz for advising me to learn that). Plus, M.anifest is a very fun guy to work with.
 
Studio sessions with JTown while working on his Album Flights From Soul were also crazy!
 
Name five local and international producers and artistes you rate.
 
Locally and in no particular order, I would choose Killbeatz, Illkeyz, Jayso, Kuvie & Ghost aka LXXXVIII.
 
Internationally I would go for Jon Bellion, a group called Film Noir, KRNE, Kanye West, and Ryan Leslie.
 
I rate these people because their sound pushes me to get better each time.
 
Do you do anything aside music? 
 
I was a full time graphic designer till I dove deep into music so I take design side jobs from time to time. Then there is also a fusion of art/mobile photography that I do as a hobby. You can check that out @PHONOSHOPon Instagram.
 
Seems to be a certain link between music and design because there’s quite a number of producers who also design.
 
Definitely. I think the gap between music and design is barely existent.
 
Finally, any last words or tips for anyone starting out in music production?
 
Like I said earlier, if you still have one of those sample kits with names like “Kanye West drum kit” or “Dr Dre drum kit”, please ditch them all.
You definitely need to learn the basics of EQ and Compression but what helps way more is having an arsenal of high quality sounds. I sometimes barely even touch or process my drums because the sample by itself already sounds great!
 
It would probably take some time to be able to tell the difference between high quality sounds and not-so-great ones. Just trust your ears, they know!
Credit: beatphreaks.com
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Music

OMAR STERLING joins call for WEE LEGALIZATION! – SEE VIDEO!

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Video has surfaced of R2Bees member Omar Sterling calling for the legalisation on Indian hemp in the country.

In the video sighted by ENEWSGH, the prolific rapper, in the middle of cutting what appears to be a birthday cake decorated with the substance, calls for the decriminalisation of the herb, pointing out that it could prove valuable to the country.

The Starboy Worldwide president is not the first to advocate for the legalisation of the substance. indeed, quite a number of his colleagues in music (including Samini, Kwaw Kese, Blakk Rasta, Ekow Micah etc) as well as other top Ghanaian personalities have all advocated for its legalisation, indicating its potential to draw in foreign income, as well as proven medicinal purposes.

Watch the video below:

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Music

#CokeStudioAfrica: Bisa KDei Makes EDDY KENZO “Ampesi & Abom” – WATCH!

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Ghana’s Bisa KDei made Ugandan counterpart Eddy Kenzo a true believer of indigenous Ghanaian cooking.

Both singers are housemates at the 2017 Coke Studio Africa series, and ahead of their musical collaboration, they took some time out to explore each other’s story and culture a bit more.

Bisa revealed that he learned to make the dish from his mum as a young boy, and it has become part of him ever since.

A popular name in contemporary Ghanaian highlife, Bisa KDei is one of 5 Ghanaian reps on the programme this year, the others being Joey B, Masta Garzy, Killbeatz, and Worlasi.

This year, housemates come from countries as outh Africa, Rwanda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Togo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia, and Cameroon.

Nigeria’s MI Abaga and 2Baba (2Face Idibia), Kenya’s Avril, Ghana’s EL, Stonebwoy, Efya and Mozambique’s Neymar have all performed at previous editions of Coke Studio Africa.

Watch the video below:

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Corporate

Stonebwoy, LIL WIN perform @ GOtv MAX Kumasi launch!

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Over the weekend in Kumasi, GOtv Ghana hosted a massive concert to introduce its new package GOtv MAX to the public. The event held at the Kumasi City Mall, attracted thousands of concert goers who defied the heavy downpour to enjoy the music and fireworks display.

The event was nearly marred by the rain storm that started immediately the first set of performers hit the stage. Fans were forced to take shelter within the mall for well over three hours until the storm passed through and the equipment were checked and given the green light for the concert to resume at 10pm.

General Manager, GOtv Ghana, Kingsley Afful performing the launch reaffirmed the commitment of GOtv to bring its subscribers the best local and international TV shows first, hence the introduction of the GOtv MAX package. He explained that “Quality entertainment has always been a key focus on GOtv platform and we are excited to continue building our entertainment options for our customers by bringing them this new package”.

“We understand that times are tough but that doesn’t mean that our customers have to miss out on world-class entertainment. Sports just got bigger and better with the GOtv MAX package which will bring the best football titles in the world, La Liga, along with more entertainment choice for the whole family like CBS Reality, Sony Max and FOX.”

GOtv MAX customers will enjoy access to over fifty channels of the hottest local and international channels featuring everything from the freshest series, music and sport to the latest in fashion reality, celebrity and kiddies programming.  “From 1st October, all active GOtv Plus subscribers have been automatically upgraded onto the GOtv Max package at no cost to them to sample this new package for one full month”, Mr. Afful added.  He also announced a reduction on the price of GOtv decoders to GHs79 and the subscription price cuts on the GOtv Plus package to GHs35.

Fans were entertained by Stonebwoy and the BossNations’ CEO, the pride of Kumasi, Lil Win and crew. Several fans were rewarded with GOtv decoders as part of the launch activities by the artistes. The event was culminated in a huge firework display deep into the night to the delight of the thousands present at the event.

 

SUBMITTED!

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EBOO readies 2ND VIDEO ahead of NEW ALBUM [+images]

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Empire’s franchise music star EBOO is back to take his! Since announcing his return to active music after a significant hiatus, he has swung into full force –dropping major anthems in quick succession, and mounting key stages reserved for only the best in the game.

A month ago, the Once/ Twice hitmaker was in the beautiful coastal city of Cape Coast shooting visuals for  one of the songs off his yer-to-be-released comeback album “Good Life”. Over the weekend, he partnered with friend and creative genius Director OJ for another video shoot, this time, in Jamestown- Accra.

Director OJ ( CEO of Big OJ Films), is also responsible for accompanying visuals to Eboo’s “Honey” (released in 2010). On set, the rare creative partnership between artist and director, fostered over several years, was apparent, and as Eboo reveals, it made the project effortless.

“People should just watch out for the videos”, concluded the talented singjay.

Born on December 15 in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Eboo (known privately as Andrew Joel Adisi) describes his life as one dedicated to music. He started music at the tender age of twelve (12), and has hardly looked back ever since.

Widely praised by connoisseurs at a listening session sometime back, Eboo’s “Good Life” album  consists a staggering 21 songs, and will shake up the terrain without doubt.

 

See behind-the-scenes shots below:

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Music

I wrote a lot of songs for Castro – Afezi Perry

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Takoradi based act, Afezi Perry says he was behind a some of the hit songs released by hiplife gem Castro.

The 2017 VGMA unsung nominee disclosed this in an interview with Regina  Van Helvert on the Rymthz show on GH One Television. he told the host ” I was Castro’s protege. I stayed with him for so many years just to undergo grooming to be a successful artiste. There are several things that I can’t disclose on air but to be frank, I wrote a lot of his hit songs for him, not just Under, I have written for several artists, I wrote Sister Afia’s Jeje featuring Shatta Wale ” he said.

Afezi Perry is a sensational Ghanaian singer and songwriter whose lyrics cut across all genres of music. He is acknowledged for smash hits such as “Dedew”, “maabena”, “Sika Beba” “wonkoaa”, and much more.
Music lovers probably may have fallen in love with the soul crooner during the 2017 VGMA nominees jam in Suyani where he was put in the Unsung category with Eshun, Cina Soul, CJ Biggerman and Kwame Eugene etc.
With all the outlandish performances by these acts, the Takoradi based entertainer was at his usual entertaining best on the night. His ability to control the crowd aided his presence on stage and boosted cheers from fans. To many, Afezi Perry put his craft together without blemish and as such was ahead of other competitors vying for the Unsung Artist of the Year Award at the VGMA Nominees Jam held in Suyani, early on in the year. Entertainment critics rated his performance eight of ten.
To many, Afezi Perry put his craft together without blemish and as such was ahead of other competitors vying for the Unsung Artist of the Year Award at the VGMA Nominees Jam held in Suyani, early on in the year. Entertainment critics rated his performance eight of ten.
Afezi Perry managed by HYPHEN INC a talent management company based in Accra owned and founded by Gh one TV’s VJ Xpliph.
Watch the full interview below:

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Events & Places

DJ Mic Smith to shutdown Accra with the biggest DJ Concert In Ghana as part of his 10th year anniversary

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Sunday October 22nd will be etched in the memories of many Ghanaians as a tall list of top stars converge at the Accra Mall food court to party and pay tribute to the contribution of DJ Mic Smith to the Ghanaian and international music industry.

For the past decade, Mic Smith known in real life as Michael Owusu-Smith has demonstrated a monstrous mastery of his craft. His flawless control of the turntables has endeared him to the hearts of many in Ghana and across the shores of the country. So on an occasion to recognize his efforts in putting the country on a different pedestal, “A” list DJS like Andy Dosty, DJ Kess, Nigeria’s finest, DJ Neptune, DJ Mensa, Killa Fingers, DJ Vyrusky are amongst the DJs on rotation to celebrate with him in mega style.

The Shutdown King as he is affectionately called has paid his dues both to the music and Djing fraternity.

So on the night, expect artiste like Mr. Eazi to take things easy as he delivers explosive tunes from his arsenal. E.L, A.I, Magnom, Kojo Cue, are also part of a tall list of performers to thrill patrons at the free concert dubbed SHUTDOWN 2017.

About DJ Mic Smith

Micheal Owusu known as DJ Mic Smith is an event, club, radio, mixtape and artist DJ and also an entrepreneur from the republic of Ghana.

He also currently holds several nominations from Ghana DJ Awards; The Redbull club DJ of the year awardMic Smith is also the official DJ for international Afrobeats star Mr Eazi signed to the highly successful Ghanaian record label Miester Music .

Mic began DJing by “accident” when looking for a job over 10 years ago, where he had an embedded passion for music and allowed this to take more of a forefront in his life than it had previously. At Hot fm (93.9) in the early stages of 2008, he started as a radio presenter who presented the entertainment news on the Drive Time Show hosted by Okyeame Quophi. Within a year of life in the media world. Mic began spinning, his talent was pushed to the next level, when he became resident DJ at one of the most recognised clubs in Accra, Rockstone’s Office known to many as Django. Over the years he was the main focus entertainment at the club and his talent on the decks quickly earned him the nickname ‘The Shutdown King’ exposing him to many opportunities including national and international gigs.

 

 

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