Tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from? How long have you been making Hip Hop?
I’m from Brooklyn, but moved out here to L.A. 2 years ago to get a creative art space (Studio Bancs) for my production company, Bancs Media where I produce my music and videos. I’ve been a fan of hip hop since I was a kid and got The Chronic on cassette. Since then I’ve always been the guy in charge of music at parties and in high school I got a 4 track and started playing drums, guitars, keys, turntables and would just lay down ideas…after that I started DJing out at clubs and on WMUC in Maryland. I didn’t start making beats in a real way until 8 years ago though. Since then I’ve produced some rock, pop, folk, electronic and hip hop records. My two rock bands are Bonhom and Dreams in Static, both have a sort of surreal sound and I blend a lot of hip hop style into the tracks.
What influences you in making Hip Hop?
The music I hear in general from jazz to folk inspires my beat making, I love how Tribe, Digable Planets and Pharcyde really got heavily into jazz breaks and flipping them into beats. Coltrane is my favorite artist of all time and the classic quartet (Trane, Jones, Tyner, and Garrison) were so heavy and influential on me. Elvin Jones’ playing on A Love Supreme sounds like multiple drummers and I think that sort of complex rhythmic percussion has influenced the way I lay down the drums in my music. As the engineers who mix my tracks will attest, no one’s got more drums stems per song than me.
Describe your music, and what separates you from other Producers?
I make a lot of different types of music, but the one constant is the blend that I always maintain which is a mix of the live instrumentation, that sort of analog and organic sound with the sounds of sampling, beat making, 808’s and boom bap. I think when you rely too heavily on one style or techniques the song either sounds too mechanical and lifeless or too live sounding.
Who have you collaborated with? Who would you like to collab with in the near future?
I’ve collaborated with some pretty amazing artists, The top of my list was Tim Fite, Matisyahu and Doodlebug from Digable Planet. The collabs always make for really interesting tracks. I thrive off of collaboration, almost all my music besides this instrumental album comes from collaboration since I’m not a singer or rapper. I work with folks that I feel fit the specific track and would get the vibe that I’m going for. Its always amazing to see what the artist comes up with and work with them tweaking it and bringing the vision to life. Each track is like it’s own being and I like them to be mature and complex.
Your definition of “Underground Hip Hop”?
I think underground hip hop is really just hip hop made for hip hop’s sake and not for the radio. Mainstream pop hop is really functional music generally rapping about being in the club etc… I don’t make much hip hop with that in mind, but I do like pop and mainstream music and I think some of what I make works in that setting as well.
Production wise, who are your influences? And who would you like to work with?
There are so many, the producers that come to mind right off the bat are Beck, Mark Ronson, J Dilla, El-p, Edan, Diplo and the Beasties. I would love to work together with Beck and Diplo on a project.
Any current or future projects you are promoting?
Right now I’m promoting both this Pre-Game all instrumental album that just came out and the New Game vocal album, which was remixed by 400 people all over the world; to be exact, 40 different countries. I’m also gearing up for new videos and full albums from my Bonhom project which is like dream pop indie rock. I’m really excited to release the full LP since a lot of our tracks have been on a slew of TV shows. I’m also finishing tracks for my Dreams in Static project which has a Curtis Mayfield meets TV on the Radio and Kanye vibe and it’s been really cool since our engineer mixing it has mixed some Kanye and TV on the Radio tracks, so it’s been a great fit and the reception has been very cool. It’s the type of music RZA and Questlove would have on repeat.
Can you give us a brief description of the creative process of Pre-Game? Also/ what was the idea or concept description about your Album Art Cover.
Pre-Game are the beats and pieces that made up New Game my first LP, so it’s sort of a collection of some of the instrumentals along with some exclusive unreleased tracks as well as an instrumental track I made for K Records. A lot of the beats were made at 2am in NY and made with beat heads in mind, tracks that I would imagine they would freak over. The album art for New Game features an image of me shot after I got back from my boy Shepard Fairey’s party and Chilean artist, Fab Ciraolo painted the image making it look like I was in another world. For Pre-Game I used the same image but with a different more natural and grounded background, since the album is stripped down to just instrumentals.
Where can we find your music and info?
You could find my music anywhere that digital music is sold from itunes to bandcamp and could follow me at www.facebook.com/diwon on twitter @diwon and keep up with the team at Bancs (www.bancsmedia.com & www.studiobancs.com)
Any shout outs?
I want to give a shout out to my mom who always believed in my art and supported and inspired me along the way. Also much respect to the countless artists who I’ve been blessed to collaborate with, much of my dreams have come into being from those collaborations.
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