Ash Holmz  
GMC / Smash Enterprise

This cat is someone who's music I really enjoy working on. He's got the gift of having an original voice, dope rhymes with varying subject matter and he also gets busy with the production as well as all aspects of what it takes to grind. A while back, I worked with Ash Holmz & Classicbeatz (Jason Minnis, one half of Nicholas Kopernicus) on their Smash Brothers album, where Classicbeatz did the majority of the production with Ash also doing some of it; on GMC, Ash Holmz teams up with Da Illfellaz and is also producing part of the album. The dude's got a heavy work ethic, check him out:

What kind of setup are you using for making beats?

Right now im using pro tools to make beats! I use some virtual instruments and also rewire reason into pro tools alot as well. On the Smash Brothers record I used all hardware, mpc 4000, motif, proteus, and ion, but sold most of it as I like making beats on my laptop. I love the portability and how its so easy to save and recall your sessions. The sound I get is the same and arguably better then before so I see no reason to go back.

Usually laptops have pretty bad built-in converters (in addition to a low output), do you use headphones for making beats, if so, which ones do you like?

naw i dont really like headphones .. i hook up the laptop to my digi 002 and play the sound out the monitors. the only time i really mess with headphones are when im in the booth or when im outside of the studio doing work. if i do anything with headphones, its just a rough draft or a sketch track. when i get down to business, i gotta hear it out the monitors.

I have heard a few references to Soccer in your rhymes, did you try to pursue a career in pro soccer with that?

No i never pursued a pro career, but i played a very long time. Im an enthusiast for sure. Growing up, and through college too. Its hands down my favorite sport. I follow all the leagues overseas.

The world cup in 2010 is in South Africa, are you going to try to watch all of the games?

helly yeah, im jealous cuz one of my good homies is actually going there to see it live.

Talk about Smash Enterprise, how did that come about and who is involved with that?

Smash Enterprise is more or less our signature brand that I started. Its a creative collective of talent. We do everything from make music to build websites for companies. As far as who is involved on the music end, myself, Smash Brothers, and Nicholas Kopernicus are officially on the books, but then we work alot with our extended family like Stepchild of R.I.P, and my favorite super-producers Da Illfellaz.

Nicholas Kopernicus is definitely going to get a spotlight soon, right after this one actually. I really like how much content you guys are bringing, I think artists nowadays have to do a lot more than just create music; besides what you've mentioned about Smash Enterprise, what other things are in the horizon for you guys?

A lot of things man. We are always on tha grind. Ive got another LP exclusively with Da Illfellaz production called "Ash is ILL" on the way for fall. Classic has a solo lp called "N'tale's Groove" that he is sketching out. Then of course we got the Smash Brothers sophomore joint poppin off for the end of the year or maybe early next year. The music never stops!

Where do you see independent hip hop in the future? Artists have control over every aspect of the music-making process these days, but where do you go from here?

Well, I can say that for me, I don't really give a shit where it's going; as long as I have control over the music I put out I could care less about the musical climate. I make music for the love and the challenge of making a record better than the last one. I don't try to mimic what's already out there, I just do me. As technology keeps advancing artists have more ways of getting directly at the fans. It's a beautiful thing. People say the game is overcrowded and saturated and what not, but thats because everybody is trying to sound like everyone else. I just feel blessed to have the ability to put out records without anyones approval, cosign, paying anyone (except L-ROX for mastering!!) or signing a contract. As long as I can do that Im good!

Thanks for shooting me the work. I've actually spoken to a few heads on the phone who ask me "why should I pay for mastering? I have Pro Tools now and can download thousands of dollars' worth of effects…

If you got the money, then by all means invest. I always say, if you can't invest in yourself then no one will want to invest in you. "Doing Everything" is very very difficult. Most people do one or two things well and are below average in other areas. They key is knowing when you are stretching yourself too thin. For example, I know I can't master, I haven't put the years in necessary to develop that ear, so I know it wont turn out good if I did it myself. It doesn't matter how many plugins you got, toys can't take the place of a good ear.

If you could do a jam featuring 3 MCs (dead or alive), who would they be?

so cliche'.... but biggie, pac, andre 3000

What is next for you in terms of production? Do you think you've got enough for what you want to do, or do you plan on stepping it up to getting more gear? If so, what?

The main thing we wanna do is more and more live instrumentation. so we definitely plan to grow in that direction. As far as traditional hip hop, I think i got everything I need for that, but then again we seem to be growing away from the traditional hip hop sound. Truth be told, Im a little bored with hip hop at the moment. "Ash is ILL" could very well be the last pure "rap" record I do. The Smash Brothers record is going to be more of a fusion record, blending different styles.

Thanks for taking the time to chop it up, Ash! Where can heads learn more about you and Smash Enterprise?

You can read up on the latest Smashworthy News at where you can also download GMC for free or purchase the physical cd.


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