Basement Sessions

A little over a year before I mastered Dawhud's "Basement Sessions", he hit me up asking me to critique all of the mixes and after a couple of revisions, I got the final mixes to begin mastering the album. One of the things that I remember noticing even from the first set of mixes he sent was that there was this (for a lack of a better way to put it) "old school boom bap" feel that I really don't hear much these days, even from a lot of cats who borrow from that "era" of hip hop. It's there not only on the flavor of beats, but also on the recordings and mixes, and as I learned later, this is in part because he's been working on this album for many years, but also because here's someone who has been working on music long enough to know how to get that sound. Ladies and Beatheads, I present to you, Dawhud:

Introduce yourself Dawhud, where do you hail from, how did u come up with the name?

Originally from Seattle. I just moved to Indy about a year ago, but I'm not totally planting my feet. (might move) The name is Arabic for David.
In college I became Muslim, but I'd say at the moment I'm not practicing anymore. I had a ton of wack names over the years, but I just thought I'd go with something that says "me." So, that's it basically. Even got it tatted on my left sholder.

That's real. How long have you been rhyming/producing? What came first?

Well, I started rhyming when I was 11. Simple party rhymes and ish like that. To be honest it was dancing that came 1st. Trying to be like Kid N Play. HAHA

Damn, so if you would have stuck with that, we could be seeing you on "America's Best Dance Crew"?

HAHA Yeah, if that Hammer shit was still dope. When I was in 6th grade I got a Casio Rapman. It was this keyboard with a mic and a jog wheel that made this scratch sound. That was when I started thinking about making beats. Then came the pause mix tapes and then I started digging when I was about 13.

How deep are the crates by now?

Jeez... PBWolf said it, "my vinyl weighs a ton." My room is so full of stuff. I've probably got around 4k or more. Not including CDs or tapes.

Do you have a method of cataloguing at all, like what you've gone through and stuff?

All my hip hop is filed A-Z. Everything else is... well... I know where stuff is, but it's not really organized. I will say it is kind of sectioned like CTI ish and Stereophonic orchestrated stuff. I also have like a section which is my "to do" crate where I set aside all the stuff I know I want to work with.

How many beats do you make on average? are you the type that wants to knock out a bunch of beats per day/week/month or do you work only when you feel like creating?

Basically when I have the time or in the mood. I was into cranking out beats back in 98-00.

I want to touch a bit on the sound of your project...

Yeah, no doubt.

When I got your mixes to master, almost immediately I could tell these were done on analog gear, I'm not sure why analog samplers sound the way they do but when I heard your tracks, I went "oh wow, I have a feeling dude is rocking some old samplers here."

Yeah, I'd say that most of the LP was done with an SP1200. I used an MPC 2000 on a couple joints and did the drums on "Who's Next" with an EPS classic.

That's it - I used to work with an Emax, and it's that sound, they've got that analog filter chip in there

Yep, some grimy dirty ish. A coupe of the songs were originally from back in 98 when I had a Yamaha SU-10. It was basically just like the SP-303 that all the Madlib jockers rave about.

You got an interesting story about buying a sampler off Large Pro

Haha yeah. I got his S950, but haven't really done too much with it; I got it off of ebay by TOTAL happenstance.
He hit me up "thanks for paying real quick I'll mail it out Large Pro."

Right, I wanted to say that I heard on one of the tracks (Finger Cramps) I heard you say something about you having Large Professor's S950

Right, on Finger Cramps; I'm thinking it's BS and was like, "real cute your online name is Large Pro." Blah, blah dig my own grave. After he emailed me I checked my records from him to see what his real name is, which is "William Paul Mitchel." Well... about a week later I get the box and it says W.P. Mitchel on it. I screamed like a little girl.

Haha, that's funny, well, I'm sure Large Pro will be glad it went to a good home!

More than anything I just wonder WHAT he made with it.

Yeah, that’s a museum piece right there; it would be interesting to know what he's done on it.

Like when he said, "Put it in the S950 and streach it." Was he talking about that? Dope regardless.

Overall the project has that "party" vibe, almost like it was done back in the day when people only had samplers, and limited sample time to work with, did u track those to tape?

The closest were the beats for "Wild Style" and "T.E.C.H." I actually took the original ish from the 4 track I did back in 98 and loaded it up into the computer.

Dope, so the project is roughly 11 years in the making?

Yeah, in many ways. "From this Moment On" I made around 00 and Just Be and I originally wrote the whole song, but never did an official recording of it till I got real serious about this project.

I really liked the mixes, they were nice and open and I think we mastered it to be up to par with what's out there now, in terms of average loudness, but I feel we retained a lot of that "grimey" feel; it's really one of my favorite projects to listen to after having worked on it.

Really? Thanks. I agree, it pops, but keeps that feel from all those old tapes I used to rock when I'd ride the bus. More than anything I wanted to put out something that I know I would listen to and enjoy. There's a ton of what I would call "hobby rappers" that just slap 10-15 songs together and call it a "mixtape." (i.e. demo with no focus). I think that's one HUGE element that's missing with a lot of emcees and producers. Focus. It's like the Executive Producer is missing. Know what I mean?

Right. One thing I noticed too is that you got some skits on here and they're DEVELOPED skits, with the appropriate background noises and everything; it's all really well done, there's one where you and your boys are at school banging on the lunch tables and rhyming and it sounds realistic
that's not common anymore.

Funny you say that because I actually recorded me banging on my desk for that.

What did you record that with?

I just took my condenser mic and put it on a small desk stand. That way it got the vibrations from me hitting the table and the actual sound of me knocking on the table. It was kind of the same way when I did "Ol' School Sessions." On the beat box part you hear this chime... well back in high school when we'd have our cipher kids would use quarters to make scratching sounds or chime/symbols.

Nice man - good example of creative recording; so what do you work with at the moment?

I finally got protools, but haven't really figured it out. For the LP and some of the other stuff I've been working on I tracked everything in Acid Pro. 4. Kind of a poor mans Pro Tools.

Whatever gets it done man. Me personally, I'm always more impressed when I hear dope projects done with modest setups!

Yeah, this LP was really one of those, work with what you have and make it work kind of projects.

Let me ask you, what about your turntable(s) for sampling, what do you have? Do you sweat the cartridge much for sampling?

Tech 1200's and Shure M-44's; I don't really sweat all that stuff, when it comes to making beats, but I also DJ, so I've got the pro stuff. (if that's what you want to say).

That's the equivalent of having a decent mic/pre combo for samples! What's next for Dawhud? What are you working on?

Several projects; one is "Dub Styles: Walkman Redemption" which is kind of a follow up to the LP. It's the mixtape they talk about on the album. So, you could say it's the album within an album; "Revisionist History", which is simply that. I'm taking the original samples from classic hip hop tracks and flipping the samples. So, when you hear it you'll be like, "Oh, $h!t that's I Got Cha Opin." That's going to be a dope project. I'm mostly going to be producing for that project. I've already had Prince Po, Moka Only, Pacewon and The Mudkids work on that project; also working on a project with Dee Supreem and Just Be called "Trans Atlantic." He's a producer from Finland and Just Be and I are now in different parts of the country so this whole project is going to be a bunch of jumping files back and forth. (like the Foregin Exchange LP)

That's what's up man. Where can heads reach you?


... and soon:


Yo, many thanks for letting me work on your project, it was definitely an enjoyable one, any shouts?

No doubt. I really liked having you put in some work on this project. You really made this LP shine. Uhh... Dee Supreme, Just Be, Ak-Rite, Fash-1 all the people that helped out with the project and who've supported me through this whole thing.


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