I Wanna Be A Producer: Sona One

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JUICE continues our feature on Producers, hitting up local hip hop scene wonderboy, MC-Producer, Sona One. At age 6, his uncle bought him a Sony sound pad (remember those with the animal sounds and cheesy percussion?) and he started writing silly songs about his teachers and classmates. At age 12 he discovered production software ( Music 2000 and Project 5) and began programming beats that served as background music to Flash games he created with a classmate.

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Since then, he has produced tracks for artists such as Karmal and Joe Flizzow; and even joined forces with a few local beatmakers (Motion, Saph, DJ Iman, Karmal, Jay Walia) to form a super-Producer group called G.O.D Music (Gentlemen On Dinosaurs). He’s currently working on his first solo album.

But we had to ask, what’s the difference between a hip hop Producer and music Producers of other genres?

“You have the Beatmakers, you have Producers, and then you have hip hop Producers. A hip hop Producer can be both Beatmaker and Producer, but Producers from other genres may not be beatmakers. A Beatmaker is someone who makes “beats” – programmes the drums and the samples/melodies, and basically comes up with the music for a rapper to lay his vocals on. The difference with hip hop production is that the Beatmaker often doubles as a Producer, setting the mood for a song, guiding the artist in his own creative direction. But of course, there are exceptions to this.”

Sona notes that there is an increasing amount of talent, content and Producers in the local hip hop scene. He describes the relationship between rappers and Producers as “pretty tight”.

“Most of our hip hop Producers are rappers themselves so everybody gets along with each other just fine. We have barbecues, chop onions, adopt animals, and go ice fishing together!”

He shares the view that Producers in this day and age need versatility above all else if they are to take on a larger job scope.

“You need to constantly be up to date with the current sounds and trends. In the age of social networking, information travels faster than it ever has, so trends are changing rapidly and attention spans are shorter.”

Flexibility also helps – “In Malaysia for example, we need to realise that the scene is not the same as the US, so an American approach to a song might not do as well as say, a simple song about going to the mamak.”

Sona’s advice to those looking to define their role in production is simply to persevere.

“If you’ve got strong intentions, you will define your role in any field. There’s always a choice, and a way to make it happen. Some Beatmakers/Producers do get stuck doing one thing. This usually happens when they’re surrounded by narrow-minded people; or if they never step out of the house. It’s important to know how to choose who you work and surround yourself with. We are all expressions and products of our surroundings.”

Keep up with Sona One on Twitter.

I Wanna Be A Producer continues tomorrow with the multi-disciplinary Hardesh Singh.

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