For 808 Day, we put our ear right up to the subwoofer. We asked our Roland Cloud Family to showcase its percussive prowess on the software version of the drum machine that started it all. You responded with sounds that reminded us that the boom is real and thriving. We sifted through the ripping beats and chose three monarchs to claim the (drum) throne as 808 Day royalty. These are their stories.
Matt Barr—aka M-Beatz—hails from Crestmont, PA and has been making beats for roughly a decade. Producing music became an interest when he began learning to play the drums for the neighborhood drill team. An up and coming producer, Joshua has worked with numerous artists from Philadelphia and New Jersey. He shares some of his thoughts with Team Roland Cloud.
How do you begin working on a composition?
When I create a recording, the first thing I look for is the melody or sample. Once I get the feel and vibe, that’s when the drums come in.
Are you a perfectionist? Do you see improvisation and error as opportunities?
I am not too much of a perfectionist. There is always room for improvising in making music. For instance, I could get a sheet of music and play it to perfection, but it might sound a lot better if I improvise and put my own twist to it.
If you picked five of your favorite songs, would you be able to quickly identify the similarities in each song, or would they all be wildly different?
They would definitely be wildly different because I like all types of music.
When you hear something for the first time, are you immediately drawn to the lyrics or the instrumentation?
The first thing I notice when listening to music is the beat. At the same time, I love great lyrics. I can enjoy a song with a mediocre beat if the lyrics are there.
Hearing a song from your past can trigger powerful emotions and nostalgia. What are your opinions about music and memory?
When listening to certain music I can remember the exact time and place. Or I can remember what was going on in my life at the time an album was out. I remember getting my first car and blasting Young Jeezy's Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 everywhere I went.
What was the first song or album you heard as a child that made you want to play music? Do you remember how you felt?
When I first heard Boogie Down Productions' “The Bridge is Over” produced by Scott La Rock and KRS-One, I got on my little piano and learned it. While playing the piano part, I beat out the drum part on the table. The feeling I had at that moment made me realize making beats was something I wanted to do.
How were you able to become a producer? And, is this your full-time job? If not, what else do you do to make a living?
I started my musical journey playing drums for the drill team. Once I downloaded Fruity Loops, I started experimenting with production. I have a full-time sales job where I make my living, but in due time music will be my primary source of income.
Has anyone or any particular recording inspired you to want to become a producer?
There is no one specific person or song—multiple people inspired me: Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Mannie Fresh, Just Blaze, Pharrell, Dr. Dre,and plenty more.
Now that you have been producing for some time, would you recommend this profession to others?
The only way I’d recommend this as a profession is if someone is very serious about their craft. There are so many producers out there. You have to find out what separates you from the next person.
Outside of beatmaking and production, what instruments do you play?
I have played the drums for the drill team, so I can play any marching band drum there is. I thought I could learn the drum set with ease, because of my drumline experience, but it’s a lot harder than I thought. I'm getting the hang of it though.
Which projects are you the proudest of and why?
The project I am the most proud of is the first album I ever produced: World Premiere by Sheermoney N Kristyle. I produced every song on the album and the creation process I can say was one of the best experiences I’ve had creating music.