In less than a year, Britain's Alex Da Kid went from sleeping on hotel floors,to producing monster hits for Eminem, B.o.B. and Nicki Minaj. DXnext learns how.
It's hard out there for an aspiring music producer. In today's world, where everyone has an iMac and a computer program, and from the comfort of Twitter or their college dorm, presumes they can "do music." However, how do you get a top artist to come to you, without the studio or the wall of gold and platinum framed records? Even if you manage to land a placement, your job does not end there. You have to constantly keep that momentum and keep turning them out or the industry will turn its back on you.
Alex Da Kid, the British producer who has recently scored massive hits with B.o.B's "Airplanes' and most recently, Eminem and Rihanna's "Love The Way You Lie," knows all about the hustle of a producer in today's saturated world of music. With two radio smashes, and more work with Nicki Minaj and Matchbox 20, this hopeful met his dreams quickly. Talking with DXnext, he explained how he did it his own way, and just how huge hits are born.
Getting Out Our Dreams: "I was interning at MTV and I realized how much I hated it. I used to just go to the toilet and just sit there for like two hours a day and just dwell on how much I hated it. I mean it was a good job to have, but it just wasn’t for me. Music is what I wanted to do."
Building A Rolodex: "I first started coming to USA in 2007. I didn’t know anybody. I knew one guy from MySpace and I just came out here and my friend was coming out here at the same time. I slept on the floor of his hotel and just started meeting people. I day-crashed a lot of events. It was never like one special moment, it was more of a steady build. I would meet one person and then another person through that person and just so on and so forth from there."
The Difference Between UK and US Scenes: "[America] is where all the trends are set. There are bigger artists, bigger budgets. The scene in the UK is pretty similar in terms of what is played on the radio like Jay-Z and Beyonce, a very similar playlist. So in the end ,there isn’t much of a difference its just on a smaller level."
Radio Pop or Not?: "I just make music I love. I don’t have any pre-conceived notion of like I want this to be a smash and I want this to be an underground hit. Obviously, if you can make hit records, you should do it because why wouldn’t you. I mean I like everything. I do Hip Hop, Pop, some Rock stuff. I do everything. I just do what I love."
Pilot Talk: "I met [B.o.B.] around two years ago in [Los Angeles]. We had a session and the equipment Atlantic Records ordered me did not work. So I just decided to leave and go to a strip club and then came back. So after I came back, I started to talk to B.o.B downstairs in the lobby of the place we were at for like an hour. We didn’t get anything done because the equipment wasn’t working but it was just good to talk to him and stuff. Most people don’t get a chance to do that. So fast-forward like a year or so and Atlantic sends me the hook and I made the beat to the hook. Originally, 'Airplanes’ was not for B.o.B, Atlantic just liked the hook and eventually it found its way to B.o.B."
Working With Eminem: "Well I met Rick Morales, head of Shady Records in New York, and he really liked my beats. So he played [my beat CD] for Em and he liked it also. After they heard 'Airplanes,' Eminem jumped on [another version of 'Airplanes' ] and said, 'What have you got for my album?' So I just sent him the beat for 'Love The Way You Lie,' and he loved it. Em cut the song in two days and I was able to actually mix it with him in Detroit. He is really cool, man. I didn’t actually hear the song 'Love The Way You Lie’ until like a day before it was going to be sent out. I just don’t want to get blamed for leaks. I heard it in my manager's office for the first time and we went crazy. I am a huge Eminem fan so to hear that was kind of surreal."
Nicki's Menagerie: "[Nicki Minaj] is funny and really dope. When we did 'Massive Attack' , I didn’t really have any placements or anything. I met Nicki Minaj at a video shoot and after that we started to collaborate more and do some more stuff. After you start having hits people want to work with you more. Nicki is dope though, I can't wait for [Pink Friday]. As far as I know, I think I should have one more placement on there but you never know until the last day."
What‘s Next?: "I have been working on so much stuff in the past month or so. Not much I can really talk about, but on the Rock side, I am starting to work with Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20. Most people in Hip Hop don’t even know who he is. He has sold like 90 million albums, wrote for The Rolling Stones and stuff, and he is also a really big fan of Hip Hop. He goes to Jay-Z and Lil Wayne concerts and stuff. So I am working on his stuff with Matchbox 20. You should be hearing two huge songs coming out soon with two different artists, but I really can't say anything until it comes out. But when I do you will be the first to know."
Author: Jonathan Tobias