Scris pe 10.02.2006 de DJ Strike
Coalmine Records e un nume foarte proaspat in aria label-urilor de hip-hop din NY. Fondat in 2005 de DJ Dutchmaster, label-ul are la activ 2 single-uri 12" si 2 mixtape-uri (semnate Kay Slay si Mista Sinista), iar planurile de viitor au in vedere lansarea mai multor 12" precum si angrenarea in diverse proiecte a catorva nume cu greutate.
First of all, tell me, who's DJ Dutchmaster ?
That's me actually. I'm also the founder of Coalmine Records based out of Brooklyn. I've been DJ'ing for about 10 years. I've always wanted to be more involved with music and hip hop than just DJ'ing. I've always been into the whole 12" game and I wanted to start putting out records. I didn't really know where I was gonna go with the whole idea, but I wanted to drop a 12" and take it from there. "The Raw" 12" was my first 12" and the idea was to put together a posse cut style record. I figured, if it was the only 12" I ever did, at least my name was on it... (laughs).
So that's how Coalmine Records was born ?
Pretty much. After the first 12" is when the learning experience really began. I incorporated the name Coalmine Records and wanted to take it more seriously... So I began working with various producers and MCs and came up with a plan to create a dope compilation. So all the 12"s that I'm pressing up are part of a bigger project.I'm assembling a compilation entitled "Contraband" that will feature all the 12"s that are on the Coalmine Roster. The idea is simple, just straight dope hip hop. The stuff that is reminiscent to mid-late 90's era. Hip Hop now is becoming more and more candy coated and the real boom-bap head nod hip hop is becoming more and more a thing of the past unfortunately. It's not like I'm trying to bring it back... I'd just like to put out the style of hip hop that I like and hope that it's well received.
That's the hip hop we fell in love with.
Of course... and it's amazing how I even brainwash myself to like some of the stuff I hear on the radio... I convince myself that at least some of it is borderline hip hop... And then I hear some real shit, and I'm like... Yah, that's hip hop... You know when it's the real deal... You don't have to convince yourself.
The 1st 12" - The Raw - features Saigon, Inspectah Deck and Bekay. How did u hooked with Saigon and Deck and who's Bekay ?
First off, Bekay is the flagship artist to Coalmine Records. He's been a personal friend of mine for years and I've always admired his talent and what he brings to the plate. He's a real diverse MC that's very passionate about what he does. I always thought that if he was paired up with the right producers this cat could really shine. As far as Saigon and Deck... I've been into Saigon's shit since his "Say yes" 12" on Rawkus, so I'm not one of these bandwagon fans that just heard the name in '04. Around the time Saigon got out of jail he hooked up with Mark Ronson and Rich Kleinman [Allido Records]. Rich is a personal friend of mine so he was able to introduce me to Saigon... I got Sai in the studio one day, and he just gave me a real hot 16 on that beat.
Bekay actually dropped his verse first that day... And then Saigon was like: "Aight, you're comin' on that battle shit, ok. I'm gonna have to come with that raw shit." I laced the cuts on that joint and when it was done, I realized it was a little light time wise. And I wanted to get someone else on there. At first, it was supposed to be Immortal Technique. We had a studio time set and everything, but he just never showed up.
A few nights later I ended up DJ'ing for some WU affiliates: Killah Priest, Prodigal Son, 60 Second Assassin etc. And Deck actually came through. That's how the idea first popped into my head... Prodigal Son helped me get in touch with Deck. I Just had to wait for him to come back from a European tour, and then I got him in the studio. It was a real humbling experience to say the least. Deck was always one of my favorite MCs, so the chance to work with him was surreal. That fact that he was really into the track and the other verses was dope too, because he really showed a lot of interest in the project. That 12" made a lot of noise, and I basically got addicted to the 12" game. Did some radio promo on it in the US and it got to #1 on the college charts.
The 2nd 12" that Coalmine Records released is Supernatural � "The Altitude" wich features production from Marco Polo - who also produced Pumpkinhead's "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn"...
Yah, I was introduced to Polo from my man Jimmy Drew [Soulspazm Records], I heard the shit he was doing for Pumpkinhead and wanted to work with him for my next 12". Around the same time I saw Supernatural performing live... I've seen him perform before, but this time I was looking at it from the perspective of an artist that I'd like to work with. Nat was already familiar with Polo's production credits and was cool to make something happen. There's an interesting story behind this 12". I was listening to a lot of beats from Seattle's BeanOne. I had a beat CD of his and I was feeling this one beat like crazy. I was like: "Man I wanna use this on the flip of the Supernatural 12"". Supernatural also lives in Brooklyn, so I went to his crib to talk about the project and unbeknownst to me, he was down with that Seattle crew, which includes BeanOne, Jake One and Vitamin D. I played him the beat that would be a dope B side. And he looked at me and was like: "Man... I got this beat too from Bean". He went on to tell me that he already wrote a hook to it when he was flying back from Seattle after being out there with those dudes. So, it was one of the beats that he was really feelin' too... I'm proud of that 12" because I really think it's the strongest 12" that Nats been on... It didn't make as much noise as I would've liked it to... It was charted at #1 and #2 on the college charts, but didn't create the same type of stir... as "The Raw", but it still got a lot of love.
How come Supernatural didn't release his full length "S.P.I.T." through Coalmine Records but through Up Above Records ?
I'm just starting, I'm young to the game and it was never really an option. He even told me in the studio that Up Above wanted to put out his album. Supernatural and I were real psyched with these joints, I even offered to have Key Kool over at Up Above put 'em on S.P.I.T., but it never materialized into anything... That "Altitude" joint is bangin'... I could've seen that track on his album for sure. But it's all good, both those joints will be on the 'Contraband' compilation. So, hopefully a lot more people will be able to hear those joints once the compilation drops. That's another problem with hip hop is that a lot of these 12"s that aren't associated to other projects / albums / compilations end up having a very, very short shelf life. The song will have at best an 8 week radio rotation and then it's a thing of the past.
Besides Bekay and Supernatural who else will be on "Contraband" ? Can you give me any names ?
Yah, I can drop some names for you... Big Noyd, Phil The Agony, Krondon, Trez, Heltah Skeltah, Krumbsnatch & Edo G, Doujah Raze, Sean Price, A.G., R.A. The Rugged Man & Kool G Rap.
The Big Noyd 12" is bangin. That joint's gonna drop on March 28th. It's another posse cut w/ Phil The Agony and Krondon. Germany's super producer, Shuko is behind the boards on that one. Shuko also produced the A side of the Heltah Skeltah reunion 12� that we�ll be droppin� in May- I can�t wait man, cats are gonna be giddy over this record. Revolution did the cuts on the A side and I�m trying to get I-Emerge to do the cuts on the B side which is a Rock solo joint produced by BeanOne. It's a real low BPM joint that's crazy. I normally like the 90 bmp boom-bap joints, but this beat is nuts. I have big plans with this record man.
My other approach to making music is that I place a heavy emphasis on the DJ and try to have a new DJ/Turntablist featured on every 12". On top of that, I also like to have the music DJ friendly. A lot of 12"s might have good songs, but they're not really fun for the DJ to spin. I like to have my records have exciting points to double on... 4 or 8 bar intros with some drum heavy features for DJs to get busy on.
I see that you really are wax addicted.
Yeah, I'm addicted. I get giddy when I get test presses back... I'll hug the UPS driver and just run upstairs and put markers on my test presses and just start getting busy. My dog looks at me like I'm crazy... I could be there for a couple hours and then I realize that I'm DJing in my draws with my slippers on.
So, the other avenue with Coalmine Records are the Bekay projects. We have his full length album in production. The album will be called "Hunger Pains" and it�s gonna be off the chain. We stepped up and sought after the best producers, DJs and features for this album. No shorts doggy! On production, we got The Alchemist, Shuko, DJ Babu, Street Orchestra, Illmind, Marco Polo, Bean One. We got DJ Revolution, Babu, DP-One, Mista Sinista and myself on the cuts. And for the features� Hold your hats kids! We got, Masta Ace, Wordsworth, R.A., Pumpkin Head and Mr. Met... and of course Saigon and Inspectah Deck.
Hunger Pains is no doubt gonna be a great album. We'll be dropping two 12"s for that album. The first 12" drops Feb. 21st. The B side 'Young' is an album cut [produced by Shuko]. And the A side is one of Bekay's older joints from his previous label. It's a collaboration with O.D.B. The joints called "Where Brooklyn At?" It�s produced by Konman Productions which is Kanye West's production team. It's a real clubby type joint, and this will allow people to see that Bekay can deliver it any way possible, he can make club music and he can spit raw bars and get the respect from both underground and the mainstream fans. ODB delivers the hook on this joint, it's a real fun track man. The 12" is definitely diverse.
Sometime in April or May we'll be dropping his second 12" which will feature the lead album cut "I am Hip Hop" produced by The Alchemist- we just mixed this track down yesterday and I�m real proud of this track man, it represents everything I love about hip hop. Revolution did the cuts on that too. The B side is "Brooklyn Bridge" feat. Masta Ace [Produced by DJ Babu].
I've seen that Kay Slay hosted a mixtape with Bekay.
Basically, Bekay and I were coming back from Scribble Jam and we're talking about dropping a mix tape, which nowadays is a mandatory tool for promoting your music. I have a connection to Slay through the studio I record out of so, I was able to hook it up. We got a dope remix of "The Raw" on there that Shuko hooked up... We got the ODB joint on there too and some other hot joints. There's a joint on there with El Gant on some dope freestyles.
Bekay's always recording. He's got like a new joint everyday, so I'm sure we'll drop another mix tape before his album drops. The mixtape hustle is a whole different aspect of the game that I'm just learning about. Everyone from MCs that are just known on their block to major label artists got them... It can be a great promotional tool to break an artist.
How's this thing with mix tapes working in the US ?
I'm new to the mix tape game, but it's a very tough, very competitive hustle. It's real grunt work. Even major label artists need to take an independent approach to getting a mix tape out there. The right type of promotion is everything, and if you have a dedicated and honest street team you can see some money. The key is to grind hard within the first 48 hours or that shit will get bootlegged. If it's a hot CD it's gonna get bootlegged regardless, so if you're trying to make money, you better make it quick.
If you're trying to promote, then getting bootlegged is a blessing, other people fighting to do your job for you. Let them eat off of your artist in return for free promo. That's how I look it.
My attitude at first was to try and at least recoup my pressing investment... But if you're trying to push an artist and you have bigger plans, then press up 2000-3000 and bust your ass to give them to everyone and there mother, and then press up some more. Overseas, down south, west coast, Japan. Get them out ! Have a host that will allure people to listen to the product and introduce the public to your artist.
How you handle the distribution deal ? I've seen that Supernatural's 12" is available through a lot of record shop websites...
For now I'm putting out everything independently. I'm talking to a few distributors at the moment... I gotta see what's gonna be the best option for my company. We also got that Mista Sinista CD - Break U Off !!! For all the heads out there that like breaks and turntablism. This CD is real banging !!! It's about a one hour long break mix. Sinista is an incredibly talented DJ and the CD is real fun.
About gigs: where have you been, with who and what was the most memorable experience ?
Bekay and I are just getting our act together, literally... We've been doing some local shows and trying to build our name and our brand. Bekay's a dope performer, he gets high off rocking a crowd. We just did a show about 2 weeks ago. Opened for R.A. The Rugged Man... That dude is a real trip.
As far as I'm concerned, I've DJ'd for a lotta cats, I'd say the most memorable experience by far was DJ'ing for ODB� This was just a couple weeks before he passed away too. It wasn't even planned, I was DJ'ing for Bekay one night, and ODB came through to just check out Bekay. People started chatting about ODB being in the back of the club... Bekay finished his set and I was DJ'ing after his set. I'm digging through some records, I look up, and ODB is in my face. I'll never forget what he said: "Hey white boy, I wanna rhyme, is it alright with u if I rhyme ?" I said, "Holy shit, of course man, do your thing". He's like: "Well play me some funky shit, you got some funky shit?" So I through on doubles of GZA's "Pass the bone" instrumental and everyone just rushed to the front of the stage and he was doing "Brooklyn Zoo" over the "Pass the bone" instrumentals... It was unforgettable. He rocked the mic over a few more instrumentals and then he just bounced... DJing for R.A. a couple weeks ago was hilarious. He told me literally 5 seconds before he went on that he wanted me to DJ for him. I was like cool. He gave me his show set and he just rocked it. He's a real spontaneous dude and played his set with what he felt like playing. So I through a joint on and he's like: "No bitch, play the next one". He's like hip hops Jim Belushi. A real unpredictable comical dude. He pulled this girl from the audience and stuck his head up her dress while he was singing a love ballot.
Hahahaha ! How did the crowd react ?
I've had people tell me that it was the most fun they've ever had at a hip hop show in there lives. I think I was having the most fun... I had the best view in the house. (laughs)
How do u feel doing your first projects with these big names: Babu, ODB, Alchemist, Revolution, Deck ?
It's an honour and a privilege. I grew up on these dudes, so of course it's amazing... and it's a blessing. I told Revolution that he's responsible for me locking myself in my room and not coming out until I mastered the triple chirp. Man, ever since I heard "Work the angles", back in� like �97-�98, I was floored! That track alone really made me want to take DJ'ing / Turntablism to another level. The shit he laced on the Alchemist joint and the Heltah joints are nuts. It took him virtually no time at all to do and he was real nonchalant about it. Sent me an email with the cuts and was like: "Here you go !".
Do you feel that these collaborations will motivate you doing bigger things ?
To answer your question, I feel like you need to have a standard of what you want your music to sound like and who you want to surround yourself with. Nowadays, with protools and the accessibility to make music, everyone and their mother are doing it! The industry is flooded a million times over... Everyone's a rapper, everyone's a DJ and producer, and everyone claims to know this guy and that guy...But it's your sound that speaks the most at the end of the day. I think it's important to be balanced. If you got an artist and he's not being heard, throw him on a track with known cats so people will listen to him. People need to be forced fed at times. How many times have you been given a CD and because it was just foreign to you, you never played it. But then you see that there's a certain collaboration on there, you're like: "Hmmm. Let me peep this !" And that's how new cats are usually discovered.
Big names grab after them unknown names, that in time are growing. So they can grab other names. It's like a chain.
So yeah, I'd like to work with known cats that I respect more than anything else. But if someone is that known and that dope, they're usually signed. So, how far can Coalmine Records really get with a signed artist? The idea is to build a strong brand - I'd like to eventually see artists that I've always admired wanting to be associated and involved with my label. And I definitely see that happening... Got to be practical and take baby steps, but for now Bekay is my main focus.
So if I want to be signed on Coalmine Records, and I'm skilful but not so known�
It's a tough game trying to put on new cats. You almost need to have major label dollars. But there are always those cats like you're Atmospheres and Aesop Rocks that just develop this ridiculous following. There's just as much behind the scene smarts and grinding going on, as there is talent. It also helps for your artist to be likable and charismatic. If they're an ill, dope, crazy MC but their stage show leaves a lot to be desired, It's going to be tough.