Producer, composer, engineer, mixer, rapper, singer & creative consultant all in one = Woody. Woody is gearing up to drop his 2nd album titled Chrysalis on Sept 12th & decided to give us an exclusive interview + song premiere on P&P first. Being a fan of Woody’s production since (insert year that Charles Hamilton’s *Outside Looking* mixtape dropped here) I could not decline this opportunity to pick at his brain a bit & ask a few questions that I always wanted to know.
Directly below you can check out the latest single off of the Chrysalis album titled “Royalty”. Hit the jump to check out my interview with the man behind the boards himself, Woody!
Italics: Ramzy Q | Bold: Woody A
Q1. Most people know you for your production, mainly with Charles Hamilton. When did you begin to actually get behind the mic & what inspired you to do so?
A1. I actually was a rapper before I got into producing songs. I was a rapper in a live Hip Hop group back home in Northern California, but when I moved to LA a few years back my focus turned to production. I get inspired to do music everyday, I write a lot of hooks and ideas for artists and try to inspire them as well.
Q2. If you could work with one very established producer on one very established artists full project, who would the be the producer and whose project would it be? And why?
A2. That’s a tough one…most likely Quincy Jones because he always finds that ‘it’ factor in songs. As far as the artist, either Andre 3000 or Will Smith. I think Will Smith is THE most underrated artist out.
Q3. I have to agree, Will is heavily underrated in the world of hip-hop! When it comes to working with new artists, are you really down to work with anybody, or is there a certain standard that you’re looking for in a new artist? If so, what is it that a new artist needs to get your attention?
A3. I honestly LOVE working with new artists. I like finding a ‘sound’ for artists. I think that is the producers role really, to find a good fit for the artist they are working with. Too many ‘producers’ just play beats these days…no one makes SONGS anymore. New artist, you can find me on twitter / facebook. I try to check most people out. There really is no standard. Be yourself, perfect your craft and focus on what you want…good things will come.
Q4. Also, if you could work with one up and coming artist on their entire project (that you haven’t already worked with) who would you pick and why?
A4. Hmmmm….THAT is a tough question. There is this band Phantogram that I’m obsessed with….but for an entire project I would have to say Lil B. I think his energy is crazy and he hasn’t had the right production/mixing to make his stuff really pop. People fuck with him, but he could be THAT dude right now if he did something a bit different. That would be fun, lol.
Q5. I can’t stand Lil’ B but I agree that with some better production & mixing his shit would have more of an impact than it does. When working on your material, do you have melodies and lyrics in your head first, and then make the beat to match it? Or do you just begin mapping out sounds and then put lyrics to it after?
A5. It usually starts with the music for me. I have something on piano or guitar and I write to that. Lately, I have been freestyling melodies in the booth and then write words to the melody.
Q6. Favorite Charles Hamilton song not produced by you?
A6. DSW…but there are a few unreleased tracks that are really amazing.
Q7. Man, that was my shit when *The L Word* dropped. Definitely forgot how dope that record was/is. Ok, now name 3 different classic movies of 3 different genres (comedy, drama, horror, sports, romance, etc) that you really wish you could’ve done the scores/soundtrack to?
A7. I actually really want to score a movie. Just have to find the right project. My 3 would have to be:
1. Kill Bill Vol. 1
2. Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi
3. Big Fish
Q8. Good fucking picks bro!! Explain the title of your upcoming album, *Chrysalis*. What exactly does it mean in the terms of this project?
A8. Chrysalis is the process the butterfly goes through in it’s cocoon. It’s like a transformation. For me, the past few years of my life have been insane. I have become someone else in a way. It also is the present state of music. We are going through a big change with the internet and ‘free music’. I wanted to make a statement with this album. I think it’s a bit ahead of it’s time honestly, but people will look back on it like “damn, he was doing that in 2011?!” lol.
Q9. Ahh ok, I’m digging that! Now it’s time to fuck your head up a bit!! Top 3 baddest women alive right now in Woody’s opinion?
And after you pick 3, now you have to fuck one..marry one..and kill one. Go! (Just finished watching Step Brothers)
A9. Hahahaaaa! Word? KILL ONE?! Ok…
I would rock Scarlett Johansson’s world, marry Rosario Dawson and murk Jessica Alba. Lmao, what a question.
Q10. Damn you have good taste in women! In your most recent interview you mentioned that you slept on a lot of couches when you came back to LA from NY (Behind The Music w/ Woody Part 1 & Part 2). When most people are going through obstacles in life, they have a musical soundtrack to help them get through their days. What songs and what artists helped you get through this rough patch in your life?
A10. Honestly, I have a whole bunch of music that I keep close to me. I rarely have time to listen to new artists, because I’m cooped up in the studio. A few are John Mayer, Death Cab For Cutie, Joanna Newsom, Kanye West, The Shins and maybe some Michael Jackson to motivate me.
Q11. Good choices to keep close! Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of beat makers calling themselves producers and composers. Being that you actually are a producer/composer, can you be kind enough to explain the difference between a beat maker & a producer/composer?
A11. This is a discussion I always have with people. I think the word “producer” has changed over the past few years. A producer used to oversee a whole album. Get musicians/writers/engineers in the studio, make sure everything is going as planned for the general direction of the project. Now, you can ‘make beats’ and be a producer. Labels are labels, but I think what makes me stand out is I do EVERYTHING. My last project *LoveLife*, I wrote/produce/played/recorded/mixed/mastered and even did most of my own artwork. I also can make different genres of music. You can call yourself a producer or a composer, but I like to call myself an artist.
Q12. Now we can all agree that Kanye has nothing but classic albums under his belt. So I just want you to rate Kanye Wests’ discography in order from best to worst: College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, 808s, Twisted Fantasy and WTT, if you’ve heard it.
A12. WOW. Kanye has been one of my biggest inspirations musically. I respect his confidence in what he does and he rarely let’s down his listeners. I would have to say: Late Registration, 808s, Twisted Fantasy, College Dropout..I haven’t really had time to sit and absorb WTT just yet.
Q13. Once you reach the level you plan on reaching in the music world, do you have any plans outside of music that you intend on pursuing?
A13. Yes. I want to help people. I want to give back to the community and the world. I think the youth needs help. There are not enough positive influences out there, schools are failing to provide a decent education. I want to open up a non-profit youth center in every major city in the U.S..
Q14. That’s very respectable! We can clearly see that your still working with Yung Nate, but how is your relationship at the moment with Charles Hamilton & the rest of the Demevolist team?
A14. I haven’t talked to Charles in a while. He has been going through some stuff and so have I. I will always respect CH man, he did a lot for me professionally and personally. Nothing but love. As far as Demev, communication kinda fell apart when I moved back to LA. Really nothing but love and respect to everyone though. Good talented people.
Q15. A while back you and Esso teamed up to put out somewhat of a tribute project to Michael Jackson’s *Off The Wall*. Did you find it difficult or challenging to reinvent those beats? Being that it was kind of, like, some very big shoes to fill?
A15. VERY big shoes to fill. Yeah, I really tried to take them as far from the originals as I could. Really make them my own. I think that’s why people liked the production on that project. I could have just looped Mike’s songs and E could have done his thing, but I had to take it there. I played live bass/guitar, percussion and even sang in the background on some tracks. I think I did “Off The Wall” justice.
I would have to agree with you on that one. You definitely did those tracks justice!
*Chrysalis* drops September 12, 2011.