Music

In the studio with Grammy-nominated music producer Oak Felder

[DRUMMING] Oak Felder: Do me a favor.

When you get to that chorus, I don't necessarilywant that hi-hat to be going crazy, though.

Drummer: Oh, just keep it there? Oak: Yeah, so kind of lighten it up.

I know you got heavy hands, bro.

[LAUGHTER] All right, one more time.

One more time from the jump.

Here we go! I'm Oak Felderand I'm a record producer.

Also a 400-pound, six-foot-fiveblack Turk with a mohawk.

[LAUGHTER] [DRUMMING] Growing up, I knew my wayaround a studio.

I knew how to play piano, and I knew about music, and I loved music, and did it basically as a hobby.

It was never anythingI ever thought was going to belike a real thing.

It's such a casual process, creativity, right? It's intense, yet casual.

It's a weird, like, dichotomy of things.

[DRUMMING] One more time!Same pattern, no hi-hat.

So [IMITATING DRUM SOUNDS] [DRUMMING] Yeah, exactly.

[VOCALIZING][DRUMMING] That's right! Exactly.

[DRUMMING] [LAUGHING] You know, beyond all of the other things that we have to doas a producer, like vocal production and mixing and all that othertechnical stuff, what really defines usare the sounds we use.

But you know, you were doing theaccent thing with the hi-hat.

Like just randomly, [VOCALIZING].

And I'm wondering whether or not the fill should bea little bit more.

.

.

a little more complexthe second time.

Keep the rim-shot in the verses.

Drummer: Yeah.

Oak: A light snare.

Maybe [VOCALIZING].

Like a little bit more out.

[DRUMMING] With the crash into the verse.

Yeah, I like the crashcoming through the verse, yeah.

Let's try it, here we go.

One, two, three, hey! [DRUMMING] The sounds you collectare like experiences.

And just like experiences, those sounds make upthe personality of your music.

I really believe that.

[DRUMMING] Yeah, that felt like the one.

You were showing off a littlebit towards the end there.

Drummer: Just a little.

Oak: Just a tad bit.

Bro, that wasa fantastic take, man.

That is exactly right, brother.

I love that.

That's fire.

You know what the cool thing isabout having all of my sounds right here, right now? Is that we're on our wayto wherever we're on our way to, and in the blink of an eye, an opportunity might arise.

I might get a phone callfrom an artist that says, “Hey, I'm over atsuch-and-such studio.

Can you come by?” And guess what? Now that I haveeverything with me, yes, I can.

Mac Royals: ♪ Why we stayat odds? ♪ ♪ Trying to get even.

♪ ♪ You ignore my heart.

What's your reason? ♪ Oak: You know what, man, I think a producer's job is to be a mirrorfor the artist.

I'm supposed to reflect backwhat I get from them.

[VOCALIZING] Yeah, that's it.

[VOCALIZING] Right! [VOCALIZING] Yeah, that's fire.

I love that! I'm really fast in the studio.

And I think the reason for thatis because artists walk through the door sort of with their ideasin place.

And you've got to play catch-upas a creative, you know, as a producer.

And you've got to getright to where they are, as quickly as you possibly can.

The only thing that limits me is the technologythat I'm using in that moment.

And I need to work asfast as I know I can work.

And as fast as the artist'sand writer's expectation is so that we can catchlightening in a bottle.

'Cause you've got to be fastto catch lightening in a bottle.

Yeah, just give me a freestyle.

I mean, but keep in mindwhat is there.

And kind of play off of thatjust a little bit.

[VOCALIZING]Right? [VOCALIZING] I think it hitson the fourth one, right? All right, let's try it.

Here it comes.

One, two! Mac: [VOCALIZING] ♪ How we stay at odds.

♪ Oak: Yeah, that's it! Mac: ♪ Trying to get even.

♪ Oak: Woo! Mac: ♪ You ignore my heart.

What's your reason? ♪ ♪ Summer feel like fallonce a season.

♪ [VOCALIZING] Oak: Back in the day, there was the idea that you hadas a creative, right? And then the end resultwas having everybody else experience that idea.

But in betweenyou had this thick layer of basically non-accessif you weren't somebody who could go inand spend 2000 dollars a day renting outa major recording studio.

And now, just like the technology, that layer has shrunk.

I love that, bro!That's fire.

That's amazing.

Let me do a quick editright fast.

I think I want to fly this.

Here we go! ♪ Music playing ♪ Mac: [VOCALIZING] Oak: Project! Mac: ♪ You ignore my heart.

What's your reason? ♪ Oak: I want the 18-year-old kid to hear a productionthat I did and say, “I can beat that.

“You know why? Because they're eventuallygoing to make something better.

And when they do, it's going to galvanize meto say, “I can beat that.

” I think that it's importantfor all of us to have that kick in the butt.

But how unfair is it that you have thisamazing 18-year-old kid that might have a crazy idea, but they can't get it out? They can't have itfully realized the way that it's supposedto be realized.

Technology gives themthe capability to potentially make somethingbetter than I would make.

And that's important.

♪.

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