Production Specs: DJ Spinna
Impossibile riassumere in poche battute l’importanza musicale di DJ Spinna, product of the environment di Brooklyn e grandissimo produttore, remixer, digger e deejay.
Capace come pochissimi di giostrare fra il suono più sinuoso e quello più ruvido, spaziando dall’hip hop più oscuro alla house music più raffinata, fra underground e mainstream, tra le sue produzioni ricordiamo quelle per artisti del livello di Michael Jackson, De La Soul, George Michael, Mary J. Blige, Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch. Ha pubblicato dischi come parte dei gruppi culto Jigmastas e Polyrhythm Addicts, e come executive della sua label, la Beyond Real Productions. Come solista, ha fatto uscire, tra l’altro, il celebrato Heavy Beats, Volume 1 (che nel 1999 fu uno dei best seller dell’allora lanciatissima Rawkus Records) e From Here to There, in cui ha cesellato un suono super-smooth. Parallelamente a questo, Spinna ha sempre svolto e svolge tutt’ora l’attività di club DJ, eclettico e ricercato, apprezzato a livello mondiale.
First commercial beat sold/placed: The first one would probably be Everybody Bounce – Rude Rydims Experiement which actually came out 20 years ago. It got a lot of play from Funkmaster Flex and became a club party break anthem. The other I was most proud of was the Stakes is High Remix for De La Soul. They are one of my favorite groups of all time and they sought me out based on the Das EFX remix that was right before that.
How long did it take you to produce something that you were proud of: Well considering I’ve been going to studios and recording since 1985 I would have to say the Bounce record was my proudest moment. It got tons of airplay and I felt like I was on my way after so many years of working hard and struggling.
Favourite production set-up: Back in the 90’s my favorite set up was the SP-1200 and Akai S-950 combination, for most of the 2000’s I lived on the MPC 3000. For about two years now I’ve been killing Maschine. I feel like I can make that piece do anything. It’s my best set up at the moment along with Ableton for building tracks. I still prefer Pro Tools for mixing.
Best digging advice from someone ever: The best advice I got was from Kenny Dope years ago. If you’re in a spot where the seller knows what he has and the records are not priced, don’t get too excited when you find something incredible. Prices go up real fast! LOL. Unless the seller is cool. I tend to get excited and he’s more of the ice grill type. So I had to practice my ice grill, hahahaha.
Producer, in the last 3 months, that made you say: “Oh, shit, i have to go back to the lab!”: Hmm, hard question. To be honest the only person that really made me work hard was Jay Dee aka J Dilla. He was the best and a beast on many levels. If you know records and technique then you know why. There’s great guys out there doing it, but I think I’ve heard the best already.
Your worst production mistake ever made: One thing that bugs me till this day that no one knows about…On the instrumental of Beyond Real by the Jigmastas, you can hear me spinning back the record I was cutting up in the beginning of the last verse section. It was faint in the mix but I know it’s there. By the time I noticed it, it was too late. We were already in vinyl production. That said, always listen down to your mix for detail. It’s worth it in the end.
One essential mixing tip: Leave a lot of headroom when you’re mixing inside the box. Digital distortion is not pretty and it could be a mess when it’s time to master. I constantly find myself pulling levels back, but that’s me, I like clean sound.