It's apparent not all of us have the luxury of working face to face with a producer whos sound we want as the backbone and representation of our work as artists. Some of us struggle with the money, the time or both when it comes to making the music we desire. In my short time as an artist I have learn't a number of things through sheer trial and error. I've been able to pinpoint certain things I feel are of value, and one of these things which I want to share with you is something I've noticed pop up in interviews which seems to be a common theme in what people want to know, and that is, how do I go about getting the beats behind my tracks.
Everybody seems to be surprised or a little bit shocked by the fact I have worked with more overseas producers. To me It's the most natural course I could ever have taken. Normally I'm a firm advocate for giving credit where credit is due, and shining a light on the ideas which may influence you to delve into a new idea of your own. A lot of people have a problem with that. A lot of people think their best bet is to claim originality on all of their work and ideas like they just magically thought of it one day and it came to fruition like they are some god like being. So normally I would say I got the idea of doing this from (insert name here). But truthfully, the idea of approaching producers from all over the world came about like this:
Having just started my solo work under the new artist name 'I AM D', I was very new to making music, so new in fact I knew next to nobody who produced, and the ones I did know either thought they were out of my league or simply charged too much money for beats. Things changed after I won the Hilltop Hoods Initiative, I had people hitting me up left right and centre, but still at ridiculous prices.. But here's what I did. One day on facebook I came across a link which was an article titled something like "30 up and coming producers around the world to look out for". I checked out every single producer on this list, sent them all a message on their soundcloud introducing myself, saying their work was amazing, maybe even mentioning certain beats of theirs from their page that i was really digging and I'd love to work on some stuff with them. To my surprise A LOT of these people replied, I'd say easily over half, and the on average asking price for most of their beats was about $100. Not only that, but you have the potential and opportunity to build networks. The notion of social currency in this day and age is a massive thing we all need to be aware of and building. Sure you can hit up a random guy from across the world who makes good beats and you can just do a transaction these days and be done with it. But building networks and online friendships with these people goes such a long way and I guarantee there will be a sleuth of potential benefits that come with building rapport and (excuse my french) being a good cunt.
My advice to you if you're in a position where you want to find some beats you actually like, not just think you like because that's all you have access too and want to kid yourself into 'making do' with that. I mean if you wanna find some beats you REALLY fucking like, you WILL find them out there in this big fuck off place called the internet, and they will not only be affordable, but cost effective.
There may be better ways to do this, but as a starting guide, you have to have a real passion for trolling on soundcloud. I had to DIG for some of my gems, you have to ask yourself how bad to do you want them. Whatever style of beat you want, go to the soundcloud page of a popular producer you like, as an example we'll say Pete Rock. We go to his page, you click to his followers (he has about 25 thousand which is a a lot for this kind of thing, so if you can find someone who's semi poppin but not HUGE it wont require as much work but you're going to be doing this anyway so it's not going to matter how many or how little they have).. So click his followers, and i guarantee you a shit tonne of people who are following him are producers who love his work (don't forget EVERYONE is a producer rapper or dj these days), and it's going to be a gamble of trial and error of clicking on people whos name or picture suggests they make beats. This is one of those times you can judge a book by its cover cause there's just too many people to click on one by one. You can use Pete Rocks followers list as your base camp and click through other producers and their followers and their followers until you look back and find someone dope and think how did i even get here. It is a process which requires time, effort and patience, but I've done this and have built working relationships with people online I don't even need to do this unless I'm that eager to discover someone else. But truthfully the people I have found make some amazing beats, we have worked together that much now we help each other out wherever possible, I put people on to them and provide them more work and they do the same. Some even now work with me for free and that was never the end goal. That is just a bonus and a by product of not being a shit cunt. Another perk is when I get to the U.S or Europe I'll have people to work on music with and a place to stay. I can't recommend this enough.
As a side note, if there's anyone who is looking for somewhere very affordable to track their vocals/record their music feel free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter & IG @daleygrinder