Today we are back with another Spotlight I was hoping to fit in over the weekend, but it didn’t happen, so we are blessing a fine start of the work with (if you don’t work a government job) with a spotlight on ANOTHER Denver artits, Kid Hum. As some of you know, I’m still hold Denver near and dear to my heart. I have a lot of friends from there and still keep an eye on what is coming out of Denver. This week we feature the former Basementalism DJ turned Hawaiian producer.
Last month, we featured Whygee out of the Denver area, who was apart of an EP entitled “Suicide Watch”. The EP featured Whygee, fellow Denver MC, Sunken State and was produced by Kid Hum. Those of you familiar with the Denver scene will also know Kid Hum as DJ Dylon, one of the in-house DJ’s for the weekly Basmentalism radio show. Kid Hum made some noise with his production featured on the Suicide Watch EP and released the instrumental album “Fossil Fuel”, which is on the cusp of incredible with it’s wide array of samples and sounds. If you don’t take my word for it, just check Dart Adams “Late Passes” this past week on Poisonous Paragraphs. “Fossil Fuel” has been recieving more and more play time on my iPod the past three weeks or so, as certain songs get ingrained into my subconscious. It’s a fine effort from Kid Hum, that will only get better with time.
Church – Kid Hum
WYDU: What’s good man, can you drop the 411 on you and your background?
Kid Hum: No doubt. I go by Kid Hum aka DJ Dylon (Basementalism). I am a Music Listener, DJ, and Producer. I was born in Torrence, CA. Grew up in Arvada, CO, I now live in Honolulu, HI. I make beats on the MPC 1000.
W: You were a long time DJ for Denver/Boulder’s own Basementalism show, which I’ve personally been a big fan of for quite awhile. How did you get down to become one of the DJs on the show? How did it help your career?
KH: Man, that’s a great question, with a long answer.
Short Answer: Basementalism is the foundation of Kid Hum.
Basically Basementalism showed me that you can really do anything you want to do in life, if you have a dream, God will give you everything you need to make that dream come true.
I started out listening to Basementalism in 2002, and in 2003 I started to record the Radio Show to Cassette Tape. It’s a 3 Hour show, that’s 3 different DJ’s per hour. So that was two cassette tapes a week. I had a Toyota Camry with a cassette deck. And so I played them everywhere I went, and switched them up every week. I taped every show for the course of 2 years, and accumulated over 200 Tapes (100 Sets). Basementalism used to be really good about posting a thorough playlist of all 3 hours onto their website every week, and I would write down the playlist onto the insert for each Cassette Tape.
Anyways, what I am trying to say is that I was a huge fan of the show, and I was learning about New Artists and New Songs every single day, studying the music being played by DJ’s like DJ Thought, DJ Mung, DJ Destro, DJ Inka One, DJ Low Key, and many others. I had the playlists so I knew the names of the songs and the artists, and so from there I would do further research on my own.
I also directly learned HOW to DJ from listening to these guys. For me I never needed any visual learning aids, I learned how to mix two records from listening those tapes. DJ Thought is my close friend, but he taught me how to DJ before I ever knew what he looked like.
So one day when I got the email from Rachel @ Basementalism, it just blew my mind, she was asking me to come in and join the staff of Basementalism Radio. (Apparently I had been winning so many tickets, and calling in talking so much shit, that they thought I could be of service.)
From there I became the official playlist guy, and spent about a year doing that and just hanging out with all these Basementalism Crew. At the same time I was buying my own records, and just mixing records on my own turntables at home, for hours on end. I would just freestyle and think about blends, matching beats, counting; but mostly just the esoteric shit, like the dope feeling of taking one record, and having 200 others to mix it up with, and being able to make 200 new sound phenomena from that. You know?
Anyways I eventually put in a long stint as a resident DJ at Basementalism. I met everybody I know within the music scene in Colorado through the Radio Show, and I was even able to start up a Radio Promotions business on the side because of ever
ything I learned at Basementalism. There is knowledge I obtained while at Basementalism I haven’t even fucked with yet, shit that will be of great use to me in the future.
All my best friends are Basementalism Crew, we are like a social club that smokes blunts and scratches records.
W: Besides myself of course (haha), who was your favorite artist to talk to? Any crazy stories that went down at Basementalism that you care to share?
KH: Well one time I interviewed Percee P, live in the studio. There was a monsoon outside, and our loading dock flooded, which in turn caused the studio to flood. So hear we were in the midst of a radio station, electrical cords dangling from the fuckin ceiling, and standing in 6 inches of water. With Percee P looking at us like, “I don’t wanna die, but I ain’t gonna blow this interview off so you tell me”. LOL.
Wesley Willis headbutted DJ Thought live in the studio, but that was before my time.
Interviewing Sol Messiah from The Nappy Roots, Exile from Emanon, Mikah 9, Jake One, those are all guys I consider to be Hendrixes in this shit. I grew up looking UP to those guys. I only did interviews for a short period of time though. All my peoples at Basmentalism have done their fair share of crazy interviews. Judgemental interviewed Pharoahe Monch once which was dope. C Rayz Walz is a trip, I would love to work with that guy sometime. DJ Low Key did some exclusive interviews for Basementalism, with Pete Rock, and one with Large Professor.
Shep the Hip Hop mom interviewed Slim Kid Tre from The Pharcyde back in the day, and they started talking about their mutual love for Mushrooms. She was a famous Denver Area High School teacher at the time. Classic.
Again, too many stories though, haha, I gotta stop here.
W: I discussed this same thing with Low Key when we spoke, but I’ll ask you as well….Since you hail from Denver, what do you see the scene as? We both agreed that the area is more known for it’s DJs, do you see that changing?
KH: If the DMC continues to avoid Denver, it will change, LOL, nah just kidding. But seriously there used to be a lot of battles in Colorado, and it was a scene unto itself. I might be mistaken but I am pretty sure I have seen the number of yearly DJ Battles taper off drastically. The dope battle DJ’s need a forum to compete, and a reason to train.
On the other hand I can honestly say that the ark of the Rap covenant has appeared in Colorado. Maybe it appeared back in like 2005. But since 2006 I have seen nothing but great rappers recording great songs over great beats since 2006. Even before that is was very unique out here, but a lot of the rappers who I listen to in Colorado are those same guys from 2003, so it makes sense that as they evolve and get better, so does the entire scene.
But as of right now the majority of my favorite music is made in Colorado, Texas, or Georgia. Colorado is dope.
I had a vision, that somebody within the scene, who really loves the music, like me, needs to invest $50,000 dollars back into the scene. So that producers are getting paid by rappers, rappers are getting paid by producers, graf heads are getting paid to give brand recognition to everything, professionally. Clothing is being made, stickers are being made, everything is well funded. We need a stimulus package,
W: How long have you been on the production tip? How is the transition from DJ to producer differ?
KH: I transitioned from DJ to Producer, and it was natural. It didn’t take any effort. But I think part of that is because I really took to producing more. I have always loved DJ’ing as a Basmentalism DJ, for the radio, mixing new music, or rare music. I never have been able to put the effort into the Battle DJ regiment that most of my good friends are up on. I am good friends with DJ Cysko Rokwel, DJ Discord, DJ BMoney, DJ Vajra, Dj Thought, DJ Tense, so its crazy because I have always literally been just hanging out with DMC Champions, top notch battle DJ’s.
So I’ve been DJ’ing for a little over 6 years. And producing for 5 years.
I actually got into producing, because I was doing all the research for a kid I wanted to produce for me, because I wanted to be a rapper and he wanted to make beats. But he kind of faded away and didn’t pursue it, and so while doing all this research for someone else, I ended up really digging the foundation for my own career.
W: Do you think you have a particular sound? How would you describe your beats to someone who hasn’t heard your work?
KH: I would describe my sound as 4/4, cut and paste, layering sounds, the funk, bounce, chronic, 21st century, future, smiley face , songster, fossil fuel, suicide watch, basementalism, mpc 1000 music.
My sound is a conglomeration of all the sounds I enjoy. I have fallen in love with beats from every region of the world. I have fallen in love with all of Lee Scratch Perry’s instrumental albums, which are really some of the first beat CD’s. I have fallen in love with every song that I have sampled.
So my sound is particular, and unique, but at the same time it is just an homage to a bunch of other peoples music. It would be hard for me to act as if “Fossil Fuel” is not an homage to “Donuts”, because it is. Anyone who loves “Donuts” as much as I do would pick up on that.
“Fossil Fuel” is that instrumental album for people that love comedy, movies, TV, and music all at the same time. The reason I like Madlib so much is that he has always made music that reflects his love of comedy, movies, TV, AND music, and so it makes sense that I would enjoy his album, and that I would want to make a similar album.
W: What tools of the trade are you using on your production tip?
KH: Just an MPC 1000. And Old Records, mostly bought at the Thrift Store. I Sample drums that are left open, whether from a Break or a Fill, whatever works.
If I expand, I would want to fuck with 808 Drum Kits, Bass Guitar, and basically learn more about productions methods that are used in the South by producers like Mr. Lee, Pimp C, Z-Ro, DJ Paul, etc…
W: I ask this of all producers, but what is your take on the software Vs. hardware debate?
KH: I record all my beats to Pro Tools. I used Pro Tools to lace “Fossil Fuel” with all of the skits from movies and television. So I think most people are going to integrate the two, even someone who loves hardware as much as I do.
I actually think kids that grew up playing computer games are more likely to use software for music, whereas kids that were big into Nintendo and consoles are more likely to use an MPC.
I know one reason I took Hip Hop so much is BECAUSE of the hardware, and because it was like a new video game to me. One with a purpose, lol.
W: Since we last spoke for Basementalism, you’ve moved to Hawaii. How is that scene treating you? Been busy chasing around hula girls and smoking the sticky icky?
KH: HAHA! No doubt. The girls are just right out here. Make me wanna dig up that old All 4 One and Boyz II Men collection I got. AND I SWEAAAR! Or if they are too young some Chris Brown, LOL.
The weed could be cheaper, hit me up! Where is that Maui?!
The truth is I don’t like living anywhere, I want to tour until I am 60 years old. Then choose a place to live based on that. Rolling Stone where I lay my head is my home and all that, that is how I want to be. But right now I am in school, working on learning about Money, because I want to fund my artistic movement like Duke Ellington did.
W: You produced the very dope “Suicide Watch EP”, we’ve already spoken to Whygee about it, but is your take on that EP? That was you first major project to reach the masses as a producer, right?
KH: Yeah that was the first time I put something out. And its because me and those guys all work the same way. We love that jazz, that spontaneous, and we finished that record in 3 days.
I Love that album. “Birds and Trees“? I was buggin out the whole time. I still bug out. It reached #28 on the CMJ Hip Hop Chart. Its been on the CMJ Hip Hop for 5 weeks now.
The greatest part about that album, is it marked the beginning of a friendship and a professional relationship with my two favorite rappers on the face of the planet, Sunken State and Whygee. Now I am producing music for two Rappers who I consider to be the very best. If I was a 13 year old kid, these guys would be my favorite Rappers. Its like working with some lost members of the 1993 version of The Wu Tang Clan or some shit. They are the perfect MC’s.
W: You also released the Fossil Fuel instrumental album. What is the difference, if any, between making an strictly instrumental album or making a beat for someone to spit over?
KH: The instrumental album was me providing a backdrop for me to express myself. And the way I express myself is through quotes from movies, television, comedy routines, etc.
Those beats are actually going to all be re-released, with Rappers going in over them.
So I don’t really make beats for instrumental albums, I just make beats for Rappers.
W: What was the whole concept behind the project?
KH: Basically it comes from the concept that DITC layed down, about Diggin in the Crates. Archaeology. So I thought about the records as Fossils. And I am refining these Fossils into Fuel. Which are the beats. So Fossil Fuel is just referring to making beats.
W: Myself, I can play “Church” over and over if I had to (and I have that damn sample “…in the name of the holy spirit” stuck in my head days at a time…thanks). Do you have a personal favorite from Fossil Fuel?
KH: HAHA! That’s a clip from a Lee Scratch Perry documentary, where he is running around on the beach. Look that up on Youtube, any old footage from Jamaica of that dude is classic. “Church” has always been one of my favorite beats. I think going into the album it was probably “Imagine!” or “Church”. A lot of people were offering me money for “Prayer”.
It’s funny because a lot of times I get the most props on beats that are straight loops. And I don’t really feel much connection to those beats. But with “Imagine!” and “Church” and “I Don’t Like you Either”, and a ton of other beats, I really chopped the samples up, and played with them, and made my own thing out of them. So those beats are always real close to my heart.
I did a feature for T.R.O.Y. (Philaflava), where I provided links to the original samples for some of the beats on Fossil Fuel, people should check that out and see for themselves how a Kid Hum beat sounds compared to the original.
W: What do you hope to accomplish as a producer? I mean, do you want to be Kanye like large, do you just want to be well respected, somewhere in the middle?
KH: I really like where Thes One is at. In terms of a following, financials, and respectability. I only say financials because I saw on a blog where he was breaking down their success in terms of record sales, and it was successful.
Somewhere between Dr. Dre and Thes One. Kanye, gets harassed by TMZ a lot, I don’t know if I want to have to break a motherfuckers camera.
I want to be the driving force behind my own success.
W: If you could choose any 5 MCs to work with, whom would they be?
My ideal 5 would be, Wale, Eminem, 50 Cent, Chamillionaire, A-Wax.
But I gotta say that I’m currently working with the 3 MC’s I want to produce for, that’s Cyrano, Sunken State, Whygee. Those 3 guys are my favorite MC’s on the planet, along with the rest I just mentioned.
I also want to work with Yonnas and Deca, who are both from Colorado. Those guys are DOPE!
W: What does the future hold for Kid Hum, besides Pina Coladas at hot Hawaiian chicks?
KH: Nah, that’s about it.
Nah, I am going to try to put more money behind what I do, and hopefully one day me and my good friends will all be on tour together. Once the world touring starts I’m set.
Stones Throw Records. They take pictures of their movement, and I have to admit, they are living the life as far as I can tell. The type of events they get down on, they type of venues they play, the ease at which they seemingly travel the world, the type of affiliations they secure. I would love to live like that.
W: Any lost words for the minions out there?
KH: I have released both The Suicide Watch EP, and Fossil Fuel digitally. You can buy the MP3 Albums at ITunes, Amazon, Lala, Shockhound, Rhapsody, and many others.
If you have a Zune hit me up and I will shoot you a free copy.
I am working on some albums with Cyrano and Sunken State right now, and also Mike Wird. They are all gonna be real nice for your ears. So stay in touch!
Also I am working on a CRAZY album right now with Rock The Dub (www.rockthedub.com), so stay tuned.
W: Thanks man!