I don’t know how long I’ve been seeing the name Numonics in my email inbox, but it’s been popping up in my emails for quite sometime. Now, I get a ton of emails, so I’ll admit, I don’t remember every one that sends me stuff, but often I do recognize certain names. I knew the name Numonics, but more as someone who was in the behind the scenes type of stuff. He would promote a ton of cats, some of which were rather talented. It wasn’t until he sent me a song he did as a producer with one of my favorite cats, Shawn Jackson, that I realized, “Hey, this cat produces too, and he is rather nice!” It finally kicked in. Then I was on a mission to listen to Numonic’s previous works, and it all leads to the conclusion that this Numonics cat is rather talented.
I also read about his upcoming project, “Being Cool Doesn’t Pay the Bills,” which featured some talent artists, including the afrorementioned Shawn Jackson track. This all lead me to hook up with Numonic’s and talk about his many hats in the industry, his music and his upcoming projects….
A WYDU Exclusive
Dre Biggity ft. Fashawn and Diz Gibran – Cops Ruin Everything Around Me (Numonics Version)
WYDU: What’s good man, how about dropping a little intro for those out there might now have heard of you and some background info….
Numonics: I go by Numonics, I’m a hip hop producer based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I’ve been doing music as a whole for about 10 years now (I was also a drum and bass dj/producer for awhile as well). The first project I started promoting my work heavily in was 2009’s Monsters Ink compilation which was mixed by Mick Boogie and Terry Urban and presented by Akademiks.
W: Aight, so it appears you have your hands in all kinds of things, are you a producer, label head, PR guy? All of the above?
N: All of the above and a little more.
Outside of writing music, I am a marketing consultant for a few streetwear brands, I handle online press for a handful of extremely talented artists and I have a distribution agreement with Coalmine Records. In addition, I handle digital distribution for artists like Adela, Streetrunner and Protoman.
From time to time I also assist in strategic alliance and sponsorship. I have worked with Island Def Jam, Clarion, Rocksmith, IM KING, Clarion, 10 cane rum, RU vodka, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and more.
W: How do you juggle all of those titles? Is there any one thing you’d like to excel at the most?
N: I use my time wisely is the easy way to answer it. I have grown accustomed to multi-tasking all the time that it allows me to handle multiple projects. Coupled with the fact that a lot of my work is simply just phone calls and emails, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. The important thing is to find a balance and make sure you put equal effort into every project.
As much as I’d like to say my strongest suit is the music, I’d have to say my business acumen and knowledge of marketing is my strongest asset. Music is all about branding and it’s essential to pay attention to the business aspects of music.
W: From the PR perspective, what must one do now to get an artists name out to the masses? How difficult is doing that?
N: I think the most important thing is understanding your audience and your limitations.
I work with independent artists or those without huge budgets and a majority of what I do is free. The reason I bring this up is that we’re obviously not going to take out print ads, do display advertising or billboards, etc. The one weapon EVERY artist and publicist has is the internet. It’s a completely free medium to utilize PR based efforts to promote yourself and your music.
For me, I made up a “hot list” of about 75 or so sites that were relevant to the type of music that I do. From there, I made sure to get some form of contact for each of those.
The next step is deciding what to promote really. I work with a myriad of artists, some with a reputation, others without. For those without any real presence, it’s important to establish relevance with the audience your sending your content to.
This can be done many ways. What has worked for me is doing initial promo’s of collaborations or big name producer credits and then easing in to solo material or songs that lack the “wow” factor a 9th wonder production credit has or a verse from a more popular MC.
Once you start sending out material, your core audience will develop. Ones that will consistently feature you. From there, you just need to be persistent that everyone receives your collateral and the big boys will start paying attention once you make some waves.
W: Let’s talk about your production game a bit. How would you classify your style/sound? What makes it stand out and make people say, “That’s a Numonics beat”?
N: I know I have a very specific style. A majority of my beats are a blend of sample and original instrument and I usually chop soul more than anything. I’ve used rock, samba, afro-cuban, funk, etc. to base my beats around as well but the main focus has always been soul.
I tend to create what I feel is almost melodramatic hip hop. There’s always a certain depth to my beats in regar
ds to the mood where it’s equally dark as it is light. I know that’s a strange description but that’s how it sounds to me.
W: How long have you been on the production tip? what made you want to go down that road?
I first started writing music at 16. I had been doing reviews for a Canadian hip hop site called Tha-Real.com. I was blessed with the opportunity of interviewing Peanut Butter Wolf for them. I feel that experience and my obsession with DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing” led me into producing trip hop. This is where I found my love for sampling and how I can create original pieces using pre-existing measures of songs no one seems to care about anymore. Trip Hop at its’ core is instrumental hip hop. Really I’ve been writing hip hop beats since then, I just didn’t really figure out the proper sequencing til a few years later, ha.
W: What kind of equipment do you have up in the studio?
N: My process is about speed and efficiency. I don’t work on a particular beat for more than 45 minutes to an hour tops. I feel the more I work on something the worse it becomes (laughs). Because of that, I use a very basic setup. I use software primarily and my main weapons of choice are Reason and Cubase.
W: I always ask this with any producer, just for my own morbid curiosity mostly, what is your take on the whole hardware Vs. Software issue?
N: I think you can make great music using either. Software is more easily accessible and affordable but at the same time, nothing sounds better than MPC drums to me.
W: You have a project that is set to drop here very soon, “Being Cool Doesn’t Pay The Bills,” what’s the story behind it?
N: “Being Cool Doesn’t Pay The Bills” is testament to this new era in music. It’s no longer good enough to be dope on the mic or behind the boards. You need to be your own manager, publicist, booking agent, etc. to be successful. In my eyes, the days of having labels and management teams do all the dirty work for you are over. That’s what the theme of the album is. What pays the bills is your ability to do all the things outside of the “cool” stuff.
W: The list of artists you have on the project is long and distinguished, how did you come to work with some of them?
N: I came to work with these artists through my work in marketing, via referrals and mutual friends.
Example: I have distribution with Coalmine Records and I help promote their artists and releases as well. I have a very good relationship with DJ Dutchmaster who runs the label. He is cool with Donny Goines. Dutch linked me with Donny to help with the release of “The Breakfast Club” last year. I was able to secure partnerships for Donny with IM KING and Clarion. We cut a record during the process of working on that project and that song became “Let the Rain Fall” with QuESt and Streets Buchanon.
QuESt is an interesting story as well. My friend intro’d me to Hallway from illroots and we worked on a project together to promote Method Man and Redman’s album last year. While we worked on this project, Hallway kept mentioning how dope QuESt is and how he’s from Miami, etc. I finally got in touch with dude and there was a definite mutual appreciation for each other’s crafts. He introduced me to TreaZon. TreaZ is insanely nice on the mic as well and he intro’d me to ThreatZ and Nero.
That’s how the album worked out really. One relationship leads to another that leads to another.
W: Was it sort of a case you made a beat with an artist in mind? Or find beats for an artist? How does one go about making such a compilation/producer album?
N: I never write a beat for a specific reason. Every time I do, it doesn’t come out right. Co$$ has a line in one of our songs about “not forcing the organic”. That’s how I feel about producing.
What I do is go through my catalog and match records that fit with the person’s style and previous work and a few left field options that I personally think will work. From there the artist picks the beat and we knock out the record.
W: Anybody you wanted to work with but got left off this time around?
N: Diz Gibran and Freddie Gibbs. They both put out tremendous albums last year and are personal favs of mine. I submitted beats for the project to both but schedules didn’t really permit anything to get done this time around.
W: What does Numonics the producer have on the slate for the near future?
N: My next release is with LA’s Co$$ and it’s titled “Revelations”. It’s an EP that’s being presented by IM KING and 2dopeboyz and will feature Reks, Shawn Jackson, Sene and some top secret features that I can’t announce just yet.
Following that I am releasing an EP of “Being Cool Doesn’t Pay The Bills” featuring the top songs and a couple of bonus tracks and remixes.
In the summer I will be releasing a collaborative EP with TreaZon and ThreatZ. Around the same time, I will be dropping the MADMAN reMixtape with Dub Floyd and an instrumental album.
My plans for the fall consist of an EP with Wrekonize and possibly one with QuESt, if our schedules permit.
I do have some loose joints coming out on projects here and there as well.
W: Any last words for the future fan boys out there?
N: My album, “Being Cool Doesn’t Pay The Bills” is available for free on DJBooth.net, IMKING.com and more on March 29th, 2010. It will feature Donny Goines, Reks, Shawn Chyrstopher, EL Prez, J the S, Lex One, Butta Verses, Bk Cyph, D Julien, ThreatZ, TreaZon, Nero, Paul Lewis, Saheed, Shawn Jackson, Co$$, Sene, RAtheMC, Streets Buchanon, Dre Biggity and more.
DJ RTC of Ruby Hornet & Closed Sessions is handling the mix and Hazardis Soundz is mastering the project.
A special thank you to incredible sites like WYDU and all the other blogs and websites that choose to cover our work and keep us informed with the latest and greatest from this wonderful art form we call hip hop.
Also thanks to Unkle Luc, my Monsters Ink fam, my lovely girlfriend and my friends for all the support.