Google+ Beathearts: Beathearts meet Slakah the Beatchild (Exclusive interview)


Beathearts meet Slakah the Beatchild (Exclusive interview)

Artists: Byram Joseph a.k.a. Slakah The Beatchild
Date: July 26th 2011


For all Beathearts regulars Byram Joseph is no stranger. We covered his music and collaborations several times before. Appearantly he got his Beatchild alias from his mother because he kept dancing in sync with household appliances like the washing mashine (!). We just love Byram's music and video productions. Warm, old school and futuristic at the same time. We recently got a chance to interview the man and pose the questions we wanted to ask for a long time.
Read the whole thing exclusively here at Beathearts. Enjoy!

Beatmakers and drummers have always been a great source of inspiration for us. People like Karriem Riggins, Chris Dave, Madlib, Questlove, Kenny Dope and of course Dilla's music was one of the reasons we started to write about soulful underground music. Are you a drummer as well? When/how did you start making beats?

Slakah: Yes, I am a drummer. After the rhodes, its my favorite instrument. One summer when I was about 8 my family took a trip down to the mother land of Carriacou (Grenada) and there was a rehersal studio. We walked by and the drum kit caught my eye, I walked in and asked if Icould play, and the owner said "sure". At this point I had never touched a drum kit in my life, but when I sat down, i dropped a basic beat and kept time and my mom was like "wtf?!". Okay she didn't say that, but she got excited and enrolled me in drum lessons when we got back home.

Beathearts: Everytime you drop a new beat tape it's such a treat! Our favorite tracks of your Beat tape Vol.3-4 are Macheeto, Anti-gravity, Butterfly effect and How to forgive. It's the kind of beats that takes you to other places with your headphones on your daily subway commute. Could you tell us the story behind those tracks and are there any plans of how you're going to use them?

Slakah: Well the legendary DJ Mark Farina heard Macheeto and asked if he could feature it on the classic Mushroom Jazz sereies, vol 7 to be exact. I was so honored because I remember when I was coming up I had Mushroom jazz 1-4 and was such a fan and always wished I could be on it and BAM! Not only one beat but he used TWO beats of mine! Hurray for me! As for the other beats, I think the element you like with those ones are the nostalgic banging drums, but maybe more so its the chord progression. Chord progressions are extremely important to me, they really give a song an emotion. I hate typical predictable ol' chord progressions... I like when the music can make me stop what im doing and take it in, process and say "Ohh...OH? okay!".

Slakah - Macheeto

Slakah - Butterfly Effect

Slakah - How to forgive
Beathearts: We haven't been able to locate Vol 1-2. Where they officially released and if so are they still available somewhere?

Slakah: Ah, you're not missing out on much, the majority of the beats carry over to the new tapes. Beats I sell get removed.

Beathearts: And of course we have to ask what's your plan going forward with the beat tapes?

Slakah: I am going to release vol 5 some time in the near future and it will be 100% new beats unlike previous versions which as mentioned had beats that carried over. However, after Vol 5, Vol 6 will go back to being private and I am not going to leak them. They will only be given to people who are very interested in production.
Download: Slakah - Beat tape Vol. 3
Download: Slakah - Beat tape Vol.4

Beathearts: Who we're your musical heroes when growing up?

Slakah: M.J. J-Dilla, Bob Marley,, Wyclef (everything before Carnival), Pete Rock, Ali Shaheed Muhumad, The Roots.

Beathearts: And your inspirations today? What artists/records have recently blown your mind?

Slakah: Spiral Beach (disbanded), Tingsek, Deer Hunter, Little Dragon, The Sylvers, Hazel & of course Dilla. He will never leave the ranks...

Little Dragon - After the rain (GB remix)
Beathearts: For a long time there we're few artists/groups that could pull off a great live instrumentation hiphop/soul set. We covered The Robert Glasper Experiment earlier. El Michels Affair is another example - we love what they've done with the wu-tang tunes on Truth & Soul back in 2005. Booty Cologne and Grafisk Musik are great but rare Nordic example. Another example is Elzhi & Will sessions Illmatic tribute. And then there's of course the Roots. We haven't been fortunate enough to catch Slakah live yet but your videos have a live feel to them and we have high expectations. What is your live set-up like? Fixed set? Jam sessions? Invited guests?

Slakah: It really depends, but I like having it minimal. So me on rhodes or guitar, a drummer and bass player. But sometimes its more people on stage. Good thing with live setup is you can vibe out and not be restricted to say a CD with the music on it.

Beathearts: You described in the BBE documentary that work under several different monikers: Slakah the beatchild: soulful electronic beats. Slakadeliqs: the live experience more rock influenced. Art of fresh: Uptempo soulful club tracks. From a marketing perspective we guess it's somewhat tricky to use several aliases but we absolutely love your blending of styles. Two of our favorite mass-alias-producers are Mark Pritchard and Madlib who are doing great working under several different names. What are your plans going forward? Are there any more aliases/constellations coming up?
Slakah: Yes! Look out for Sandie Black (Ayah + Beatchild). The only reason I have these various aliases is because the sounds are SO different I don't want to upset people when they say, buy the second Soul Movement album and it sounds COMPLETELY different. Personally I love consistency from artists. If they want to experiment or deliver something different, its nice to give us a heads up.

Ayah - Believe (Directed by Slakah)
Beathearts: To us, your Art of Fresh tracks have that same positive vibe as those first Jungle Brothers uptempo tracks such as What u waitin' 4. How did Art of Fresh come about? How did you hook up with D.O. (Defy the Odds)? Who were your influences starting up Art of fresh?
Slakah: D.O. and my self started the AoF as a side project for fun and I tell you, its a LOT of fun. When we write joints for AoF we always do it very lightheartedly. And Not much thought goes into, just the same heart that I put into all my productions. But there is a for sure a different vibe in the AoF than there is with my solo stuff or Slakadeliqs stuff.

Art of Fresh - Get free (2009)
Download: Jungle Brothers - What U waitin' 4 (Durkin re-edit)

You already worked with Shad, Drake, Divine Brown, Ebrahim, Häzel, Tingsek and D.O. (Defy the odds)? Are there any dream collabs?

Slakah: Common and Q-Tip and on the singing tip Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.
Beathearts: Drake was on several Soul Movement tracks and from what we hear you're both from Ontario? How did the two of you hook up? Any plan of more joint releases in the future?
Slakah: When he was coming up we would do sessions all the time, we respected each others talent. I've not heard back from Drake in years now. Not sure if the music of Soul Movement vol 1 or Room For Improvement is on his agenda at the moment but who knows...
Beathearts: Of course we need to ask you about your Swedish connections. How did you first meet Tingsek? The rumor says you heard Tingsek's World of its own, was blown away and contacted him via Myspace? What was your first project together?
Slakah: Yeah that is all true, back when myspace was poppin'. Our first song together is actually on The Slakadeliqs album (To be released). We since then have done a number of songs together some of which feature on his album "Restless Soul" and my "Something Forever" (Special Edition). He's is a super talented dude and like a big brother to me. If you have not heard his music, do yourself a favor and buy his albums!!

Tingsek & Vindla String Quartet - Something special (Tingsek/Slakah)
Beathearts: As you probably know Tingsek is a part of a musical family of artists like Timbuktu, Chords, Måns Mernsten (Damn!), Albin Gromer and others. Is your Swedish connection only with Tingsek or have you worked with any artist over here? Any releases? Future projects?
Slakah: Thanks to the homie Tingsek, I've come to be closely aquainted with Timbuktu, Edda Magnason, Måns (I call him Måns Monster because he's a beats on the keys) and many many more! I love the Swedes...So talented and free minded, relaxed and innovative, "Squeol" (cheers) to Sweden! Not sure if that made sense but in my head it did.
Beathearts: One of our favorite tracks of yours is The war within ft Ebrahim and Tingsek. From what we hear it was put together to promote a minitour of Detroit that never came about. Is that true? It sure has a somewhat different, harder Detroit vibe to it. Could you tell us the story of how that track came about?
Slakah: Well the first night Ebrahim arrived in Toronto (He is from Vancouver which is on the other side of the country) we sat down and started making beats, and War within was the first beat that I came up with. I felt that it would be a cool collaboration track for us to do. That night Ebrahim and myself recorded the hook and verse and when Tingsek arrived the following day he did his verse. I decided to use this track to promote the entire tour that we had set up which included Montreal, Toronto, Sarnia and Detroit which got canceled. Its one of my favs too, every time I hear it I get great memories of those guys, the band and tour.

Slakah, Ebrahim & Tingsek - War within
Beathearts: Finally, what can we look forward to from Slakah in 2011/2012?
Slakah: The Slakadeliqs in 2011 and Soul Movement vol 2 in 2012.


For more info on Byram Joseph's music check sources below:

CDBaby: Art of fresh
BBE Music: Something forever (special edition)
Boomkat: Soul-movement-vol-i

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