Google+ Beathearts: Beat Generation Series #6: 10.4 Rog (US)


Beat Generation Series #6: 10.4 Rog (US)

In our quest to discover new soulful underground music we come across many up and coming producers from all around the world. We thought is was about time to put the spotlight on a few of them that we think are about to blow up. We call it The Beat Generation Series.


If you're a regular this isn't the first time you hear of 10.4 Rog. Seattle based, Roger Habon, is one of those under the radar beatmakers that always seem to stick to our Spotify playlists. Jumping into the international spotlight a couple of years ago with next shit remixes of Bahamadia, Erykah Badu and Quadron he has since put out strong productions for rapper Good Sin and Seattle crew Th3rdz. When we finally got the chance to go behind the scenes with 10.4 Rog we jumped on it.

Name: Roger Habon
Age: 26
Origin: Renton, Washington by way of Michigan


1. How did you come up with the 10.4 Rog alias? 

10.4 Rog is a DJ name I came up with while a friend of mine and I took a road trip to LA in 2008.  We were about to get a residency in the city and were joking about aliases to put on fliers.  I wrote that one down and decided to keep it when I DJ'd.  I don't DJ anymore really, but I had a few edits and remixes that I put together and play during some of my sets.  I tagged those files like that (i.e. "10.4 rog version/edit/remix/etc.") and long after I stopped DJing nights and was just producing solid, I kept it on my work as a credit.

2. Beatmakers and drummers are great sources of inspiration for us. People like Karriem Riggins, Chris Dave, Madlib, Questlove, Kenny Dope and of course Dilla's music was a major reason for us to start writing about soulful underground music. Are you a drummer as well? 

Funny you ask this question.  I think I fell in love with the drums when I was in grade school.  There was a concert in the gym, and the drummer was this old guy and he was going off.  I couldn't take my eyes off what he was doing, and ignored everything else.  Soon after that, there was this instance where we had a class auction with fake money, and I used all my money to get this old tin can with a plastic top.  It was like an old candy tin.  I looked at that thing like it was a drum and played it like one right after I won the bid for it. Then I played snare in the school band the next year and then got a set my third year in high school. I played on and off in college and in a couple bands, but I never really developed as a drummer, particularly as a live performer.  But the drumset was always a thing I used to work out ideas with over the years.  Every one of those people you mentioned I look up to because of the obsessive emphasis on rhythm in their production.

Download: 10.4 Rog - We'll be friends (Taken from experimental beat project Scraps)

3. We first discovered you through your stunning remixes of Bahamadia and Erykah Badu. Was that how you got started releasing music?

I started releasing remixes, yes, but the first one to get attention from press and blogs was by a Seattle group called Helladope in 2009, which operates under the Cloud Nice collective, of which I am now an affiliate.  The song is called "Just So You Know," and I literally tweeted that remix to Tay Sean of Helladope on a Sunday, he liked it enough to put it on the Cloud Nice site on a Monday, and by mid-week it was in the Seattle Times music blog.

I was really fortunate and lucky to get a reaction to my music so quickly, but it's been the way to do it for years now.  For the next year or so leading up to the release of "Late" w/ The Good Sin, I would remix whatever I could, local songs, older songs (I'm partial to 1996), a couple newer things for contests and such, just as way to practice, and to try and improve on my production, which then had a long way to go, and to this day has a very, very long way. That period bore the result of the Bahamadia and Erykah songs.

Bahamadia - Uknowhowwedo (10.4 Rog lunchtable remix)

Download: Erykah Badu - Honey (10.4 quiet storm remix)

  4. What does the creative process behind a new 10.4 Rog track/remix look like? 

It's mostly intuitive. As a matter of philosophy I try to leave the vocals untouched and work around it, adding whatever idea comes first.  I tend to work on the drums first, but it can go any way.  The one constant is the vocal track. That's the foundation and any other element is a step upwards.

Download: Th3rdz - Therapy (produced by 10.4 Rog)

5. Who were your musical heroes when growing up?

I grew up on my brothers' and cousin's tapes, CDs, and records. I was heavily into the Pharcyde from the first grade on. I remember they used to have tape singles for EPMD, Tribe, Public Enemy, Ice-T, Black Sheep. My eldest brother was really into RnB too. I took a mixtape of his that started off with Debarge's "Time Will Reveal",  "All This Love", and the Bee Gee's "How Deep is Your Love" and had a bunch of other ballads and love songs with very intricate arrangements and musical ideas.

I used to ride on the schoolbus and listen to all this stuff on a walkman, until it wasn't very popular to listen to music on tape anymore. In high school, I went into this brief, arrogant, and highly misguided phase of only listening to underground hiphop that to this day I regret terribly. It probably set me back a year and a half. Soon after I just tried to acquaint myself with every genre of modern music: classic rock, jazz, funk, disco, afrobeat, etc.

The Pharcyde - Passing me by (1992)

6. What are your inspirations today? Could you drop three albums or tunes that have recently blown your mind?

Recently I'm into Thundercat, the rappers and producers of Top Dawg Entertainment, and a bit of 80s new wave music.

Thundercat - Is it love 

7. Any dream collaborations?

That's a tough call. I don't think collaborate is the right word in the way I'm reading it. I'm looking at this question like who would I dream of learning from. I would love be in front of a piano and learn from Herbie Hancock. I would love to be in a mixing session with DJ Quik or Dr. Dre. I could die a happy man if I were to take lessons with Chris Dave, or just watch Battlecat put something together, or Wayne Shorter. If Bernard Edwards were still alive, or James Jamerson, I would absorb as much as I could. Jesus. There are too many people.

8. One of our favorite productions of yours is the Good Sin's first album "Late". We were blown away by the minimal, dubbed-out, analogue beats, almost monasterial kind of vibe and still listen to that "Bad about you" track. Could you tell us how that project came about? How did you come up with that unique sound?

I'm very glad you liked that project. Good Sin and I spent the better part of a few months discussing a framework for those songs and gave ourselves terms to commit to: "stripped," "laid-back," "smooth," "loose", and so on.

Good Sin told me some of the things he was aiming to write about, and taking note of that, I sent him back ideas, then he wrote and recorded, and we went back and forth. Those songs, in terms of track count, were incredibly spare. I think the highest number of tracks on a single song - excluding the vocals - had to be in the area of around 11.

"Bad About You" was an exception to this process, in that it was the one beat I had that I made before Good Sin and I talked about the project.  In fact, he wasn't supposed to hear it. Somehow he got hold of it and took it to the studio and him and the engineer Parker came up with the hook, the one that's song on my bassline. Not long after that Good Sin had two verses, he got Rob Harris to add another layer with his vocals on the tail-end, and that was about it.

The Good Sin x 10.4 Rog - Bad about you

Download: The Good Sin x 10.4 Rog - All for you

9. What is your dearest piece of equipment?

My dearest piece of equipment is one I don't even own.  It comes to me by way of a number of donors and lenders: and that is the 88-key piano that I use as a MIDI-controller.  I get all my ideas out on that, especially when I'm not hooked up to a DAW or to plugins.

10. The last couple of years crews like The Robert Glasper Experiment, BadBadNotGood, El Michel's Affair and Will sessions have literally blown up with their live sessions. Is there a 10.4 Rog live experience? 

Haha! I really wish I could commit time and energy to this, but not at this point.  I will say I was a DJ from 2006 to about 2010, before my laptop crashed and I lent out my equipment.

11. Which other up and coming producer do think deserves more attention?

There are literally too many to name.  I may be biased, but I'll say Tay Sean.  He's been a huge influence the last three years.

12. To sum things up can we expect from the 10.4 Rog studios in 2012?

I can't promise that you'll hear anything of substance very soon, but I'll never close the door on music.

That's it for this edition of the Beat Generation Series. Keep it locked and be sure that we'll keep you updated when more amazing music from 10.4 will drop! 
As a final treat check this Good Sin track "Celebrate" that just dropped produced by Roger of course:

Download: The Good Sin - Celebrate (produced by 10.4 Rog)




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