Through years of perseverance and studying the art of music, the Beat Banggahz is rising to the top. The production duo of Steffon ?SteffNasty? Reed and Greg ?Buggyeye? Desilus have surpassed the class of beatmakin and music theory to graduates into ?Music Producers.? Our staff sat down with the Beat Banggahz, to discuss their new projects (Trey Songz, Lil Mo, and Quianna from Reign) and their journey within the industry.
How did you meet?
S: G (Greg) started out with a group called ?Group Home? and I started out working with different A&Rs after dropping out of SUNY Purchase ? I didn?t like it [college]. I was young and fresh, but I was disgruntled and disenchanted with the industry. We met while we were both working under a management company in the World Trade Center, Greg was DJing and producing and I was producing and arranging vocals. He warned me of a conniving manager that was trying to steal my track. [From that experience] I found him to be a good dude and we bonded.
What equipment or instruments do you all play?
G: Drums. Bass. Keys. I also program. Steffon is a musician; he can read and write music, he was trained at Fivetown School for Music. I learned music theory from Steffon and Steffon learned Hip-Hop from me.
S: Yeah, I can play the guitar and keys, I also play the talkbox like Teddy Riley, I do vocal arrangements and harmony.
G: He focuses more on harmony and background vocals and I coach vocals too, focusing on melodies.
What was the first breakthrough situation for the production company?
S: Dynamic Producers had a conference for producers to showcase beats and we came out on top with ?Window Shopping? a demo song written by Trey Songz, Troy Taylor, and Zeke; Trey Songz sung the lead and Zeke did background vocals. [After that] we got so many meetings with A&Rs and label people who definitely wanted to work with us.
Who were some of the ?label people??
S: We had offers from Tony Perez, Chucky Thomas, Swizz Beatz, and JoJo Brim from Def Soul. But the best choice for us was with Delante from D2 Management because they manage Trey Songz and Troy Taylor ? it felt close to home.
You?ve worked with both Hip-Hop and R&B artists. Is the approach different according to the genre of music?
G: A song is a song; it doesn?t matter whether it is Hip-Hop, Country, R&B, or Rock. We just know where certain things go ? like the bridge or chorus. We are writers and producers; we know how to do everything.
S: That?s true. R&B is more instrumental and technical; Hip-Hop is more raw and hard; and Pop is similar to R&B because it is musical but similar to Hip-Hop because of the movement. We like to think outside of the box; it?s what the artists puts on top of the music that determines what genre it could be.
G: We just like to make pretty music. If we get a call from Aretha Franklin or Patti LaBelle or a hip-hop or rock artist we would know what to do.
Some people say producers that use samples are not ?real producers.? What is your take on that?
G: Sampling is a major part of Hip-Hop, but we have to learn instruments. Something can be hot today and not the next day, but if you know how to make good music with both you will be okay.
S: We do definitely sample, it?s not the Anti-Christ. There is so much more to do than sampling though. We try not to follow trends; we do what we feel. Some producers only sample because that?s all they can do.
Typically, do you write the lyrics to the song?
G: We use to write a lot and if we wrote something that we didn?t feel we would get writers. Now, we deal with a lot of writers.
S: Sometimes we come up with a concept or direction and give the vision to the writer, other times we let them hear it and see what they come up with.
G: We don?t produce just to give writers the beat.
S: We are really hands on. As producers and musicians we like to be involved in the writing process, but our strength is not writing an entire song.
Some say you are not producing if you are not there at the sessions, what?s your take on that comment?
S: It?s very important, but if the artist has been in the industry for a while, maybe not as much. As a producer, you should try to be there. The artist may do something that?s wrong. [However] now with ProTools, they can add vocals and e-mail them. This happens in lots of situations. In that case, you just give the beat. If you are not giving creative input then it?s not producing.
In this game, there are lots of people who tend to act like divas, do you ever have to deal with artists? attitudes or fight with artist creatively to have things their way?
S: More egos come from the upcoming artist than accomplished artists. Some people come right off the streets and act like divas and don?t take directions at all. You take someone like Gordon, who has written for Aretha Franklin, Brandy, BeyoncÃ¨; dude won a Grammy and was willing to hear our take and on things.
G: Artist just jump in the game; they don?t have a foundation.
S: Exactly, now-a-days, some people just want a record or results. They want the house or the car and don?t want to work for the results.
What kind of influence would you like to have? What do you want your legacy to be?
G: I want us to be where Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are ? incredible! That?s where we want to be.
S: I want to have the same effect that Uptown/MCA had with (Guy, Jodeci, Al B Sure, Mary J) and Bad Boy had with (P. Diddy, Chucky Thompson, Stevie J, B.I.G, 112, Faith Evans) and the Darkchild movement. I wanna have the influence that Prince had, when he came and f***ed up the whole game. Marvin Gaye is another example, he broke new ground. Michael Jackson came out with ?Thriller? ?Damn! When Teddy Riley came out with ?New Jack Swing,? who knew R& B could sound like that. They were out of the box, but they knew what they were doing because they were trained and worked hard. We want people to be shocked and awed. We want to set the bar, making music that has integrity and puts a stamp on your [the listener] heart.
What future projects do you have lined up?
S: Right now we are working with Lil Mo, Trey Songz, Quianna from the R&B group Reign, and Sisqo, who is working on an independent project.
Lil Mo, who believed in us and our music.
Felicia Booker of Dynamic Producers
Mark Moscowitz, our lawyer
?and thanks to Singersroom.com for premiering new artists —— By: Interview By: Adeniyi Omisore