On a late-night session checking out some beats to lay down on the monthly #itchysilk playlist and we come across the productive finesse of Rob Smyles.
It was his track Lazy Eyes a dreamy,almost trippy self-produced hip-hop number with smidgens of rnb vibes featuring the sweet vocals of the very talented Sophie Meiers that really captured us. It’s the type of hip-hop that the commercial industry like to label underground. Truth is, this type of hip-hop devoid of ostentatious boasts, references to the size of a guy’s dick and the size of a woman’s derriere does not fit the industry conveyor belt of mediocrity.
Anyway, rant aside we had to get some time to talk to the 18-year-old producer/drummer and occasional rapper from Denmark who revels in hip-hop vibes but admits to dabbling in some tasty house and electronic sounds.
Now living in Aarhus to ‘pursue’ his ‘passion for music’ Rob is churning out some sticky icky vibes for the masses and #itchysilk decided to talk to him about; his musical genesis, picking out samples and of course forth coming projects.
Check out the track Still Got It produced specially for this interview; smooth hip-hop vibes that require a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a nice sweet cake-YUM!
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ROB SMYLES-THE MUSICAL JOURNEY BEGINS….
I’ve always listened to a lot of music, and I’ve always been thinking like; “this is the shit! I wanna do something like this”.5-6 years back, some of my friends from school introduced me to FL Studio. I started out, just looking and learning, from what they did, but ended up acquiring the DAW myself.
I then started trying out different genres like; dub-step, house, techno and so on, but found myself at ease in the category of hip-hop-since then I have just kept on doing the hip-hop-ish kind of vibe, whilst doing a bit of electronic type shit. Right now, I attend a school called Frontsession, which is a music-oriented school, located in Aarhus so I do as much music as possible, as often as possible.
AARHUS-DENMARK’S TRUE MUSIC SCENE?…..
Okay so basically, the music scene where I lived, before I moved to Aarhus was in my opinion, dead and possibilities for musical growth were hardly obtainable. The music scene was just so spread out and no one in my social circle did music the same way I did. Now, more than half a year has passed since then, and I have moved here. The moment I moved to Aarhus, a couple of gigs a month, new contacts, new possibilities, musicians just started pouring in-Aarhus is vibing. Further than that when it comes to; musical education, music culture, underground musicians (as well as mainstream) there’s generally more focus on music and a much more “unified” music scene in this city-and so yeah, since moving here I am feeling inspired by so many things not just genres; feelings, experiences, thoughts, listening to my old, shitty tracks. Right now I am listenig to a lot of jazz in all forms, electronic music, hip-hop (both old -and new school). You should check out my second SoundCloud page” t i l o “.
CREATING HIP-HOP GEMS AND TOOLS OF THE TRADE…….
Well the tools of the trade for me are; of course, my laptop, Beyerdynamic headphones, Akai MPK Mini, Roland SP404SX and Presonus Audiobox USB.
In terms of my musical process….well it pretty much depends on the genre I decide to do in the moment. If it’s hip-hop; I usually dig through some samples until I stumble upon one worth gold. I then load it into Ableton, loop it in the most dope way possible and do some additional mixing. I lay down the drums-I like them raw and gritty as fuck, add the bass, either groovy, gritty or bouncy and then proceed to do leads, synths, additional samples like strings e.g. I love getting some fine as fuck percussion; details, breaks and so on. Whatever fits the track the best. I build the different parts of the song (intro, chorus, verse, outro etc.) and maybe I’ll put some vocals/acapellas on it too. Depending on how gritty I want it, I may run it through the SP404’s build-in compressor, and then run it back into Ableton and do additional mixing and the finishing touches from there.
STILL GOT IT
With the track, I produced for #itchysilk- lately I have been inspired by vibes that are raw and gritty-like 92bpm-type boombap. I’ve been listening to a lot of Madlib and the SoundCloud-cat snares. I started out digging for samples and ended up putting together a loop, by sampling Could It Be I’m Falling In Love (1973) by The Spinners. I mixed it up, laid down drums, bass, additional samples, vocals etc. Then I ran it through the SP404SX-compressor for extra rawness, and ran it back into Ableton and hey presto hope you like it!
A CAREER IN MUSIC/PROJECTS/BEYOND
If I could achieve anything, I would like to live off my music, as I enjoy doing it. Hell… there’s a lot of things I would like to achieve now that I think about it… being able to say something like: “you know this artist/track. Yeah I made that”, that would dope! Also… working with your idols and shit. Or having big people in the industry go “damn, that’s dope”…To inspire people, and awake certain emotions, through music is also a goal I am aiming for…ultimately, there’s a lot of things I would like to achieve with it.
In terms of projects, well I’m working on several collabs, with different producers/rappers. I have a collab-EP with Sophie Meiers, which is almost ready for release. Also, Thor Kvisgaard and I have a collab-ep in the makings and I’m also going to start working on a new solo EP sooner or later so jeep it locked on #itchysilk for more music!