Q: For those who don't know who exactly is Seven?
I'm mostly known as XV's producer. We've worked together for years... I'm basically the other half of the "XV sound". I've also done production for a lot of outside artists, especially from the Midwest. I'm from Kansas City and I've produced Tech N9ne since I was about 17 years old. Now, I do production for all of the artists on Strange Music. I also produce Mac Lethal who released his debut project on Rhymesayers last year.
Q: Is there a meaning be the name?
I took on the name because I started making my own music when I was 7 years old. Not really full on beats, but just original ideas. I played piano from a young age so I had a keyboard that had a little two-track sequencer in it and one day I figured out how to use it to record ideas. People would ask me when I first started creating my own songs, and I would always tell them at age seven. So I figured I'd just go by "Seven".
Q: How long have you been producing? How did You get into it?
My Parents took me to see a movie called Breakin'' when I was a kid. That was the first time I was really exposed to hip hop and the first time I heard an Ice-T song, which changed my life by the way. And from that point, I was obsessed with it. My first tape was a Fat Boys tape and its all I would listen to. I'd sneak and get back up at night and listen to it on my walkman under my sheets. If I got in trouble, my parents wouldn't ground me from playing with my friends on the weekend, they'd take my walkman away! That's how serious it was!
I made my first beat when I was 12. I had a few keyboards that my parents bought for me when I was learning piano and I got my first drum machine from a pawn shop around the corner from my house. It was a Boss Dr. 550. It was used so there was no manual or anything and I stayed up the entire night learning how to program it. From there, I saved my money and bought a Yamaha 4-track tape recorder. I remember I didn't have a sampler or even really even understand what a sampler was back then, so I'd have my CD player set up and I'd manually loop parts of songs. It was crazy because I had to be super precise with it and make sure I restarted the track on beat. It's all I did. I didn't hang out with friends on the weekend... I didn't go to school dances... I only made beats. By the time I was 14, I figured out how to make money off beats and that's what I've been doing for the past 15 years.
Q: How does your creative process work? How do you create your beats?
I like to find the weirdest, most obscure sounds and make something out of it. For example, on "Gobstopper", I took a rusty baking sheet and ran the needle from my turntables over it to create the shaker - hi hat sounds in the beat. I'm also really big into rare synths so my lab is full of old keyboards. One of my favorite synths of all time is the Korg Mono/Poly. It's super fat sounding. Super warm. Sometimes I can get ideas just by getting out a keyboard and tweeking the sounds for a while. A lot of those boards don't have MIDI so you can't sync them up with anything. That actually works to my advantage because it's cool if things are perfectly synced. Or if something is a little distorted. Or if an old piece of gear is malfunctioning and you get some glitches here and there. I think that the little imperfections gives a song it's personality. So pretty much any sound or loop can spark the entire idea for a beat, and I just try whatever crazy things I can think of to get new sounds and textures and somehow it all just comes together and works.
Q: Who were your influences growing up?
I grew up in the 80s, so 80s pop was a huge influence on me. My favorite song when I was a kid was "Purple Rain" and what's crazy is that it stuck with me through my entire life! I still stand by Prince's Purple Rain album. I think it's the greatest collection of music ever recorded. That album alone has inspired so much of my music over the years. Also artists like Daryl Hall & John Oates, Phil Collins, even Steve Winwood! Haha! But seriously, I was influenced heavily by all those artists. I still am. You can hear it in a lot of my beats. On Everybody's Nobody, we did a song called "Undeniable" and I flipped one of my favorite songs of all time, INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart." I wanted to do something with that song for almost 20 years. On Vizzy Zone, I flipped another song I wanted do for almost half my life. You''ll have to just wait and see tho!
Q: What artists do you listen to right now?
I listen to a lot of indie rock. Right now I've been listening to this band called Grizzly Bear... they're album Veckatimest is amazing! I've always been a huge Radiohead fan so that's always in rotation. Also bands like Animal Collective, TV on the Radio, Matt & Kim. A friend of mine I was on tour with turned me on to a band called Sleigh Bells that I've been listening to a lot also.
As far as hip hop goes, I like Drake's album. Even though I've heard a lot of people say they don't like the album, I think it's solid. I like Cudi's new single too. And Kanye's "Power" gets play everyday! I can't wait for Good Ass Job!
Q: Do you have a favorite track that you produced?
Ummmm..... that's always a hard question because it changes so often. There's a lot of material that me and XV haven't released that I really love. Right now it's a toss up between "Losing the Signal" which is a song we did with Jupiter One and a song on Vizzy Zone called "Familiar" which you'll get to hear very soon.
Q: What can we expect the upcoming months in 2010?
Of course Vizzy Zone is getting ready to drop. We're just putting the final touches on it now. Me and Xaphoon from Chiddy Bang are doing a special project together that's going to be a big surprise. I'm also in the final stages of a new Mac Lethal album which should come out later this year. I just did Tech N9ne's new single "OG" which just dropped on MTVu a week ago. And me and X are steadily working on the album in the middle of all the madness!
Q: We here at the CooLikeDat would like to thank you for this interview. We wish you the best with your career and look foward to hearing from you in the future, but we have to ask as a final question... What makes you CooLikeDat?
Who else do you know that sits around listening to Steve Winwood and Ice-T all day for musical inspiration?!?!?
Well we would like to thank Seven for this interview hit him up on twitter @SEVENtracks and we will have updates on him from now on.