New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Nashville – all pride themselves as cities with rich musical scenes. And in Texas, those bragging rights tend to go to Houston and Austin. But a new documentary turns the spotlight on another side of the business, staking a claim for another Texas city: the beat makers of the Big D.
In the film “Sound Collectiv #Dallasup” Dallas producer Joel Garcia – better known as Sikwitit – asked 13 producers to collaborate on making 10 beats over the course of a week. And Dallas producers The Kracken, ReezyTunez, Medasin, B. Barber, Keise On Da Track, Malex and more worked with Sikwitit to create the beats.
The Texas Standard’s David Brown spoke with Sikwitit about his film, the Dallas music scene’s roots and several other topics. See the highlights below.
Sikwitit says he was inspired by a Chicago-based producers’ campaign to make 25 beats in a week. Although the producer came up short, Sikwitit wanted to try something similar himself.
“The cool element to me was to try to do this all in a week, publicize it, let people follow us and get excited,” he says. “Originally this film was supposed to be put out two weeks after we finished the project. I bit off more than I could chew. … I just wanted to build that excitement around it.”
On the essence of producing:
“To me a producer is not only somebody who loves music, but it’s a person who sees a song to completion. We have a lot of people who are actually beat makers and they just make the music. But I think an overall producer makes the music, tries to accommodate the artists, sees the artist as an instrument, puts it all together, makes sure it’s mixed right and makes sure that actually should be released – making sure it’s in the best interest of the artist.”
How Dallas’ producer movement started:
“You have major producers like the Timbalands, the Jay-Zs, and the Swizz Beatz, and the Kanye Wests – and those guys. But I think what people sort of realize is that a lot of those guys have always collaborated with one another or with other producers that don’t have big names. And so for us, I think we embrace that.
“So we just kinda decided to start working together and I think with that it just kinda bubbled and surfaced. … It’s unfortunate, I think, as an artist, they tend to see each other as more of a competition. For us, we understand how hard it is to get in, especially because we’re not the spotlight, we are the background.”
On the Dallas music scene’s roots:
“We got a base of a real jazzy and bluesy type of music. One of the more popular areas where music is listened to and played and performed is in the Deep Ellum area. … Those strips back in the day – they were all jazz clubs, they were blues clubs, and were really popular for the big boogie movement. … But that really didn’t portray all of Dallas. And because we’re so – our roots are so musical, I think our sound is a broad sound. ”
On the inspiration behind a beat:
“There’s no starting point … It can be triggered by anything. It could triggered by something I’m watching, it could be triggered by just something playing in the background.
“I think one of the most important things is that you, as a producer, have to be in love with sounds. Sometimes it could be a rhythm or a pattern. You could be walking outside and hear some construction work. Or it could be anything, just the patterns of your feet when you’re walking up the stairs. It can set off and trigger at any time.”