Welcome to another edition of “WIB meets” and here we head to Chi-town to bring you the man Rediculus. A seasoned producer in every sense of the word. As usual, we delve into his world where he shares some stories relating to his background(outside music), his foray into smartphone apps and then some.
For the benefit of anyone who’s been living in an underground bunker for the last couple of years…who on earth are you?
Hello and thank you for chatting with me. I am Rediculus, urban music producer, small label owner, artist manager, and now smart phone app owner, with Platformz.
How did you get started in music, and what drives you to continue?
I first started playing music in grammar school around the 3rd grade. At my elementary school everyone took band and I started on drums and moved to clarinet and made it to the All State Band in New York State in 7th grade. That graduated into a love of hip hop all through the 80’s and 90’s into my making beats and getting involved into the music industry.
I have always made music because I feel like I have too, long before it became how I support myself. All my life I’ve whistled, hummed, beat boxed melodies in my head, usually to the annoyance of those around me doing other things. On top of that I have a HUGE imagination and that definitely needs a focus or I can cause trouble. At this point in my life having lived, loved and lost its also cheaper than therapy and for me, more effective.
Do you remember the first beat you ever made? How did you go about it?
Yes and let’s just say I’m glad I listen and learned from there haha! Back in ’93 I was living in Southern Cali with a buddy who was a bassist in a rock band. I’d always pick up his bass after we smoked and bang out terribly out of tune chords while beat boxing, proclaiming that this cant be that hard. One day, after breaking I don’t know how many strings he told me I had to get my own shit to bang on so I went out and bought an Ensoniq EPS 16+ and a drum machine and set about making my first beat. It was six bar loops and terribly out of tune, but it was that “ahhh ha” moment for me where I had to go back to my training as a kid in band and really listen to the music I was trying to emulate to really understand what I was listening too. Count bars, seeing song structure, how things are sitting in mixes etc.
If a movie about your life in music was to be made, what interesting/strange moments and stories would you share to make the movie cool?
I travel to NYC a lot and have been blessed with the opportunity to meet, hang out and work with a lot of amazing MC’s from life long vets to new comers that have created a lot of great memories. Hanging with Tragedy Khadafi while he cracked mad jokes on my man DJ J-Ronin, being in the studio with Craig G for my first production album, traveling to and participating in several of the Brown Bag Thursdays, hanging at Fat Beats with the homies Brown Bag All Stars, watching Soul Khan battle, going to MAD shows and just being able to meet so many people who as artists I’ve looked up too.
My music career has been pretty tame as it really took off as an artist later in my life and most of my wild party stories are from professions before like telemarketing and bartending.
For many years though I owned a studio and managed a few acts in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that had a few good stories to it but I can’t relate those as most of them are married now haha!
Are there any other interesting facts about you that hardly anyone else knows?
I’m deathly afraid of spiders. Like stand on a chair and scream like a little girl afraid. Same with heights, though I’ve managed to tame that enough to fly now.
What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
For me, the best thing about working in this industry is that I can wake up and do what I truly love for a living with creative people constantly surrounding me. A very close second to that is that I get to help people from time to time with some of my businesses.
The biggest thing I would change is the acceptance of diversity. We always like to label things into genre’s and types of music/musician/artist, and I think that can be very limiting to the artist, especially early on in their professional development and in the cultivation of their fan base.
Looking back, what have been the most important moments in your life so far?
The defining moment for me as an adult has definitely been the passing of my mother. Previous to that moment my life was mostly about making money and having fun with it. Now my life has changed a bit and some of that fun is focused into helping others and building new businesses and making sure I leave a legacy to be proud of.
That moment is what started the path that ultimately spawned the idea for Platformz, and I really believe that Platformz will change the music industry for the better, not only for the artists by allowing them better, more focused access to fans, but also to fans of music by allowing them to easily obtain and consume new content.
What have been the biggest highlights?
One of my biggest highlights was back in 2011 having my record release party at a bar in Brooklyn hosted by D-Story with Shabaam Sahdeeq, Ruste Juxx and Brown Bag All Stars rocking.
Another is definitely meeting Kool Herc. I was managing a promo tour with my group Lost Things, The Day Laborers and Notoriety. We had to cancel a show in CT and headed back to Ready Cee’s crib in the BX. On the way, Herc hit him up and told him he was going to swing thru. Just the vibe of being in the BX and smoking and building with Herc in that small of a setting was nothing short of incredible.
I have a host of great memories meeting lots of rappers who I grew up listening too and was lucky enough to have worked with. Sitting in the studio with Craig G, getting Chubb rock on a song, going to the Duckdown offices the first time, and ultimately now doing a little business with them.
These days with the amount of music I’m working on, most trips are new highlights for me as each time I visit NYC new amazing things happen.
What has been your biggest challenge…and how did you overcome it?
Musically my biggest challenge has been to adjust to the new business model of streaming media and not directly selling albums. When I learned about the music business back in the 90’s the goal was to sell albums and then tour. Rinse and repeat.
It took a lot for me to get used to the concept of giving my music away. Music is something that takes an incredible amount of time to do from start to finish when done right, and ultimately is a financial investment to some extent for everyone. Making that investment to not directly turn a profit still seems like a silly business model which is why I sell a lot of my music, but I also now understand the value of some free things to help cut the noise and expand the brand in the marketplace today.
I ultimately overcame it by developing a new tool for artists and fans alike to more easily navigate the independent music scene online. The tool is called Platformz. Platformz is a powerful mobile indie music and media search engine that allows fans of indie music and media to search some the largest digital distribution platforms – Audiomack, SoundCloud and others – for media that they like. Once they find the media, they stream it directly on their mobile device and it also recommends artists for them in the featured artist section. They can search for any parameter in the app that is searchable for on the site such as genres of music, artists by name, album names, key words etc.
Once we expand it fully by including Youtube, Vimeo, Pod-matic and Bandcamp, mobile device users will have unprecedented access to indie media like never before and the ability to purchase music outside of iTunes directly to their device. The app will help artists discover where people search for them, how often, what they consume and through that knowledge will allow them to better target and service their core audience with tours, events and other engagements.
Who are your heroes? Why do they rock your world?
As a kid my biggest hero was Jacques Cousteau. I’ve always been fascinated with water and sea life, and he really pushed the boundaries of ocean science and preservation in a way that we used to celebrate.
Musically I have a ton of people who I look up too. DJ Premiere probably being one of the biggest. Brian Eno, Robert Fripp also just to name a few. All producers/artists/engineers who I think have amazing ear, and the ability to pull the best out of an artist making an OK track a great record.
Outside of that my Mama for sure. She always took what she had and made the best out of it instead of complaining she didn’t have more to work with.
Who have been the coolest, most memorable people you’ve met along the way, and how did they make an impact on your life?
One of the coolest people I’ve met is my homie James. He now does a lot of design and marketing work for Duckdown, but I’ve known him since he ran Actlive Music Blog back in Rochester. He’s always been a great source of advice for me in getting back into production and navigating the world of digital music.
Another great friend has been the big homie J57. I’ve known him for a while now, I brought a few Chicago artist out for Brown Bag Thursdays, and recently sponsored his national tour with Koncept. He’s been a great source of advice and inspiration when it comes to making beats. We always trade ruff mixes and new projects and get feedback and he’s definitely pushed me into making more sample free beats.
DJ Ready Cee has been another. He was really one of the first NYC cats to really give my music support and me when I started releasing things 6 years ago. That was a huge boost in getting the name off the ground and introducing me to a lot of people.
When you’re sitting on the porch age 97 what would you like to look back on and smile having achieved?
I’d like to look back and say that I had a lasting impact on the music business and helped change how artist and fans connect with each other.
The other big thing I’d like to continue to be a part of is the maturation of our culture. I’m 42, and most of my friends are my age and all love Hip-Hop. As we move forward and mature, how do we as adults make and distribute “Grown Up Rap.”
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Being a producer I don’t get a chance to do many live things, I’ve been hype man a few times and that’s always fun and nerve wracking at the same time.
I recently was asked to do a live production set at the UK Platfromz Release Party on Oct 4th in Wolverhampton. Hopefully this is the start of a way for me to be able to better interact with my fans as I travel more with the Platformz Tours.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Now that’s a story I need to work on. I’ve been super lucky in not having any awkward meetings or anything. I don’t drink a lot anymore so that definitely helps haha!
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I’d love to sit down with Premo and have an in-depth discussion about being a part of making that classic sound that came out of the 90’s and still defines us today.
What are the greatest songs, albums, books, movies, TV shows, websites you’ve ever come across?
I LOVE the Dragonlance Series books. There are literally over 100 of them now and I’ve been reading them since I was about 15.
One of my favorite TV shows is X-Files. It catered well to my inner conspiracies and was interesting till the end.
One of my favorite songs is D.O.C., “The Formula.” I think it just encapsulates all that a great hip hop song is to me, knocking drums, grooving bassline and great lyrics.
Illmatic is probably my favorite hip hop album of all time. Not only for the obvious reasons but it was also one of the first multi producer albums which paved the way for more of us to find work.
Closely tied for that is Illadelph Halflife. Pretty much the best thing the Roots ever did and that’s saying a lot given how dope every album is.
Name 5 songs (yours excluded) that we would expect to find on your iPod or Music Player
Dilated Peoples – “Century of the Self”
Dag Savage (feat Aloe Blacc) – “When it Rains”
Mos Def – “Mathematics”
The Roots – “Respond/React”
Fredo Starr & The Audible Doctor – “Everyday Hell”
What special-hero type skills are you blessed with?
The ability to sleep at the drop of a dime. I don’t care how loud it is, where I am, I can sleep anywhere. With my schedule and amount of traveling, that is definitely my new super power.
Where can everyone reading this interview keep up with your adventures?
I’m admittedly on Facebook the most but I’m getting better with Twitter for sure.
- Twitter: @Rediculus @PlatformzMusic
- Website – www.platformzmusic.com www.knowledgegivingbirth.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/todd.dahn https://www.facebook.com/Platform
Any final thoughts?
I’d like to thank you guys again for taking the time out of your day to chat with me, thank everyone who’s supported my music so far and remind everyone that we’re just getting started with Platformz and the new label.
Platformz will allow everyone the freedom to discover and listen to music at their own pace, in their own order, instead of current streaming services that only capture a portion of an artists catalog and/or select the songs for you.
Anyone who is interested in being a featured artist in Platformz can hit me on my Facebook page or at [email protected]