We caught up with the Filipino maestro Suhnraw a few days after his new release Slaps came out.
When did you start making beats?
Around February 2011 is when I started.
What sort of music did you listen to growing up?
A lot of different types man…90’s hip hop and R&B..my dad used to bump AC/DC..numerous rock cassettes, my mom loved UB40..reggae basically, but as far as what I sample and what not, I started listening to old records in high school.
What was the first hip hop track that caught your attention?
Damn..getting all nostalgic n junk..haha…well my older cousin is the reason I love this hip hop music so much..he used to watch a lot of YO! MTV raps, fab 5 freddy..Ed Lover & Dr. Dre, back in those days..They were playing the video for “Award Tour” By Tribe…that was it, I swear I was hypnotized by that song..the video, the beat…miss those days man.
Who influences your style?
Hmmm…I listen to a lot of Dilla, Madlib, SAMIYAM, FLYLO…M-Phazes, Dibia$e has ridiculous bangers…9thWonder, !llmind..I guess all them man..lol. These artist inspire me.
Do you think it is important to have a musical background, whether it be classically trained or just learning an instruments?
It is, to a certain extent..for instance, I have no idea how to play the piano at all..I know major chords..well, sorta, but as far as making melodies/harmonies and what not..I use my ear..and it sucks!..haha, If I were classically trained/learned instruments..it’d probably be much easier for me to play..even bass lines for instance ..just finding the right notes for the sample is tough sometimes. I think learning music theory is pretty important as well.
Describe how you approach the making of a track.
It varies from time to time..Sometimes I start with a drum groove, sometimes I build drums around a sample I find. If I feel like making a beat without sampling…I always need to have a drum groove first…drums usually set the vibe of a track for me..and as far as finding a sample…there’s usually a feeling that I get when I find a sample that I use…I’m not one of those dudes that can sample anything, wish I could though.
What equipment and/or instruments do you use?
I use FLStudio mainly..VST’s, Turntable, records. If I had the funds…I’d definitely love to get my hands on some hardware..I had an MPC2500 but I had to sell it for paper..had some issues with the law..lol.
What are your fondest musical memories?
When I was like 7, my pops bought me a cassette player and my cousin had a gang of cassettes..for some reason I remember listening to the Geto Boys “We can’t be stopped” album a lot..WOW…weird, I used to bring that walkman everywhere with me though..I listened to music all the time.
What’s your biggest musical accomplishment and why?
So far..making a bandcamp account..hahah. Besides them and paypal taking a cut from what you make off your music, they’re exposing you to the masses…heads from Germany, Croatia, France, Japan..all over the place, they just hit me up to show love so..that’s ill..I know there’s other ways but bandcamp is poppin right now.
Brainfeeder hands down..Mello Music Group for Straight hip hop though. Stonesthrow is already a given.
Favourite producer and MC?
Maaaannn…that’s a hard one. If I had to choose one it’d be…and EVERYBODY says this but..of course, Jay Dee aka JDilla..Madlib too though. As far as emcees, I don’t really listen to rappers any more man…but to choose one all time favorite, Eminem..the dude made his own genre within hip hop, multi-syllable rhymes..the style of beats that he chose. When he came out, he killed..with the help of Dre of course.
Who would you most like to work with and why?
I’d love to shadow Madlib one day…youtube his name, listen to his beats..watch interviews he’s done (not many) he lives and breathes music.
What are your thoughts on UK Hip Hop and is there anyone in the UK you’d like to work with?
I think UK Hip Hop..as far as just the beat side of things…they’re superior to whoever is trying to make beats at the moment, real talk. I’m not too educated on what the Hip Hop scene is out there but…Jaisu…the whole louisden beat scene…incredible music to say the least. As far as working with someone..whoever really.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I was exchanging emails with this dude I collaborated with….Tellin’em I’m calling it quits with the beats, he told me upload my beats to bandcamp..not really intriguing but definitely the best piece of advice someone has given me.
What advice would you give to beginners starting out?
DO YOU..don’t worry about what the next man is doing, ignore bad criticism..Stay humble.
Slaps is out now on Bandcamp (which you can stream below). Grab a copy for only $2!