Tell us who you are and what you do...
I am Composition 4, or "C4", for short, and I am a hip-hop producer.
How did you come up with your name?
I knew I wanted my name to somehow reflect my sound. I try to emphasize precision and intention in my music like a classical composer, hence the "Composition" in the name. Then, C4 also reflects the explosive nature of my style as I try to make the track build and then BANG!
Tell us about your studio space/setup
I make my instrumentals in FL Studio with a midi-keyboard. I also have a few Schecter guitars but I mainly rely on software at this point.
How did you become a music producer?
I started as, and still am, first a fan of music. I taught myself guitar a few years ago which then translated into beatmaking. I grew up on a lot of rap and eventually felt like I needed to participate in hip-hop and found my niche in production. Once I found out that I could get started on a laptop, a keyboard and a few hundred bucks; nothing was stopping me from pursuing this. This (music) is my passion.
Who are your biggest influences?
I have so many influences (both musically and personally) that motivated me to try my hand in music. Some of my favorite rock bands are Circa Survive, Senses Fail and Bloc Party.
As far as hip-hop, 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, Biggie, Canibus & Jadakiss are some of my favorite MC's. Like most hip-hop heads, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, and Just Blaze have been behind a lot of my favorite songs on the production side. Definitely too many to name and I'm a fan of such a diverse range of music (from Metal to Bob Marley)! Much respect to all those who paved the way and helped bring hip-hop to the global, universal art-form it is today!
What encourages you to carry on with music?
I look to music as a key outlet for me. It's cathartic and an exciting challenge to try to capture an emotion/idea in a song for the vocalist to then bring to life. I am fascinated by sound and fortunate enough to be able to explore and experiment with sound all from my laptop. Music fuels my work outs, my subway rides, my Friday nights when I'm balling out (haha) so I need it, love it and am dedicated to being a part of its evolution by sharing my interpretation of it. I am a life-long student of music, songwriting, "composing," and am driven to create.
What do you think about the music industry and independent hip hop at the moment? Where do you think things are going in the next few years?
I think the music "industry" has lost some; most of its influence. Being underground/independent; as an artist nowadays you are in it because you love it. Not to be discouraging to anyone's "get-rich-quick-through-a-record-deal" scheme -- but the commercial scene isn't fueled by as much money as it used to and there's a lot of politics as far as who is "discovered" or "signed."
Lyrical hip-hop and original production will always be valued although may go overlooked too often by generic "pop-hop." Real hip-hop will continue to thrive globally, and help unite all types of people all over.
What have you been listening to recently?
Both Bloc Party and Circa Survive's new releases, Nas - Life is Good, The Helio Sequence - Negotiations.
Biggest personal music achievement?
My biggest personal music achievement thus far has just been sticking to it, taking the time to experiment, develop my style and work with and connect with different artists.
What is your next big project, any big plans coming up?
I will continue to release new solo material available on my soundcloud page. I have upcoming collaborations with Westcoast rappers Toxic Roque and E.R aka Da Transporter, and fellow-producer Jay Bonez (the other half of 'Composed of Bonez'). Stay tuned!
Any last words?
Just thank you, Conflict, for this forum to share my thoughts and music and everybody reading this, listening, commenting (and hopefully favoriting) my tracks. I'm always open to connecting with listeners and other artists so feel free to reach out via soundcloud or twitter (@1andonlyC4). Rock on! Peace!