“I received the email asking if my passport was ready to go to London and that is when I met Jay Z and Beyonce during the recording of Watch the Throne”
Grammy Award winning producer Symbolyc One, S1 for short, has had a hugely successful 12 months!! To top it off, he produced what is arguably the most acclaimed track on Jay-Z’s and Kanye West’ album; Watch The Throne, in Murder To Excellence. I was given the rare opportunity to put some questions to S1…
Firstly, how are things working with you right now? Things are Great! I am truly blessed!
Getting into it, can you please give us a brief history lesson of Symbolyc One.. I grew up in the small town of Waco, Texas. I’ve been producing for about 13 years and 5 years of that full time as a career. I’m a Christian, devoted husband, father, and a person who tries to represent Christ and positivity in everything that I do.
You’re in your early 30’s, when did this all start to pop off, and was there a time when you felt it wasn’t to be? I would say the “Power” (Kanye West) placement was when my career took off to the next level. Producing for an International Artist really expands the awareness and brings a lot of opportunity. Definitely been a blessing!
Kanye West – Power
You list yourself as a number of professions, but what would you consider to be your primary occupation? Being a producer is definitely my primary occupation.
When working with artists, do you present them with a selected number of pre-recorded beats, or do you start from scratch when in studio with them? Both. Sometimes I have ideas all ready built but then there are times when I’m in the studio and we create from scratch.
As a devoted Christian, how does it feel when working with a rapper/artist who may use a lot of profanity in their work and perhaps rhymes about subjects that are traditionally seen as sinful? It feels great because it gives me the opportunity to witness through my lifestyle and conversation to let others know that you can be successful without all the profanity.
You’re obviously starting to get in with the major, major leagues with the Kanyes, Jays and Beyonces…can you tell us a bit how that started to come about, how it is working with them and any future news? It has been an incredible experience working with Kanye, Jay Z and Beyonce. Of course, I began working with Kanye in February 2010 while in Hawaii and that is how the “Power” single came about. Kanye said that soon he would be working on a collaborative project with Jay Z and would want me to be a part of it. Later on in October 2010, I received the email asking if my passport was ready to go to London and that is when I met Jay Z and Beyonce during the recording of “Watch the Throne”. After London, we went to Australia, then in January 2011 I was flown out to New York to work on Beyonce’s album. The world will soon hear my story when my documentary releases January 2012.
Beyonce – Best Thing I Never Had
The Watch The Throne track is one of the biggest of the year, you must have been ultra happy when your heard the news they wanted to use it… It was great. I was in Australia in the studio with Kanye and Jay when they chose the beat and recorded to it.
What input did Kanye have in the production of the track? He kept the track exactly how I originally created it. He didn’t add or take away anything to it.
And, the beat switch up, that took a lot of people by (good) surprise! Was that part of the original track or was that more part of the studio session? Swizz Beatz produced the first beat and I produced the second half. They started out as 2 separate songs but when Kanye merged them together it was a perfect fit so we kept them together.
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Murder To Excellence
We seen the Common photo on twitter…what’s good with that?! Yes, I passed Common a few joints in the studio in NY. Not sure what’s to come out of it though. Time will soon tell…
It sounds as if you use live instrumentation in some of your work, is that the case? Yes, I always try to incorporate live elements to broaden my sound.
What equipment have you been using lately? I use Reason, Pro-Tools, and Maschine.
Tell us a little about your group Strange Fruit Project… Strange Fruit Project is my family first and my group second. We have been making music since we first started back in 2002. We just released a new album “A Dreamer’s Journey” a couple weeks ago.
Each person have a different outlook, but how do you see the music world moving forward in the future years? I think that there is a selective group of individuals/artist/musicians/etc. who are keeping real music alive. As long as we have these creative people still around, music will always be a progression.
If you could form a supergroup of 4 members, who would be in it? This is a tough question..lol I’m going to be an oddball on this one. Rick Ross, DeAngelo, Erykah Badu and Hi-Tek (producer)
Are there any UK artists that you have managed to hear and are feeling lately? I worked with Tanya Lacey who is an extremely talented individual. There is a lot of talent in the UK.
Any artists that you specifically wanting to work with in the future, and why? Andre 3000, I have been a big fan of his since I first heard Outkast first album. Brandy, one of my favourite R&B Artists that I would love to work with as well.
Any last words? God is Great and thanks for the opportunity!
A big thanks to S1 & Theresa