Some may consider it mere semantics. Why get caught up in termanology? Why be so pretentious? Isn’t trying to re-define an entire creative role in the field of music a bit egotistical? Who the HELL do I think I am?
Well one thing I am is a Music Designer, NOT a Music Producer. And as far as egotism goes, I’m not really in competition with the Kanye Wests of the world. I find little value in being pumped up with praise and being declared “the best”. So for those that might assume this is simply an exercise in self-aggrandizement, I’d simply say that you’re mistaken. In fact this isn’t any kind of attempt to elevate myself above the fairly crowded realm of music producers, but rather it is moreso an invitation to my fellow music creative to re envision or simply recognize what they’ve actually already been doing through a new lens.
When we think of production, I’d say what we actually think of is re-production. You know what I mean. The classic assembly line model. The Henry Ford shit we all learned about way back in the day in school and shit.blah blah blah. Production, while a respectable field in its own right, is NOT the purview of the creative. The ultimate goal of the creative is to innovate.
Back in the “old school” days of Hip-Hop there used to be a concept called “biting’”. To be accused of “biting” was akin to slapping someone across the face with the back of your glove and challenging them to a duel. Originality was an essentiality. But that’s been replaced by creating content that is instantly recognizable and thus instantly marketble. Which ultimately means that it is instantly unchallenging. Which is another goal of design. To challenge!!! To test the boundaries of form and substance without eliminating the original essence of a thing.
But fundamental to challenge in another unfriendly word, RISK! And if there is one word that I’d say beyond any other has defined the modern era of urban music is “safe” #NotAllMusic.
And I claim this label as a Music Designer not because I always live up to it, because I CERTAINLY fall into every single pitfall of relying on what I’ve feel has work creatively for myself and for others before and I STILL DO. But nothing can be achieved if it’s not aspired to. So I aspire to not simply produce music. But to DESIGN it. With intentionality to manipulate the alchemy pre-existing within notes and sounds to turn the formless into the functional. And to not simply produce a product, but to also create a contribution.