Hi all! Back with our report from the STBB Forever beat battles. This week, battle winner Kongchain joins us for a few words about his winning track. Since the closure of the Stones Throw message board, the beat battles have found a new home at stbbforever.com. Feel free to join!
The STBB is a weekly beat battle, where anywhere from 50 to 100+ participants from all over the world, are provided a sample to flip/chop/edit/screw, and make a beat out of it within just a few days. All the participants then cast out a vote, and the winner picks the samples for the next round. We provide a weekly report and an interview with the battle winner.
Interview with the battle winner, Kongchain
Congratulations on the win! Can you shortly introduce yourself for our readers? Where are you based?
Kongchain: I’m Kongchain, an old-ass muthafucka with wrinkly hands residing in the jungles of Copenhagen.
Where does your name come from?
Kongchain: I used to rock thick gold rope chains when I was a young buck swinging from tree to tree. Although I got older, and don’t rock chains as much (no need to floss to make them know ima boss, anymore), the rope chain gimmick kind of stuck with me.
How did you learn to make beats? Do you play any instruments?
Kongchain: I picked up beatmaking in my teens, inspired by my older brother and his hiphop-head friends who were all beat heads. This was way before Youtube tutorials, so I picked up tips from my brother and other local beatmakers, and just kept at it, at first with hardware samplers and later moving towards software. I don’t play any instruments, although I’m trying to learn guitar these days. It’s hella tricky with these fat fingers, I run around with.
What are your musical inspirations
Kongchain: I’ve always been into beats, since I was a tiny lil’ monkey baby. I did like the rapping stuff, but if a record had nice rap and wack beats, I weren’t fucking with it. Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun was nice, cuz they had beats. Tribe, too. Hiero and The Pharcyde. That’s kind of my foundation. Through the records I found out about what samples they used, and my friend Baloo and I dug straight into breakbeats. That’s the foundation. Since then, all the beats I’ve heard has just been stacking on top of the foundation. I’ve listen to a lot of trap-ish stuff and future beats for the past years. And pop-music. And exotica. And Bossa. Different moods, different music.
What Equipment or software (DAW, VST’s etc) did you use on this track?
Kongchain: Ableton Live and a busted midi keyboard. Mostly Live stock plugins, but also Kontakt and some Kontakt Instruments. Maybe Serum… Yeah, I guess, I used Serum for the lead.
What was your approach to get started?
Kongchain: I always start with a minimal drum groove and chopping samples, experimenting to build a nice groove with the samples on top of the drums. After those elements are settled, I usually add to the drums, play a bassline and add some chords or synth-sounds to layer stuff and make it fatter and more harmonic. I love harmonies, even though I’m still trying to figure them out.
How did you make use of the sample?
Kongchain: Chops and experimentation.
How did you go about the drumwork
Kongchain: I triggered the drums on the keyboard, with a lose swing. No quantisation, but a bunch of little manual timing corrections of the individual notes. That’s usually how I do, except when I’m doing more trappy stuff. Then it’s a lot more pencil-programming, drawing rhythms into the midi editor.
Did you stumble upon any difficulties?
Kongchain: The sample was hella noisy and difficult to mix to get some nice sonics.
Are there any interesting aspects about the track you’d like to share?
Kongchain: I think Lil Jon and his crunk guys, used for the vocal snippets, are a great fit with this mellow, lose groove I created for the tune. I like to combine stuff. Crunk and swang. Trap and organic boom bappy samples. Whatever… It’s fun to combine influences.
Any recent projects/collabs going on?
Kongchain: Nopes. I would like to produce music everyday to get all my ideas out, but I don’t have the time. Gotta take care of my monkey babies, first and foremost. Now excuse me, I gotta swing – Gotta go find a lotta bananas for the kids’ evening meal.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us, and good luck on the next battle!
Other beats worth checking out: