Crate Kings » Producer Interviews » Play N Skillz: Technology Made Production “Too Easy”

Play N Skillz: Technology Made Production “Too Easy”

September 18, 2009

Production team Play N Skillz speak candidly about the role of technology in music creation and the benefits and drawbacks of increased accessibility resulting from the widespread use music related software.

Notable Quotes:
“Technology has kind of made things too easy. The musician part of it has kind of faded away for whatever reason.”

“Now with technology, people can just get on a laptop with some type of software and just put a couple of wave files together and boom, you’ve got a beat in 3 minutes.”

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

bklyn2cali September 18, 2009 at 11:46 am

“Now with technology, people can just get on a laptop with some type of software and just put a couple of wave files together and boom, you’ve got a beat in 3 minutes.”

True, but doesn’t the same apply to cats who sample loops off of records, throw a kick and snare, and say they’ve created a beat? (i mean, you still didn’t compose any of the musical elements…)

what’s missing, is the appreciation of musical composition by the AUDIENCES as well as from our peers.

peace.
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bklyn2cali September 18, 2009 at 11:48 am

“it’s all about those handcrafted beats.”
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Cai September 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm

So anyone can find a loop now and time it right?

I look at you software guys as computer programers more than musicans….

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TONY TRAXX September 20, 2009 at 2:45 am

an mpc is a computer what are you talking about

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Cai September 21, 2009 at 6:00 am

I look at a mpc as an instrument, bc your using rhythm and timing also…

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Real Gutta July 29, 2010 at 3:06 am

LOL…you don’t understand do you? an MPC is jus a slower sequencer than the one on your PC or Apple. 16 bit with limited functionality for editing. Alot can get done but the workflow is longer. MPC users are programmers. Even the cats usin it live gotta program certain things or else it would be a pretty chopppy performance lol…yes technology has made it easier but we’ve also heard tons of producers with big money equipment churn out garbage for years and have the nerve to charge lol…

And play n skillz shouldn’t really be speakin @ all. They jus feelin the crunch from all the new competition. They are right that it is easier and there are alotta frauds gettin in the game but being veterans it should be easier to separate the men from the boys if they really on their game like they say they are..

and finally, real musicians used to talk about produers the way producers are now talking about the next generation of musik makers. “Ah they jus sample our hard work in those machines and call themselves producers. They can’t even read musik or play an instrument”
So basically I’m sayin get real. The proof is in the pudding. I would never fear no newbie’ s or no faster technology if I was already in the game myself…unless of course I’m not what I’m saying I am…

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DP September 20, 2009 at 3:32 am

yep, all you do on a MPC is programming. just like on a PC or any other digital instrument.
the MPC does have a sound but its not a big deal, i mean drums with the right VST’s on it can sound much better than just uneffected drums out of a MPC anyway. and you can use much better and more effects in software than those average effects in a MPC.

some of the greatest producers only use a computer and they have a much richer sound than most MPC guys.

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silas September 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Those who still do the sample ish and those who did it just didnt loop the sample its choped and the chord progression etc. If you bag on the sample game you have never banged on an mpc. To get some of the sounds out of that they have is amazing. I sac fck that i dont have the time give me recycle, reason and PT. It doesnt matter what you use as long as its got soul.

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Quan September 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm

it doesn’t matter what you use. You still have to arrange the song and make it sound good. If you look at the definition of musician it is someone who is skilled or talented in music. also secondary someone who can play a music instrument. So either you can be good plucking away at the guitar or very skilled at placing the right kick and snares in the right square. Hardware or Software. It doesn’t matter. Your only limited by your creativity.

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Real Gutta July 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

and this is the realest talk out….some dude the other day posted on his facebook status that MPCs are done jus becaue of NI’s Maschine. I laughed so hard b4 letting him kno that Maschine is yes a dope addition to any studio setup but that doesn’t dictate that the MPC is done….especially if don’t know what your talkin about or doin. There’s cat’s makin heat with SP 1200s still!! Its all jus workflow preference and when you got in the game. My 1st piece of equipment was the MPC 1000 so right there a veteran can tell when I got in the game….I’ve since grown my equipment catalog much bigger but its about what you do with the equipment.

The dude who wrote it has like 3 or 4 keyboads in his studio. Did all the work to make his studio look like the real deal for a home/pre-production setup. And his beats are still some of the ugliest concoctions I’ve ever heard. I’ve cooked up better before I gripped the Fantom or any software. Jus records, MPC and almost 3 years of love and studying and perfecting my craft vs. his decade of nothingness and tons of equipment.

In response he blasted me and tried to make it seem like I was sensitive over MPCs lol. Not in the least….I’m jus never the type to see someone clearly talkin outta their ass and not say sumthin about it. Especially if its sumthin I’m apart of such as hip hop….

Too many people not of this tryin to be of this….

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2Kool4Skool September 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm

it doesnt matter what you use. if u wanna spend foreva loading up sounds in ur hardware thats ur problem

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Camrox September 18, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I disagree. First of all, I’m a musician. A real musician who plays instruments. I play piano as my primary instrument and can actually write music without the use of technology at all. Just composing at my piano and writing it down, the REAL old-school way. The way legends like George Gershwin and Quincy Jones did it. I’ve played in and written music for other musicians/bands and I even studied conducting in school. I could easily say that even they have it easy because they may not realize it, but they’re using technology too! How can u criticize someone else for using technology when YOU do it too?? Seriously?

With all that said, I also make beats. And to do so, I use a laptop and my Korg TR as a midi controller and that’s it. Does the fact that i’m using software and a laptop mean that I’m not “real”? Does programming drums on an MPC automatically make a person a musical maestro? Sorry, I don’t think so.

P.S. smh at guys who hate on laptops for no reason…

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Remedial September 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I totally agree with you Camrox. They are basically the pot calling the kettle black. As if studio musicians were happy to see the proliferation of drum machines in the late 70′s and 80′s which were basically replacing them.

It just seems that there’s always an ear of elitism to be found in hip hop. Some dude who thinks he’s better than the other dude because he uses hardware over software. Or because he uses a 3000 rather than a 1000. It’s so ridiculous at times.

And, truth be told, you go into these Play N Skillz’ studio and they might be using all the softsynths you could imagine and they are definitely using Pro Tools or Logic or something of that ilk.

And, for someone with your background to not have the same ignorant stance that they do makes them even more laughable. I always say, at the end of the day, folks have no idea what you used unless you tell them. You could be programming the hell out of Floops and tell folks you used an SP1200 and they won’t know the better.

And, as a final point, didn’t these guys JUST get into the music industry like 5-6 years ago? They’re talking as if software just came about since their LONG reign in the music industry.

That’s what I like about Dr. Dre. He never wastes his time criticizing other producers for what they do or use to produce their beats. Same things with the Neptunes (even when them dudes stole their drum pattern for that J Kwon track). They’ve already established themselves, so they really don’t have to worry about the bedroom producer who may be able to pull out one hit out of his ass.

It’s all about longevity.

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Mitch September 19, 2009 at 12:57 am

very nicely said my man

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pookieBones September 18, 2009 at 8:42 pm

i think the point really is, that some cats boot an application (ie. Garageband), drop a few loops around and “whoalla!” they (and their peers) think they’re “producers.”

it doesn’t matter if you program, play, splice, dice, eat, sleep music, it’s the work ethic behind it. i mean, yes.. it’s all forms of creative art… but let’s say i pick up a pen and scribble some lines on a damn piece of paper… “yes,” it’s art… but i can’t run around thinking i’m picasso… (but yet then, why couldn’t or shouldn’t I?)

i guess the real issue are the cats who play instruments and studied theory for a living, are getting run out by software… like if you were a carpenter, and all of a sudden someone just DROPS a pre-made house on a damn lot.

oh well.

“it’s all about those handcrafted beats.”

but i’m not down with fools making $$$$$ off of loop based music.

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rokwell September 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Madlib the loop digger does it all the time.

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boneyJones September 21, 2009 at 10:51 am

True, but that’s what i don’t get. i mean, it’s like people think he writes all the music you hear and that he’s some genius… yes, he’s EXCELLENT at what he does, but the art of expression through playing musical notes via an instrument is getting lost…

and the general public doesn’t really appreciate music… they’re just buying into a lifestyle.

it’s like all these singers who use auto-tune and damn well know they CAN’T sing… but their public (friends, etc.) encourage them, because they think they can sing…

i think that’s the issue with technology.

(Madlib can get down on some instruments though… talented cat.)

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TONY TRAXX September 18, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I USE REASON BUT I ALWAYS HAVE AN MPC CLOSE BY..BUT THERE’S NO DIFFERENCE. IF YOU GOT AN AXIOM 49 AND REASON LOADED WITH SOUNDS AND ON THE OTHER HAND YOU GOT A TRITON AND AN MPC ITS THE SAME THING. WHAT YOU THINK AN MPC IS NOT A COMPUTER ? OLDER MPC’S HAVE SCSI THAT CAN BE HOOKED UP TO PARAllEL PORTS ON A COMPUTER OR ZIP DRIVE ! BEING AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME AND HAVING GOOD MUSIC IS WHAT COUNTS. IF YOU GOT A HOT RECORD DO YOU THINK THERE GONNA SAY WELL YOU USE REASON OR FRUITY LOOPS SO I CAN’T RAP OVER THAT.CMON MAN. I WOULD USE AN IPHONE IF I THOUGHT I COULD MAKE BETTER MUSIC lol

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Mr. Marcus X September 25, 2009 at 9:11 am

Actually u can use an iPhone…I have the BeatMaker application and it’s like a virtual MPC…Dope. I can sample and use the limited effects. But it can be done too. I agree.

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geico September 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

i wonder what caveman beats were like.

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Tha S Ence September 23, 2009 at 10:47 am

I don’t care how you get there, just make it dope.

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Mr. Marcus X September 25, 2009 at 9:06 am

Truth of their (Play N Skillz) argument is that they are HATING on others. Point blank. artistry is artistry…before “musical” instruments were created, the natives were creating music…now the other side one would say what aesthetic of music production are these guys talking about? Ultimately I think its the rate at how the music is being produced and delivered to the labels. Early bird gets the worm. Don’t playa hate.

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TONY TRAXX September 25, 2009 at 3:30 pm

these dudes look a little cornballish to me but i like that joint the did with chamillionare and lazy bone that shit was hott ! i think its riding dirty right ? it was well produced i know that .

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RobBates September 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm

“what’s missing, is the appreciation of musical composition by the AUDIENCES as well as from our peers.

peace.”

AGREED.

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