Interview took place October 10, 2002 at Miami-Dade College’s Recoding Studio
It’s very hard to come across producers that can be extremely versatile with sound and drum patterns and still maintain a signature style. Producer Profile does exactly that. His beats range from being back-packer friendly to being perfect for setting the mood to grind with your female of choice in the clubs. I sat down with Profile and we discussed everything from his music influences, his outlook on production methods and his plans for the future.
Dro: To set things off, let everybody about your production company.
Profile: The name of the company is Liquid Shield. Nick “Fury” Lewis is the president of the company. Aside from myself, Dwayne Summers and Angel Rodriguez are also part of the production/engineering team.
Can you give me some background info on yourself? ?
I was born in the Dominican Republic, raised there till I was eight, and then that was when I came here. I been in Miami ever since.
What are your musical influences?
My mother and father are a huge influence. My father plays the piano and the guitar. He would always listen to classical music and I was always around him. My mother was a singer, she sung in the Dominican Republic and Europe, she was famous. I’m influenced by classical, merengue, salsa, bachata, some English but mostly Caribbean music. Nick Fury has always been a big influence since the day I met him. He’s wasn’t just a teacher to me, he has always been a mentor, in life even. [Laughs] He always made me work. He taught me that I should try to not do stuff that’s already out there. Find your own sound, experiment, and from that point, find your own style. Like a wrestler, you gotta find your signature move.
How about your hip hop influences?
Aside from Nick, DJ Premier was one person whom I would study. Also Timbaland with his experimental hip hop/R & B tracks, like Ginuwine’s The Batchelor: it’s sick all the way thru, or Missy’s Supa Dupa Fly. Dr. Dre, Rockwilder, Notts, Easy Mo Bee, Pete Rock are some other ones who I would listen to a lot. On the more soulful tip, slow jams from Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Musiq Soulchild, the late and great Aaliyah, Usher, and Alicia Keys. I would always study the new upcoming artists.
How did you end up to the point where you are today as a producer?
In 9th and 10th grade I started dee-jaying with New Jerusalem with my boy Grey, we mostly did dancehall. Occasionally we did some hip hop, but we mostly dancehall. While I dee-jayed, I always use to take drum loops and mix them with guitar loops or bass loops and from that point I have always been interested in the way beats were created. Its not till I entered college that I started doing production. To just take bits and pieces of something or playing an instrument to make music is creative and fun for me.
So you like sampling?
Yeah I like sampling, but I don’t like ripping it off completely. If I do, I’d just be adding on to someone else’s creation. I chop it up and get creative.
Do you remember the first record that you sampled?
I forgot the record’s name but it was a song by Jose Jose.
What type of equipment do you usually use?
I used to work with a Macintosh g4 with an s5000, a turntable and a few sound modules. Now I use an MPC 60-II, its used but its basically new, I use a sound module and a midi controller.
What is your ideal studio set up?
Recording-wise, an AMEK or SSL Analog Board, a 2-Inch Reel-To-Reel Machine hard Disk Recorder, nothing but racks, effects, compression, pre-amps, nothing but mad effects. Production-wise, every MP that was ever made, an ASR machine, four keyboards: a Fantom, a Karma, XP-60, MOTIF, modules, XV-5080, filter machines, all analog.
Can you name some of the projects that you’ve worked on?
Common Ground. I’ve done stuff with CHP (Crazy Hood Productions). I did some editing for them alongside Nick. I worked with Slick Rick, Dynas, and SLP (Street Light Poets).
What is your favorite song of those that you produced?
Common Ground’s “Realize” because it was one that I had put a lot of feeling into it. I was angry when I made that beat. It will always be my favorite. We recorded that when everybody was just starting out, everybody was hungry and eager and everybody wanted to damage that track. We always do but that was one of the first times that the group came together to do a song.
Where did the nick-name Phish-Beats come from?
That’s a name SLP calls me. I came in, met up with them and I came in with a shirt that had a fish on it. And when I was playing one of my beats, J-Pure just said real loudly “Phish-Beats!!!” and the name kinda stuck. So J-Pure actually came up with it. So if you see the name Phish Beats in their credits, just know that’s me.
What artists are you feeling right now?
I’m feeling Roots Manuva from England, people in the states know about him, but a lot of them sleep on him. He’s gully! Lyrically I’m feeling Eminem, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie and 2Pac., they will always be alive to me, Ras Kass, Pharaohe Monch, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Ludacris, Outkast, Goodie Mob, Busta and Rah Digga. Locally, I’m feeling Common Ground, Street Light Poets, Dynas, CHP, Skam2?, Trick and Trina, Slanted Eyezz, that’s all that comes to mind but there are others.
What producers are you feeling right now?
On the broad sense, I’m feelin’ The Creators, Hi-Tek , Timbaland, especially Timbaland, He’s nasty! Dre, Organized Noize, The Neptunes, The Soulquarians, DJ Muggs. On a local tip, Nick Fury, Big Drain, Tony Galvin, Duane, Gold, First Class, and there’s a lot of others that right now don’t come to mind.
So out of all of those producers, who is your favorite?
Nick Fury, he pushes me to do my best and influences me. He not only has an impact on me musically, he had an impact in my life period.
What are your top five albums of all time?
1. Notorious BIG – Ready To Die. Its hard, that’s all I can say.
2. 2Pac – All Eyez On Me. Its just poetic
3. Dr. Dre – The Chronic. Because its on some laid back gangsta-shit
4. Nas – Illmatic. Because again, its just poetic
5. Outkast – Southernplayalistic…. Just straight pimpish-funk
What advice you got to other producers out there?
Just try to find your style, try not to copy much of whats out there. Be different. That’s what attracts people. Make people know that it’s you. Just find your style and stick with it.
Can you name some people that you would like to work with?
I would’ve loved to work with 2Pac or Biggie cause of that emotion they had on record. They set it. They painted the way for a lot of people. I would love to work with Snoop, Ludacris, Nas, Jay-Z. I like people that like to play with lyrics. Ludacris would be my first pick, he writes real comical and animated, no one gotta style like him.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
The Liquid Shield project which will have Hip Hop, R&B, and down south on it. Common Ground album, Idee4, North and Agony, North’s solo, Agony’s solo, Spawn’s solo, the Street Light Poets’ solo albums, Dynas, an R&B artist called Jovan, and also Legacy.
What are your goals in terms of music?
I’m trying to establish myself in the industry as one of the premier up and coming producers. As far as with the crew, I just want to make them all blow up, Common Ground, SLP, CHP. Nobody is gonna get left behind. Everybody that has been there with and for me from the get, I’m taking with me, period. I’m just gonna keep doing what I love doing: making music.
So where do you see yourself a couple of years down the line?
I see myself in an office, going through CDs of people submitting stuff wanting to be part of my production company; drinking Kool-Aid, the red kind, just keeping it real.
Any Shout outs or Final Words?
Yeah, to Common Ground, Liquid Shield, SLP, who have always showed me a lot of love, Gold, that’s my nigga for life, Dynas, my family for their support and everybody that’s been there from the get and inspired me to keep going.
– Related Links: www.liquidshield.com