INTERVIEW with Production team, Drop Dead Beats

Photo by Tara Inc Photography

We recently caught up with Adrian “Drop” Santalla (left) and Phenom (right), of Miami-based production team Drop Dead Beats. They have had production placements through a span of genres and have engineering credits in a diverse list of projects as well. Having worked with artists like Pitbull, Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, Gloria Estefan and Trina to name a few – and in 2010, they will surely take the industry by storm. Most recently they produced “Triumph” for Pitbull’s newest album Rebelution – a song that got picked up and licensed by ESPN, as well as NBC’s The Office. Read on as we dive into their humble beginnings, their musical direction and even end it off with a little bit of music industry talk. Click below to read more….

Drop: It came from a couple of names that we were throwing around. But DROP DEAD BEATS is a collaboration between me, Phenom and another producer named Show. Then you also have DMG in the picture who definitely bring in ideas from time to time.

Phenom: Being from the Bahamas, I know I bring spice to the group. I bring something very creative to the whole Drop Dead Beats outlet.

Drop: I bring a little bit everything. I bring ideas to the table. I’ve been in this industry for about 10 years, so I think I would know a little bit about what a hit record would sound like, you know? But I do bring some creative control of what these records should sound like. Phenom, he definitely does bring his musical talents and background. And sometimes we do clash on certain things, but what group doesn’t clash? It works though. He’s a big asset to Drop Dead Beats.

Drop: I actually started engineering back in 2000/2001 doing a lot of projects for The Iconz, doing a lot of radio jingle production for a lot of commercials for companies like McDonalds, Budweiser and others. I also did a lot of engineering for G-Unit, back when The Game was still with them this was even before Game dropped his first single, it was for a Whoo Kidd mixtape we did back at Circle House. Then from there, I started doing a lot of work with Khaled and Khaled then put me on with Fat Joe and Terror Squad. From there, I ended up engineering “Lean Back” and things started poppin’ off left and right. I did everything on Khaled’s first album Listennn. I’ve did things with Scott Storch, Timbaland, Puffy, Gloria Estefan (including production), Pitbull and tons of other artists. Engineering is what has kept me in the loop and learning how all of these hit records are made. And when you’re in the studio all the time with these artists, you’ll start hearing certain things time and time again from record to record. So I’ve been fortunate enough to be a fly in the wall. And you know, I’ve been fortunate to have friendships with artists and be able to stay around .

Phenom: What brought me here to South Florida was God first of all. My music ability has definitely played a big role as well, but I’m new to the whole industry, Back home, I grew up in the church and played in the church. In high school, I was in the marching band. And in college, I played in the symphony. And then after that, I just started making beats inside of my room. It was something I wanted to do full time and through my management, I ended up linking with Drop and we’ve been fortunate ever since.

Drop: Miami’s a big melting pot. You have people from all over the world here. But Miami lacks that fanbase. People jump on board when hometeam is winning. Look at the Heat, the Marlins and etc. Everybody jumps on board when they start winning. Sad, but unfortunately true.

Phenom: There is no set time, shit we’ve been here in the studio for four days straight, every day is different.

Phenom: I’m dabbling in it, but for right now, its mostly Drop.

Drop: I would say that you need to know that if you make a beat, that doesn’t make you a producer . At that point, you’re a programmer. You definitely have to learn that. Just because you press buttons and put something together that doesn’t make you a producer. I learned that fairly new into my career. A producer is someone who puts all of the elements of a song together and has a vision of exactly what he or she wants to do – what direction to take the song and how they want it to sound. Its not just the beat. Its finding a way to put it all together. And I salute everyone who does do it and sits their to make it happen like Timbaland, Cool & Dre and all them. These are guys that actually travel and sit there with the artist, rather than just send them a beat. Those are producers.

Phenom: Honestly, anything we want to create. Mainly, our focus is R&B, hip-hop, and pop. But nothing is out of reach for us.

Drop: Immediate projects, definitely Pitbull, which is in stores now. Rebelution, the first song with Avery Storm, DMG wrote the hook. That same song got picked up by ESPN and also on NBC’s The Office. On the engineering tip, we did the whole album for Fat Joe that just came out. We’re on Trina’s album that’s due out next March. We’ve worked on a lot of projects engineering-wise with Jim Jonsin. And we’re doing a lot of stuff with DMG. And We’ve proved already that we could do anything. We’ve done spanish records for Gloria Estefan and Thalia. We’ve done the club stuff, hip-hop records, anthem records just look at the stuff we’ve gotten placed on Pitbull’s albums. We could do it all. If there’s something out there that a client/artist needs, we’re here to do it. There’s nothing stopping us. Then from there, like I said, we have the engineering aspect of the company and we have the studio in Downtown Miami.

Drop: Right now, there’s no more bring a beat and that’s it. Usually, you gotta bring in the beat, the hook and the concept. Very rarely do people take the beat without all of the above already brought to the table. And its not that they forget how to be an artist or because they don’t want to do it, but after so many years in the game they get so many things thrown at them that sometimes they don’t know the direction to take that next song/album. If you don’t have the right team, then you’re gonna lag a little bit. And honestly, its all about luck still. Sometimes its all about being in the right place and the right time. But with technology, like me, I carry all my beats on my iPhone, so I’m always prepared. You just gotta know how to approach people really.

Drop: Basically, the industry, 7 years ago when album says still existed. 1 million, 2 million in the first week was still possible. But both the download programs and the music industry messed everything up. In my opinion, all the labels had to do was embrace Napster and all those online programs and companies. They could’ve bought them out and embraced the technology. But they chose to sue them and delay the inevitable of what we’re seeing today. And now, iTunes took over the game and is making a lot of money. The record companies, not so much

And now, album sales are not the same anymore. Nobody has that same desire to run to the record store and tear the plastic off the newest CD that just came out. That thrill is just not there anymore. That build up of waiting is not there anymore. And that whole experience of feeling like you’re a part of something when you went and bought an album has left.

Bloggers and etc. If you really love music and hip-hop and anything in this industry cared about it. Stop stealing people’s music, that’s basically what ya’ll are doing. When you put it out there for the masses to take it or free, you’re fuckin’ us up. We don’t want it to be free because plain and simply, we won’t make any money. You’re messing with the engineers, the producers, the artists and everyone involved, you’re messing with their pockets. So straight up, ya’ll need to chill.

Drop: Pitbull album pick it up. DorksMoronsGeeks they coming, Phenom, CreativeSeen, and Jim Jonsin whattup! Good lookin!

Phenom: Shout out to my Co-management, Smoke Ent, DPI, Tara Inc Photography, Upside Down Entertainment, DMG, and shouts out to Campbells Soup! (Lol).

Contact Information & Booking Availibility:

Drop Dead Beats

Sam G Management