HW&W Interview with Sweater Beats
Sweater Beats, from the jump has always been one of HW&W’s most prolific producers. The soft spoken, mild mannered New York native has made his presence known with his knack for smooth remixes that gets the girls dancing. He recently even caught the attention of Diplo, who alongside Ta-ku made his Endless Summer Playlist. This Friday marks his return to LA where he will playing a string of shows with Bahwee, Gao, and the rest of the crew. With his debut EP in the works and an upcoming Australian tour on the books we expect big things from Sweaters this year. Luckily our intern Will was in Brooklyn a while back and sat down with Sweaters to discuss music and things. Enjoy.
I guess, well, I grew up playing guitar in bands and all that emo shit, you know that whole wave. I was hella into that in like middle school and high school, but then when I got to my first year of college, one of my friends showed me Ratatat, and I was blown away. I’d never heard of anything like them before, so I started trying to make things like that with Reason, and that’s pretty much what got my started making beats.
You still use Reason?
No, I just use Ableton and some VST’s.
Aight, so you kinda mentioned some influences, but if you could name a few, like top-five most influential people?
Top five super influential people in music for me? Damnnnn… Top five has to be Pharrell, Timbaland, Onra, R. Kelly, and Daft Punk.
How about top five strictly hip hop producers.
Hip hop producers? Timbaland and Onra I’ve already mentioned. Kanye West, Dr. Dre and Pete Rock most definitely.
Talk about how growing up in New York influenced your sound.
Ok, well let me set this straight, I did not grow up in New York.
Oh shit. My bad.
I just moved here like, two years ago. Just getting the record straight.
Where’d you grow up?
I grew up in Rockville, Maryland, and growing up in those suburbs definitely influenced my music a lot. There wasn’t really a lot to do except for being in a band with your friends and skateboarding.
What’s Maryland like for an up and coming producer?
Oh man, well you gotta either go to Baltimore or DC, cause those are like the scenes out there, as far as I know.
Is it just like a bubble, you know getting caught up in the whole small town thing?
Yeah, I mean growing up I was just like in the loop with a bunch of neighborhood kids, and we’d for bands and make like indie rock and roll, and alternative stuff, that sort of thing.
Aight, what made you want to join HW&W the label, and how did you guys link up?
Well I first heard about Huh What and Where when I got the Ta-Ku LateNYC jam. That shit was such an incredible record. I saw that it was released by HW&W and so I tracked down more of their stuff, and like I really fucked with pretty much everybody on the roster.
Ok word, word. Now I gotta know.. who is the worst producer on HW&W?
…and you have to say the name.
oh man, I can’t do that. Worst producer. I can’t even, how do I even answer that?
Yeah, it’s brutal.
Hahaha oh come back to that, cuz I cant even… whaaa?
Ahhhh, moving on. What do you think about the new age media generation that we are a part of? For example, the whole up and coming electronic scene and the role of the internet and all that shit?
I’m into it, like I think before it was really hard to just get your music to the masses. You really had to hustle a lot more to get your stuff out there. But nowadays you can get upload something and its instantly out there to be discovered on the internet. I’m really into that and I’m totally taking advantage of that.
Right, it’s a great way to be recognized for sure.
You have to have an online presence. It’s a huge part of getting yourself out there these days. Soundcloud has helped me a lot.
That’s how I found out about you.
Soundcloud is definitely a good place to get connected with other producers and bands.
Talk about your studio process for all the nerds out there.
Well I open up Ableton and find a sample I wanna flip, either like a beat or an acapella, and I usually just chop that up first. Sometimes I start with some keys and make a chord progression and work off that.
So you start with the sample, word.
Yeah, I’ll cut something up. Then I work with some soft synths like Zebra, and I just try to color it in, and chop it up with some chords in the back, and then I’ll put a beat on it. I’ll do that and maybe like loop it for 16 bars, and that’s just how I get the core of everything. Then I try to finish it up once I’ve got the main idea. That’s pretty much it, put a little sparkle on top.
Where do you see yourself in the future in regards to music. What are your plans?
I would love to just make music and produce for people.
Anyone in particular you’d like to work with?
I’d definitely like to start hookin up with some R&B artists.
What do you do outside of music?
Well, I’m majoring in media studies and work with web design.
Damn, like constructing websites from the bottom?
Yeah I make websites and I get paid for it. I enjoy it, but I really just wanna make music… Let’s see, what else. Outside of music, I just like to eat.
You like to eat? Haha!
Yeah I like to go eat at places. Music, work, eating.
Ok, what can we expect from you and HW&W this year? What’s cooking?
Well I’m coming out with this new EP, it’s in the final stages of mixing now. Its been a long time in the making and I’m really excited for people to hear it. You guys can expect it out by the end of July. It’s pretty heavy on the low end, I wanted to make something you could physically feel when you hear it in a club. I’m playing more shows, and I’m trying to travel and tour a lot more too.
Speaking of shows… You’ll be back in LA this Friday.
Yeah I’m really excited to be back in LA and to be playing with Bahwee and Mike Gao again and to just kick it there in general. I love that city. And there’s a house party we’re all spinning at on Saturday!
Talk about you most recent trip to LA this past March.
My last trip to LA was amazing! I finally got to meet the HW&W crew, and they really made me feel like family out there. Really glad to have been a part of that Boiler Room show. Easily one of the best nights of my life.
And the upcoming Australian tour? Also, whatever else you have planned for 2013..
Yes I’m going on tour in Australia this July, and currently planning a European tour for this Fall. I’ve also already begun writing new tunes for an EP for Symbols due out in September. I just really want to stay busy making music and playing them for everyone.