To all you producers out there who don’t know who the infamous Nikkel Plate is, it’s time we let you know. This cat has produced for the likes of Raskass and Lloyd Banks to name a couple. Check out the Traumahdrums.com exclusive interview right here.
Traumahdrums.com Interview With Nikkel Plate
Briefly, explain who you are, where you’re from and how you got started in music production…
My name is Nikkel Plate, I’m originally from Bakersfield, Ca. – about 100 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. I’ve been producing since I was 15 years old; I started with a program called Acid DJ and a computer. I’ve been making music now in the industry since 2003. I was actually rapping before I started making beats, but I wasn’t serious about it. I was just making beats to support my rapping when I realized rapping wasn’t for me. When I turned 17 I decided to do an unpaid internship at a recording studio called Mad Dog Studios (a country western studio). I commuted from Bakersfield to Los Angeles four days a week. I was trying really hard to break into the business. I moved on to other studios over time and I met a couple of producers. One in particular, a producer named Focus. At the time he was signed with Aftermath; he was the first person to tell me that you have skills, and that I could do a lot in this industry…and I’ve been moving since then.
I see you have been getting it in fam.Tell us what projects you have worked on, and also about some of your successful ventures in music production…
In no particular order: I was recently on the Raskass A.d.d.i.d.a.s. album, which was actually miscredited as coproduced, but I actually made the track a few years prior by myself. My name is spelled incorrectly on the album because they used the beat without my permission. We kind of cleared that up, but things like that happen in this business – so protect yourself properly! Anyway, I was also on Lloyd Banks mixed tape Happy Birthday Vol. 3 and 4. The song is called “Don’t Come Around Here”. I also produced the Lloyd Banks record 730. Recently I landed a spot on Willie B’s mix tape I Am Not A Producer; he is an up and coming rapper and producer from Los Angeles. He is definitely gaining a large buz.
I’ve also worked with Emanny, an R&B singer, who has worked extensively with Joe Budden and Jadakiss. I’ve also worked with the group Pacific Division who are currently signed under Universal Records.
Another project I’m currently working on is for my boy Alexander the Great (ATG) mix tape – which is currently untitled. I just wrapped up a project for All American EFX a supplement company. I did background music for one of their product promo ads featuring IFBB Hall of Fame Pro bodybuilder Flex Wheeler.
And that’s off top of what I can think of right now…I’m sure there’s more.
What is you specialty when it comes to banging out dope beats?
I would have to say first drums. I love my drums and keys…I play the keys.
Are you classically trained in music theory at all? Some producers believe they have to be in order to make beats. What is your take on that?
Starting off at the beginning I’d have to say no. My brother and sister are both classically trained – mostly my sister. They actually got me more into music theory and other genres of music.
I don’t think that you have to be classically trained in order to make beats…I mean especially for today’s hip hop and R&B music…but it does help. Being classically trained does have its advantages. It can make a better producer but on the other hand to make a hit record it’s just got to sound good. It’s more about how your sounds actually sound and how your drums sound than what you actually play.
How big are you on drums? How important are they in your beat
making process? Let us know.
I mean that’s the heart and soul – the rhythm. It’s most important to me because it sets the energy and the tone of the track. Drums are very key.
Overall sound selection is very important when it comes to beat making. What are the types of sounds you dig for? Do you already have a folder with sounds you can always go to? Or do you find yourself digging a lot for new sounds?
It’s a mixture of both. I think sounds play a key part in it.
You can take a good sounding melody and play it with a crummy trumpet sound and then go back and replace it with a live trumpet; ultimately, after some changes, you have a completely different sounding track even though it’s the same melody.
I have a lot of sound folders but I try not to use too many preset sounds. I’m big on sound design and I usually create my own stuff from scratch. I also dig through records and take hits or loops from like soul records, jazz records or anything abstract. It really doesn’t matter, as long as it sounds good.
Top 5 greatest producers of all time?
Well, that’s hard to say because there are so many old and new producers. As far as my influences, I’ve got to say: Battle Cat, Dr. Dre, Peet Rock, DJ Quick, and The Rza.
What are you using right now to make beats? What made you pick this to bang out on?
Reason 5.0 baby! All day! I’ve been using Reason ever since they had the demo version out. It’s very efficient and I’m able to do everything anybody can do with hardware in the software. It’s just a smarter way to produce in my opinion.
What are your personal views on hardware vs software? Name a few of the advantages and disadvantages of either if any?
To me it’s all about personal preference, space and travel issues. I don’t have the room to have a million keyboards. Another disadvantage of using hardware is that if your MPC decides to crash you can lose everything! With a computer it’s easier to track out beats and I can image all my files on a regular basis. So to me, I think software is superior and that’s where it’s going as we can see with producers of today.
Do you mix your own beats? If so, give us some quick tips and tricks to use.
Yes, I do mix my own beats. I think a mistake people make is that they don’t reference their tracks. If you’re going to mix your beats – especially out of a home studio – and you don’t have an acoustically sound room, mix the beat the best that you can and then play it in other stereos to reference. After that play a professionally mixed record and then play your record. Once you do that, you will know what adjustments you need to make.
In this day in age, it seems a lot of producers are doing what is “hot” right now as opposed to going against the grain and shopping their own sound. Do you feel producers should make what is hot right now or original beats, or both.? What is your personal stance on this subject?
Well, it’s always good to be original and have your own sound. But at the same time if you don’t compete you don’t eat. Once you get to the level of selling music you have to be competitive. For instance, I make music for the love of it, but I sell music to make money. I can sit all day and make beats for myself and be happy with that; however, I sell music to make money – bottom line. I think that you’ve got to stay competitive but still bring some originality to the table. Doing this will give you longevity. If you just copy what’s out you might get a hit or two but your career as a producer will be short lived.
How busy are you with music? What does your work week consist of?
It really depends on what projects I have to work on. I have a manger in New York. When he calls me, I go to the studio and get to work. I’m also in the fitness industry which takes up a lot of my time. However, I always make time for music every day regardless…whether I’m shopping, mixing, recording or composing music.
Do you ever get beat block? If so, how do you get motivated again to make beats? What inspires you?
Yeah, I get beat block sometimes. I go back and listen to old beats that I’ve produced and just see what I need to improve on. I also go to the crates and listen to real music – good music.
Anything really inspires me, but what really inspires me is to study music. Sometimes I’ll lay off the beats for a little while…maybe a couple of days, maybe a week, and I just study.
Where do you get your sounds from? Do you sample? Make your own? Do you go sound shopping?
Usually I make my own sounds especially if I’m doing more electronic based stuff…synthesizers and things of that nature…but I sample too. I also play my own drums, bass and guitar from time to time. Usually when I sample I’ll play on top of my tracks. I even use factory sounds when necessary. If it sounds good and it works I use it.
Who are some of your major influences?
I’d have to say my immediate family, Curtis Mayfield, Willie Hutch, of course. Like I mentioned before, DJ Battle Cat (who I was signed under in 2005 and mentored me), Dr. Dre, DJ Quick, or course the Rza, DJ Premier, Jay-z (his first album really inspired me; it was one of the first albums that I went out and bought myself), J.Dilla, Slum Village, Young Jeezy, his producer Shawty Redd…just a lot of people…there are too many to name.
Some producers like to sample and there are others who would rather play. Which do you do, or do you prefer to do both? Give us your personal take on this as well…
I do both. I even combine both. I even start off with a sample and play on top of it. It really doesn’t matter as long as it sounds good. It just depends on the vibe or what artist I’m working with. I try to stay very versatile. I’d like to be a producer that can work with anybody – that’s what I strive for.
How many beats do you make a week on average? Are you the type of producer that spends a whole week on one beat? Or do you crank em’ out like clock work?
Before, I would make at least five a day. But as I really started to understand what it’s about, I discovered that it isn’t just about making tracks. There are a lot of producers that have great tracks, but those tracks don’t necessarily make good records for artists. As I’ve matured and gotten older, I’ve learned to really take my time and make records.
I try to create beats that an artist would sound good over. Some tracks just sound good as instrumentals. Nowadays I make maybe two or three a day at the most. I try not to go over that even if I’m in the zone…I just don’t push the issue.
What should we expect from Nikkel Plated in 2011? I know you got big thangs poppin!
Like I said, I had to start the year off with that Willie Brown I’m Not A Producer mix tape. Go download that! It’s got Busta Rhymes on it, Little Brother, Bishop Lamont, Glasses Malone, Crooked Eye, Kida, my boy ATG, it’s got production from Seige Monstrosity, myself of course, Willie Brown, Phonix. It’s a good way to start the year off; I’m really excited about that! I’m trying to work on some stuff for Jadakiss, so hopefully I can get on that. Of course I’m still going to shop to G-Unit – I’ve been working with them since 2008 – so I’m looking forward to that. Just whatever comes across my lap…I’m also working with Glasses Malone. He just picked up some records from me and he’s currently under Cash Money Records, so we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a good year.
How can producers connect with you?
I have a face book, but I don’t have a URL link to it…so you guys can just Google my government name: Nick Climons…and just add my on Facebook…I also have a MySapce myspace.com/nikkelplated…there is no Twitter…I also have a YouTube channel it’s just NikkelPlate. Also feel free to e-mail me at Nikkelplate@gmail.com.
Any shout outs?
Yes, first and foremost I’ve gotta shout out to my mom Mechelle, my dad Eddie, my sister Nicole, and my brother Eddie III holla back! I’ve got to give a shout out to my boy ATG, shout out to Blakk, Willie B., shout out to my manager Curt Hamilton, shout out to Emanny, shout out to DJ Battle Cat, Focus, shout out to myself, my girlfriend miss Maria, Chordz, Jason aka the Slingblade, my uncles Eriq, Marcus, Keith and David. My boy Cicero, my boy Jose and Tramahdrums for the interview opportunity!
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OMG Thank u very much these are new sounds I have never put my ears on. You're the truth. And may God bless you my guy.
Credits: Kurupt, Snoop, Eastsidaz, DJ Quick, Many More...
yessir! performed with Musiq Soulchild out there. lovin the kits dude! me n him in the lab right now! J-Troy Music Director and Bassist for Musiq Soulchild... Songwriter, Producer...
I think the sounds are incredible. Thanks for taking your time and doing quality sounds. Much love & respect from Award winning Multi Platinum Writer & Producer ...
I gotta say man I do music for ABC, NBC, CBS, MT, Spike, Discovery and BRAVO and plenty more. It’s kind of funny, but when I use some of your kits sounds from the past, the show producers always love the tracks, and always comment on the mix being top notch. So For anybody doubting them they need ...
Yo Traum I copped the drums a while ago... still using them..and actually started selling beats online… 1 year didn't sell shit... 5 months with your drums 18 sales on rocbattle...good looks homie..one hunnid ...
This is too true man.. As soon as I used your kits, my ish was bangin, full, and INSPIRED rather than just “another beat”! ...