A day with the amazing producer, Major Bangz as Team Jaguda caught up with him in his studio.
Let’s meet Nigeria’s next rated Producer, Major Bangz!
Jaguda: A background check on the man Major Bangz.
Major Bangz(@majorbangz1): Actually my mom calls me Michael. Lately though, my parents call me Major.
The whole production biz started in secondary school. At that time, we weren’t introduced to digital music production. A friend of mine used to have a vintage yamaha PSR 250 keyboard. *smh* Them good old days when life was easier.
We were not like gurus or very good on the piano (hey no parent wanted their kids dabbling into music then), but we had tricks that we could use to make music. After making the beat, we would save it on a diskete (who remembers that shii) then take it to a dj to transfer it to tape. Lol! Them days!
The dream grew much bigger when I got admitted into University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNEC campus.
There I met some chaps and we became friends. They were already ahead of me in the science and art of music production. Man did I learn from them? I was a sponge!!!
We learnt from each other (as iron sharpeneth iron and cuts away firewood) and we later formed a production team called “Department of Sound”. It comprised of Noizque, BeatOven (get it? Love that name) and myself.
Noizque came up with the brilliant idea of playing the beats we made for artists instead of just keeping them under our beds and bumping heads to them. It was from there we had the opportunity of meeting Mr Chris who was Waje’s manager at the time. Long story short, we succeeded in making a record for Waje called “super women”. It was an amazing record, an rnb-hip hop type joint. Unfortunately the record was never released due to issues between Waje and the record company (*yimu face* don’t ask me o! I don’t know the issues!!!).
So na so we take start the journey o!
Jaguda: What/Who tickles Major Bangz artistic fancy?
Major Bangz: My artistic/production fantasy is driven by so many factors..
There are soooooo many influences, but here are a few;
my emotions (yes,what I’m going through at a particular time has a way of fuelling the work). Also my production mentors… In hiphop they are a whole lot Just Blaze, Timbaland, Justice League, Swizz Beatz, Rick Rubin, Boi1da, Hit Boy, Cardiak, Neptunes, Noah “40” Shebib, The Incredibles, Ryan Leslie, Rico Love and Kanye West to mention a few. Yes o! A few, this interview can’t take them all. (Oh and thank you for the privilege of granting me this interview!) Back to the matter, then in EDM(electronic dance music) producers like Major Lazer, Skrillex, Kill the Noize, Diplo, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Hardwell etc motivate me to improve every friggin day.
I listen to every genre of music.. I swear, I told my manager this same thing and he was like “Every producer says this”. Its true though, I listen to everything. No one is excluded…I mean every type, even the sound of birds. I’m an eclectic listener, I love every sound no matter how nasty it is. I dont care if is the sound of a 911 carrying cows, hopefully though I won’t ride with them cows. Lol.
All sounds are useful, they’re my raw material.
Jaguda: How is a typical beat production scheduled?
Major Bangz: A typical beat production is scheduled in different ways,
sometimes, you have an idea of what you want to make, sometimes you dont. What is constant though, is that you want to create something that is so mad that every one must move within the first 10secs… Those 10 seconds are critical, because too may things jostle for your attention all at once!
“you cannot wait for inspiration to kick off a project but action triggers inspiration”
Some producers like to start their beats with the kick and percussion layered first. Some like to play the melody and chord progressions first before layering the drum lines and percussion… but the Major Bangz production process101 (its giving me a rush just yarning about it Lucy) is to start with the kick first, you need to make sure that you’ve gotten the bounce right. (The kick/drumline is what makes us dance.) Next, the percussion (conga, tambla, tambourine, slapping your cheeks, snaps etc can you feel the neck twerking already?) This is what adds brilliant colors to the already layered drums by making the groove tasty and also creating more bounce. Then, like the hawt damsel she is, in sways the melody. She is the one that creates what i call a “constant memory” in the song. A melody should be very very memorable. You could experiment with different instruments maybe synths or guitars or i could do some sound design artistry on the line..
And then we play a suitable bass line which adds warmth, fullness and body to the song… like it was played live on stage.
The finale is mixing/mastering.. This is responsible for clarity, intelligence and depth.
Whenever your hear a song and it sounds together or off, its due to the mix/mastering.
Jaguda: Hi, we are still with Major Bangz. Speaking of “Hi”, Why did he produce Tonto’s video version of the song?
Major Bangz: HAHAHAHAHAHA, Tonto my love! Still need to give her a hit album!
Here’s how that happened.
At the time Tonto dropped her greatest hit which blew ever body away, I was signed to Mogul music. I got a call from my CEO and he said “I want you to do a remix of high, once u do, Nigeria will know u in one day”. I don’t know if Nigeria knows me yet though.
Anyways, I had to experiment with it, because I knew that the only genre that would fit was Electronic music. So I made the unofficial version of that record, I was happy it got bi-polar reactions. Some people loved it, some didn’t. Few weeks later we get a call saying that Tonto Dike’s management wants to use my remix for the music video..
My CEO and I decided I had to make an even doper more banging remix than we’d already done for the music video.
I made that remix to show every one that we can make gold out of almost anything if we are creative enough!
Jaguda: 7 out of 19 tracks on No Guts No Glory! And there were about five producers on the album. How does it feel to make bangers for the man of the year? What’s the entire bizzazz behind that?
Major Bangz: It feels so great, exhilarating, its like completing the first mission while playing an adventure game on God mode!!!
Working with Phyno has been a great experience! Massively awesome. For one, there’s great chemistry in our work.
I started working with him (Phyno) officially August 2013.
My contract with mogul music had expired at that time. In 2012, I had already reached out and told him that I wanted to do major production for his upcoming projects. I started making beats for album in april 2013.
During a particular period, I got really ill, I mean I had no energy to move or do anything, type ill.. I managed to call a friend of mine to get me drugs (how I did that, I don’t even know). Some time after taking the drugs, I made the beat for Parcel. I sent it to him and that was it..
Phyno is an amazing producer/engineer. He knows exactly what he wants to achieve on a track. He is blessed with massive track ideas which is so different from the usual.
Jaguda: How has the social media helped in giving more visibility to producers in the last 5 years?
Major Bangz: Before now, a lot of artist/producers would send shout outs to radio OAPs and DJ’s on their tracks. Now bloggers are included in the mix, the social media is the reason why the masses talk about producers as much as they talk about the artist.
These days, when an artist drops a song some percentage of people will download the track because a known producer produced the shiznit. So yes, I truly believe the social media has played an important role in that! Hell! See now, Major Bangz dey do interview! Next na producer of the year, sitting beside Dr Dre for BET Award show! No backstage things!!! DBanj, please LET ME PRODUCE YOUR NEXT TRACK AND PUT THE BANGER BACK IN THE NAME!!! PLEASE!!!
And that’s due to social media!
Jaguda: What’s your best song on Phyno’s NGNG album and why?
Major Bangz: My best song on the album is ‘Good Die Young’. The song’s so heartfelt and tells real life stories of his friends and people that looked to help him that passed away at the prime of their lives. People talk about B.I.G, Pac, Pun, Big L like they were there, well Phyno paid mad props to Mc Loaf and a few others that touched his life and are no more.
It explains partly what I’ve also been through.
Jaguda: Advice to newbiees
Major Bangz: Hian see me o! Major Bangz giving advise, Bob Alash, its you o! What do I know sef?
NEVER GIVE UP on your production career. Always think 4-5 years ahead of time while making music. Avoid trending music. Always think differently. That’s the only way to stand the test of time. Don’t be good, Be Great!
Jaguda: How much do producers make off artistes?
Major Bangz: Well,pricing is relative and subjective. Some artists pay 150k to 200k to their producers it varies.. Some producers are signed to artists so that’s a contractual agreement and subject to the terms of the contract.
Jaguda: Are you on any international artistes’ payroll?
Major Bangz: I pray so.. Im going to be. Shey D’Banj na international artiste! Make my manager start the waka naah!!! Mr Jewju-Brown oya how far?!! Just as God bless Hitboy and the rest of them, I dey count my own small small.
Jaguda: Future projects, any other tricks under your sleeves? Also are you where you hoped and dreamed to be, or is Major Bangz still far from his goal?
Major Bangz: I’ve done a lot of projects that will be out soon…
I’ve been recruited to work on Olamide’s Kinging album, Wande Coal, M.I and a few more buns in the oven.
Absolutely not there yet, the race is still on. The road still long, work still has to be heavily extensive in order to break boundaries globally.
I mean, I want to go global, I want to get beyond that level where Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze etc are… Because really, they just produce for the American market and due to the American media behemoth, they are carried everywhere, they don’t produce globally!
People like Max Martin are the level we want to reach!