Q&A With Up And Coming French Producer ALM

Yo ALM!! We are blessed to be able to expose quality french Hip Hop!! Especially from a true up and coming producer such as yourself!!  One of our main contributors BOOM really loved your EP and reviewed it, giving it a solid 8/10!!  Please let us know when was the first time you ever laid hands on production equipment? What motivated you to become a producer/Beat Maker? Are you a software or hardware producer?

I tried to make my first beat at 10-11 years old. I used a PC and I just tried to sample some sounds of the first Tomb Raider video game. Then I owned my first sampler at 12: the Zoom ST224. I recorded my beats and rappers from my hood with a tape player/recorder.

I really involved myself in the music production at 20 years old. I fully produced an EP and an album (as rapper and producer). For these projects, I used mainly Cubase and plugins. Then I decided to stop rapping and focused myself on beatmaking and engineering. I started to buy some equipments: the sampler AKAI S950, Korg synthesizer, analog mixer, some racks and then I bought a MPC 1000 replaced nest by a MPC 2500. In 2012, I opened my first studio and I decided to sell all these stuffs to invest in high-class studio equipment, mainly mastering equipment because my objective was to open a dedicated mastering studio. I opened it in 2014 and now I have a professional high-class mastering studio in Montpellier (www.alm-studio.com). For the beatmaking, now I only use Maschine of Native instrument with a lot of plugins, and I have my own sample library (that I created with the S950, the MPC and all stuffs)

Tell us about the underground Hip Hop scene out there in France?

Wow that’s a huge question. Well, as around the world, hip hop is now everywhere in France: underground, mainstream, rich and poor people. You have a kind of hip hop for everybody. In France, hip hop is now omnipresent in the society: media, television, sport, festival… We have a lot of underground artists, perhaps too much? For real you can find rappers in every hood, every city. In Montpellier, for example, every week we have hip hop live concerts, open mic session, DJ in bars, concert hall… Hip hop is everywhere but the talented and “serious” artists are rarer. It’s why I don’t hesitate to work with artists around the world.

Out there in France, do people use social media as much as people out here in the US do! Instagram seems like the place to be nowadays! Give us you take on how important or non-important social media is out there!

For sure, people use a lot of social media here. As label manager, artist and studio owner, these last years I really worked hard to get a great exposure on social media. Recently, I recruit my first partner for the label and she worked on web marketing, social media, press, and booking…

Personally, I’m not a fan of Instagram and snapchat because it’s not easy to publish music content (with a good quality of listening). For me, these social media are more for pics and the interaction is ephemeral. I think the platform to be (and to be good) is now Spotify. Their last improvements for the artist pages are very cool and nowadays to be in playlists is the most important thing. Moreover, thanks to Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube my audience is truly located around the world.

Please breakdown the creative process of your new “Beauty for Freedom” EP? how did you end up connecting with those extremely talented international singers?

In 2017 I released an international chill music compilation called ‘Above the Clouds’ (https://www.feiyr.com/x/BNTR6). After that, I decided to release, in the same way, an international project but only with my own beats. I wanted to release an album with talented artists that I have chosen. I’ve been inspired by hip-hop producers like DJ Khaled, Mike Will Made It, Dr. Dre, Timbaland and so on. For the moment, I can’t invite Nas and Kendrick on my album but perhaps one day? lol

So one year before I activated my network and prepared a selection of beats. Then I sent all the beats to different artists around the world and I selected these five songs because I felt something special, something coherent. They recorded the vocals and sent me everything for mixing and mastering. Thanks to the internet, it’s very easy to work like that now. You only have to be credible. I always send my previous projects to the artists and more and more I have their confidence. Finally, I founded the project title “Beauty for Freedom” the first time I listened to the draft of “Just Begun”. It was a special moment!

How often do you perform out in France!? Any there any dope downtown hotspots out there in France that are known for Hip Hop shows/events!?

Well, it depends on the projects. For each release, I try to perform as much as possible. Usually, I do around 10-15 concerts and radio per release but it really depends. We can perform in each medium and big cities here, it’s not really difficult because hip hop is very famous. What is more difficult is to get a decent revenue and to play in high-class concert halls. But it’s possible if you have a good marketing strategy and an efficient team.

Please tell us abut your mission statement regarding your music and movement. What do you want fans to walk away with after listening toy our projects? Also, please describe your sound in the simplest way possible?

In general, I really pay attention to the sound quality. Certainly, because I’m mastering engineer… I try to get my own sound in composition, mixing and mastering. My sound is dynamic punchy warm and I hope with a lot of emotion. In rap music, too many artists neglect the global sound quality because it’s very easy to produce a beat, record a vocal, make a basic mastering and put it on Youtube. Guys use the same plugins and sample banks, the same mastering tools put everything at the maximum and at the end the sound is saturated and lifeless. I try to stand out from others with the sound quality.

For this project, the challenge was to create a perfect sounding harmony with five different artists from pop to modern soul, abstract and rap music. The thread between the songs is the beauty. In art, we are all looking for beauty or energy to escape from the material world and our everyday life. This EP is just a piece of beauty to release our mind and travel to another world. As a producer, I really paid attention to get perfect melodies harmony. My objective was definitely to get a warm sounding and smooth album.

What you got cooking next? Anything special for Summer 2018!!??

Yeah sure, 2018 is a very rich year for the label. In July, we will release a maxi single of remixes of the song Twerk by Vaskez Malakay, a rapper that I produced. We are shooting the clip for the deep house remix, especially for the summer. I’m so excited, it will be so hot. Then, we will release an international mixtape in September with artists around the world again. The project is mixed by DJ Bigmat, a famous DJ from Montpellier. It will be a real international mixtape with several featurings.

Our most popular question, what is your definition of “Underground Hip Hop”?

For me, underground hip hop is all the hip hop culture not supported by the major companies and mainstream media. It’s not a kind of sound but more a position in the music industry.

Where can fans find your music? Drop all links!!






Any Shout Outs??

Big up undergroundhiphopblog.com you are probably the best blog around the world supporting rising artists!

About Armando Urena Jr

Senior Publisher for @UGHHBLOG // Been an Underground Hip Hop fan all my life and I'm dedicated to keeping the culture alive on a daily basis. Working hard every day and staying positive is what LIFE is all about.