We meet production duo, twin brothers, Christian Rich…
Firstly, briefly introduce yourself.
Taiwo Hassan and Kehinde Hassan.
Where are you from?
Born in Chicago, raised in Lagos, Nigeria and Chicago.
How would you describe your style of production?
Our style of production can vary from mellow to hard-hitting. The one unique thing in every track is hard drums. We like to incorporate really dreamy, bossa nova type chords any chance we get. A lot of artists don’t get that, so it’s challenging sometimes.
What would you say are the most popular beats you’ve created?
Vince Staples – ‘Señorita’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Chum’ + ‘Centurion’
Clipse – ‘I’m Serious’
Childish Gambino – ‘Crawl’ + ‘The Palisades’
J Cole – ‘Sparks Will Fly’
What is your favourite song you’ve worked on and why?
That’s tough, we would say Childish Gambino ‘Crawl’ because of the chord structure. The chord idea came from a French movie we were watching, but we made the final product dark instead of happy. There’s a song we just heard on Tame Impala’s new album that took our chord idea from ‘Crawl’ – to us that shows ‘Crawl’ really penetrated through all types of markets and people. It shows us that people get it.
Do you think that production software becoming more accessible to just anyone is a good or bad thing for music? Why is that?
We think it’s good for music, it makes everyone step their game up and question whether they really want to do music or not. If our 10 year old nephew is able to make a banger just like we can at 33, then we either have to decide to compete with him or elevate our position in the industry to cultivate and enhance the business of music and not just worry about making dope beats. You’re either gonna be Max Martin or my 10 year old nephew.
What influences you as a producer?
The intangible really influences us. That abstract feeling you get when you hear the right chord at the wrong time and your eyes just pop. That bass or 808 that hits your chest when you’re eating a kale salad.
How did you begin making music?
Music was a hobby first when we came back to the states in 1990. We kept exploring the beats all these rappers were on and were really drawn to that.
Was it a particular influence or circumstance?
The influence of A Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock and many others really played a role. We were expected to be doctors and lawyers, so in the beginning this was just a hobby.
What draws you to creating instrumentals?
It really depends on how you feel. We have to be in a good zen state of mind to make a track. Making tracks is a form of meditation – our minds have to be clear and we have to channel a certain energy and spirit.
Were you ever involved in any other musical projects besides what you are doing right now?
Nope. It’s always been Christian Rich.
What, for you, is the perfect beat?
Hard 808, menacing chords and some random vocal chops.
Can you tell us about any projects coming in 2016?
Well our album FW14 came out in August so we’re already starting work on our next LP.
This is an article from the SS16 issue of Viper. Buy the SS16 issue of Viper Magazine with Novelist on the cover via BigCartel.
Photo by Samuel Trotter