Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Headnodic Beats

Headnodic (photo by Scott Anderson)
Mission: - "BS II MF (Puba Remix)" from Mission:One (Japan Version) (2002, Bad News Records)
Headnodic - "Vallejo" from Now a Daze 12" (2004, Tres Records)

We recently got down with Crown City Rockers' bassist to ask him a few questions about his work. The man is also an avid producer for the group and has composed beats for several of today's finer underground acts. He is known as Headnodic. The name says it all, and without a doubt, you can expect his melodies to be whiplash inducing, bum burning, drum juggling, thumb bugging, funky, rhythmic, and bombtastically scrumptulescent.

Diggin' Music: Please tell us about yourself, who is Headnodic?

Headnodic: I'm a Sagitarius... I make beats all day long (mostly for Crown City Rockers)... I play the bass... and I'm the north-midwest regional US champion of the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game"... (challenge me MFers).

DM: Do you have any particular goals you want to accomplish through your music?

H: To get better at what I do... thats it.

DM: The "Plate Fork Knife Spoon" album just recently dropped. It was mentioned that one of the reasons why Mission: changed into Crown City Rockers (besides the legal matters behind the name) was because of the minimal focus on the production and more attention directed towards the MC's. Was "Plate Fork Knife Spoon" solely a dedicated effort towards expressing the melodic aspects of you and your crew? Please explain.

H: Plate Fork Knife Spoon - was a project we made out of several jam sessions. Kat, Max and myself have been grooving and improvising together for years. This was a chance to make a record that focused on the free-form grooves that we play. Most of the album (minus about 3 songs) were made up on the spot.

DM: You produced the Project Move single on Sunmoon Records, Woo b/w Butterfly Theory. Did you work on anything else that is going to appear on their forthcoming album?

H: There is another joint that we did that will be on that album (slammin' album by the way).

DM: Just recently, Moe Pope united with the Crown City Rockers for a San Francisco show. This was regarded as a "Mission: Reunion". From there, it was speculated that Mission: would be reformed. Is this true?

H: I can not confirm nor deny such allegations... no, I'm playin' Mission is in the past. Moe's doing good with his group and Crown City is doing good. We'll definitely get him on the next Crown City record if possible.

DM: What can you tell us about the upcoming Megaphone album with Moe Pope?

H: Moe Pope and Headnodic present..."Megaphone" is the album that we did in 11 days, when he came out to Cali. We were going to do an EP, but it sounded a little too good, so we've decided to make a couple more tracks, and make it a full-length...

DM: Are your beats something you work on insistently? Do you sit in front of your equipment and progressively build upon a track, or is it something that comes fortuitously?

H: Some tracks take 15 minutes... Others take 5 years. I just keep bangin' on it 'till it sounds right.

DM: How has your production developed over the past few years? What kind of tools are you working with? Do you plan on expanding your current musical boundaries?

H: I use a computer now and make a lot of my own samples in ProTools. I try to make that 70's vinyl sound so alot of it is recording drums in large rooms with 2 mics. It works out perfect for me because I tour with Crown City's drummer Max MacVeety and we play different size rooms all the time, so we'll get out my DAT machine and do a "Break session" wherever we go. I'll sift through the patterns and loop up the dopest part, and mix it, and make a beat.

DM: You graduated from Berklee College of Music, was it your initial plan to pursue a career based on music? How early in life was this ambition engraved in your mind?

H: I got a bass in 7th grade and I've been at it ever since. I bought a (one button, 8 sec.) sampler in high school, and a 4track and made an album with my homie Balance the MC. We sold them out of our locker, and that was it.

DM: Tell us about the video shoot you did for the song "Beautiful" with DJ Tonk and Raashan Ahmad. You're up in there rocking a large bass and eating a cheeseburger, which is ill.

H: I still haven't seen that. I think it's at I'm gonna check that out after this. They recorded the vocals for that song at my studio, so when it came time to do the video they came back and I tagged along. Tonk is dope... What up Tonk?

DM: Who has had the most influence on you in terms of your production? Is there anybody you would like to work with? Any dream collaborations?

H: I just hit Ghostface off with a beat CD... that would be the illest. of course Rakim, I'd love to get him back on some fast "follow the leader" shit. I want to get Raashan and Airto in a room together (I just want to push record on that). there are countless people I want to work with... for now I'm looking around the bay. I hope to do more stuff with Zion, Gift of Gab, and P.E.A.C.E.

DM: What music have you been listening to recently, Hip Hop or otherwise?

H: Tango music: Astor Piazzolla
A lot World music: Indonesia Gamelan stuff, Boliwood, Brazil (as always), Caetano Veloso, Lila Downs.
HipHop: The Perceptionists, Zion I, Ludacris, Wu, Timbaland.
Rock, Soul, Jazz etc.

DM: Are there any other projects not yet discussed that you're currently working on? What's next for Headnodic?

H: I did this joint "Viles" with Micha 9 and P.E.A.C.E. that I've been bumping a lot... That should be out on Micha's record in a couple months. I'm working with Destani Wolf (who sang on our album) and the new Crown City album, I'm staying crazy busy.

DM: Is there any advice you would like to impart upon aspiring producers?

H: Don't use cheater-records or sample CD's.

To learn more about Headnodic, you can visit both and