Hailing from South-East London Da Beatfreakz Obi and Uche have imposed their production style and flavour on the UK music scene, building a name for themselves as one of the UKs top production duos. With a versatile and flagrant production style that combines their Nigerian heritage and their London lifestyle, Da Beatfreakz have stayed busy architecting some of the biggest songs over the past 10 years, working alongside artists like Fredo, D-Block Europe and more. In addition to producing tracks for some of the scene’s biggest names, Da Beatfreakz have also headed their own singles like ‘Swingin in da Whip’ featuring Giggs, ‘Pumpy’ with AJ, Deno, Swarmz & Cadet which rocketed to the top of the charts and dominating radio.
Boasting over 150M combined streams and production on platinum songs, the duo have turned their attention to building their very first body of work #FAMILYBUSINESS. Ahead of its release, we got a chance to catch up with Da Beatfeakz and talk musical influences, culture and what sound we can expect from the upcoming project.
Guys how are you feeling, how is lockdown and working?
Still working, everybody is kind of used to the lockdown now and we can still go studio and do it from home, so we are cool. We have been able to work all through this lockdown.
How is South-East London for people who aren’t familiar, specifically Charlton where you guys are from?
We are from Charlton originally. We have a mix of Asians, Somalis, white people Nigerians very vibrant. We have working-class people, a council area and everyone grows up together. It’s like a family type of unit we have all grown up together it’s a good environment. Obviously, it’s got its bad parts like any council area, but a lot of well-known footballers and musicians came from the area it’s definitely a hub for a lot of talent.
Who decides the process of making a song? Is it you Obi that decides who goes first on the beat or the structure of the song?
Both of us, man. We sit together and listen to the beat and pick a song. By the beat, we can usually know who will go well on the song. A lot of times we choose people that you wouldn’t necessarily think will go with the song. Like for instance, in the 808 song when B Young came on the hook a lot of people would be doubting it, but we just knew it would be a smash. When you hear a certain voice or vocal, we know when it will match a certain beat even though he isn’t from the drill type of scene. We knew it would be a hit and that’s the difference between a beatmaker and a producer, we are real producers we know how to formulate a song—we don’t just send off a beat via email. The hook came last on 808 so we had the rap verses first then we sent the beat with the open hook to a few artists, and we had 3 to 4 versions of the song and we heard B Youngs, and it was the strongest, so we kept him on it.
Is it there anything about the production and music game that has changed since the early days when you guys started?
Recording has gotten much better like when it comes to equipment, like obviously in the 80s and 90s, they were recording on more hard types of equipment and then in our time we still had to record with a PC or a massive Mac you don’t have to do that now. Now you can walk around with a laptop don’t have to spend as much and anyone can make a beat. Think just like you said N-Dubz days and So Solid or Mark Morrison days our UK music has always been great but now everything is meshing well together urban music is the top music in this country and now because of the internet, UK music is influencing the world. We see the influence even in Australia with One Four like you can see they are doing songs with Dutchavelli and other UK artists the sound is getting out there.
How would you describe your sound, or would you say you adapt to the times?
It depends man, it’s not really about adapting for us because we have our own sound. 808s is a drill influenced song, but it has a lot of hip hop elements to it, so it really depends on what’s hot to us and what we think sounds good. If it’s hot, we are going to run with it. Like for example we made the song ‘Self Obsessed’ but at the time Afro or afro swing wasn’t hot, but we thought it was hot and stuck with it and the song did well.
Your project FAMILYBUSINESS is on the way. Does it feel different this time because it’s your own work?
100% but like you said before we been working on it for time. Obviously from the success of our last few songs like ‘808s’ or ‘Pumpy’ and ‘Motorola’, it just made sense it was natural that it was going to come to this. We have been doing this for a long time and had to step it up a level and put out a body of work. An artist isn’t known as an artist until they have a body of work and we want to prove that we aren’t just about singles and we can produce a solid body of work. By god’s grace we had some big ones, but we got some bigger ones coming.
What type of sound should we expect from FAMILYBUSINESS?
Our last song 808 has drill elements and when you listen to it, it’s more musical—it has a structure. There’s a chorus there’s a verse—that’s why it worked so well on the radio. For us, if there’s a sound there, we take it to the next level just like we did with ‘Self-Obsessed’ which has an afro swing vibe to it. We are from Nigeria originally, so it’ll have Nigerian influence, and we represent the UK so there will be UK sounds in our music so all of that together will be family music. African artists, Jamaican artists, American Artists and even an Australian artist on this one project.
Do you have a favourite sound you are listening to right now?
OBI: RnB, Hip Hop, Rap and I’ve been listening to some South African house. We are Nigerian so obviously some Afrobeat. I don’t listen to Opera or really any music with orchestras, but I like a lot of old school R&B and you can expect some on FAMILYBUSINESS because we sampled a lot of old school R&B, but we do like to mix it up.
Uche: For me it’s more the hard shit that Lil Baby, Moneybagg Yo. That’s what I ride to.
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