Beatnick and K-Salaam Jump “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
New York, N.Y. -- Back in late August, we jumped In The Mix with Mullage, the Atlanta duo who brought us reader-acclaimed single 'Trick'n." In the 10th installment of our Booth-exclusive interview series, we're giving readers an up-close and personal look at K-Salaam & Beatnick, the up-and-coming production duo whose newly-released Never Can Say Goodbye mixtape finds them remixing classic cuts by such R&B/soul greats as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
Since first catching our attention with their revamp of Common's "The Corner" (included on their S.T.O.R.Y. mixtape), the Minneapolis-bred, NYC-based twosome have become a regular presence on our front page, earning rave reviews not only for their lush, innovative remixes of other artists' records but also for their original work with the reader-acclaimed likes of U-N-I, K'naan, Buckshot, Bun B and Colin Munroe (all featured, along with such big names as Lil Wayne and Young Buck, on their recent Where the Streets Have No Name mixtape). Heralded by the duo's reimaginings of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and the Michael Jackson-performed title track, the hotly-anticipated Never Can Say Goodbye street album showcases K-Salaam & Beatnick as rising stars with the confidence and the skills to do their musical idols proud.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, K-Salaam & Beatnick discuss their impending transition from the studio to the stage, the differences in approach that make them more powerful together than apart, and which musical legends of any era or genre they would have liked to have had the opportunity to collaborate with.
On your new project, Never Say Goodbye, you work with classic songs from artists like Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Were you nervous about touching such sacred material?
Beatnick: Not at all.
K-Salaam: Nah. We are confident in what we can do as producers. We know what level we are on. We weren't nervous.
Building on the theme of New Say Goodbye, which artists, from any time period, would you have liked to work with?
B: Jimi Hendrix, Sly and The Family Stone, Tower of Power, Tupac, and Bob Marley.
K: Besides the artists on Never Can Say Goodbye, I would say: Prince, Bob Marley, George Clinton, there are so many, man...
You work with production partner Beatnick. How do your individual styles and strengths compliment each other?
B: I'm more the hands-on producer.
K: I'm more the dude who structures and guides everything.
B: We work so well together on so many levels. We never get into fights. We really respect each others space.
K: I really feel like Nick is the talent and technique, and I am the drive and vision. We have too much to offer as a team. We will not accept anything less than being great.
You’ll be producing live for the first time soon. How do you make sure you can translate your music from the studio to the stage?
B: We really put a lot of time into that. It's a challenge to actually bring your equipment on stage and make music live while also putting on a show.
K: Yeah, because producing in real life doesn't work like that. It takes hours, sometimes days to make a great composition.
B: We basically had to pick some of our compositions that we feel like would be most interesting to do live, and then we had to dissect them like a puzzle. We had to take them apart in order to see how we would put them back together on stage in a live setting.
K: We are doing a lot of looping on the spot. We go through beats pretty quickly, it's not the real way that we would work in a studio, but it's entertaining. And we mix some of the beats together. It's really creative and it was a lot of fun to put together.
B: Yeah, we are also incorporating live instruments and turntablism since that is also a part of who we are.
K: Nick does some crazy solos on the guitar, bass, keys, and vocoder. While I do some turntablist solos. It's a dope routine. We're gonna move forward with it pretty heavy.
B: Yeah, we just want to thank everybody who has been showing us so much love. All the blogs, websites, DJ's, and just people in general.
K: We do this because we truly love music. If you feel our music, tell your friends. Spread the word. That's all.
To download Never Say Goodbye on RefinedHype.com right now, click here.