Welcome Adrian Villagomez, aka A-Villa, the producer from Chicago.
After having cut his teeth with a good apprenticeship (with Tony Touch, among others, no less), he arrives at the first album, Carry On Tradition, well received by critics and packed with some of the most interesting names around (to say, Cormega, Killer Mike, Marciano, Bronson, Ras Kass, Az, G Rap and many others).
A keen supporter of the philosophy of digging, A-Villa does not focus on particularly daring chops or abstruse compositions. Most samples do it and how they sound. And that’s okay, as in the best tradition of “classic” hip hop.
First commercial beat sold/placed:
I produced the song “Power Cypha” featuring Willie The Kid off of Tony Touch’s The Piecemaker 3 album.
How long did it take you to produce something that you were proud of:
I didn’t make something I was proud of until 3 months after I started making beats. My first batch of beats was far from my production standards today, but it’s all a part of the learning process. Practice makes perfect in anything in life.
Favourite production set-up:
Maschine with Ableton, Protools on iMac, Technics 1200, lots of old records, a keyboard, bass guitar, drum set, and some Yamaha monitors. But I can make good music with anything. These are all just tools.
Best digging advice from someone ever:
I started digging on my own because that’s what all my favourite producers were doing. I actually went digging with Pete Rock in Chicago last year and he made me feel like an amateur.
Since then I’ve really stepped my game up. I learned…not to be afraid to get your hands dirty, take chances when digging, and explore new music genres & eras you’re not normally accustomed to listening to or sampling from.
Producer, in the last 3 months, that made you say: “Oh, shit, I have to go back to the lab!”:
Nobody really in the last 3 months. As a producer, I’m more inspired by music from the past. I usually go back and listen to the Bomb Squad, Marley Marl, and producers like that for inspiration.
Honestly, my album is the only new music I’m listening to right now. Not to sound cocky, but I’m really proud of what I made and I think it’s the best music out.
Your worst production mistake ever made:
Working off of an older computer and risking a computer crash, which has caused me to lose entire beats and sessions. That’s very frustrating. Make sure your hardware is up to par and your software is updated.
One essential mixing tip: Always test the sound and quality of your mixes using various locations and speaker options. When I’m working on a song mix…I make sure to test it out in a few car stereo systems, a few studio monitor set-ups, a few headphones, a few home stereo set-ups, Bluetooth speakers, club speakers, and in different room sizes.
Everyone hears music differently and in different places. So you want to get the best sense of how your audience will listen to and interpret your music sonically.