If you haven’t heard of J.O.D. yet, you might already know about his golden touch.
Among the latest (and most beautiful) surprises that the fertile Italian underground beat-making has brought us, leaving us a strong feeling of good vibes, we have J.O.D. from Pescara, Italy. Soundsmith from the robust Abruzzese’s school, even if not exactly a newbie, maybe his name is completely new to you, as it was to us until some time ago. His music, however, speaks loud and clear and travels across the globe for quite some times now. Even at home, it is known for its discreet but strong presence on various records and overseas productions, with a decidedly soulful and authentic touch. J.O.D. recently released with his latest work The Onda EP, five songs with as many protagonists of the US underground scene, we met him for you. To make us talk about his approach to the art of beat-making, production, mixing, digging, and bringing you a little piece of Italy that runs around the world.
The very first beat you’ve sold/placed?
I don’t remember the first beat sold, I think it was on Soundcloud around 2012, for an American artist whose name I don’t remember. He paid me the beat, but I don’t know what happened next with the song. The first beat placed on an official album was on Verbal Kent’s Anesthesia in 2015, for Mello Music Group, the song is called September. The business side of music is very important, but it has never been the engine that pushed me to create, money in art is vital but it is not the end if what I create does not excite me anything of what follows it is worth.
How long did it take you to produce something that I was proud of?
It is a question that is difficult to answer because I am never totally proud of the finished product. Technically I learned in a couple of years, attending Ceasar studio (The Ceasars, NDA) and looking at how he worked, he was the first to give me positive feedback, but also to tell me that the samples I used were beautiful but they didn’t go well with the drums and that I had to improve.
Another person I learned a lot from is P-Tech Santiago, a Swedish beat-maker who taught me a lot, and after 4/5 years I found my style and personality in what I do, it’s a day by day learning, it’s never-ending. An episode that made me particularly proud was when Alchemist shared a song I had produced for Smoovth on his Twitter profile for his album SS96J, the title is Ouija.
Your favourite set-up for production?
Fruity Loops Studio, samples, midi keyboard, coffee or herbal tea, a few candles or incense and the phone in off mode. I’m not a fanatic of musical tools, I never believed in the medium you use, if you have nothing to say there is no machine in the world that makes you express. Of course, I am fascinated by certain machines, absolutely the Ensoniq ASR-10 and the Akai MPC 4000, but in the end, I know what I want to do and how I want to play, so one medium is as good as another.
The best “digging advice” you’ve ever received?
I can’t tell you exactly anyone, the producers, especially those who work with samples, don’t often share their tricks and sources with other producers, they are a bit like gold diggers or truffle hunters.
The producer, in the last 3 months, that made you say: “Oh, shit, I have to get back on the machines”?
There are so many producers that I like lately, in America there’s JLVSN, he’s a very gifted producer on the rise, then V-Don, Camouflage Monk, DirtyDiggs, Daringer, Animoss, Knxwledge, and in any case almost every time a new song produced by Alchemist is released, 9th Wonder or Hi-Tek, inspires me always doing something. In Italy, I really liked the record that produced Big Joe for Johnny Marsiglia, Memory, and also Cuns of Tuff Kong Records makes very nice productions.
The worst production mistake you ever made?
Try to make a beat similar to something I heard from another producer: 9 times out of 10 something senseless comes out. Inspiration is essential for every artist, but emulation or wanting to redo something that already exists doesn’t take you far.
An essential mixing tip?
I’m not the right person to ask, I’ve never been a guru regarding the mix part, I trust my ears a lot, what I can say is not to overdo or “overmix”. Especially today, where you just need to download a plugin and can do a lot, the mistake you might run into is to want to do too much in terms of mix and volume: a song is like good food, it should never be overcooked or too spicy. There is not always a need for super compression or mega equalization to make a song sound good.