In the studio with Ogi Feel the Beat
Jaz from the RepostExchange Team

The time has finally come to lift the lid on one of RepostExchange's most prolific producers. You'll know him for his ambient hip-hop beats riding high in the Re-Ex charts. With a musical journey spanning over two decades, starting with his first rap band 'Soul Souljazz' in 1999, he has crafted a distinctive sound that really resonates with our community. While also being a multi-instrumentalist, it's his project, Ogi Feel the Beat, started in 2010, that really showcases his talent for music production. Join us as we spotlight Ogi Feel the Beat in the studio!

How long have you been producing music and how did you learn? 

I learned a lot from older friends, workers on the radio, studio guys who recorded me and my bands, and more. I've been showing up in that scene making music, writing rhymes, and producing here or there for about 25 years with my first rap band 'Soul Souljazz' in 1999.

Becoming a producer was my second plan; I also play four instruments and sing. Those come to me from time to time, but nothing has been as serious as my project Ogi Feel the Beat, which I started in 2010.

What DAW(s) do you use and why?

I use Acid Pro 10 Suite now. It fits best with my technical skills and the time I have for making music, and it's given me the best results in a short amount of time.

What are your favourite pieces of gear and why?

My favourite gear is a solid desktop computer or a good laptop with some normal monitors (which don't need to be too high-end, just clear enough to give me a good picture at minimal volume). My favourite audio interface is the Focusrite Scarlett 8i6.

What are your favourite software plugins and why?

I love using coreFX plugins, tape simulators, iZotope Ozone, dynamic equalizers (I'm a big fan of a lot of reverb on my single channels but on mastering bus... I love it when all the tracks sound alive), and simple delay from Acid Pro, along with a normal equalizer and some other effects here or there. Lately, I've been using the coreFX Bitcrusher to make my finished beats.

How would you summarise your approach/workflow when creating a track?

My approach is very ambitious when I'm working. The workflow starts from a simple rhythm loop but sometimes with a few cuts, I'm able to make a perfect harmony and a good background.

Later I'll upgrade that with more samples, playing on one-shots and more as I make changes to drums, the bass line (I'm a big fan of cut and paste in my DAW).

Sometimes when I have the first loop I start to use mastering plugins and then keep upgrading under the master bus to make the song more quickly (I have two other jobs and five kids, so there's not enough space for me to make music more than three hours a daily... or sometimes just one hour or not at all on busier days).

What resources do you use to improve your craft?

I never follow tutorials. My resources to improve are my own ears. I use only use a tutorial if I have trouble installing or authorizing software. I also use resources like sample packs, and I'm always happy to find good deals on bundles.

What challenges related to making music do you face and how do you overcome them?

I don't get writer's block. I overcome that by opening a project with high-quality production, reprogram some notes, cut and paste, and start putting in tempos.

Then, I'll add 3-4 loops, sometimes erase pieces, change the main melody and drums, and by then I already have a new song in minimal time. Sometimes I finish a beat within 45 minutes!

Can you share any killer tips or techniques?

Always listen to the music at a low volume when the track is finished. If you can hear all the instruments, then you did a good job with the production. Use pans. Use buses on drums, bass, percussion, and vocals and make them all different pans directly on the bus if your DAW can do that.

Do you use any online tools to assist with the production process?

I use Youlean online to see if my song is under Spotify's standards (12-14 LUFS). Sometimes when I don't have time I use production from Soundcloud's Dolby mastering since I have three slots every month for free mastering.

Do you try and get feedback or suggestions to improve your music? If so, how?

Sometimes I send my final albums or tracks to a few people to listen for me, but that doesn't happen often. I believe in my skills to make quality music, and I believe in my monitors and ears.

Which track are you most proud of and why?

I am very proud of a track called Play Again, but not much more than I'm proud of the newest tracks that I've uploaded to Soundcloud almost every day in the last few weeks. That track hit first place on both Re-Ex charts (Top Ten and Hip Hop & Urban) for many days and stays on top of those lists.

A RepostExchange member I'm proud of working with is Written by Daniel, a poet and hip-hop lyricist. We've been making music for 10 years!

Has RepostExchange affected the way you make music? If so, how?

RepostExchange has totally inspired me as a new way of networking, and giving me the possibility of getting heard within half an hour by known and unknown people from speakers all around the world.

Desert Island Gear

Top L-R: colorFX Tape Machine, colorFX Bitcrusher.

Bottom L-R: Focusrite Scarlett 8i6, Acid Pro 11, APU Dynamic Equalizer.

Connect with Ogi Feel the Beat on RepostExchange, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Instagram.

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This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.