"Without a beat, it's just a rhyme..."
 

We R Producers

Interview With DJ Essence


 

 

 

 

Marv
Esso! What up fam.

Esso
Doing good my dude. Thanks for the opportunity.

Marv
No problem fam. Let me start by saying thank you for getting up with me. You are one of the Pioneers Producer’s of our genre and have contributed a lot CHH.

Esso
lol…I don’t know about that, but appreciate the respect.

Marv
Well you have bro. Lamp Mode Records is a label that have always had dope artist on the roster. I think that’s a big deal.

Esso
Word, well thanks.

Marv
How long have you been producing?

Esso
I bought my first MPC 2000 in 1998. That was 16 years ago.

Esso
I don’t really consider myself a producer though. I’ve always seen it as an extension of my DJ roots.

Marv
That was my next thought lol. How long have you been DJing.

Esso
I started DJ’ing in 95, so 19 years.

Marv
Ok Ok. Real quick married? Kids?

Esso
Yup, I’ve been married for 3 1/2 years and have an 18 month old son.

Marv
Cool. The first I heard of you was through a close friend of mine, Corey Hicks. And then I would hear Young Josh, Swift, and other mention your name. I thought you were this mystical kinda guy, because I never seen you. For those who are not familiar with your work. Give us few names of artist you’ve worked with?

Esso
Well of course all of the Lamp Mode guys, and being in Philly, a lot of the artists from here – Cross Movement, Truth, Swift, Ackdavis. Others from out of town would be Braille, Trip, Lecrae, Tedashii and a decent amount of others. And with those it would be a variety of different levels of work. Sometimes producing, recording, mixing or mastering. It just depends.

Marv
Dope fam. What made you want to start a label?

Esso
I came up the underground hip-hop scene, which was always a DIY ethos. I had started a record store with my brother in Pittsburgh when I was around 18 so I had developed some relationships with the New York distributors and had a very small idea of how it worked. I just enjoyed making music with my friends and didn’t ever buy into the mainstream model of shopping demos around to major labels. I liked the idea of it being small, of it being a family and owning control. So it was just an extension of all of that. As a DJ I had made around 13 or 14 mix tapes and had just hustled them by going to Kinko’s, making wack covers and slinging them from my backpack. So it was that same idea, but just on a larger, more professional scale. I wanted to be able to control and put out the music that we were creating.

Marv
I must say bro, that you guys did that so well. I think what made y’all is because y’all chose to stay in y’all on Lane.

Esso
Yeah I think that has helped us.

Marv
No doubt. Lamp Mode Records, having a list of dudes that are very lyrically theological, did that ever limit you guys from tapping into other territory or did that not matter?

Esso
Yeah it is very limiting, but that is the trade off. At some point you have to make a decision to go a certain direction. Once you make that decision you have to continually reinforce it, or else it weakens the brand. You can’t do everything, so try to do one thing to the best of your ability. There were always artists that I would have liked to approach about being on the label, but if they don’t fit, then it’s not going to be a good look for either of us. That was difficult at times and still is.

Marv
Json, another good friend of mine, when he first sign to the roster, I was like huh? He was so southern sounding and everybody else was boom bap. How did that come about?

Esso
Json contacted me to master his album, Life on Life, and as I was listening I noticed how good the album was. I was in Louisville with shai linne doing a show and I played him some stuff and as a joke said, “We might have to get Json down with Lamp Mode”. We both just looked at each other and laughed. But what was said as a joke kept popping into my head and I think I was more serious than I thought. So just kept thinking about it and eventually approached Json about it. He has been good for us because he has tested the boundaries of our brand. I think everyone we add to the label should do that and shouldn’t just be another artist similar to what we already have. That was around 2008 I believe.

Marv
Great mash up. He recently became the President of the Label right?

Esso
Yes he did.

Marv
Why did you step down?

Esso
The label needed someone with more time on their hands, as well as someone equipped for the needs of the label. I have recently devoted myself to starting a new company, so I didn’t have the time to devote to it in a way that it deserved.

Marv
What’s a day like for you in the studio?

Esso
Well right now I am not doing that much given my transition to a new company. Most of my work is mixing or mastering. I might work on something for a couple of hours in the evening when I have free time. I would say that 75% of my work is mastering.

Marv
In one word what would be the key quality of Mastering?

Esso
Listening.

Marv
Bet! How long have you been apart of the beardgang? lol.

Esso
lol…You know for 12 years my dude.

Marv
Wow… Never cut it since?

Esso
lol…Nah, definitely have. But I’ve had one almost every day since.

Marv
Lol. No doubt. What advice would you give someone that’s looking to start a label?

Esso
Hire a good accountant and recruit amazing people to do what they are very good at. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

Marv
Amen bruh. Any last words for the readers?

Esso
Nah man, I think that’s it. Thanks for the opportunity.

Marv
No doubt fam. Thx again for chopping it up with me dude.

Esso

Word, my pleasure.

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Marv

Marv

Christian Producer, Barber,Blogger, Husband, and Father.

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