Swinging The Battle Axe
SWING- WHY DON’T YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR THE PEOPLE
BATTLE AXE- Whaddup doe! my name is Brian Shepard.. a few people know me as that, a few others know me as Battle Axe, producer and now Vice President of Rhyme Council.. there’s not too much else there.. I like to laugh, live life.. I love God, family and Hip-Hop.. that’s it for me..SWING- HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRODUCING?
BATTLE AXE- I’ve been producing for about 7 years now.. got started my freshmen year of college when my boys Ezra Haughabrooks, Geoffrey Nugent, and Ean Nugent introduced me to FL Studio. They showed me a little and told me to start practicing on it. Once I got my hands on it, I couldn’t stop it. I just kept working on my craft and the rest is history.
SWING- SO ARE YOU AT A POINT WHERE ARTISTS ARE LOOKING FOR YOU NOW OR ARE YOU STILL TRYING TO GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE IN A SENSE?
BATTLE AXE- umm.. its a little bit of both.. I’m blessed to have people reaching out to me but I don’t hesitate to reach out myself. It’s cool to reach out to guys that you may have wanted to work with for a long time. People are watching, that’s one thing I have learned so that’s why I continue to work hard at my craft because there are some artists that I’ve been fans of for years that were actually fans of mine before we even connected.SWING- WHAT GOT YOU INTO PRODUCING RATHER THAN, LET’S SAY, BEING AN ARTIST?
BATTLE AXE- What got me into producing was when I realized that I wasn’t that good of a rapper to begin with. LOL! “If first you don’t succeed…try something else!” Nah, but real talk, I always had a love for music. It was like I gravitated more to the beats afterwhile. I used to do the lunchtable thing and kids used to say I was decent at it. I guess it was God’s way of preparing me for the future.
SWING- HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CONCEPTUALIZING BEATS? HAS THAT PROCESS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
BATTLE AXE- Coming up with beats is still the same method.. I don’t know how it happens.. it just does.. That’s why I named my production company Sixth Sense Music Productions. You know when you have that sixth sense, you can feel something.. its like an out of body experience.. like you’re seeing the game three steps ahead.. I credit that to the Holy Spirit cuz that’s how i feel sometimes.. He gives me intuition to try something and so far, it’s been a perfect method. Let God lead, yo.
SWING- FOR THOSE THAT AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH YOUR MINISTRY, CAN YOU TELL US SOME SONGS YOU’VE WORKED ON OR ARTISTS THAT YOU’VE WORKED WITH?
BATTLE AXE- Man.. you wanna do this? lol.. Umm.. let’s see.. I have been blessed to produce songs like “Overcomaz” by J. Johnson (The Struggle), “Lights Out” by the Frontlynaz (Game Over), “The Bride” by Lecrae (Rebel), “Who is He” by Json (Life on Life), “Fire” by Everyday Process (Outofdisworld), “Love Is” by S.O., did some songs for Eric Cross, Bobby Bishop, Applejaxx, Dwayne Tryumf & Triple O over in the UK and more.. all in all, I’ve been blessed to work with some AMAZING artists.
SWING- WOW YOU BANGED OUT SOME CLASSICS ALREADY. WORKING WITH SUCH ARTISTS MIGHT MAKE SOME PRODUCERS KIND OF EXCLUSIVE. DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF THAT WAY? WHAT I MEAN IS, CAN THE UP AND COMING ARTIST GET BEATS FROM YOU? WHERE CAN THEY CHECK THEM?
BATTLE AXE- Bruh, I ain’t nobody’s exclusive nothing.. lol.. I’m just a regular dude.. average joe.. but yo for dudes that are on the come up.. I got some stuff over at Aepex Projects.. http://www.aepexprojects.com/Music.html.. Holla at Austin, he’s nice on the graphics too.. real sick! tell em Battle Axe sent you.. I’m serious bout that!SWING- WHAT ARE YOUR TOOLS OF CHOICE? WHAT EQUIPMENT ARE YOU USING?
BATTLE AXE- I’m pretty basic with it, FL Studio and Cool Edit Pro (for sample chopping).. I use VSTs like Nexus, Vanguard, Superwave P8, and others..
SWING- IS PRODUCING YOUR FULL TIME JOB AT THIS POINT? WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES IN MAKING IT A FULL TIME THING?
BATTLE AXE- Producing is not my full time job and as much as people would love for me to go full time, i don’t see myself going full time but I’m still gonna work so don’t think I’m retiring or anything like that..
SWING- WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OFF THE RADAR PRODUCERS OR UP AND COMERS WHO’D LOVE TO WORK WITH TOP NAMES IN THIS SMALL GENRE OF CHRISTIAN HIP HOP?
BATTLE AXE- I got a few pieces of advices for producers.. this is like my version of 10 Track Commandments so PLEASE PAY ATTENTION:
1.)KEEP YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IN TACT… we got enough people tryin’ to be superstars around here. Stay humble and stay connected with God. (James 4:10)
2.) DO NOT put yourself in a box.. if you do Hip-Hop, you do Hip-Hop.. I know cats go on this whole “Christian Rapper/Rapper that’s Christian” thing and it’s the same for producers.. Let your actions speak louder than your words.. You will be known by your fruits, trust me. (Matthew 7:16)
3.) Don’t be trying to sound like the next __________. Be you.. if you do south beats, do that to the best of your abilities, if you boom bap, boom bap til you cant do it no more.. (Colossians 3:17.. shouts to Teddy P for this one)
4.) Work on your craft, PLEASE! Practice makes Perfect.. Slacking is why we’re where we are now… still trying to break through.. smh.. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
5.) If you do get to work with a big name artist/label.. make sure you handle business on your end and they pay you according to your work.. (Proverbs 27:23, Jeremiah 22:13)
6.) Never, never, never… double sell a beat! (no Bible verse.. read this)
7.) Study videos and music of those that have paved the way. I mean stretch yourself, listen to different types of music because it will help you get a better sound.
8.) Take some risk sometimes and try to connect with artists. They’re on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc. and they’re looking for good beats.. some are working on new albums, mixtapes, etc.. (RHYME COUNCIL IS TAKING SUBMISSIONS RIGHT NOW… email@example.com.. send sampled stuff and non-sampled stuff) BUT…
9.) DO NOT EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER… overstep your boundaries. If you are trying to get your foot through the door, don’t get a foot in and then try to kick the door open by being too forward or too annoying. People dislike that very very much.. (Galatians 6:9, Romans 12:12, Proverbs 15:18)
10.) HAVE FUN!!! I started doing this for fun and I’m still doing it for fun, just for the love of music and God has taken my talents and I’ve done more than what I could ever imagine.. the awards and singles and big records may come but even if they don’t, keep doing it for the love.. I could really care less about nominations and whatnot to be honest because I love the music and the message too much to be caught up in the superficial stuff. Go out there and Have Fun!
SWING- OK, HOW ELSE CAN WE GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU? WEBSITE? TWITTER? FACEBOOK, ETC.
BATTLE AXE- Okay.. you ready for this? you can reach me at any of these spots..
facebook: Brian ‘Battle Axe’ Shepard
Reach out to Rhyme Council too..Rhyme Council Twitter: @rhymecouncil
(working on a squad album)R-Swift Twitter:
@rswift215 (working on a mixtape and album)
Young Joshua Twitter: @youngjoshua86 (working on album)
Teddy P Twitter:@wespendleton (working on beats and albums)
Phien-X Twitter: @phillyphien (working on a mixtape)
FOR BEAT SUBMISSIONS: firstname.lastname@example.org (submit all that you got!)
Read our blog too: rhymecouncilonline.blogspot.com (i update it so make sure you read)
Shout out to my family (Mom, Dad, Megan), my amazing girlfriend Stephanie Murphy who prays me through this music ministry stuff, my rhyme council brothers (I love all y’all.. yes Mario, you’re included.. lol), all the artists/producers that have emailed/texted/called/met in person/allowed me on their album, and for anyone who thought I did even a half way decent job on a beat and has supported me.. THANK YOU!! Swing, you a beast.. Marv, thank you for the opportunity.. gone!