Q. Big Noise: Hey Freddie what’s good Sir! Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, we’ve been dealing with a few things like everyone else. We would like to thank you for taking the time to talk with us. I’ve been a big fan of your music and techniques. Can you give us a brief introduction, tell us a little bit about what you do?
A. Freddie Joachim: Hi my name is Freddie, I’m a music producer and DJ. Been djing for about 25 years, and producing for about 20. I think most people know my music as hip hop with a heavy jazz and soul influence.
Q. Big Noise: The music production is some of the best we’ve heard, it’s drenched in hip-hop, soul and jazz… So, did you start deejaying around 1996? What were some of your favorite records back then? Have you ever gotten into DJ battles?
A. Freddie Joachim: I started djing when labels like Rawkus were taking off. Okayplayer was a brand new website and home to The Roots, Jazzyfatnastees, Reflection Eternal and more. Reflection Eternal’s Train of Thought LP really stuck with me. I had a very short lived battle career. Maybe 3 or 4 battles. Even though I was heavily into the turntablist culture, I wasn’t good enough to win battles. But I really idolized DJ crews like the Skratch Piklz, Beatjunkies and Allies at the time.
Q. Big Noise: Word! As you started getting into music production… How did the studio setup evolve, what equipment did you cop? What’s your audio gear setup like now? Do you quantize the beats, yes / no; what’s your preference?
A. Freddie Joachim: I actually started producing on a computer first, using a very basic midi sequencing program along with keyboard sounds. I basically bought what I could afford, which was very little. A lot of used gear off craigslist, and eBay. Not much has changed. I don’t really hold onto gear I’m not using, so I sell, trade, or give away a lot of stuff.
I still utilize the computer as my main music making piece, but I have a bunch of hardware samplers, keyboards, and outboard gear. So right now, it’s a little bit of a hybrid setup, where I use both software and hardware to record, edit and mix my music. I don’t really have a preference for quantizing. Usually just snares, but everything else is loose. Sometimes no quantizing, but a lot of re-takes to get the recording just right.
Q. Big Noise: What producer collaboration has been most memorable for you as a DJ and music producer? After studio sessions, do you spend time with the artists you work with? Is that important? Who are the music producers you’re feeling?
A. Freddie Joachim: I mean most people know me for the track Waves I did with Joey and then later with J.Cole. Even though I wasn’t in the studio with those guys when it was recorded, I did have a 30 minute phone conversation with Cole, which was crazy. I still have his phone number saved in my phone.
I was able to work with a UK artist, Xam Volo, while he was here in LA and we recorded at the very famous Westlake Studios. So I got to see where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller and other countless albums were made.
But other than that, I don’t really go into recording sessions with artists. A lot of it is done via emails since we all live in different cities. But it’s great to build a good relationship with artists, and see how they evolve and grow.
Some music producers I really look up to are the classics like, Dilla, Pete Rock, Premier, Dre, Hi-Tek, DJ Khalil, etc.
Q. Big Noise: Nice! The list of projects is fantastic; DC Shoes, Nike, Adidas, Monster Energy, K-Swiss, HBO… The performances, locations and affilliations are amazing; Asia, South Africa, Europe, North America and sharing the stage with artists such as, Jean Grae, Joss Stone, Jimmy Cliff, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (ATCQ), Teeko, DJ Babu, Rakaa Iriscience, Bobbito, Scoop Deville, Blu, Choice37 and others, dope! What would be the ultimate artist collaboration for you next?
A. Freddie Joachim: I’d like to work with an artist that just really enjoy, it doesn’t matter their stature. Any of the big artists that influenced me when I was younger like Talib, Mos, Common, Dre, etc.
Q. Big Noise: On YouTube we see you using so many tools of the trade; Ableton Live from Germany, Akai machines from Japan, Serato, NI Machine and so many more… Your studio always seems to be loaded with nice gear. Do you have any favorites? What are some of the vintage machines you like to work with?
A. Freddie Joachim: Gear comes and goes in my studio. I don’t really hold on to pieces of gear if I’m not really using it as much. My favorites have been the MPC’s I’ve owned. I feel that machine has become the staple of hip hop production. In the future I’d like to own various instruments like a Rhodes and a vibraphone. Maybe an MPC 3000 and SP 1200 just to own a piece of history. But at the moment, I just do not have the room for more stuff. The baby has to sleep somewhere, ha!