In episode two of our “Sound Advice” series, producer Beyo and Five 5 Studios co-founder + emcee, Sam E Hues, talk about the nuances of beat selection. They discuss the pro’s + con’s of ‘type beats’ and the benefits of working directly with a music producer to help develop an artist’s original sound.
To emphasize the importance of the artist-producer relationship, we caught up with artist Cherele and producer Pete Rango (fka Lemieux) to ask how they met and how building a friendship has affected the music they make with each other. They also share their thoughts on ‘type beats’ and things they wish all artists/producers knew before reaching out to work.
“When you buy a ‘type beat’, you’re getting a beat. But when you have a relationship with a producer, you’re getting something tailored to a song. That is how you make a record.” - Sam E. Hues
interview with cherele + pete rango
How did you first find out about each other?
Cherele: I met Pete at a party we threw in my PayUp days in 2010. He was introduced to me as a producer who makes crazy beats. We started making music together in person in 2011, though.
Pete: I first found out about Cherele when my friend Tim, who used to drum for You Blew It!, reached out to me because he found out I had moved to Fort Myers and wanted to connect me with a local hip-hop crew known as Pay Up. We worked in-person for a long time until I moved to NY.
What do you like about the music they make?
Cherele: Pete has this insane ability to be able to create anything. He can take diff elements from diff genres and blend them. I always admired that about him. He’s a very knowledgeable musician so I immediately took him seriously. He’s taught me a lot about music, period.
Pete: From the moment I met Cherele, I just loved her energy. We hit it off from the start and it was always about just having fun and exploring our boundaries.
What was the process like working together for the first time?
Cherele: It was probably a sloppy process at first, to be honest haha. At the time we met, I wasn’t that great at communicating what I wanted or what kind of sound I was going for. I just wanted to outrap everybody and have the beat hit. but we ended up making a banger named “I’m Lit” and after that, I knew I wanted to keep working with him and we began building together.
Pete: The first time we ever worked together we got lit and made a song called, “I’m Lit”. That song ended up going on her “Boogie Nights” mixtape. It was very natural and fun to work with her. I also loved how open she was to exploring her sound and trusting me with that process.
Has your dynamic changed since you’ve gotten to know each other?
Cherele: Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s like any relationship – you have to grow with each other. Compromise on things, learn each other’s artistic process.. Now it’s like second nature but it took time working with each other to get to this point.
Pete: It definitely has. It’s one thing to work one time with an artist but it’s a whole other thing developing a whole sound. Collaboration is all about finding common ground and ways to communicate effectively. There were times where I wanted to explore a sound with her that she might not be too into and I couldn’t take that personally. I think the beauty in collaboration is that common ground that you’re able to find with each other.
What are some things you keep in mind when creating beats for Cherele? Are there any signature sounds?
Pete: Hard shit. 808s and attitude. The beat has to give you that stank face. The drums just have to bang.
Do you select from beats he’s already created or does he create production specifically for you based on the vibe you’re going for?
Cherele: Usually Pete will create production specifically for a sound we discussed based on what I’m on during that period of time. Sometimes, he’ll show me packs and I’ll snag a couple, but more often we’re creating from scratch.
How does working with Pete/Cherele compare to other artists you don’t work with as frequently?
Cherele: Pete is super efficient . We can knock out an EP in a day with each other. He has the ability to create all this fire at a fast pace. Plus, he’s always down to experiment, or bring in something innovative that he learned, so I end up learning too.
Pete: As long as you give Cherele a beat that she’s into, she’s going to deliver the most out of pocket bars. She’s always thinking out of the box and presents subjects/stories in a way you haven’t heard said before. I think it’s common for a lot of artists to just have a rolodex of popular words from the time and use them over and over. I want to hear something new. She always comes correct and takes you on a new journey.
How do you find new producers/artists to work with?
Cherele: Usually by hearing their work with other artists. I’ll be like, “damn that beat goes crazy, who did it?” and look up the credits. If I’m feeling wild, I’ll send out a bat signal through a tweet asking folks to send me beats. That’s always fun to me because you never know who has the heaters tucked. I don’t care about follower numbers or anything like that. I got a wild beat pack from a kid out in Israel the other day with 20 followers. I’m just more interested in the quality of it and if it inspires me.
Pete: Social media or within my network. I’ve also gotten to the point where I feel like I know enough dope artists I want to work with so I’m not actively searching for artists to work with. Because I’m so into artist development, I prefer to find artists and really build….not hopping between artists just doing singles here and there. This limits the possibilities of sounds we could create together.
“Some producers do A LOT for artists. Respect their time and efforts. Look out for their best interests. Develop genuine relationships with your producers. And at the very least, get their name on the credits...cause a lot of artists aren't even doing that.” - Pete Rango
Do you look for artists to fit your sound? Or do you wait for artists to contact you with/for beats?
Cherele: If I’m scouting producers I def go into it with a sound in mind and knowing they can achieve that in their own way.
Pete: I try to work with artists that I truly believe in. I don’t necessarily look for an artist that fits “my sound”. I find artists who I like and are open to exploring their boundaries. I usually don’t like just sending beats off to people that contact me for beats. I’m the type of producer that wants to create a genuine relationship with the artist. I also usually work from scratch with every artist….that’s why I don’t have a ton of beats sitting. I do, but mostly because those beats were made for fun and to experiment, not to send out to artists. Those beats occasionally make it into sessions.
How did you discover your “sound”? How often do you think it changes?
Cherele: At first I didn’t know what my sound was, I was just creating whatever I felt. Then I met Pete and we started experimenting with other sounds and genres. I discovered that I had the ability to make a lot of different sounds, which was exciting. From there, it was taking parts of this and that and putting it together. My sound evolves as I evolve as a human and a creative.
Pete: If you ask most of my collaborators, you’d find that I don’t have a specific “sound” that you can narrow it down to. Most artists come to me because I help them reflect on their sound and find ways to achieve a flow state that helps them evolve or progress their own sound. This means that my sound usually changes depending on the artist I’m working with. I describe myself sometimes as a chameleon of sorts…I have a hard time picking what kind of music I want to produce because I love making it all. Working with an artist helps me find a focus. I explore what are the rules or boundaries within that artist’s world and I find ways to break them.
Your thoughts on “type beats”:
Cherele: We def get inspired by certain sounds and songs but what Pete and I have always strived to do is create my own world. I think that’s more fresh and innovative. Type beats are used a lot because it’s a way to communicate maybe what you want out of a producer or sometimes to be trendy, but that’s not your own signature. That’s someone else’s, so to me you should make sure to use it more as a building block and expand on it.
Pete: Type beats are just another way of describing what we already do as artists. We take influence from certain artists/genres and we create our own rendition of our influences. “Type Beats” is just metadata that helps artists narrow down a sound by referring to another artist’s sound as reference. I usually don’t get upset when someone is asking for a type beat….I just try to understand what they want and do my thing to make the sound our own. It would be nice if people didn’t think so much about what “type beat” they want, but it does help artists communicate what kind of colors and tempos they want to use for their tracks.
Things you wish artists knew before reaching out to producers for beats:
Pete: I think there’s a main difference between beat makers and producers. If you’re reaching out to a beat maker, you probably have leased or purchased one of their beats from their beat store and should develop a relationship with that beat maker. Producers do a lot more than just lease beats. Producers are the ones that will make the track from scratch tailored to your sound, record the record, get the record mixed, get a real guitarist to solo on your track. Respect the producer. Some producers do A LOT for artists. Respect their time and efforts. Look out for their best interests. Develop genuine relationships with your producers. And at the very least, get their name on the credits…cause a lot of artists aren’t even doing that.
Moral of the story is, when you work one-on-one with a producer instead of downloading a beat online, you’re getting original production and a partner in music. Someone to build with you and grow along side you as you both work on developing your sounds as artists. You can be sure you’re getting authentic production that no one else has and you can make adjustments to tailor the beats to record the perfect record, together.