After an epic 3 part blog series breaking down the craft of writing bars, it only makes sense to take a look at the process behind producing dope beats.
This blog I’ve been speaking with my boi GhostAttack – the mastermind behind Rah! Records – about his creative process when putting together hip hop beats. With jazz undertones, deep bass lines and guitar loops – Ghosts’ beats are refreshing, unique and just plain fire.
A similarity I noticed right away about the process of both making dope beats AND writing bars is that there appears to be an infinite number of ways to produce/write. Which is something we touched on in the previous entries.
In other words there’s no one way to write or produce. This blog is about an individual producers’ process and mindset when creating. One thing I know for sure: GhostAttack makes dope beats.
boom bap beginnings
“Music is something I’ve pretty much done my whole life, with the exception of the first decade. I started playing guitar when I was ten. I wrote my first proper song when I was 13 (it was terrible but I still remember it) and haven’t stopped writing and playing since then” – GhostAttack
I 1st met Ghost a few years ago at Rock the Block – Sydney’s cypher hip hop spot. He’s the type of warm-hearted happy person that you like straight away. Well I liked him straight away anyway. Since then our friendship has blossomed and I am blessed to have such an awesome friend. Big ups bro!
GhostAttack released his debut single ‘The Realness’ on his community powerhouse record label Rah! Records with the underground legend Mighty Ash in 2018 to critical acclaim. Shoutouts to my homie Mighty Ash.
Rah! Records has established itself as a prominent force in the Sydney underground releasing multiple tracks with the likes of Izzy and Masta Marx – with no signs of slowing down the release radar. As a hip hop head, there’s nothing better than dope beats coupled with dope emcees.
So let’s get into some Q and A with the man himself!
What inspires you
“I’m inspired by a lot of things – art, life, friends, movies etc. I listen to heaps of different music all the time – rock, metal, blues, jazz, soul, punk, roots and of course, hip hop.”
Do you ever get stuck for ideas?
“I’m lucky in that I’ve never had the problem a lot of creative people have – writer’s block. I’ve always have a bunch of song ideas on the go. I’ve built up a big library of samples over the years too, so if I’m looking for something fresh, I have a lot of fun diving into there and seeing what jumps out at me.”
How do you start creating a beat?
“I more often than not start with a basic melody idea. This can be a sample I’ve found or a guitar or keyboard lick or progression I’ve recorded. I usually loop this, then start building up other elements – bass, drums and any additional instruments. Then I can arrange these into a suitable structure. The final arrangement usually isn’t decided until the vocals are recorded. Then I spend time mixing before the track goes to be mastered…
having said this
sometimes inspiration is a bass line I’ve been playing around with or a drum pattern or two I’ve developed. But the process is pretty much the same, regardless of the starting point. My aesthetic comes from being in rock and punk bands. I don’t have a huge amount of instrumentation in my tracks – I like them lean with plenty of room in a mix for vocals. I also like to keep it pretty simple production-wise as well. I’m not a fan of a lot of modern production techniques – I like to keep it pretty straightforward and raw. This suits the kind of artists I like to work with too.”
He also holds a residency at the Innerwest Sydney hot spot Bed Bar where he rocks live beat cyphers as part of the Exhibit Events Sydney crew. Big ups boys!
I’ve had a lot of fun having a guest spot. So much – in fact – that I’m going to run an artist spotlight every month moving forward.
As always thanks for reading and rocking with ya boi Prim!