From the Huffington Post to NPR Radio. From the Grammys to The Source Magazine, TRBL‘s production work has been featured in almost every top musical publication. Hailing from Tucson, AZ, TRBL is an up and coming producer, whose name you should get real comfortable with. Why? Because this musical director is already making a mark in the industry with his remixes and his work with Jisun Jackson. I recently had a chat with TRBL about his work and goals.
What made you decide to be a producer?
It kind of happened by accident. I was about 19, and starting to pursue my musicianship more seriously. My mentor, Bax, installed a studio in his house and invited me over. From there, he showed me the ways of producing and creating tracks via his Fantom keyboard. I totally had to change my ear. Instead of just listening to music, I had to listen to specific parts. The pitch of the drums. What synth or patch is the producer using. Learn about DAWs and how to put together a song efficiently. Going back to the late 1950s and learning about composition from a producer’s standpoint. I was hooked from there.
Tell us a little about the concept of a Leemix.
A Leemix is basically an unconventional remix using instrumentals fused with an acapella or a total redressing of a song. I try to use original arrangements and build around an acapella. Also, I think Leemix sounds cool.
You’re a hip-hop/jazz fused producer. Seeing that hip-hop derived from jazz, can you please explain what exactly is the sound that’s being produced?
Jazz is the ultimate form of music expression and one of the few genres where you can go off-script and still be in musical harmony with others. Hip-hop is a genre where your style makes the music, not so much the music itself. I’m a gospel kid at heart, but my approach is jazz, thanks to my mentor Lamont Arthur. Growing up in the zenith of hip-hop, I try to use jazz concepts, such as 7th and 9th chords and incorporate it with hard hitting drums and melody. I feel like Dilla is the Godfather of jazz fused hip-hop, and I try to draw inspiration from his approach, except I don’t sample and try to use my musicianship. The sound that’s being produced is raw, full of depth, and evolution and not a stupid 8 bar trap loop.
Do you have any upcoming releases, we should be looking forward to?
I’m being featured in a documentary for an artist on Sony/InRage Ent named Annie Cleary. Her EP is being released on Sept 8th. It’s a Beatles/Amy Winehouse mix with live instruments. I’m the keyboard player. I’m in musician mode at the moment, but there’s always someone that needs production. I’m overdue for another jazz project soon. Just a matter of priorities if anything.
You’ve worked with a lot of independent artists, who, in your opinion, should we be on the lookout for?
I’m going to be long-winded, so forgive me lol. Joella Deville. You won’t find an R&B singer more polished musically and visually more than her. Jisun, a Chicago-based singer with a very distinct soulful style. Think of a Janet Jackson that can actually sing and belt lol. Celena Santa Cruz. She’s from my hometown and we should have a remix dropping soon. Desiree White and Awelle are two Phx-based singers that can compete with anyone vocally. IAmJones from Oakland, Jai Thomas, and my BFF Jarrel are longtime collaborators of mine as well. As far as indie artists I’m not working with, I’m a huge fan of Eryn Allen Kane, Knower, Brayton Bowman, Alina Baraz, Cory Henry, Jacob Collier, Bosco, Sam Sparro, and MXXWLL. Omg, MXXWLL will change your life.
Where do you see yourself, career-wise, in 5 years?
My ultimate music goal is to be a music supervisor for an HBO show, movie, or TV shows. I feel like I have an interesting music library and with my ear, I could start providing soundtracks and scores in the near future. I also want to be a music professor in about 20 years.
As a producer, what makes you stand out from the rest? Why should the public care?
I call my style 1990NOW. It all sounds familiar, but remains progressive. And in this microwave era of beats and pad/trap/sub-bass BS, I try to present music that has layers, transitions, bridges, and live instrumentation. I’m more of an auteur, as in my creative vision stands out whenever I’m on a project. I’m a small-time kid from Tucson, AZ that grew up around skaters and horses, and it’s a blessing to be recognized by your peers. I went from doing beats on a Casio to being co-signed by NPR and Timbaland and working in Hollywood for the last year. I been fortunate enough remain true to my sound for over 11 years. I can honestly say with my music, I’ve never had to compromise style or sound to appease anyone in the industry or otherwise. I’m also in a position where I try to help others out, whether it’s mentoring, consulting, or doing favors to put people in positions to succeed IF they’re willing to do the work. I’m also hella unfiltered on Twitter lol
Being in this industry can be tough, what’s one lesson you’ve learned so far?
Resources and relationships. You really don’t understand how important those two things are until you get in the industry. Don’t get too invested into people or their word. Stay true to your craft, treat others with fairness and dignity, and understand your value. The industry can be cruel at times, but maintain your character and trust God. Also, don’t be the fool that wants stuff for free or is trying to get to this level via favors. Pay your dues and pay for your craft.
Any advice for a producer who is trying to get where you are?
I ain’t nobody!! LOL Be efficient with your creative process and time. That whole “spending 15 hours in the studio overnight” b.s. is overrated. I literally have nothing but a 25-mini keyboard and a MacBook and Albeton. Build your sound library and keep learning new tricks and DAWs. Also, build relationships with hard-working people with a vision, not sorely dreams. Everyone has dreams of being in music, but without a vision or a plan, you’re wasting your time and money.
What’s your dream collaboration?
Brandy, Musiq and M.I.A. Thundercat is my favorite artist since Prince passed away, so I’d love to get drunk and make some fire music together. –Pooh Bailey