GETTING CREDIT

HUMPHREY

DENNIS

The Aruba-based producer/artist by way of The Netherlands chats about the release of his debut single 'Love?', the inspirations behind his upcoming EP 'Carlo' and his favourite artists of the moment.

How does it feel to have your debut single ‘Love?’ out and how has the response been?

 

It feels amazing! I’m super blessed that I can share my music with the world. The response has been pretty good. People are really feeling the message and the vibe of the track.
 

What were the initial inspirations for the track?
 

This track and actually all the tracks off my upcoming EP came about organically. In the beginning of 2020, I started a beat challenge for myself as I wanted to be free with my creativity, while at the same time being experimental. I just sat down and started creating without limitations and followed my daily inspiration. Every time, I myself was surprised by the outcome. I love working this way. This is where I believe the magic happens.
 

How has the process been of working on your solo material up until the point of this release?
 

It’s been a lot of fun and it felt freeing to let my mood lead me when I create. So the direction was never set when I sat down to produce. I was exploring a lot, getting my head into various genres, sounds and effects. Above all it’s been a journey of learning and growing as a producer, mixer and a human being.
 

"For me, in a sense it's transforming the negative energy of the past into art."

How has creating your debut EP ‘Carlo’ been and what do you want to explore on the project?
 

It was really magical and serendipitous as it all came together effortlessly. I had a goal to finish 2020 with 366 beats and half way through I started noticing that there was a project. At the same time, I was working on my personal development and working through my childhood  experiences. Therefore it just came about to name the project 'Carlo' which is my fathers first name. The EP is an ode to him, his journey, his growth and our growth. For me, in a sense it's transforming the negative energy of the past into art.

 

Once I knew I wanted to make this project, I started to select tracks which I loved the most. Then I started fine tuning each track one by one and made my final track-list. When I needed a change or a bridge I didn’t create one from scratch, but I took elements from other beats and mixed and matched. Right before I left for Aruba, I recorded my vocals on each track. I did a lot of takes so I could select the best parts. When you listen closely you can hear my vocals subtlety mixed into each track. The whole process took me about six months, working on it on and off.  
 

How important is it for you to create authentically and bring in a range of influences to your music, whilst never confining yourself to genre boundaries?


This is very important to me. I love mixing sounds and styles, this is what I do all day! I believe music has no rules.
 

When did you first start producing and what/who inspired you to get into it?
 

I made my first beat when I was six years old. My brother used to have an MPC60, Roland R8, a PC with cubase on it and a Roland W30 synth in his room. I was intrigued watching him make beats and one day I was allowed to finally participate. He’s my biggest inspiration for getting into producing. I first started to make a lot of remixes and eventually started to produce for artists when I was around 20 years old, and have been on it ever since. 

"At the end of the day, it’s the artist's vision I’m aiming to translate, while adding my own special flavours to it."

Does your process change when creating your own music versus producing for other artists?

Yes it does. When creating for other artists I’m more conscious of the direction we’re going. It’s more of a collaboration. I’m always very open to what the artist has to say in terms of what they like and don’t like. At the end of the day, it’s the artist's vision I’m aiming to translate, while adding my own special flavours to it.
 

How has it been working with long-time collaborator Zanillya and how has it been seeing your sounds grow together?

Zanillya is a special being, I’ve learned so much from her. Working with her is fun, exciting and a lot of emotions flying around the room! I’m always in awe of how she freestyles her lyrics and comes up with complete songs in one take. She has a unique take on creating. Her vision and ideas inspire me a lot. We both love all types of genres so our sounds growing together has been such a natural process.


How important is collaboration for your growth, creatively? 
 

When I collaborate I always learn something new which I really value a lot. So this is very important to me. 
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"... don't overthink the process of creating ... Learn while doing and one day you'll look up and see how far you've come. "

 

 


If you had to give three tips for producers just starting out, what would you say?

#1 Listen to a lot of music, preferably a wide range of genres and while listening, zoom in to all individual elements of the song. This way you broaden your creativity and also train your ears.


#2 Use reference tracks as much as you can when mixing and also when finishing your production. This way you get it to sound balanced and close to a finished record.

#3 Always check your mixes in Mono. This is one of the most important factors to make sure your track translates well on all systems.
 

I have to throw in a bonus message.. Don't compare yourself with others, don't be too hard on yourself, don't overthink the process of creating. Just sit down and have fun with it. Learn while doing and one day you'll look up and see how far you've come.  

If you could produce for any artist, who would it be and what kind of track would you like to make?


Frank Ocean. It would be a Dancehall, Afro-fusion track with violins and vocal chops.


Just thought of this, I’m about to make it right now!
 

Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
 

As I mentioned my brother was the first as he was a rapper and producer in his own right. Next to him Quincy Jones, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, The Neptunes, DJ Quik, and J Dilla.

Today it’s still Pharrell! Also D’Angelo, Kaytranada, S1, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Juls, Hit-Boy, Mike Will Made It.

If you guys had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?


Juls. All his tracks are vibes and make me want to move!


D’Angelo. He has that timeless soul. You can listen to his albums from beginning till end!

Lucky Daye is so soulful with it. The new breed of RnB.Rationale.

Rationale. His self titled album from 2017 is so dope! His lyrics are very on point.


Mac Miller. I love his album ‘Circles’. It’s so daring and emotional.

What’s coming up for the rest of 2021?

 

Next month Zanillya’s debut EP ‘Choose Life’ will be out! I’m really excited about this one. With the singles “Sacrifices” and “Million Reasons” people can already get a taste of what’s coming and will also be surprised by the diversity of the remaining songs.

My next single + EP is also dropping next month and I’m super excited about this. 

 

Lastly, more projects as I continued my challenge in 2021 and already hear new projects for myself and Zanillya. Next to that I would love to collaborate with more dope artists, musicians  and producers. 

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