Zap Rack Performance Clip

Soooooo, I told myself I would start posting more short beat-performance videos. This is one I put together while working on an all new, layered drum rack. Working on the left-hand technique and testing out the stamina of my wrists, all in the name of good musics.

Official “Hello Hi” Remix & Kickstarter Campaign

There’s an upcoming album being funded through Kickstarter right NOW with an official Okay Tony Beats remix lined up for the single! At the helm of this exciting project are singer/songwriter Bochan and producer Arlen Hart. From Bochan’s Facebook page:

Bochan has dedicated her life to spearheading and continuing to sow the seeds of the Neo-Cambodian musical breakout movement. By collaborating with adept pianist and producer, Arlen Hart, Bochan effortlessly bridges the East West gap with an inimitable, soulful yet sweet indie-pop vibe. She authentically draws on her dual country upbringing; combining influences from the ultra urban Oakland scene,coupled with her deep rooted Cambodian inspiration and fellowship, to create her infectious new sound.

Bochan grew up singing in her father’s Cambodian American bands. The evolution that Bochan witnessed (and took an active part in) is audible today in the ardent Cambodian music circuit, which has moved from Rock Roots to its current inception. Honoring, yet stepping bravely away from traditional style, she attempts to usher in a new musical age.

Make sure to check out the fascinating story behind the origins of the song and listen to a piece on Bochan featured on NPR’s Studio 360 through the Kickstarter page below:

~Danny Brown~ Grown Up ~ OkayTony Remix ~ (Stones Throw Beat Battle)

I remixed Danny Brown’s “Grown Up(Explicit Lyrics) for Stones Throw Beat Battle #327. I picked two loops, and instead of mangling them beyond recognition, spent most of the time mixing them. Sped it up, pitched it down, EQ’d up the low-end and spent a lot of time working on the transitions, especially in the drums. No pre-made kits here, lots of different drums and samples re-chopped, flipped, arranged, warped…. blah blah blah

Danny’s Acapella was a lot of fun to work with. At first I was worried about slowing down the tempo of it so much from the original, but by the time I really got into mixing it, I felt like it really fit. Tried to finish this one up quick so that 3/4 of my week isn’t dominated by beat-battles… and I’m finally becoming satisfied with my ability to chop and flip things, then really mix it down within about 8-9 hours of work. If I can start getting slightly better results off a mix in, like, 6 hours – watch out.

OkayTony Controllerism Video

Working on some video ideas and techniques… practiced a bit this weekend with some of Mad Zach‘s super-fun sound packs, and have just started to make some of my own 😉

Who taught ‘cha?

An introduction by way of my greatest influences, musical and otherwise.

This video is part of a project I worked on for Digital Youth Network, through DePaul University.



OkayTony Beastie Boys Tribute

Two-camera video I prepared shortly after the passing of the Beastie Boys’ MCA – a hugely influential bassist, MC and musician in my lifetime. Thanks and Rest in Beats!

drums, sounds, snippets and samples from all over their catalogue, chopped, rearranged and looped for you viewing pleasure.

New Music from OkayTony – Cuz I Say So

CUZ I SAY SO (Feat. Epik1, Hank McCoy, M.U.T.T.)

Click to stream this brand-new banger I produced and recently premiered on Pugs Atomz’ WHPK radio show, CTA Radio.

This is one of many beats I have available to Lease from my Soundclick Page, which you can access HERE

Thanks for listening!

The Journey Begins

I’ve been kicking around in my head and on paper (as well as several brainstorming Google Documents), the idea of starting a small business. With fits and false starts, I believe in approaching my third decade of existence that I’m finally on to something. There’s no proof yet, I may be on the wrong path. Let’s find out, shall we?

I intend to use this blog to document my ascent, descent or constant swirling, whichever motion pattern I find myself in as I struggle to earn a living, be a person and enjoy life. Please, wish me luck. Hopefully the attention I fidget and squirm for will keep me in check, helping me to adhere to the pursuit of my goals.

No, not “beets”.

What I want to do is sell beats. You know, beats. Like, “Awwww, that’s a dope beat! Turn it up!” The kind that rappers rap over. Not Schrute Farms. Not beets. Not drum rhythms or patterns. Nor, in the strictest sense a single note a musical “beat”; but a song, with no vocals on it that a musical artist would purchase (or lease) to use as a backing track for their own performance. Mostly, these will be rappers or singers recording their own vocals onto my beat, though in theory a guitarist could lease a beat. Or a kazooist.

You know, beats. Instrumentals.

I’ve been a practicing musician now for about 19 years, beginning to study the drumset when I was in the 5th grade. While studying music education at The Berklee College of Music, I was lucky enough to be amongst the first class whose tuition also covered a Macintosh G4 laptop. Nestled amongst the other prerequisites like Harmony, Ear Training (with a few different Teachers, including John Funkhouser; what a tiny little classroom), World Civ, Arrangement and Conducting was M-Tech 111 (Shout out to Kai Turnbull – a hard name to forget).

I’m sure that now if you poll Berklee’s current freshman class you’d find a great deal of them are fluent in digital audio production. The same was not true nine years ago when I was a new student there. Of course sampling and digital production had been around for some time, but this notion of if you have a Mac you can do absolutely ANYTHING was only beginning to take hold. I’m thankful Berklee had the progressive outlook and commitment to outfit each student with a top-of-the-line laptop and an Oxygen 8 MIDI controller.

Oxygen 8 v.1

This is a time when there was no MacBook Pro. No Dropbox. Myspace reigned supreme. Ableton Live was in its infancy. iPods were white and, if anything, uniform. The weight of the near-term future was heavy though and I got hooked, slowly, but surely on digital musical production.

I wouldn’t have guessed that nearly ten years later, I’d put my bed in my livingroom to accommodate for a full-on home studio in the “bedroom”, that my drums would be stacked, in their cases in the front hallway, while a MIDI controller glimmered and twinkled between two powerful near-field monitors while I churned out both sample-based and wholly original music. This is due, largely in part to M-Tech 111.  Due also in part to a suggestion a fellow student made when I said I was struggling to learn Harmony. “Have you tried writing your own music? That really helps.” That’s funny to think of now because I’m still shamefully ignorant about harmony,  but I’ve written an awful lot of music.

In addition to tracking and musing on mypath  up to and beyond this point,I also plan on helping out Rappers.  You know, like, MCs.

As a drummer, beat-maker, engineer and producer I’ve worked quite a bit with other musicians, vocalists and MCs/Rappers. I can help you count 16 bars. I can help you learn the difference between triplets, 16th notes, 16th note triplets… rests, breaks, hits, stabs, kicks. What makes a good chorus? How can you accurately explain how you’d like a rhythm to be different? Did you really mean to say “half-time” – or is it “Shuffle”? Was that a “Rim-shot” or a “side-stick“?

I’m going to try to help you find out.