St Andrews Sounds: Kitan

Next up in our St Andrews sounds series is beatmaker and 4th year IR student Kitan Ogunfeibo with his Hip Hop and soul creations.

How would you describe your music background? Has Hip Hop always been your focus?

So growing up my mum really enjoyed/still enjoys 70s/80s funk/disco/soul records; you know The Whispers, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and especially Luther Vandross so I guess from the get go I was just listening to the kind of music that created with emotion and soul. My parents would also frequently visit their friends and on the way back, the radio was set to this station Jazz FM – I would just fall asleep in the back of this old school Mercedes to the music they played. That was scene I tried to capture with ‘A Kid & His Benz’.

I wasn’t until around ‘04/’05 that I started listening to Hip Hop. My friends would come to school playing songs by like Chingy, Jay Z and Nelly. During breaks in class, I would just browse their phones and Bluetooth all their songs to me. I probably started digging for music myself at 13, which is when I got my first laptop. I remember the first thing I did was install iTunes and just download a bunch of R&B and Hip Hop. From then on if I heard something I liked, I’d found out who it belonged to and cop all their work. I think dancing as well gave me a greater appreciation for the music I listened to. So I guess by the time I was finding my own music, yeah, Hip Hop was a pretty big focus for me.

Who are your biggest influences musically?

I’d say in terms of beats, I’m still heavily influenced by 90s commercial hip hop and R&B, Just Blaze, Premier, Eric Sermon but come ‘07/’08; it was just like music had died. I would spend hours surfing the net trying to find the same kind of music that moved me before. It got to point were I was just frustrated without even understanding why; Imagine music being a big part of your life and its like you’re being forced to listen to garbage.

By 2012 I just started thinking If I’m wanting a sound that’s no longer available or that’s hard to find I’m just going to do it myself. J. Cole’s Power Trip production video really set me off. The whole beat making process was fascinating. The way everything just fit together, the feeling and the logic that when into the whole process. That one video, I mean even Cole as an artist influenced me a lot.

B Boying (Breakdancing) really shaped who I am as well. I started teaching myself dance styles at 14 and when I turned 18 started breaking. B Boying enabled me to figure myself out, understand the culture and about music in general. It kind of opened up a whole new world. I started listening to and collecting Break beats, going off as soon as I heard manic drums. B Boying was the door to Cultural Hip Hop for me and has definitely influenced how I approach music and life in general. I fell in love.

Can you describe your creative process, how do you find your samples?

Living in a digital era and never really having a record player at home/ not being able to afford one meant I started my digging online. Usually I type a genre or an artist I might have heard of into YouTube just go through songs. I tend to only sample from songs with low viewer counts and are fairly old. I think that comes from me just not wanting anyone to know where the samples from.

Depending on how I’m feeling I’ll either start a beat from scratch, what I like to call organic production, or browse through songs I’ve collected and pick one that has a particular sound or section I like and sample that. For a sample I’ll make sure that it loops seamlessly then chop it up into 16 sections. It doesn’t have to be like this but I like chopping and rearranging samples in order to ‘flip’ the sample. For an organic beat, I’ll almost always start with keys I’ll play around then record in a chord progression.

After playing around with the chopped up sample or keys I usually have an idea of what I want it to come out as and I’ll start drumming with a default kit then replace the kick, snare, hi-hats etc. with samples that I like that accompany the sample/feel of the beat and then go on to add additional elements e.g. violin strings, a synth etc. and a bassline.

The creative process of making a beat won’t take to long maybe 20/30 minutes but after that I tend to spend a while mixing and mastering the track; adding effects, mastering channel levels.

Again depending on how I’m feeling/ the direction of the beat, I might add in vocal cuts or scratching or include a vocal sample like a conversation or something and use it as the intro, hook or outro to just the beat give greater depth/vibe.

A lot of your artwork is very London centric, would you say that your city has an influence on your creative work?

It’s funny you say that, not really I grew up in South East and looking back I think anything I did was just an attempt to escape my reality. Its not that I don’t enjoy or like my City, I just feel like certain stresses and the unfortunate reality of the world around me resulted me constructing my own version of the world in order to deal. So I think my creative work is more the result of my state of mind growing up, trying to fantasize or beautify my reality and in doing so creating my own world, my own fantasia.

I was also big on art from a young age, sketching was definitely my first love. Any chance I got I would just sit down and draw. I was really in to Design and Technology as well so I suppose when it comes to designing and creating something, my creative past coupled with how I choose to see things, the end result is just a manifestation of my imagination.

What is Unfinished Fridays?

So for about half a year I’ve been participating in this kind of online beat forum started by this producer DJ Pain 1 on his Facebook page who works with artists such as Joe Budden and Ludacris. First off, Pain 1 is a genius! I have all the respect in the world for him just for his willingness to help other artists and his contribution to the culture; So to anyone is reading this, you’ve got to go like his page!

So what Pain 1 will do is put up a sample that he might not have to time to finish or just wants to see what other people can do with it. You make a beat from the sample and post it back. In participating I feel like it’s just a great opportunity to learn from others and improve your styles and skills, kind of like a cipher. It’s definitely helped in terms of consistency and refinement when I’m making beats outside of UF especially with variation of samples I try and flip. Some of those samples have been like drawing water out of a rock but being competitive I don’t like giving up.

What are your future plans as a producer?

Ok so when I started making music I initially wanted to MC as well but I didn’t want to use anyone else’s beats, partially because I didn’t want to take someone else’s work and try and shine off of it and partially because I didn’t want to pay either anyone so I started making beats but in the end I just kept churning beats out! I’ve got a couple beats that I really like and haven’t put out at all so I think want to lay rhymes over those and release and LP within the next couple of months.

Being 21 and about to graduate I’m obviously also looking to go into work, although last month I decided/realized that I’m always going to surround myself with music and Hip Hop will always be a big part of me probably till I go so I’ve started building a label which is going serve as a house for storing music or any other creative process I engage in and that’s what O.L.D Records is. There’s definitely a couple people I want to involve in it as well. To me it’s just something that just stands by itself, it’s something I can always come back and add to. In mind the name is just built to support timeless creations. It’s the foundation for one large dream.

What do you think of the St Andrews music scene?

Oh man when I first arrived it was dire. I remember my this guy Ed who was about 4 years older than me but had gone to my previous school and played sports with me, pretty much like a big brother was like “Yo you gotta come with me to this Hip Hop night man, it’s at Ma Bells!” So I’m thinking like damn, I gotta take what I can get! Hahaha I’ll never forget, we get there and this guy’s mixing Kelis’ Milkshake with MJ’s Billie Jean, not even like an instrumental and vocals from one of the two songs, he just played them both at the same time haha!

I think the creation of the Get Free collective really just put and end to that kind of nonsense as well as most definitely pushed me to get more involved in music. Again it was that thing of, if you love something don’t just sit around and complain do something to change it. Don’t let people who don’t know what they’re doing come and ruin and profit off of what you love.

I’m less into house music which for a couple years has been quite big in town but regardless I definitely appreciate good house (again too many whack Djs) and the people who’ve pushed it here, that’s word to Saunit, Mossy and Charles, especially Brandon and Dre who’ve just started, you can definitely tell that they enjoy it and again they know their music so to me it’s all good. Also of course watch out for Staley. She’s making movements and she’s ill with a pair of decks.

St. Andrews is a small place, but the talent and the creativity is some of the best that I’ve seen and might not see again for a while. Damn almost forgot, Word to the little homie Will Becker Aka Mahatma x. That kid is a crazy producer anything he makes is just incredible.

The Vic or the Lizard?

Hahahahah c’mon man haha. Um If I was out I’d 9/10 pick the The Vic over The Lizard.

Favourite place to get coffee?

Coffee culture’s not really something I’ve indulged in too much but I guess if I was to pick somewhere it would have to be uh maybe Pret’s Cappuccinos? Or is this a date kinda coffee? In that case maybe Gorgeous? But I usually ask where they want to go first. Just like the Drake inside me.

Favourite Bar?

I went with my boy Matthew AKA Smack to this place on The Scores one time, can’t remember the name. It’s pretty nice + I’m into nice Whiskeys, one of the thing’s I’ll bring back from studying in Scotland.

Any Raisin Stories?

Ahh man, what a mess Smh. My Dad’s raisin was pretty rough. Me and my siblings play two rounds of ring of fire (Somehow all the kings got picked out quick!) with centurion in the background all with HARD liquor. Of course I get the King’s cup..twice and instead of cup it was cooking pot. SMH. I was there for all of maybe 10/15 mins….I just wished that dude all the best and made my way out. Now my dad lived out of town maybe like 30 minutes. Takes me like and hour and half to get back because I keep getting lost. Woke up in Eds bed, the same friend who took me to that hip hop night at ma bells. He was out of town at the time and still has no idea of the violation made to his room hahahahah in fact when I saw him later that week I blamed it on another dude who his flatmates had previously kicked out of his bed hahahah Raisin resulted in Sheisty behavior.

Dream Venue 1 lineup?

Damn I hate questions like these haha Just on how I’m feeling right now:

1. Dilated Peoples

2. DJ Lean Rock.

3. J. Cole (Of course!)


Questions Charlie Jaco

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