When you tune into the radio, stream new music, or latch onto a producer who uses hot samples, you’re likely getting a taste of digital instrumentation. Through digital producer softwares like Fruity Loops, Logic, and Pro Tools, the average person is able to pull from a library of ‘perfect’ sounds. I define this perfection as a sound that’s unbothered by its original environment; that’s been blended to the point where it’s unnatural.
Story | Nico Blitz
Personally, I love the ‘imperfections’ in hip-hop’s compositions. For example, I learned that Mobb Deep’s classic record ‘Shook Ones Part 2‘ samples the sizzling sound from cooking on a pan. In this particular case, however, Mannywellz’ latest single ‘Wrong Place’ promotes how advantageous live instrumentation can be.
After my interview with Mannywellz, I discovered that he’s particularly proud of his Nigerian roots, and sought to represent his home on all his self-produced records by implementing African drums, sampling his own voice, and therefore, avoiding synonymous sounds you’re able to find on any software. Listening to ‘Wrong Place’ reinforced his credibility in my eyes.
“Even though certain software sounds are great, nothing beats live sounds,” Mannywellz said. “There are also little to limited sounds for that Nigerian Talking Drum I used. I would probably never use talking drum VST (Virtual Studio Technology), but for other sounds I would, as long as they sound real.”
When releasing a mini-documentary of the makings of ‘Wrong Place,’ we’re able to see exactly how the Maryland-based rapper creates his music. He brings out the African drums, forms emphatic layers of melodies with his voice, and throws in what inspired him to be in the ‘wrong place.’
From my perspective, it’s little stories like these that help foster greater appreciation for music. Not only hearing, but actually seeing an artist at work and engaging more effort into their craft is beautiful.
I’ve seen videos of producers cutting samples, creating melodies, and essentially making the person like myself – who can easily access these same sounds – feel like I can do the same thing. It’s much more relatable.
But watching the behinds the scenes footage of ‘Wrong Place’ already set some differences between the virtual software producer and the live instrumentation producer. For example, Mannywellz is standing up. From my perspective, it looks more engaging and fun and I’m able to hear the difference in the record itself. I’m not saying that producers who solely use digital sounds aren’t amazing, I’m just saying that those who implement live instrumentation makes the creative process seem and sound more, well, creative.
Mannywellz will be part of the Baltimore Soundstage set tomorrow opening up for Bibi Bourelly with Travy Nostra.