3. You said in a previous interview that you would not sign a record contract with a major label. Why not?
If the money's good I would. LOL...But I said that because of lack of control and vision. I remember when a group I was workin' with (Outsiderz 4 Life) signed their 1st record deal. I read the contract. It said that the artist was responsible for promoting their own product. So over the years I thought, the only reason we need the label for was to finance the project. When they do that, they're givin' you a loan that has to be paid back from future royalties. It's like payin' back a college loan, lol...I believe that no one knows your vision or direction better than yourself. Why not use your own money to produce and promote your product? Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad at the labels at all. But I believe in being self contained. No matter how long it takes. Like I said earlier, if the money's good...I'm there. LOL!!!
4.Is there a specific reason you started your own production company? What are your plans for your company, do you have a specific goal you would like to reach?
Of course. I wanted control of what I created. Plus, I have a wide range of musical influences and some of it comes out in my music. There might be a day where I'm influenced by The Beatles and that comes through in a track I'm makin'. The one thing that I hate the most is the phrase '"track like".....Can you make me a 'track like' Timbaland?, Swizz Beats? So on and so forth. Recently, I've fallen in love with music licensing. I have a partner, Aaron Kane. We decided to form TAVA Entertainment as a way to produce great songs and music or whatever we want for artsits, film, TV, video games, websites and even business presentations. Our goal is to have our music heard everywhere. I know it sounds cliche, but it's the truth. It's not about the fame, it's really about creating what we're happy with and having it accepted.
5. Would you say your production and writing style has changed throughout your career? If so, how?
Oh yea, my production and writing has changed throughout my career. In the beginning, I had no identity with my music. I loved music so much that I would remake my favorite songs and call it my own...lol. What really changed my life, and it's funny that this happens to be on a Static page, was when I met Playa. Real Talk. I worked with Boyz II Men prior and learned a lot from them, but it was different. With Boyz II Men, I learned the mechanics of approaching a song. Meaning that everything was thought out over and over again. Not a bad thing at all, I love Boy II Men till this day. But when I was in the studio with each member of Playa alone, the approach to writing a song was more organic. It was honest. To me, it was like whatever comes out of your mouth 1st, is what you really feel. And that's how Playa approached songwriting. That changed my life and style of producing and writing forever. I've witnessed Timbaland producing music the same way. I guess it was all that time with Da Basement, ya know?
6. Which (musical) accomplishment are you most proud of?
I'd have to say bein' apart of the Blackground Records family. That was my high school and college of the music industry from creating a song to the business.
7. Could you share your memories about working on the Outsiderz 4 Life project, and specifically producing the song ‘Ain’t Never’ featuring Aaliyah? Did Aaliyah co-write the song (according to ASCAP she did)?
Well, I went to high school with Outsiderz 4 Life so I've known them since we were teenagers. When they started their group, it was called Sudden Impact. They were in Boyz II Men's Motownphilly video. So we use to write songs together in one house just like Playa, Ginuwine, Missy, Magoo & Timbaland did with Da Basement. We wrote 30 songs at home after leaving Boyz II Men and before getting with Blackground. My memory of workin' on that project was when Barry Hankerson (Aaliyah's uncle) heard our demo, he loved it. He set us up in Sony Studios in NY to record those songs because he felt the sound would come out better. He felt that the vocals on the demo sounded like a demo. Rightfully so...We had to redo 30 songs. The group couldn't recapture the feelin' we had when we were recording at home. So, I decided to have someone fed-ex the ADAT Tapes of what what we've done at home to Sony Studios. We used the same demo vocals that Barry felt needed to be redone. Barry came to the studio to see how things were goin'. He loved the way we redone the vocals....LOL...They're the same vocals he heard when he 1st met us. LOL...That's when we showed him this song we wrote called ""Ain't Never. But we all felt a girl should do the bridge part. We asked Jomo, Barry's son, did he think Aaliyah would want to do it. Mind you, we met Aaliyah 2 nights before and she loved the group because they always made her laugh. We didn't hear anything from him. A couple of days later, she shows up at Sony Studios. And she loved the concept of the song. We'd written the bridge already for the female part but didn't have the last line. So I asked Aaliyah, what would she say to finish the bridge out. She told me that she wasn't comfortable with her writing but trusted the writers and producers she worked with. I eventually talked her into comin' with the last line in the bridge: ""Well I can't lie, I guess it's time that I, Tell you both bye bye...and that's the line she wrote. She didn't think it was enough to warrant a credit but as you see, I put her down as writer as well. One thing I can say about Aaliyah, HUMBLE....Very HUMBLE...While recording her on that part, I was shocked to find out she only wanted the producer and engineer in the room...She said she get's nervous when people watch her record...I was like, but you're Aaliyah, I'm nervous just sitting on the other side of the booth...LOL...And It's funny that R Kelly and Usher came out with Same Girl, same concept, and we wrote Ain't Never in 1997 and recorded Aaliyah's part in 1998. No, I'm not sayin' they stole it from us...LOL...
8. What is the reason the Outsiderz 4 Life album was never released? Are you disappointed in this?
After Aaliyah passed away, things changed. Blackground, as we all were, was suffering from a loss of their star artist. Barry, who ran Blackground, lost a family member. Boy bands were fading. Outsiderz 4 Life were perceived as a boy band because they didn't play any instruments. It all can be blamed on us as well. We didn't promote ourselves as we should've. We were comfortable with the fact that we had the HOTTEST and EDGIEST label behind us. So Outsiderz 4 Life and myself can take blame in why the album was never released. I was disappointed because it was a great album...But when hind site is 20/20, you tend to see why things turn out the way they do..But I learned a lot from that experience.
9. How did your collaboration with Static Major happen? Did you know him beforehand?
I actually met Playa back in 96 or 97, can't remember. I had an R&B group I was producing at the time. I did a song for them that landed a spot as opening act for Playa. We talked briefly but not much. After Outsiderz 4 Life and myself signed with Blackground in 98, Barry Hankerson arranged a meeting with Playa in '99 because they loved our writing. It wasn't until 2001 when I worked with Static & Black. It wasn't for a Playa project, we needed songs for Ousiderz 4 Life. We were all at Music Grinders in Cali workin' on songs. Playa was tryin' to finalize their 2nd album at the time. I was in the studio and Static happened to be in the same room. I wanted to play some tracks to him. So I played some tracks and he loved this slow track that I had and kept havin' me play it over and over again. So that's how I ended up co-labbin' with Static.
10. Which songs did you do with Static Major and could you share your memories about these songs and (working with) him with us?
The song I did with Static wasn't for Playa and at the time, he hadn't thought of a solo project. This was pre-Static Major...But it was a slow song for Outsiderz 4 Life called
"Pressin’ tha Issue". He heard the track like 3 times....asked could he hold the cd of the instrumental...that same day an hour later, he had a full song. No pen or pad. amazing....that day changed how I approached songwriting and producing. Watchin' him work, you could tell he looooovvvveeed music. It wasn't for the money for him. He really loved music and being in the studio. I didn't know Static like Black, Smoke or Neeze did but one thing I do know, is love for music and Static treated music like it was his body part. Real Talk. It was so natural for him.
11. Has Static Major influenced you in any way and if so, how?
OH HELL YEA!!! Before I met Static, I would write lyrics, erase them and try to come up with something better to say...that means it would take me 2 hours to write the 1st line of the 1st verse because I wanted to make sure it was cool....lol.. After working with Static and even Black and Smoke, I learned that I was thinking too much. That the longer it took for me to make the perfect song, the longer it would take the audience to get it. That's what influenced me. The honesty. How organic it was. I started approaching songwriting and producing as therapeutic instead of trying to come up with the coolest lines. See, Static came up with the coolest lines without tryin' because that's the way he spoke. He wrote how he spoke. I find myself bein' influenced by how he arranged his harmonies....The dude was outta here. And I'm glad I got to work with him.
12. What are your plans for the future (what are your upcoming projects/which artists are you planning to work with)?
Tava Entertainment's future plan is to have our music featured in various areas: Artists, Film, TV, Video Games, Documentaries, Websites..etc...I just love makin' music. I'd love to work with Black again. I saw on YouTube where Smoke sang to one of my tracks, don't know how it got to him...lol. But the reason I'm not trippin is because it was an honor to be around what music was suppose to be like. That's what I got from Playa as a group and Static as a songwriter/artist.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Yea, be on the look out for Tava Entertainment's Compilation CD. It's called Tava Entertainment presents: The Tava Files. We're still putting the finishing touches on it so we don't have a tentative date...You can check out some our music at myspace.com/tavaentertainment....if you need some instrumentals for your project, go to myspace.com/timbyrd to listen...Also wanted to thank Martina for reachin' out to me and settin' up this interview...Tim Neeze ""Barnett for keepin' Statics dream alive by creating staticmajorismusic.com, because he is...Static, You've touched so many...RIP my dude.