TheyCallMeParker Talks How He First Connected With D Savage, Working with Lil Uzi Vert and More!
We got the chance to connect with producer, TheyCallMeParker. You may recognize a few of his beats of the new D Savage tape “Trust No One”. He produced track #7, “Knots” and track #9, “Ain’t Nun Nice”. He’s had the chance to work with artists like D Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, and 03 Greedo! Check out my favorite production of his “Ain’t Nun Nice” by D Savage. I linked his social media and SoundCloud down below go check out his beats and make sure to give him a follow, he’s a producer that you're gonna hear a lot this year.
Where are you from and what age did you first make a connection to producing music? And how long have you been producing music?
From Hayward in the Bay near Oakland. I was in middle school when I met a dude who had a cheap keyboard he used to make beats. We became friends and I started rapping to his beats, eventually, I caught the producer bug when I started to have ideas of songs to sample and make beats out of.
What was going on when in your life when you made the first beat? Was producing always your vision as a career?
I was learning to use Reason and getting ready to move to NYC. I was out of high school and I produced for a few artists in my area and wanted to grow. I made 100+ beats before I left the Bay Area and as soon as I got to NYC my computer crashed and I lost everything! I quit for like a day - then I got motivated and made twice as many beats in a few months. I got a manager soon after and started shopping beats at labels, but nothing came out of it. My manager later told me that he loved my beats but when he played them in studios or offices they didn’t sound good. After that, I made it my mission to get good at mixing - before he told me that, I had no concept of what mixing was at all. I ended up getting drawn into mixing and engineering and put producing on the back burner. I started working at a studio in Brooklyn called The Brewery and began recording and mixing professionally.
I met a bunch of really dope producers that inspired me to get back into it. I only recently got back into production about a year and a half ago.
What beat program did you start on, what beat program do you use now? Recommended beat program for producers?
I started using Reason, then Live…then I got Logic and stuck with that for a while until I moved from NYC to LA. Now I mainly use FL Studio 20, but I have some placements from beats I made in other DAWs too. I can’t really recommend a DAW - I say try them all and see which one sticks! A lot of the producers I know use multiple programs but prefer to use one over the other. I know guys that use Maschine, Studio One and others as their main but still get down in Live or FL.
What's your scene? Would you rather be at the crib cooking up beats solo? Or be in the studio collaborating with other producers?
There is a dope energy when you’re in the lab and both you and the artist are creating. Since I can produce, record & mix it pays to have a stash of beats you have access to at any time. I have to cook up on my off time outside of the studio. You have to do a good mix of both.
How/when did you first connect with D Savage? Can you run us through making the "Ain't Nun Nice" beat? How did D Savage end up hopping on it? Were you with him in the studio when he recorded it? If so can you run us through that session?
Danny Freckas and Cauthen Vaughn booked a recording session at my studio for D Savage. He came in with just his managers and seemed focused and hungry. I hadn’t heard any of his music before, maybe because I just moved from NYC. He had me pull up the "No Make Up" session he already recorded with another engineer so he can add to it. He likes to record in the control room instead of the booth, so while I was having a mic set up for him we listened back to the session and I mentioned something about his vocals that surprised him. He immediately handed me his phone and said, “Put your number in here, you’re my engineer from now on”. This was within 3 minutes of meeting for the first time. I had been recording him for months and he had no idea I was also a producer too! One day he ran out of beats so I played him the beat for "Drako & Me". He did his verse and hook (before 12 Honcho got on it), but we never came back to finish it. He had producers pulling up to the studio every night so I didn’t get to play any other beats for months. That’s where my tag “Parker, Parker, Parker" comes from. He was surprised I made beats and said that out loud shaking his head. Everyone started laughing and I was like “Say that on the record!”. It was only going to be part of the intro on Drako & Me. He happened to come late to the studio one day and I had pulled up FL on my laptop to kill some time. I was looking through old beat ideas when I found some fun-sounding keys. It felt slow so I sped it up like 20 bpm to 152. As soon as I did that, the whole bounce of the song changed and I immediately got the idea for the drums. As soon as I added the hi-hats I knew it was gonna be fire! Added the kick and Snare next and knew it needed a bassline, but I didn’t have any ideas off top. I layered the keys with another sound playing the same notes that added some low end then it came to me have the bass hit with the keys instead of with drums. I usually never do that. I needed a high pitched, brighter sound to make it feel like there was a clear change in the beat and found the flute in Omnisphere. That was it, like 6 sounds total. I was so into the beat I didn’t notice one of the studio interns let him in. He got the idea immediately and we recorded it that night.
"Knots" was a beat that I didn’t even mean to play for D Savage! That beat was called "MOONS" and I was thinking of releasing it on an instrumental album I was putting together. In my mind, I didn’t hear anyone on it. It was near the end of recording for his project and we finished early, so we hung out and cooked up some beats together. When the session was about to be over for the night, I remembered I had some beats I’d been waiting to play him for a while. I couldn’t remember the name of it and opened the wrong beat. I cut it off immediately and told him I needed a second to find it. He stepped out of the room for a moment while I kept looking. I opened another beat. I thought I had found it but it was the wrong beat again. I closed it immediately, but his friend Declan, who was mostly chill and quiet during the session let out a “Woooooo” that rung out after I stopped the beat. I turned around to see he was surprised that I didn’t let it play. Others in the room agreed I should play it again when D Savage came back. I was kinda confused because in my head I wanted to play him the beat I still couldn’t find - that’s the only one that mattered to me because I knew he would kill it! He came back in and I didn’t want to keep opening random beats so I played the one everyone liked while I searched another folder. I hit play and he immediately started nodding his head hella hard. At one point before it dropped, he looked at me like I was crazy lol. I cranked the volume up right before the drums hit and the entire room went bananas!!!! I just remember being hella happy but confused. The session ended and he asked me to airdrop the beat. It wasn’t until our next session that I recorded him on it and got to hear his idea for it. He bounced on it with 2 different flows that I would’ve never thought of and I was impressed. Afterward, he asked me to take out the drums in certain spots to let the loop play. I was like damn this kid is a genius! I remember him playing it weeks later at my studio the night of the "Ready To Die" video shoot and a couple of the producers on the album were like "WTF WHO PRODUCED THAT" and D Savage pointed at me and was like HIM! They gave me the nod of approval which was dope with no placements under my belt at the time.
What makes you different from all of the other producers out there? How were you able to get placements and succeed?
What makes me different is that I have a unique bounce in a lot of my productions. I’m also a dope engineer so I can record an artist on my beat and they leave with good-sounding rough mixes at the end. Right now, I’m getting placements from being reliable and in the right place at the right time. When artists I’m recording for ask me if I produce or when they run out of beats, I play my joints. I’ve been working hard at my craft heavy so lately, when I get those opportunities there’s a very good chance that the artist will like what they’re hearing. Who was your first placement? How'd you get it? And what's the best way for a producer to get their first placement? My first placement was for TNT Tez called “Ducced Off” feat. 03 Greedo. I ended up becoming Greedo’s engineer before he went to prison.
I made it with a loop from the homie Teej and cooked it up before the session with my friend Pompano Puff. It was my first session with Greedo and he had 4 or 5 artists come into the studio that wanted features. Puff played Greedo like 15 seconds of the beat and he went straight into the booth and knocked out the song 4 minutes later. He didn’t even know I co-produced it. He liked the way I worked and how my rough mixes sounded so he had his studio book 100 hours with me to record before he had to turn himself in. During those 100 hours, I had the opportunity to record over 100 songs with him and produce and co-produce 10 or more, including an unreleased song “Bentley Truck” that I made right in front of Lil Uzi Vert when Uzi invited us to his spot.
What does it take to be a successful producer in 2019?
Man, I don’t know I hope I can answer this in 2020 tho’.
What's on the horizon for your music career in 2019?
If all goes well, a LOT more placements. I have a lot more from other artists waiting to drop and I’m teaching D Savage how to produce so we’ll definitely be cooking up together too!
Check him out!