Strange beats for weirdos

Interview with Dhedbeats

Longtime session musician and studio engineer turned producer.

I’ve spent all of my life around music, even my wife’s family has roots in the music business! I make strange dark and moody music for people who dig that kind of thing.

I’ve been a session musician and studio engineer for over 20 years and have been producing Hip hop under the name Dhedbeats for the last two years. My beats are different, I tend to make pretty dark and psychedelic beats as well as melancholic lofi jazzy instrumentals. I also make music for TV shows and video games. I live just outside of Toronto, Ontario.

Hey Dhedbeats, how did it all start for you in the music world?

Dhedbeats: Hey Emily! I started listening to classical music, when I was five years old and it opened up a whole world for me, up until then it had been mudpies and Tonka trucks, so, that was where I started to become the super classy person I am today. Back then I lived in the middle of nowhere outside of Ottawa and there were only two kinds of music that were acceptable the Rolling Stones or the Rolling Stones, so I was not the popular kid in Kindergarten.

I started taking piano lessons when I was six years old which I hated, it was when I was 12, and started taking guitar lessons that it all came alive for me. Being able to play the music I loved to listen to on a cool portable instrument was the bomb! I knew that somehow or someway I was going to have to be in the music business.


You’ve been a session musician and studio engineer for a long time, and you are producing Hip hop under the name Dhedbeats for the last two years. What inspired you to start your own music?

Dhedbeats: Having spent over two decades recording other people’s music, and playing guitar or keyboards on other people’s songs, I decided it was time to start working on my own stuff. Studio work has been an invaluable experience for me,  knowing my way around the studio, and being able to lay down tracks quickly has made things a lot easier for me, it was time to start doing it for myself, not getting any younger!

I had already started producing before the pandemic, Covid has lit a fire under me to try and come out the other side with a viable music career!


Why Dhedbeats? Your beats are unique, how do you manage to be original nowadays?

Dhedbeats: The name Dhedbeats came around at a party a couple of years ago where I was talking about music production and beats and also talking about how I was behind on a bunch of bills so somebody called me a deadbeat and things kind of went from there, I decided to blend the two worlds of being broke and making music together, oh wait….. that’s already a thing…

I try to keep things weird. I think my perspective is probably different than a lot of producers, everyone is trying to make “type” beats, whereas I’m just off doing my own thing! I don’t really pay much attention to what anybody else is doing so I  wouldn’t even know what “type” of beat I’m making at any given time! Hahaha, I try to bring in sounds from electronica, dub, folk, jazz, and even a little classical here and there just to change things up. I have so many musical influences, I’ve played bluegrass, country, jazz, funk, blues, folk, and all kinds of other stuff, I’ve taken bits and pieces from all of it and hopefully, the result is something weird and new that’s accessible and speaks to people.

You’re latest track “Strut” is awesome. What inspired you to write it?

Dhedbeats: I’ve been listening to and making a lot of lo fi music lately, I really love the way jazz is integrated into a hip-hop style beat, it’s just so nice and laid-back and appeals to a lot of my influences.

Strut came about by wanting to make a jazzy Lofi beat but upping the energy a little bit. I called it strut because I kind of imagined walking down the street on a nice sunny hot day feeling good about yourself, titles are always a struggle! lol


Do you enjoy recording and production? And where was your last song recorded?

Dhedbeats: I do enjoy recording and production, it’s been a huge part of my life for so many years and it’s been an invaluable asset. I just feel at home in a studio surrounded by cables and gear and all the weird and wonderful things that go into making sound recordings. The process of getting what’s going on in my head recorded is always a weird and wonderful process.

It was recorded in my attic I have a little studio up there now. I no longer run a commercial studio, computers have made it pretty much impossible to make a living in that business anymore. It’s not a perfect space but it’ll do for now, I’m 6’3″ so the biggest problem is that I hit my head a lot. The space is kind of like a look into my mind, it’s a mess! Cables, gear, microphones, records, instruments, pedals, just stuff all over the place, just the way I like it!


Was anyone else involved in writing, recording or producing the songs?

Dhedbeats: Not really, I pretty much do everything myself writing, recording, mixing, and mastering. I use loops for some things, that’s about the extent of anyone else’s involvement. I play guitar, bass, and keys, but sometimes I’m not the right man for the job so I’ll use a loop for that. I also don’t play drums so those are all programmed by me or loops. One-man show, though I’d love to get some help in the social media/marketing department, I just can’t keep up with all of it!


What non-musical entities and ideas have impacted your music?

Dhedbeats: I’m heavily influenced by film and visual arts. Especially psychedelic and surrealistic/abstract stuff. Basically, if it’s trippy, transports you somewhere else, gets you into your mind in any way I’m totally on board! So that kind of things plays a huge role in my music

I also soundtrack absolutely everything in my mind, waiting in line at the grocery store, walking down the street, driving, it’s all got a soundtrack going on in my brain which I then try to port over to whatever music it is I’m working on.

What types of change do you feel your music can initiate?

Dhedbeats: I’m hoping that other producers might listen to what I’m doing and be inspired to try something different. There are all kinds of huge guys out there making bangers all day long, that might not be your strength, find out where you excel and work on mastering that. Slow down and take a good while to think about exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish and concentrate on making a plan of how it is you’re going to get there.


If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

Dhedbeats: I would love to see the industry become less about clout, violence, money, how hot you are and how much stuff you have. I couldn’t care less if you’re wearing a 2-inch thick gold chain crusted with diamonds and drive a Maserati while holding a Glock, what’s your music like?

A little kindness and less scamming would be nice too. As a producer, you literally get assaulted every day by other producers/companies spamming your inbox, your posts or whatever else they can get in your face with. “Check out my beat bro” “check out this guy’s page” “Promote it on my fake ass bot ridden page, or, buy this guide from me and you’ll instantly be successful, pay me $200 for a collab and I’ll sell it to X big-name artist.” It’s endless bullshit and it’s sad that we’re doing this to each other when we’re all just trying to make a living doing this.

It would be great to see the music industry put some effort into making music rather than putting so much energy into things that have nothing to do with music like image, branding, clothing, how good-looking you are. That stuff is all fine but has NOTHING to do with music, I don’t understand how it became the most important thing! Some balance would be great!

What are you currently working on, and what’s next for you?

Dhedbeats: I’ve been working hard to get my music on TV, I’m signed to three library companies that I write music for at this point, but would like to get a couple more. That’s more of a long-term thing though. It’s a slow burn, you usually get paid like a year after something has aired so there’s not a lot of instant gratification there!

I’ve been working on a Lofi jazzy album which will be released on the next few months so look out for that!

At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?

Dhedbeats: I hope that it helps people relax, slow down a bit. Maybe get taken to a place you want to go or back to a good memory, maybe close your eyes and take a little trip through your mind. At the end of the day, I just hope people like listening to my music as much as I enjoy making it.

Take a moment out of your day and get lost in the music!




Thank you!

What do you think?

Written by Emily

Emily is currently finishing her studies in journalism and popular media abroad in the School of Media studies in Tel Aviv. In free time she writes for several popular magazines and loves hip hop culture very much.


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