Queens based producer Anthony Lee also known as Lee on the Beats recently chatted with us about producing French Montana’s recent single ‘Pop That’ which features Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. The single has charted on both Billboard’s Hot 100 and R&B charts.
When someone thinks of the term music producer, often times what comes to mind is a person who simply creates the beat, so could you tell us more about what it means to be a producer than simply just making the beat to a song?
Some people may know this but there are beat makers, and then producers. Yes a beat maker just makes the beat. As a producer you make the entire record making it easier for an artist whether it be writing the entire song or just the hook. You also help arrange vocals you basically produce the artist as well.
What inspired you to go into music producing specifically as opposed to another area of the industry?
What inspired me to go into producing was me wanting to be a rapper. Producing wasn’t always my first option I actually used to say I wanted to be an a&r when I was in jr. high. That lead to me rapping once I got into high, and then I just need my own beats. So I started producing it just happen to be something I loved doing and was actually go at so I stuck with it.
So now you’re from Queens, New York, how has being from New York influenced the way you produce the sound and feel of a record, and how much of an influence would you say where a producer is from affects the sound they produce?
Being from New York influenced my sound in a big way. At one point NY was just know for heavy sampling with people like Just Blaze, Heat Makers, and others. I kind of found myself straying away from that I wasn’t always a big fan of sampling. So as music changed all I knew was heavy drums. I always incorporate dope drums with what ever it is I’m doing. I think that’s why Swizz is a big influence as well. He always has dope drums in his records from the most complex to the simplest ones.
How do you go about honing your skills as a music producer?
Honing my skills? I just try to stay consistent. I watch a lot of Youtube tutorials on mixing and chord progression as well. Another thing I do is watch the latest in studio creations with producers I admire most which helps keep me motivated to being on their level of beat making and producing.
Who are some of producers who’ve inspired you?
Some producers who have inspired me would be the Neptune, Justblaze, Swizz Beats, Rockwilder, Timbaland, Ryan Leslie, Danja Handz, Polo, Cool and Dre, The Runners. The list goes on everyone has inspired me in different ways from their sounds to the way they do business etc.
How did you become involved in producing French Montana’s “Pop That”? How long did it take you to produce the record?
Originally I was trying to make the cut for the mixtape French and Waka did together called “Lock Out”. I missed out on that but I watched a video on Youtube with them in the studio listening to Southside’s beats, and it kind of all came together after that. I made “Pop That” overnight it only took about two or three hrs total. I sent it out with in the same week.
When you produced “Pop That” what type of vibe were you aiming to create with the song, and in trying to create a vibe for the song,were the song’s lyrics the only factor influencing how the song should feel?
I was aiming for a club vibe actually. I started the beats with the sample so I took the basic trap formula and added a little bit of twerk and made it all work together. I guess you can say the lyrics and hand claps influenced the vibe of the song’s feel.
Before producing “Pop That” how familiar were you with French Montana’s sound, and in having an idea of French’s sound prior did it make it easier or harder to produce the record, in trying to keep French’s sound while bringing in your own unique sound at the same time?
Before producing “Pop That” I was very familiar with French’s sound. I think that summer was the one he really made noise. He had “Choppa Down”, “Everythings a Go”, and “Shot Caller”. Shot caller being the most different of the three. It was kind of easy to create for him I just took the thing I felt most from all three records the high energy and club feeling.
Were there any disagreements between you and French or you and the label about the direction the song [Pop That] should take, and if so could you tell us a little more about some of the creative differences in crafting the direction of the song?
There weren’t any disagreements between me and French on the record. Puff just wanted more added so I did that.
Now that Pop That has been released and you hear the final product, do you feel there is anything you would have done differently or changed about the way you produced the record?
I don’t feel like there’s anything I would have done different. I’m glad the record turned out the way it did.
What other songs have you produced and what songs are you currently working on producing?
I have produced Kid Ink’s “Is It You” and I co produced Freeway “Superstar” ft Meek Mill.
What can we expect from you next?
You can just expect another record from me. Not sure with who just stay tuned.
Have a listen to Pop That Below, and you can follow Anthony on Twitter @leeonthebeats