It’s been a minute since we’ve conducted a thorough interview here at Nostalgia King and especially one on the Hip Hop producer side of things but we’ve been waiting for the right moment to introduce something extremely dope and something brand new. With the ease of everyone having their own set ups and bedroom producers becoming more of a thing, it’s become rather rare that you find production teams or in this case, duo to joining forces. Loosely following in the footsteps of other great production duos, except these two gentlemen are nice with the MIC device as well, Oxygen and JackJones have formed the tag team of the year with Masterminds In Effect and are ready to blow through your speakers the best way they know how.
Who is Masterminds In Effect and how did it come about?
Oxygen – We’re an Atlanta based production duo comprised of JackJones (formerly known as Audessey) and myself. Masterminds In Effect is actually a title of one of my earliest songs, but the decision to utilize it for our name was a mutual one. For many years, we had been touring together with our group, Soundsci, and rocking the stage as a two-man show. I was telling Tone (JackJones) for the longest I had been interested in learning more about the production side, and he started teaching me a few things once I made the move down south. I believe it was during one of those sessions we decided to make it official and call ourselves MIE.
What is the purpose of what you guys do as a duo?
JackJones – It’s all about formulating another outlet for ourselves, whether it be creating music that works for remixed material or building the foundational elements that other artists may get inspired to write to.
Oxygen – No doubt. MIE is just an extension to what we’ve been blessed to do as recording artists. Our purpose is mainly just continue to stay creative and keep each other inspired. We’ve both slowed down considerably as emcees, so now it’s time to keep that same energy going with this new adventure.
There have been some great production duos over the years, i.e. The Beatnuts, The Creators from over in the UK and The Beatminerz. Do you find it beneficial and more of a plus when you have a partner turning out beats?
Oxygen – Yes, for sure. It’s very similar to writing songs together and bouncing ideas off each other.
JackJones – I think its always a good thing to have another set of “eyes” and “ears” on a piece of work. We all listen to music, however we might not be listening to it the same way or hearing the same things. So working with a partner adds yet another dimension and perspective to the creative process.
Both you guys are established as Emcees as well as thorough producers. Will you be working with outside artists or are you keeping everything in house and doing projects strictly centered around you?
JackJones – I feel it will be a combination of both – doing music for ourselves and remixing material that we have already created, and also working with artist that we align with to form a shared vision of what we all feel the music ought to be.
Oxygen – I would love to eventually get some placement on a few projects with some of our underground peers and even more well known artists, not just in Hip Hop. Although alot of what we do is sample based, we’re also working on some original music as well. I’ve always wanted to get into possibly doing things like TV and radio commercials.
What is the Masterminds In Effect sound?
JackJones – For me, it’s always been just about making music that I love to hear and whatever encompasses it. I’ve always loved music and the infinite sounds of it. I will leave it up to everyone else to decide what the MIE sound is.
Oxygen – We’re still pretty fresh and in the experimental stages as a duo so I think it’s hard to really say what our “sound” is just yet. For me, outside of Hip Hop, I’m a HUGE house head and grew up listening to gospel. As a vinyl collector and consumer, my inspiration comes from all over the spectrum. So I believe it will take a little while to find that middle ground for ourselves. Whatever we create is guaranteed to have soul and feel good. That’s for sure.
In an era where there are more equipment options than ever before, what’s your weapons of choice as far as making beats and what does your setup consist of?
JackJones – ASR10, AKAI MPC products are my weapon of choice.
Oxygen – Right now, I’m messing around with a Roland MV-8000. Looking to invest in the MPC One soon. I still have the Casio SK1 and my Synsonic Drums in storage just in case.
Let’s talk about digging for a second. I know both of you go deep and are always on the hunt. Why is it important for you to still dig and sample from records?
JackJones – With the internet as vast as it is, there is something always out there that the digital world has not discovered and posted. Digging for samples is always like digging for gold or treasure. Finding that piece of music that no one has heard of or used before is priceless.
Oxygen – Yes, always on the hunt! When I say always, I literally mean ALWAYS!!! Like Tone said, the discoveries are endless. That translates into the opportunities for a sample based production team is also endless…..IF you stay on your job. I’m out in the trenches at least a couple times a week for rec. As a collector, you’re always hearing something new that inspires you. Many times it’s records that I’ve had for years that I might have grabbed for a particular song to play out I revisit and have my mind blown.
Top 5 overly used breaks that you’d stay away from sampling?
JackJones – Off the top I can think of “Impeach the President” and “Subsitution”.
Oxygen – Nope. None for me. All of them still have use, even if you don’t use them straight.
During the 90s era, a lot of producers were sampling from the same records and loops because they were the hot records at the time. Are previously used records still a go or are you all about finding records that have never been touched before?
JackJones – I think the rule stands: Music is music, and its “how” you freak the sample. However, I do feel there are certain samples that have just been used enough and there are plenty, plenty of other records out there in the world to be discovered and freaked.
Oxygen – I agree with that. Although I’m not against giving drum breaks a new lease on life, there’s no need to use the same samples over and over. Granted, heads’ knowledge back in the 90’s (pre-internet) was very limited compared to what it is now so some of that was to be expected. There’s no real excuse for it now in this day and age. EVERY record has something to be sampled on it. I’m always on the hunt for those oddball joints. Keeps it fun and exciting.
As someone who has had an SP12 since 1987 and made beats even prior to that, I’ve always judged other producers by not only how they flipped something but the impact it made which caused other producers to be on the lookout for those records which became heavy hunts and on wantlists. Why is it that there doesn’t seem to be that same thing happening now where records sampled for projects aren’t really becoming the talk of the scene and have people sample chasing?
JackJones – I think because the accessiblity of the music is a lot easier today than it was back then. The internet has changed the game in a lot of ways where instead of going out there and looking for records, folks can just type something in a search field and see what pops up and then go from there. The convience has, in a lot of ways, made things too easy to acquire sounds along with applications/programs now that can sample anything you have on your computer. It’s all free game.
Oxygen – I have a confession – On the low, whenever I hear Alchemist is dropping anything new I get excited as hell. That dude keeps me super inspired. I think people are still geeking over samples and how certain producers catch wreck. They’re just doing it privately. Like me. Haha!
Top 5 samples ever used and flipped that you wished you got too first?
JackJones – 1: Cal Tjader “Lady Madonna”, 2: Lou Donaldson “Pot Belly”, 3: Young-Holt Unlimited “Strangers in the Night”, 4: Jimmy McGriff “Green Dolphin Street”, 5: Milt Jackson “Enchanted Lady”.
Oxygen – 1. Manzel “Space Funk” – 2. Ahmad Jamal “Misdemeanor” – 3. Baby Huey “Hard Times” – 4. Les DeMerle “A Day In The Life” – 5. Funk Inc. “Kool Is Back”
As 2020 is coming to a close in a couple of months, what can we expect to hear from MIE in 2021?
JackJones – Creativity, creativity, and more creativity. Whether it be remix projects, video EP projects or vinyl releases, MIE will be creating!!!
Oxygen – My brother said it all. Stay tuned. Thanks Skeme!