Digging into the creative process, Byta speaks with artists, musicians, producers, DJs and anyone involved with music creation. A conversation about how they create, collaborate and share music. From studio setups to routines, and the first person to hear about the next 'big' work.
Where are you based?
I’m Jerimiah & I’m based in New Jersey. A small town called Willingboro.
How, when and where did you start making music? Are you primarily a musician or a producer, or do something else?
I’ve been rapping for as long as I can remember, since around seven or eight years old. I found notebooks filled with raps that my dad had written in his adolescent years into early adulthood and I wanted to do it too. I’d say that’s when the “bug” bit me. I started taking it seriously around sixteen. Learning how to record and engineer myself, writing music almost everyday, releasing songs, finding out what works for me. etc. Experimenting and constantly trying to play with new sounds is my favorite part of being a musician by far.
Who would you consider some of your biggest influences when it comes to your “sound”?
Sonically, I can say my music is among the likes of Mick Jenkins, Joey Bada$$ or even an Earl Sweatshirt. Specifically my beat selection, really. I love slow production that I can just vibe out to and lay my emotions over. I’m heavily inspired by Isaiah Rashad, Steve Lacy, Noname and Saba because of how they go about their projects. Specific albums from them have given me an entire new look on sequencing and arranging my bodies of work.
Explain your creative process? Do you have a routine?
While I can say that a routine would definitely keep me more organized, I don’t have much of one at all. I’d like to keep it that way. When I want to write, I write. When I get beats, I go through them. If I wanna just read or take a walk to get some inspo, that’s what I do. I think this is beneficial for me because it ensures that nothing is forced. If anything ever feels forced when it comes to my process, I try to step away and come back to it. There’s days where I write one or two songs and there’s days where I’ve recorded and completed four or five.
What is your “studio” setup?
In terms of equipment, I have a Rode NT-1, a Focusrite 2i2, a pair of KRK’s & some Audio Technica M50x’s. My good friend also let me get Logic Pro X off of him back in 2017 and I’ve been using that ever since. If we’re just talking about the environment, it’s just my bedroom and a couple of plants. Very minimal and honestly that’s where my best work is created. I’ve been to a bunch of professional studios but it’s something about being home and comfortable to create. Any home setup, really. Large studios take away the intimacy for me. A couple days ago I stayed over at my homie Arlo’s house and we recorded a couple joints in his room.
What is your process when working with other people? How is collaboration different in the studio vs working remotely?
I’m very open, and I prefer to work with people who are just as flexible when it comes to creating. I love collaboration, man. It really puts a lot into perspective because we as musicians and creatives are all so alike but so different and I think that’s beautiful. Whether beats or verses are being sent through email or we’re linking up in person for a session, collaboration adds a whole new element to music for me. I love learning from others and also being able to share what I’ve learned along the way.
At what point(s) are you comfortable letting other people hear what you are working on?
It varies. Many times it depends on the person, the song or what I’m working on. There’s definitely a lot of music that I make that will never touch ears other than mine. With that being said, sometimes I’ll make a song and I’m dying to share it with a friend or two after it’s recorded because I think it’s really special.
Do you share your work in progress (streams or downloads)? Any technical frustrations?
I only ever share unfinished files with a producer or collaborator. Other than that, I usually don’t share anything until it’s near completion. Which a lot of times for me is the second mix or so.
How do you know when a track/album is finished?
Knowing when a song is finished is relatively easy for me… most of the time. Every now and then I’ll find myself sitting on a record and not knowing what’s missing. This was the case for “Travelin’ Local”, the closing record on my last project, “Still Chldrn”. I recorded the verses and when I listened back I knew something was needed but I had no idea what it was. About a month later I was listening to it at work and that’s when I thought of the hook. I recorded it as soon as I got home. While listening, I had the idea to add synths for a more cinematic feel. I just sold my Akai MKII Mini so I just pulled up musical typing on my DAW and played with it until something stuck. I was really happy how the song came out.
As far as an album, it’s much more detailed. Creating the music is one thing, but figuring out what songs I want to keep is another battle. What do I want this body of work to say? Should I switch tracks 3 and 4 because it flows better? My goal is to create experiences and not playlists that I call an album. A lot of times I’ll know when an album is finished at a certain point, but I can never tell because it’s been different every project.
How do you listen to the final mixes/mastered work?
I usually listen everywhere. My phone, my headphones, my monitors, my sister’s AirPods, my car and anywhere else. Just to get a feel for how it sounds through any form of music consumption. This is especially a very crucial step for me because I mix and master all of my music. So I’m really fixated on that type of thing.
How important is pre-release security when sharing new work?
It’s very important to me. I know that if a song of mine was to leak at this point in my career it wouldn’t do any significant damage, but still it’s something that I’m cautious about. I don’t really send records out early unless I trust the person with my art. Also, if I preview a song or two on Instagram live there’s a good chance I won’t release them and I’m kind of just sharing recent work with friends and fans.
Who on your team gets to hear the final versions first and why, what formats do they each need?
I usually send the songs to the producer before anything. Just an unmastered WAV file most of the time via Google Drive or Dropbox. Final versions then go to my manager, she’ll give them a listen and tell me what she thinks and then we discuss what we plan to do for a roll out and a bunch of other details on the post-release side of things.
Outside of your inner circle who are the people that will need to hear the new tracks next?
My manager and my friend Mac who assists me with all my videos. Also anyone that will help with post-release things and such. Also, it goes without saying that this goes for the audience and whoever is reading this! It’d mean a lot if you guys stuck around to tune into my next work!
Anything you are working on, anyone you are working with and want to share?
I’m currently working on my second project with my homie Kirti who’s an amazing producer and instrumentalist. Solely produced by him, so this will be my first joint project and the music we’re making right now is definitely my best work. His production is super warm and I can say it’s perfect for the sound I’m trying to go for right now. I really can’t wait to share this one.