Dawter Podcast, ep7, Sadiva

This week I am talking to the Queen of beat making herself, lo-fi, hip-hop producer, SadivaAfter dropping a brand new album in May this year, back from her tour of Japan, Sadiva sits down with Dawter Podcast and tells us her story. How in just 3 and a half years, she went from being a bedroom producer, to a signed, internationally touring artist, with two full length albums to her name and 60,000 plays on Spotify last month alone! This is a massive episode you don’t want to miss! 

Quick Links

Sadiva: Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, Facebook

Hardware / Software: Maschine, Serato Sample, SP-404,    SP-555

Other: WOWInner Ocean Records, Lab Co. The Push

Highlights

Tell us how you went about making your new album (Minutes)

Minutes was really personal. It was like a diary entry. I was trying to talk with the samples I was using and I was trying to tell a story from the start to the finish, not only as a beat maker but as a human. You know, I was heart-broken, I fell head over heals for someone, I was heart broken, I was traveling a lot, I was meeting a whole lot of different people… and so I was getting myself into situations where music was my outlet. I don’t write a diary or anything so this was my diary.

I don’t write a diary or anything, so this was my diary.

Where do you get your samples?

All over the joint really. When I first started making beats I was such a purist. I used to only sample off vinyl. Now I don’t give a shit [laughs]. I do everything, so I sample of youtube, I remember I would go into a bar in Japan and something was playing, and I would look up at the screen and I would take photos off it, and I’m like “I’m sampling that when I get home.” Or I’ll be watching Netflix, and I’ll be like “Oh my God!” and I’ll just stop everything and pull open my internal recorder on the computer and I’ll record it in and I’m like “fucking using that later!”

What was touring Japan like?

Amazing! A little hard being the only girl with four boys! [laughs] I think they had enough of me and I had enough of them at some points [laughs] But that’s family. You go away together, you get sick of each other and you love each other. But dude it was so good. We had some really funny times. I’ve never laughed as much as I did over there. I got to meet some really beautiful people in the scene over there and I was blessed enough to play with some of my favourite Japanese beat-makers. Which is fucking crazy! And it’s crazy that beat-making brought us there. 

Can you elaborate rate on how the tour came about?

So I wanted to go back, I’d been with my dad, and I wanted to go for longer. So it was a two week holiday I booked and I put it in the Lab Co. chat, I was like “guys I’m gonna go to Japan. Gonna try and get some gigs sorted, anyone want to come?” And then a couple of them jumped on board. I almost thought it wasn’t going to happen. I was trying to hit up people in Japan and I ended up getting a really good connect through my friend Grumpy Snorlex, who’s based in the US. And he put me onto Ali Mobs who put me onto Beats Addict in Osaka and Kyoto and then Entro organised the Tokyo shows. So I guess it was all through social media. 

How did you get involved with Inner Ocean Records?

I had been involved in a couple of compilations that they’d done. And I hit them up asking if they could duplicate my first tape. And they were like “Yeah sure!” I did it all myself, they just made it for me. Then they gave me a huge push because they posted it on social media… I kept entering in compilations and they kept supporting me by putting me on the compilations… then we got talking and I said “I’d love to realise my next album through you guys” and we went back and forth and we finally just, we made it. Then they also helped me with WOW. He’s (Corey) has been a huge supporter of Sadiva since I started. I’m really lucky and really grateful to have a connection like that with them.

Tell us about WOW

I’m so glad that WOW happened. I was going through some shit in my life and I was a bit sick of seeing some fucking annoying comments. For the most part being a female in a male dominated industry, I haven’t had too many issues. I don’t want to say I haven’t had any, but mainly in my scene everyone’s been so fucking supportive. … I had this idea and I was like, fuck it, I know of heaps of female producers so I put a call out on Facebook and I was like “I don’t care who you are but tag every female producer you know.” And I shared it everywhere, I shared it on all the forums I was on. Holy Moly! I got so many submissions. It was beautiful. I’m friends with all the girls now. I still talk to most of them. It was so cool that I got to find all these other female producers!

So I got all the tracks together, I listened to it, I worked really hard on putting it all together. I asked Jackie, my amazing house mate to do the art work. I ended up calling it WOW because it was Women from all over the world, and I think we had a woman from every continent. And I did it in a month! I started it in February and wanted to release it for Womens History Month. So it was such a rush. I was working full time too. So I put the call out on Facebook, then I listened to all the submissions. I think I asked for 2 beats max. I wanted the tape to have a feel and I wanted women to be represented in a professional, incredible way… Didn’t do a launch for it, i did do a live stream on line and played all the content. I’ll be honest, it got write ups and, it was organic. I wasn’t trying to make it like a crazy thing, but with Inner Ocean behind it, it did get a lot of love. And like I said, that’s how I got in touch with Spotify, well they got in touch with me because they wanted to support it.

That’s how I got in touch with Spotify, well they got in touch with me because they wanted to support it.

Elise, Sadiva and Bear at Sadiva's home studio in Melbourne

Dawter Podcast, ep4, Fresh Violet

This week I chat to Melbourne rapper and hip-hop producer Fresh Violet! We discuss the history of hip-hop culture, the importance of role-models, different production processes, overcoming mental obstacles and Violet’s ‘thinky’ brain! Violet’s energy is contagious, but most of all, her skill as a musician and her knowledge and respect of hip-hop music is what makes her such a compelling artist. 

Highlights

Did you have any female rappers that inspired you to begin with?

Part of what inspired me was actually the lack. I remember I was studying classical music, and that was like [being in] a bubble, because you had to work so hard! I was working part time as well so I didn’t have a lot of free time to listen to the radio. I always loved pop and rock when I was in high school, but I just had to focus on classical music for that time. But I remember getting toward the end of that degree, and re-kindling my love for that kind of music, and Katey Perry was actually one of the main ones, like I heard Teenage Dream and I was like, “Oh my god! Pop music is so great!” [laughs]. So Katie Perry is sort of a role model. That sort of opened the door for more pop music, and I started listening to Kanye and Jay Z and Nicki Minaj and got into the pop hip-hop. I know so many hip-hop heads will be cringing knowing thats how I got into it! But that’s the honest truth of it. I wish I grew up with my parents playing Biggie Smalls and Big L and stuff like that, but we just didn’t have that in our household.

On Eminem…

Something that lodged in my brain about Eminem, is that he is universally recognised in the industry, and they talk about it in that really cool documentary “The Art of Rap” by Ice T. They say that Eminem is one of the best. Crazy that he’s white. [laughs]. And the reason he is so good is that he would listen to everyone. He would take the best of every different artist. And I had that thought lodged in my brain early on, so that’s what I really tried to do. You know, I worked backwards, I went back to Cool G rap, and Jurassic 5, and tried to get a thorough history of hip-hop and really understand where it came from. As much as I have a classical and pop background, I was sort of down the other end of the pool and I tried to swim over to the other end, and then come at it from that direction as well.

On hip-hop music…

Sometimes your classical knowledge will get in the way, because the approach for writing classical music is so different to how you make hip-hop. Classical music you are assessing your chord progressions, you’re harmonising your counterpoint, you are thinking about really technical stuff a lot of the time. Hip-hop was born from people in the Bronx who didn’t have much education, and their music programs had been taken away at schools and their wasn’t funding, things like that, so they didn’t have that knowledge, they didn’t have access to that. They created music out of what they had, which was their parents turntables, and their 60’s records. I think they attribute it to Grand Wizard Theodore who started scratching. It was something that was essentially born out of nothing. So i think that is a really important thing to know. I think it is important to pay your dues and know where it all came from. Especially when you are white, because you are essentially a guest in the house.

I think hip-hop is a really embracing, accepting culture, and when hip hop is working right, when we have a healthy hip-hop community, everyone is involved, everyone is welcome. It is more than a genre of music, it is a culture. 

How do you start off creating your tracks?

When I write a song, usually I start with a concept. Like I’ll say, “ok this is going to be a song about aliens.” Then I’ll probably have a few phrases, like I really love word-play so if I can just free-style some ideas about aliens, or whatever the concept is, and that will give me an idea for the bpm. Then I’ll try to create a style for the beat that’s gonna communicate aliens, or space, or things like that. I don’t use a lot of samples, but I might look for a sample or a synthesiser that has like a spacious feeling to it, or pick some boom-bap, you know spacey kind of drums, and some different electronic noises, so that the beat is really part of the storytelling and the concept, and then I will probably write over that.

Elise Cabret and Fresh Violet recording this interview at Melbourne Polytechnic

The sound effects used in this episode were downloaded from soundable.com