Have you ever heard a song so hypnotizing that as soon as you press that play button the beat is the actual magic of the hypnotism? A sound so transcending that you couldn’t possibly imagine that this was a man-made creation? Well we have and still do.
We first heard a Wichi 1080 production on Priddy Ugly’s ‘Swag Demonstration’ song and slept on it. Then we heard my second Wichi 1080 production on Priddy’s popular ‘Bula Boot’ song, woke up and have been awake ever since. We couldn’t deny the skill level any longer and had to set-up a meet (and greet) with the man behind these mesmerizing instrumentals. We had to meet Wichi 1080 himself.
Not much is known about this (super) producer; not much at all. Seriously, search the internet to try find something that will aid your knowledge of an individual that seems to be cracking up heat after heat, day after day and you will basically start doubting your own sense of reality. At some point we wer convinced that Wichi was just a myth and that Wichi 1080 was just a made-up character that manifested out of the combined existence of SA hip hop’s sonic desires and ambitions. We were wrong. The myth was real, the beats were real and Wichi 1080 was really sitting in front of us.
A lot of people don’t necessarily know about Wichi in detail. God knows people of have tried to look for more information about you. Could you just start off by telling us how it all came to be and how you got to be in this industry?
It’s actually quite a long story man. I used to be a big fan of my brother, he was a writer and he was a rapper. So everything he did I wanted to do, I got into basketball because he did and I started writing raps before making beats. So he got into making beats in like 2006 with FL Studio and then I jumped on it because he jumped on it. Then he stopped but I started developing like a real passion for production and started trying to up the level & standard of quality, trying to make beats like Dr. Dre and Kanye West. Those guys are like my idols. So I just started from there and I started taking it seriously in like 2009, around the time we were choosing subjects for grade 10 and stuff. After high school I was just making beats, I even dropped a few beat tapes online, got a couple of 50/100 downloads you know? I was popping back then (laughs). But I only really started producing in 2013 because the first artist I ever worked with was Priddy Ugly.
We imagine you find your interest in production and we imagine that you perhaps have some sort of realization that you not the only one out there that is trying to do this whole beat thing and that there were other people that were already established more than you were. When you dived into it, how did you see fitting in as an individual in terms of how you wanted to be musically perceived?
Honestly, I feel like because of the co-signs I got from the people who are around me I never really doubted I would fit in to the industry. I never really doubted I would have trouble being appreciated as a producer, because everyone around me was just like “thumbs up” with everything that I did. So from there I just had that confidence, I don’t really have a problem and I don’t think I’ll have a problem fitting in or getting recognized.
Did you ever compare yourself to others guys when you were on the come-up?
Never. I’ve never had any local influences. All my influences were international. Dr. Dre, Kanye West and that is actually about it in terms of the producers that I wanted to emulate. Those are the only two and Lex Luger, when he started popping with the trap sh*t.
Now your relationship with Priddy. It just seems like you have this solid relationship with him (workmanship too). It kind of seems like you supply the hottest beats to him before you consider anyone else. He gets the best and the rest get the Wichi leftovers. You mentioned that you met him at some earlier stage but when did you realize that you could work and make some wonderful music together?
I met him at school and at the time I was just making beats and wasn’t producing any records, so I played him some of my beats and he instantly became my best friend. We just started getting to know each other as people, what our visions were for ourselves as artists and how we would want people to hear us. We just started learning each other (if that makes sense). At first working with Priddy was actually a headache for me because he has a big different approach to like everything. I never really knew how to produce for him, so it was trial and error. I think YDKMY (You Don’t Know Me Yet) was the first time we made a project that we both had one sort of approach.
So it wasn’t an instant solidified relationship huh?
Yes, we had to figure each other out because he liked the quality of my sound which wasn’t even that popping at the time we met but he liked the way that my beats sounded. It wasn’t really about the music, it was the sound.
“I felt the same way about Priddy’s recognition, not necessarily mine.” – Wichi 1080
The last time we spoke to Priddy, we kind of discussed how he’s also been around for a minute and has constantly been delivering some high quality music. Music that seems to be so ahead SA hip hop’s time and he confirmed how he kind of felt sort of underrated. And we’re listening to you talk about your relationship with him and it’s clear that the two of you are such a perfect pair. However the ideal perception would’ve been that when Priddy went under that underrated hub, you kind of went through that space too?
I felt the same way about Priddy’s recognition, not necessarily mine. I don’t really think that I’ve been in the game long enough to be entitled to any sort of recognition.
But Wichi if you drop a sort song and you believe it’s a hot song. Don’t you want people to give you the credit you deserve!?
I feel like people do actually recognize that. But I also feel like the media isn’t taking us seriously and media co-signs are what make an artist. The difference between AKA & Priddy, in terms of brand value, is the media.
It is so interesting how you guys just stuck to your lane and have now gotten to point where people are actually starting to catch on. When you do receive that reception from a commercial perspective, does it still matter to you or not?
We’re still trying to figure out a way to get into that space because at the end of the day we want to be there but we not necessarily trying to do it via payola or weird favors and sh*t like that. We are trying to do it legit, the people f*ck with us because they want this. It’s not really working out right now but I feel like with time, as the numbers grow, it’s going to be undeniable and them not co-signing us is definitely going to be detriment to them & they’re going to have to do something about it.
When we listen to most of the tracks that you’ve produced, you can definitely tell that this is a Wichi produced record. Could you explain to us how your creative process is like when you tackle down a production or create your entire sound?
I tackle different songs differently. It also depends on what kind of artist I’m working with. I don’t really make beats like I used to make anymore and I don’t have beats that I sell to people anymore. I meet up with an artist, make a song from scratch and I like getting an artist’s input every step of the way the whole time. So whenever I worked, let’s say with Priddy, we would start a beat from scratch and the most important element of any Priddy song is the drums. So if the drums are right, he’s going to lace it right. We always start with a drum pattern or something that’s going to drive the song. So my creative process is literally just feeding off the artist’s vibe and if I know an artist responds more to melodies rather than groove, I’ll start with the melody so that they can figure themselves out.
What does it take for an artist to work with you? Because when one looks at the line-up of artists you work with (KLY, Refi Sings, Priddy etc.), it subtly seems like you keep your circle small and generate the awesome work within your circle.
Just hit me up, it’s that simple. Artists are weird people dude, they complicated and it’s the weirdest thing. Communication is everything, if they hit me up and I can do it then I’ll do it.
“I never really doubted I would have trouble being appreciated as a producer.” – Wichi1080
There’s been this progressive drive in SA hip hop where the producers are becoming their own artists, we see that with the likes of Tweezy or Sketchy for example. They’re carrying themselves as artists now more than anything, is that something you’re also looking to evolve into?
Definitely, I’ve got my own ideas, my own concepts and my own projects that I want to drop as an artist. But I feel like with being an artist there’s a lot more to it than just making dope songs and it’s like you have to be about everything you rap about. You have to be that person. So I feel like I’m not necessarily at a point where I am 100% sure with my content, but I have been on couple features that are going to come out this year just to see how it plans out. I am going to dive into it but I’m getting ready right now.
When you analyze where you want to take this, what overall impact does Wichi 1080 want to have in the game?
I want to pioneer a genuinely original sound. I think when I’m done with everything, I want to at least know that I brought something into the table. It’s not necessarily even a type of sound but just like a mindset of being creatively open and free. Nowadays it’s almost like radio tells us what to make because they won’t play anything that you give them, so it’s like you have to make something that is going to conform whatever they going to play. I feel like we as artists decide what’s dope for the people and they decide whether to accept it or not. I want to change what’s considered commercial. I want to change the meaning of what commercial music is.