From his experience working with the insanely-talented collective known as ¡MAYDAY!, MURS found out pretty quick that he needed to tap the well of talent in Miami for his own solo project Have a Nice Life.
With the song “Black Girls Be Like”, MURS got himself a banger from ¡MAYDAY! producer Gianni Ca$h. With his penchant for uptempo, danceable grooves and huge drums, Gianni crafted the perfect jam for MURS to give a shout out to black women all across the world.
We talked to the beatsmith/DJ/musician to get his take on how the track came to be and what to expect from Have a Nice Life and ¡MAYDAY! in 2015.
The feeling of this track is very reminiscent of the ¡MURSDAY! album. Did MURS’ experience recording that album with you guys serve inspire him to ask you and the rest of ¡MAYDAY! to produce tracks for his solo album?
Absolutely. We basically gave him access to our vaults while he was down here. So he’d hear things, and be like, “Damn! Okay, I kind of like that one, man. Send it to me.” Basically, after the whole ¡MURSDAY! album happened, he was very conscious that we have a lot of music and “I’ll probably be able to use some of this music for my album, so I need to be on top of these guys to send me some more music.”
He heard a bunch of stuff that I did after ¡MURSDAY!, and I’m like, “Dude, this is some of the music that I’ve been making as of recent.” And he’s like, “Aw, man!” He heard about five beats and was like, “Yo, send me all those five beats.” So, I sent him a bunch of beats and then he wrote to one track. Then we were getting things together to go on the road for the ¡MURSDAY! tour. Once we got back on the road, we kind of touched base again. We’re always making beats on the road and he’ll hear things on the road, and be like, “Yo, I need that. Please send me that so I could write to it.” Then, the last two weeks of the tour, he was like, “Yo, for real, I need some of those beats.” Basically, he was already planning during that tour to come to Miami to work with us, because he knew there was a bunch of stuff that he liked.
I think he really liked the process that we had for the ¡MURSDAY! album and he kind of wanted to revisit that and see if we could make some more magic, you know? I’ve got to give MURS props, because he’s one of the few that really understands that we have tracks here. We make music. He said it like, “Yo, people are sleeping. People should be coming to you all the time. I don’t understand. You know what? Fuck that. I’m going to start a trend and I’m going to work with you guys because you guys have great music.” So, I’ve got to give MURS props in that aspect because he believes in us, musically.
It feels like the ¡MURSDAY! album had an influence in this production. Either that or I just don’t know that you make beats like this all the time. Some of the latin vibe that I heard in ¡MURSDAY! seemed to carry over into this beat.
I make all types of music, man. You probably don’t know, but I make all types of music, whether it be up-tempo, latin-influenced stuff, hip hop influenced stuff, electronic-type influenced stuff, or even rock. I love all types of music.
This was a beat that I had made a little bit, maybe a week after we finished the ¡MURSDAY! album. I got back into making music and I busted out about five tracks, just because we had finished the project and I was itching to make some new stuff. It was just the foundation – the drum track and the bass line. That vibe was so good. It was all you needed, basically. That is the backbone of that beat.
So, I was just sitting on it and we would play it all the time on tour. We would play to it and vibe to it: freestyle sessions, or listening sessions with CES Cru. Me and Bernz would get some brewskis and go through beats and just talk about things. MURS would be like, “What the fuck are you guys doing listening to beats without me?” so then he would vibe with us and that beat would come on and he’d be like, “Yo, I need that for my album.”
That beat was kind of like a foundation, and I think the vibe of the whole ¡MURSDAY! album was…I was still on that hype-type of vibe where I felt good about music and I wanted people to have fun with the music that we were making. I definitely want to make something up-tempo and that was kind of like the evidence of that whole ¡MURSDAY! vibe. That carried on to the few things that I made after that.
Once MURS came, I looped that beat up and he just wrote the lyrics. He wrote the lyrics on top of that beat and was like “We got to make this a song,” and I was like “Yeah, we’re going to definitely make this a song, because this shit is fucking dope.” The whole context of what he was writing about – I just knew I had to make different parts to that song. I couldn’t just let it be drums and that bass line. I needed to have a switch-up. My first thought was “Damn, man, we need to put horns on this.” I had one of my close friends, Keith Cooper, come in. He’s an amazing saxophone player, so I brought him over and explained what we needed to do and hummed him some ideas and he went in the booth. He just executed it and added his flair to it. Then I went back and edited the tracks he did on the sax and started sequencing portions, sections of that beat and, basically, that’s what came about. Actually, that solo wasn’t intended to be a solo. I chopped up scraps of outtakes and made that last saxophone solo. So, it worked out well, man.
You’re pretty good at that, man, because I know you did that, sort of, with the “Marathon Man” guitar.
Yeah, I totally did that for that, too. I’m pretty good at chopping things up and I’m very particular when it comes to chopping things and making it sound as awesome as possible.
Where does your feel for the uptempo vibe come from? I would think it has to come from the Miami region and your Chilean background, a little bit. Do you have a lot of Latin influence in the music you make? Because, it’s a new sound that doesn’t really exist outside of you guys, I don’t think. When it comes to hip hop, a lot of the stuff on the ¡MURSDAY! album and the vibe of this song, once you hear it, it’s immediately like, “I love this,” but you don’t really hear it anywhere else.
Cool. I love that you kind of got that vibe from me! To be quite honest, I really didn’t get that vibe. It’s very interesting to me that people have this idea of a certain sound. It’s pretty cool to me that you get a Spanish-like vibe from that record. I got kind of a jazzy, throwback, old-school hip hop type of vibe from that record. But I think the horns makes it, like, latin influence.
To me, it was the bass line. I guess to put it more succinctly, I definitely feel a Latin jazz vibe.
Totally, totally. It’s a combination. You’re totally right, though. Yeah, dude, I think it’s my Chilean background and I think we are influenced by living in Miami, you know? The culture here is very Latin, a lot of the music industry here is very Latin. Aside from the hip hop like Rick Ross, and Lil’ Wayne, and the Drakes that come down, it’s all Latin influenced.
When I make music that’s up-tempo, I just want to make people dance and I want to have fun. You know, when we play these shows, that’s the main objective – to make people have fun and enjoy their time at our show. Even though I like smooth and vibey type of stuff. ¡MAYDAY! is very well-known for that vibey stuff, and I feel like it’s my mission to make things that are hype and up-tempo to counter part the vibeyness and it doesn’t necessarily have to be up-tempo, but hype. I want people to want to hear it, boom, you get into this feeling. It’s good-time music.
One thing that definitely helps the hype factor is the drums, your programming of the drums and how big they sound.
And this, to me, really started to come about once again on the ¡MURSDAY! album. There’s probably been some beats like that before that on the ¡MAYDAY! albums, but I think the main one that jumps out at me is “Brand New Get Up”. I don’t want you to reveal all your secrets, but for aspiring producers out there, how are you getting your drums to sound like that? Because a big drum sound is something that any producer would covet.
You know, it’s funny that you’re asking me this, because a lot of people that know the stuff that I make…even close friends of mine that come into the studio and also make beats, they always tell me “Damn bro, how the fuck do you get your drums to sound that good. They fucking snap!” To be quite honest with you, I have no clue! Like, I don’t do any special tricks. I just crank it, bro. I don’t use compression, I don’t use these nifty computer plug-ins and shit. Yeah, I might EQ the drums here and there, but I just like to crank that shit. Usually, I like my drums to snap and to bump. I might, usually, base my music around the drum beat. So, I’m almost mixing around the drum beat. You know what I’m saying?
I’m definitely big on the drum beats. I definitely want my drums to knock and sound a certain way. I’ve given my stuff to people to mix and a lot of these, and this is not regarding Ben – he’s been an amazing engineer – but I’ve given my beats to other engineers and they usually come back and I’m like, “Yo, what happened to the drums, bro? They sound fucking thin! What the fuck are you doing?” It’s always some compressor or some shit. I’m like, “Dude, take that shit off, just put it straight in.” That’s what it is. I feel like people nowadays are too caught-up in the plug-ins and got to have this certain type of gear. I’m kind of old-school with it. I’m just like, “record it nice and loud and it’s going to sound nice and loud.”
Let’s talk about MURS’s contribution to this song, because it’s such a fun song and it’s something that I think black women, obviously, are going to love. It gives them the big ups, it celebrates women, it’s just really cool and fun to rap along to. It’s got so many cool things about it. What are your thoughts, once you heard what he was going to do with this track?
I wasn’t at the studio when he recorded the vocals. I didn’t know the concept until Nonms was like, “Yo, I think MURS just killed your track, bro. I really love what he did to it.” And I was like, “Oh, for real? Cool.” I went to the studio. I think we had a show that day, so we were doing sound check. After sound check I went back to the studio and heard it. It was so dope. I think he wanted to make a fun song about he sisters and shout them out, the black girls and the black women out there – these women that are fucking beautiful, amazing and empowering. I think he hit the nail on the head there with that.
I told him he needs to make a video A.S.A.P for that because that song is a perfect fit for the stuff he does. His videos are very up that lane. So, you can already see, visually, how that video is going to look. You know what I’m saying?
Have you heard any of the album, other than this song?
From MURS? No, I haven’t. Only the stuff that’s been released, but, no. I actually had a conversation with him not too long ago. And I was like “Dude, I need to get a copy of the album. What’s up, bro? I want to hear it.”
He’s told me great things about it, I can’t wait to hear it. We do have more songs, though. We have another song that me and Bernie produced called “Surprises”. We also have a song called “The Worst” that the whole band did. I think that song is amazing, as well. And there was another track that Plex did called “Skating Through The City” that I did scratches on.
These four tracks are amazing. I really love “Surprises”, man. That song is a very big song. I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but it’s a very cool song.
Is there anything you want to say about working with him on this project and what fans can expect from the songs that you guys collaborated on, before we get out of here?
The album, I know for sure, is going to be amazing. People need to go out there and support him because he is a man that is really devoted to his craft and to hip hop. Before I met MURS, I coined him the “Underground Hip Hop Ambassador” because I really think that he is. Out there, there is only a few of him that do this shit. They know how to do it and they’re very well-connected. They’re good people, and it’s people like him that carry this movement along.
I am honored to be among the people that have worked with him. We definitely have to support him and he’s super dope – a great individual. He’s a great recording artist and a person yearning to learn about other cultures. I think these song are an extension of what we did on ¡MURSDAY!, but more focused on him.
I think it’s great material and the people out there that fuck with us, they should know what to expect from us when we work with people. We had a great time working with him, I wish him the best, and I know it’s going to be a great album.
Also we have an album, Future Vintage, coming out soon. Bernz will be dropping an EP late this year and I’ll be dropping an album shortly there after. So get ready for an actioned packed ¡MAYDAY! year!
- How do you think MURS sounds over ¡MAYDAY! production?
- What do you think of what you’ve heard from Have a Nice Life so far?
Let us know in the comments section below.