With its sinister feel, thumping bass and eerie melody, “Delusional” quickly became a fan-favorite from Tech N9ne’s breakthrough album All 6’s and 7’s, reminding listeners of the dark material present on Anghellic and K.O.D.
We talked WillPower, the producer of “Delusional”, to get his thoughts on the record and how it came about. As it turns out, it was his first shot at producing for the King of Darkness, and if you ask any of the Technicians around the world, he hit it out of the park.
How did you originally cross paths with Tech and Strange Music?
Again I think it was Richie Abbott. If I remember correctly I think Richie had told me he had heard Trunk Muzik, which is the album I did with Yelawolf. Richie became a fan of the music and just felt in his heart that Tech N9ne and I would have a really good connection and so he reached out to my manager and he kind of set it up.
The crazy thing about it is I’ve been a Tech N9ne fan since ’01, ’02, so when I got the call that they were even interested in doing anything with me, I was so stoked about it that it was just an amazing situation.
It makes sense that you’re a fan because “Delusional” sounds like something that goes right in line with what Tech does, did you have Tech in mind when you made that beat?
Yeah. I specifically made that beat for him. Once I got the word that I was going to get a chance to work with him, my whole goal was to try and come up with something really different but still all the way Tech N9ne. I think we did that and got that off with that record.
The other beat that you cut with the violin player, do you know what happened with that?
Yeah. Tech still has it. It’s in his catalog. He went ahead and asked me for it so I gave it to him. Basically I think he’s waiting to find a perfect time or opportunity to unload that one on people. Yeah that was really crazy. I had my friend Ashante Floyd come in and play violin on it and I had some guitar guys in the studio with me. It was just a really crazy vibe. But Tech was really feeling it. At the time I might have given him three or four tracks and he took three or four with him but of course only one made the album.
Do you still send Strange Music beats continuously?
Yeah, actually what I’m doing right now is preparing for his next album. I actually met with him a few months back before he went on tour and have talked with him a few times and of course talk to Richie all the time so I’m blessed to have a really good inside look at what’s going on so I kind of get the word early on what he’s intending on doing. Right now with some of the stuff that he’s told me I’m just kind of preparing for presentation time when it’s start time to be getting ready for the next album.
We talked to Seven before and he said Tech was looking for something “big” and that’s about it. Is that what he told you?
Yeah, for the most part. I think it’s just the natural progression of things. I think he’s going to top All 6’s and 7’s. I think he’s just going to go ahead and step on that one and just go to the next level because every time he does an album it just gets better and better every time.
Surely you’ve met a great deal of artists and not many of them keep progressing like that in their ability. Why do you think that is?
I think he gets it. I think he owns his process so as a fan you just appreciate that he’s going to let you into his world every time he does an album and depending on where he wants to take you he’s in total control of that. I think that that’s the difference between Tech N9ne and most artists – they don’t control their process, they don’t have very much say-so in what the singles are going to be, what records are going to make the album or what kind of producers are going to be on the project. I think that he’s always been hands-on with what he’s doing which is why he’s able to do whatever he wants and his fans are going to accept it. If you look at some artists, it’s pretty predictable what they’re going to do next (chuckles) you know what I’m saying? With Tech you never know and I think that that’s what keeps people coming back to buy his music and he keeps supporters because they’re always like “We don’t know what he’s going to do but we know it’s going to be great!”
What are some of the things you’re going to do as a producer to kind of prepare yourself for these beats your making for his next album? Are you going to stretch yourself in a different way or take a different approach? What’s your thought process like right now?
I’m just going to continue to just try and be sonically superior. That’s my goal. My goal is to make sure that whatever it is, it just gets into the spirit of what he’s trying to accomplish. So let’s say I meet with him and I made beats for it and he’s not feeling any of those, well I’m sure that I’ll be able to get what vibe he wants and go back and create more stuff. So when it comes to working with artists I just think it’s important that you give them what they want first and then you take that and you add your own creative elements to it. It really depends on what he’s feeling but as for me, I know that sonically I’m going to make sure that I do something incredible.
Do you consider yourself to be a pretty versatile producer?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve got my popularity from Trunk Muzik and “Delusional” and records with a lot of bass in them but the truth is I do a little bit of everything. I grew up with a lot of rock influence. I just love music so I don’t have any limitations as to what I would do on a record. So yeah I think I’m very versatile.
Any bands in particular that had a profound effect on you?
Yeah like I was into Steely Dan. There’s a band in the south called Mother’s Finest. Kind of like older, older bands. 60s and 70s rock is what I was really into. I grew up listening to Van Halen and you know, just kind of feeling anything. I wouldn’t say there’s any one band but I do have lots of favorites. I pretty much check out everything. Then of course hip hop was definitely an influence but I’m definitely more musical. The need to play music comes from what I listen to.
Especially Steely Dan, those chord progressions are out of control.
Yeah they’re incredible musicians man and that’s it, I listen for stuff like that. You don’t get a lot of that these days so when you find something rare you listen. I feel like “Delusional” was such a rare record. It’s one of my favorites and it has nothing to do with the fact that I was involved with it but I just love the way…it just has a rare feeling. It’s a record that sticks out and it’s one that I believe that fans and non-fans will always remember.
You talk about being sonically sound. That’s a great thing for a producer to have. You’re creating a soundscape and one thing I noticed in “Delusional” and a lot of other joints on Stevie’s new record, which speaks a lot on his ear for beats, is that the bass is very controlled and well-tweaked. How important is that to you?
It’s key for my records actually. I’m one of the few producers that I know that actually have their own engineer so when I do work it’s very important to me that they really tweak it and get the records to have what I would call sound quality. I have high standards on it man. Not only am I a producer but I own my own recording studio and mastering studio so I’m really into that stuff. I’m really into EQs, frequencies and things of that nature because I know that if it’s done right, there’s nothing like something that’s totally feeling good and you can’t figure out why it feels so good.
– Interview Conducted By Jeff Nelson, Senior Blog Editor
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