“I think it’s important that this project makes a dent,” reveals Seven during a conversation regarding his involvement on Kutt Calhoun’s new Kelvin EP.
After assisting the Kansas City Chief on previous full-length efforts like Feature Presentation and Raw And Un-Kutt, Seven looked to revamp Kutt Calhoun’s sound and build something new in the studio. Feeling that the project weighed heavily on Kutt Calhoun’s return to the spotlight, Seven knew there would be a lot of pressure and even more expectations for Kelvin.
Just as Strange Music premiered the official “Bottle Service” music video, we caught up with Seven to discuss the making of Kelvin and what it all means for Kutt Calhoun.
What was your main objective going into this EP?
The whole idea was that Kutt hasn’t been on any tours or put out a big album in a few years now. A lot of fans were wondering, is he still on Strange? What’s he doing? I was like, well, since he’s been kind out of it for so long, this would be the perfect opportunity to start from scratch. Just build something from the ground up again – a fresh start. We wanted to do something to revitalize things. Not try to forget about anything he’s done, but treat this EP like a debut album. It’s a fresh start for Kutt.
It’s definitely a new direction. Kutt needed to create his own lane. He needed his own sound. Krizz did it with Kickin’ & Screamin’. He found his own sound on that album. Everyone is starting to fall into their own lane and Kutt needed that. He needed that fresh new sound, not so far left from what he was doing, but an expansion. Something that specifically caters to him. The beats, production, and song ideas needed to become something that no one else can do, except him.
What kind of chemistry do the two of you have once you get in the studio?
We have very good chemistry. Obviously when you work with any artist in the studio, everyone has a different experience. Everyone works at a different pace and puts ideas together in a different way. On this project, I was really hands-on as far as song ideas, hook ideas, and concepts – the whole thing.
I noticed that Kutt and I worked really well together. It was us together, on nearly every song just collectively coming up with the idea for it. It was Kutt giving me an idea for a beat or me giving him an idea for a hook. We just collaborated on every aspect of every song.
Does he write in the studio?
Kutt writes at home for the most part, but we worked on some hooks together in the studio and he wrote some on his own. We were just bouncing ideas. Kutt really wrote most of it at home. He would record a rough demo of it on his phone and send it over to me. I would listen to the rough ideas for the verses – we kind of just worked back and forth like that. He’d send me the ideas and I’d hit him back like, “Yes, that’s dope.” We kept building like that.
You really stepped into the role of a full-on producer for this project. How was that?
It’s dope. It’s what I’ve been wanting to do and I just haven’t been able to do it because I lived so far away, but now I’m in the city and we can work together on projects. Kutt’s EP is the first time that I was super hands-on, just in the studio together coming up with ideas. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for so long with a lot of the artists, but couldn’t because distance got in the way.
You were never able to do that before?
Not really. Like, Krizz and I worked together collaboratively a lot, but not to this degree. With other artists like Tech or Lynch, when it comes to hooks or content of songs, it’s their idea. That’s just generally how it works. Kutt was more of an open canvas for me to create something from the ground up.
There’s a clip of you two in the studio working together and during one of the segments, you both seem to get excited over a track you consider a “hit”. What do you look for when you want a hit single?
Well, the old saying is that when it comes to making “the one”, it’s always the one that you didn’t think about that becomes the one. In the studio, there’s a lot of adrenaline and we get really excited when we make something that we like a lot, so it feels like a hit. With Kutt’s new stuff, it’s so open. To me, a lot of these songs could potentially be pushed to radio or be mainstream without being too mainstream. They could be potential singles.
Whenever you work on something like that, I think the key is to not think about it too much. A lot of the stuff that we did on this EP was spur of the moment, we didn’t overthink it. That’s when it starts to sound forced. So, a lot of the ideas were natural and organic.
What kind of sound were you going for on this EP? I hear a lot of synths.
Definitely. I was really trying to make it very current. I wanted Kutt’s EP or really all of his music from here on out, I envisioned it being very current, very now in 2012-2013 without mimicking what everybody else is doing. Everything right now is very synth-driven and of course, a lot of 808s. I kind of just built off of that sound. I took what’s hot and modern right now, and I built something new for Kutt based off of that. Yeah, there’s a lot of synths and 808s.
If you had to pick out the singles for Kelvin, which would they be?
There’s two songs on this EP. The thing about it is, we did this song called “Bottle Service” and I think this is HUGE hit for Kutt. It came together naturally and it’s such a good direction for him. The good thing is that it’s so current and so now. It sort of is the kind of song that hardcore Strange Music fans, you know, may not like as much as the grimier and harder stuff that Kutt is known for.
The whole thing though, is that we’re trying to do something that can break out of the mold of what Strange Music is known for. I think that there’s a way to keep it Strange, but go above and beyond that – touch other markets. You know, be on the radio. To me, that’s what we need. I want to produce a song that’s on the radio. That’s what we we’re reaching for, but of course also try to keep it original. “Bottle Service” is the one that I think has the most mainstream potential.
There’s another song we did called “There He Go”. I also feel like “There He Go” is a big street single. The thing about that song is that it’s new and current and fresh for Kutt, but it has the sprinkles of what we already know about Kutt. It’s his sound, but a futuristic Kutt Calhoun sound. I think a lot of people will gravitate towards that song. I’m really excited about that one. “There He Go”, I think it’s my favorite one on the EP. It think that song and “Bottle Service” have huge potential.
”Strange $” sounds like it could be a big hit as well.
Yeah, for sure. I agree with that. Kutt really likes that one a lot too. That’s a strong concept. “Strange $” is one of those that can crossover a little bit and it’s digestible by Strange Music fans. It’s kind of a hybrid of what Kutt is known for and what we’re doing now. It’s a strong one.
What do you think is your favorite thing about Kelvin?
I’m just excited that Kutt has found his lane. To me, I feel like it’s his first EP. It’s different from all the other artists. I’m trying to do beats where it’s like, oh, Tech definitely couldn’t be on that. Krizz definitely couldn’t be on that. Stevie Stone definitely couldn’t be on that. The only person who can be on that is Kutt Calhoun. I want to be able to make beats that right when you hear it, you know that’s a Kutt Calhoun beat. Now, after we did Kickin’ & Screamin’, I can make a beat in that same lane that we got for Krizz on Kickin’& Screamin’, and it’s like yeah, that’s a Krizz Kaliko beat. No one else would sound right on that. I’m mostly excited because I feel like we have a sound now. We created a lane for Kutt.
I think it’s important that this project makes a dent. It’s make it or break it time for Kutt.
-Interview by Victor Sandoval, Strange Music Inc. Social Media Dept.