To give you exclusive knowledge of what went into making a third of the See You On The Other Side, we called up Danny and Keith of The Pushers, a collective of musicians behind latest release off the album, “When It’s Gone”, “Chasing Shadows”, “Vicious”, “Quiet Place”, and “Sunday Sin”.
Check out what they had to say below!
So starting off, would you describe you describe The Pushers as more of a collective of producers or are you more of a band?
K: I would say that we are all producers. Three of us were in a band for quite some time. Danny, Ralph, and I used to be in a band together, and we have always made music together whether it is in the studio or as a band. We kind of produced our own albums. As time went on we linked up with a couple other guys and we started doing all of the production. We started working with other people in the studio and started making tracks and beats for other people.
D: It kind of is like a band in all aspects of it; other than we do not have to play shows, we do not have to travel, we do not have that over head cost, but you are talking about a band in every other sense of it. Everybody is very creative in the group and you get that creativity spark.
From listening to Bernz’s album, it sounds like you guys use a lot of live instrumentation, is that right?
D: Absolutely. I think that our approach is always going to be naturally on our instruments, on the piano, on some cords; and not because we are necessarily trying to be different or anything of that nature. It is like he said we grew up with heavy jazz background. We played in schools and we had our band that we were together with for quite some time. It is more of a go to; it is our comfort place.
K: It has also let us come up with some really different and unique sounds, like Ralph our bass player he is not a very typical bass player in the sense of you just plug and play. He has a huge pedal board and that is something most bass players do not usually do. A lot of the time some of the textures to the top of some of our beats are bass, but you would never think that. You would think it is a synth or something. I do a lot with horns and the goal is to make them not sound like horns a good amount of the time. Just to keep it different – something fresh.
So you did start off as a band and then go more to the production side?
D: Well, for the most part, everybody still plays a lot whether it is privately or hired to do certain gigs. It is definitely a full tray of stuff, but we have now been able to see what production is and learn that business and put some time towards it.
We started our business and it is a huge lucrative market if you have the right contacts. We are just trying to make good music, strong music, that speaks for itself. When we make good music the calls and the questions come to us. So that is the main focus, on the quality of the stuff we are making. If we love it and we are rocking with it, it gives confidence that whoever we show to they are going to have some sort of, say, whether it fits their style or not, its funny how many times that they will say this is so different this is so unique and perhaps the instrumental approach or the music approach behind it.
K: Everything definitely is not all instrumental. We use many sounds, but we approach it from a musical standpoint.
I feel like that is getting huge now, for example with Bernz’s album, you hear a lot of that. You are starting to hear a lot more guitar and live instrumentation.
K: Yeah a lot of people are now using horns. I was listening to that Chance album and there are a lot of horns on that one.
It has to be a major advantage to know how to do all of that like you guys do.
K: Well it’s cool that people are bringing music back into music, because computers got so sophisticated and sounds got so awesome that all people wanted to do was use them because it was the coolest thing ever. Now, people are obviously coming back to marrying the two together, like “Oh, it would be so cool to put this saxophone on this trap song.” It is cool that people are doing it, especially the top guys like Kendrick, Chance, and Kanye. Everyone is kind of marrying the two things together.
D: You get new sounds that you would have never thought of before, like a trap ballot.
K: Today, we are in a time where it is the feel on the song, not as music the musicality of it. There is a fine line of how much we venture into random doodling and playing, because right now the beat has to bang, the lead has to be there for that club banger, and records have to sell.
D: That was a hard thing for us as musicians when we started, especially myself included to this day. Sometimes I am making stuff and I am like “This is a little too musical right now.” I have to strip it back a little and remember what you’re making it for. It’s interesting.
K: Essentially, we are not making music for ourselves. This is a service industry, that we provide what ever we feel will be the strongest sound for whatever artist it is that we are working towards, and hey, sometimes it does not work out. Sometimes they go through a ton of beats and they move on. Though more times than others the stuff we have done we have had pretty solid out comes.
Kind of getting in to “When It’s Gone” Bernz latest track that he released with Kiddo, I noticed that it is kind of a slower track, but also has that trappy sound. It still has the musical foundation but you threw in the trap hi hats.
D: Exactly, it has that feel that the market is really looking for today – that sound that the people really listen to. It is what is being played every single day. It is not necessarily the best stuff in the world, but if you hear a song for a month, sixty times a day, you relate to that song and sound.
We could have gone completely organic, which we did at the start of that song. There is a completely different version that is just super vibe-y and super organic, but we love this, and we needed to have something that the fans could vibe to; and the reception to that beat has been really good so far. People really like the beat. We are trying to marry the worlds together and bring a different flavor out to the world.
How did you originally get hooked up with Bernz and ¡MayDay!?
K: Those guys are from Miami and we are all from Miami, so we have known them for quite some time.
D: In the band circuit that we were in before, we were the two main hip hop groups. We had a relationship way before we even thought about going into production. We worked with them way before Strange was involved and as Miami bands, we hustled, this is our territory, this is where we came up and learned the ropes to where we are right now. They took the Strange deal and they have been killing it since and once they started outsourcing for a little more production, little by little we started building with them. We already had that natural core friendship.
K: I would say we got really into the production and studio work right when they were getting in with Strange, and it was like we were kind of split. All of us were getting more interested in the studio work and they were more interested in running with the band. It was kind of like “wow two paths”.
How has the reception been with these latest three Bernz tracks in Miami?
D: I would say that they have their solid fan base, pretty much anywhere they go. They show up to any show and there are ¡MayDay! fans there and the same thing here. Imagine they built from here for over 10 years and it is more friends and family at this point. In Miami, whenever anybody comes out to a show, everybody knows each other. There are a lot of people who become friends over the years.
K: They do a show down here in Miami, usually a month after their tour, and it is slammed every time. They ask us to come and jam with them.
D: People sing all the songs and I am sure the reception thus far for this new Bernz stuff, I am sure people are digging it. We will know soon they have a show at the end of the July and I am pretty sure he will be debuting some of the songs out there, but he is always really received out there.
How heavily was Bernz involved in the production process? Was he with you in the studio while the tracks were coming together?
K: I would say about half. There were made and he was like “I got to get that track”, and some of the other ones we worked out of their studio.
D: “When It’s Gone” being one of them.
K: Yeah, for “When It’s Gone”, we were definitely all together the whole time.
D: He actually played the guitar for that song.
That is cool to hear that Bernz worked with you guys on a couple tracks.
D: He has a pretty strong sense of what he wants. He is pretty well rounded in there. He could definitely make some beats on his own, he comes up with good ideas and directions for songs. Sometimes it just works out, we all throw out some suggestions, then we make what you hear.
K: We’ve been on almost all of them.
D: We were on a Stevie Stone record that we did at ¡MAYDAY! Studio with them.
K: I did a track for MURS’ album. We have done a lot with these guys.
D: Ralph and myself worked on “Fragile”.
It sounds like you guys have had a sweet long relationship with him and have been on multiple of the records. While coming up with a beat for Bernz, what sound do you associate Bernz with?
D: I definitely think of in your face, head bangers. It is not necessarily very today sounding with the trap drums, but very dirty. It gives you that stink face and it makes the crowd go simultaneous head bump, face melters. I remember asking him what he was looking for when he said “Let’s get some beats for my album”, I forget his description, but it was hilarious. It was the most vague and out there, like “I’ll let you know when we find it” (laughs).
Do you have any personal favorites, as far as See You On The Other Side goes? Any of the standout tracks that you guys produced?
K: I think there is a story for every one of them. It is definitely tough to pick a favorite. They are all unique.
D: We were really honored to be invited to work on the project and work with our friends at Strange. A big thank you to Bernz and the ¡MayDay! Family.
K: It is been cool making a bunch of tracks and it is cool to see Bernz release his first solo album.