With CES Cru’s Catastrophic Event Specialists out now, it was only right for us to interview the Xtraordinair$, the production duo behind six songs on the album.
The Xtraordinair$ are a Kansas City-based production duo that specializes in both classic KC Jazz music, as well as modern-day bangers. We had the chance to talk with one half of the group, Leonard DStroy, about his long-time friendship with Ubi and Godi of CES Cru, the process behind their tracks on the album, and much more.
Check out what all he had to say below!
You guys definitely handled a significant chunk of the production on Catastrophic Event Specialists. How did that come to be? Were the beats pre-made, or did you make them for CES Cru specifically?
Kind of, a lot of them were tailored to the project. We knew CES Cru was in the lab and decided, “hey man, let’s go ahead and start making demos for this project”. The interlude stuff that we did, we had done that beforehand and I played that for Ubi when we were chilling out. He said that he wanted the song.
For the most part, each of the tracks were made for that specific record.
Dom, the other guy in the Xtraordinair$ is an upright bass player. He’s in the jazz scene in Kansas City pretty heavily. Probably one of the best young, black jazz players in America.
That’s one of his ways he makes a living. We have access to a lot of people in town just through friendships, playing gigs together, or whatever. All that stuff on those interludes, that’s all live instrumentation from players around KC. If you dig deep, KC has a lot going on right now, in that world. That’s kind of why you get that influence in our music.
How does the process work with you and Dom when it comes to making beats? How do you create together?
I produced by myself for like 14-15 years before I got a partner. Having a partner allows you to always have something that you didn’t contribute to it, you know what I mean? In my opinion, I’m always feeling like you’re getting something that you couldn’t think of. You have a different kind of relationship with your music. It works really well. We basically just try to trade ideas back and forth. Our musical tastes are very similar.
You mentioned that you made a lot of this specifically for CES Cru. What about CES Cru stands out to you?
I’ve been working with these dudes for a long time, man. Over ten years. I’ve been doing beats for them. I’ve known Ubi for 15 years at least. I did a whole album with these guys called The Playground. We’ve been working for so long that I understand and they understand what I bring to the table. It’s just a really natural relationship.
Is there a beat that particularly stands out to you? Any favorite on the project?
Yeah, definitely! I like them all, man. I only know the demo (or working) titles of the songs. Ubi played me some stuff and we’ve heard some of the stuff, but not a finished product yet. But I like them all. I think they’re all dope. It’s always different any time you work on something.
With the interludes, which of you plays which instrument?
Most of the time Dom is a bass player. I’ll play drums a little bit and a lot of times I’ll program stuff. I’ll also handle a lot of the rhythm stuff. A lot of the time, we’ll have a lot of players come in and do their thing, then I’ll chop it up and do certain things to it, post production wise. A lot of it is studio work. But Dom played all the up-right on there. He just mic’d up his up-right.
The interludes were just one song with four different movements. It was all connected. I still haven’t heard how they split it up. I’m really curious about that, actually. I’m sure it’s dope. I’m hyped to hear it.
Did you make a bunch of instrumentals for this? How many total did you make?
Oh, we submitted a lot. We submitted over 30 or 40 beats. Some of the stuff we already had and some of the stuff we switched up once we found out they were making the record. We submitted a lot of stuff.
Is there anything else you guys have going on?