Brewing A Personalized Blend Of Hip-Hop On The Boards & Beyond: P.U.N. (Q&A)
“Well I know a lot of producers just listen to what’s hot and try to re-produce that sound. I try to allow what’s in my head an avenue without that outside influence of what’s “hot” at the moment. The results are in my opinion different from most anything else I’ve heard or am currently hearing out there.” – P.U.N. (On His Brand) / Earlier in the year, readers got a feel for local producer/rapper P.U.N. courtesy of his Purgatory mixtape. Recently, he decided to allow readers into his world a little further via an exclusive Q&A. Venture after the jump to find out more about everything from his art of producing to his experience with infamous Cleveland rapper Bizzy Bone.
The Illixer: What does your stage moniker stand for?
P.U.N: Friends have called me Pun since I was about 14 years old so out of respect for the late great Big Punisher (Christopher Rios) I made it an acronym. But it doesn’t have any further meaning. Maybe someday I’ll come up with a further meaning for it.
TI: What motivated you to get into producing and engineering?
P: I’ve always had an affinity for playing instruments and creating my own sounds so it was a natural assimilation for me. However I think I took it more serious when I got tired of all the monotony from other producers. I got some production software, lots of sound packages and virtual instruments, a midi synth controller and started making my own stuff.
TI: How do you go about composing a beat?
P: Typically I start by laying down a basic drum pattern. Not always though I’ve been known to start with a bass line or other melody piece and build around it. But more often than not I start with drums. Once that’s in place the rest just starts to flow out of me as I find instruments I’m feeling.
TI: Describe the first song that you ever produced and share how you have grown as a producer since that time.
P: The first song I did on my own from start to finish was a song about heart break because I was deep in that mind state at the time. The beat originated from some things I had been playing around with at different tempos and I stripped down the original and slowed it down big time and had my way with it. It’s a song I go back and listen to myself occasionally but it never really got welcomed from my fans so I just keep it for me. Since then I remade that same beat and made it into a different song with my group 4Legacy titled “Doin My Thang” which we unfortunately never released but performed live to a very welcoming audience. After that I’ve grown immensely as a producer and have at least a hundred or two instrumentals I’ve produced on my own.
TI: You have created quite a bit of music throughout the course of your career. How do you keep your production original and not all sounding the same?
P: Certain things have similar sounds to me but I suppose all producers borrow from self to create new ideas. A lot of it for me though starts with drums. I’m constantly switching up drum patterns and sounds and tempos for that matter which forces me to be creative in other ways and steadily pushing the bar for myself.
TI: Name three things that distinguish you from all the other producers out there.
P: My musical background in piano, guitar, trumpet, drums, bass, and more. The different styles of music I listen to such as: Reggae, Soul, 60’s/70’s Rock, 80’s/90’s R&B, 80’s/90’s Hip-Hop, Reggaeton, and much more. Finally, my willingness to always go outside the box. I feel like a lot of producers feel they HAVE to make things a certain style and I try to do the opposite.
TI: How did you did you get your start as a rapper?
P: Free styling and writing lyrics back in middle school and high school. It simply progressed to what it is today.
TI: What do you feel are some of the advantages to being both a producer and an artist?
P: The ability to have complete control over a creation. I don’t have to ask somebody else to translate what I’m feeling when it comes to a song.
TI: Which do you prefer producing or rapping? Explain your choice.
P: It all depends on the moment. Sometimes I make an instrumental I find amazing but couldn’t possibly hear myself rapping on it and others I write something I simply don’t feel I can make a beat for. Overall though I’d have to say I prefer rapping. There’s nothing like that rush on stage with a mic in my hand.
TI: Your bio boasts an impressive list of artists that you have worked with. Describe your favorite collaboration thus far.
P: My favorite collab has by far been Bizzy Bone. I had a great experience with him at dinner. That night he came over and we discussed many things about Eazy E, Tupac, old Bone Thugs -N- Harmony stuff, etc. And when we got to listening to instrumentals, I had just gotten a new beat from my dude Modine Drop. It was a beat that I was really feeling and as soon as I played it Bizzy said that’s the one and started rapping in my living room. Definitely something I’ll never forget. He left me speechless and actually asked me if it sounded okay. I was like uhmmmm YES!!
TI: Is there anything that you have in the works that you would like people to look out for?
P: I’ve been making a lot of projects that I believe go back to the roots of Hip-Hop and leave listeners feeling good about themselves. I think all this industry crap is downgrading people specifically women and putting too much emphasis on money and material garbage that’s absolutely unnecessary. After my last mixtape I decided only positive projects from here on out and I think whenever I release another project anyone looking for that vibe will be glad I’m doing what I’m currently doing. No projections currently on when it’ll be done though.
**My Two Cents: I enjoyed getting to know P.U.N. more. He had some interesting things to share. I really loved the Bizzy Bone story, that was awesome. If readers want to keep up with P.U.N. they can find him on Twitter. And his music can be heard on Reverb Nation. -MinM