DeeperSoul Interview - Jihad Muhammad
”Producers and labels have to hold on to their goods until they are ready to release that record. Point blank. You can't blame anyone but yourself if you give it out to someone and now some dude has it to give to everyone.”
Could you tell us how you got into the music and about your early career?
I have been djing for a while now... maybe 16 or 17 years. Shep Pettibone, Timmy Regisford, Tony Humphries were my inspiration. I used to just listen to them play records on the radio and I was hooked. I started djing in my basement and then progressed to doing parties until I was good enough to do night clubs.
What’s your music background? [Do have learned how to play some instruments? Which artists have influenced you the most?]
Well, I am first and foremost a dj. I got into the production end because I felt it was the next step to take in my musical career. I don’t know how to play any instruments although I think I will take some piano lessons soon. The artist that have influenced me the most are Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, Blaze (my boys) and a bunch of others. The list will go on for days.
You have worked alongside Kevin Hedge of Blaze on the Black Masses "My Heavenly Stars" mixes. How important was that record in your career?
Well, I only did a mix on the record but at the time I saw it as a stepping stone. Not so much because my name was on a record but because of the learning experience. It triggered my interest into the production world.
In your records we see Carolyn Victorian and Malika Zarra (vocals), Vincent Jeffries (keys) and Kevin Jones (percussion), among others. If you had the opportunity, are there any other artists you would like to work with?
Yeah, I would love to work with Louie Vega because of his knowledge of the game. I love almost everything he does. I'm feeling Osunlade and Franck Roger as well. As far as artists, I would love to work with Nadirah Shakoor (I love her voice) and Kenny Bobien. I'm honoured to be doing a record with Pete Simpson out of London. He has a very strong voice so look out for that.
Which producing equipment are you using? [Do you use much software stuff?]
I'm using logic and melodyne. I have a Yamaha Motif for my sounds and Behringer studio monitors.
What records are you currently spinning every time you play?
I try to play a little of everything. I don’t like to say I have a style because that limits you. So I play records that I feel. I'm not trying to be the dj that plays all the current hot jams because then I'll sound like everyone else.
I think that producers may have to look back in terms of understanding how records were made (me included). The songs that were out in the early 70's/80's had a very different feel to them. First, they were feel good kind of records. They were not just records that were hits for a month before folks forgot about them. Second, the songs had a message to them. Most songs now are hot because of the beat so people don’t really care about the actual song. We need more songs with meaning to them.
The number of files illegally shared on the Internet don’t stop to grow. As a producer, how is this affecting you? What could be the solution?
I think the need of the dj wanting to have that hot record and then some labels not putting out the music until a year later plays a part as well. But back in the day we didn’t have cds or mp3's so what we did was go to the record store to buy what we wanted. Only the top djs had the exclusives. So now everybody can get their hands on joints because the file sharing is getting out of hand. And when they get the file by the time the record has come out the djs are tired of playing it. The only way it can be stopped is: producers and labels have to hold on to their goods until they are ready to release that record. Point blank. You can't blame anyone but yourself if you give it out to someone and now some dude has it to give to everyone. We have lost the sense of honour in this game at the pursuit of a mp3 file that djs will get tired of in about a month... they chase things just to say "I have it first".
What do you think of the deep/soulful house world scene at the moment and how do you think it will be in the future?
If you had the power to change anything in the music industry, what would be your first action?
That’s a serious question...lol. I guess I would try to see how I could combat the file sharing issue.
What can we expect to hear more from you in the near future?
Well, West End just released "loungin" and UK Basic just released "Reflections", a song that I did with Carolyn Victorian. Iwanai Music just brought a song I did called “No way back" which is a remix to the old Adonis jam. Also lookout for "number one" that’s coming out on Shack Music soon. I'm also in the process of putting out my own releases soon so I'm excited about that..