TONE 444 Vol 1 - Park
We had the privilege to speak with Park, a producer and A&R from New York.
“I do production, so I make beats and all that. I do more A&R now, artist & repertoire.”
He explains the difference between creative-based A&Rs vs. research-based A&Rs:
“Creative A&Rs put beats and songs together. They find beats for artists and send beats to artists. I do both for the label Simple Stupid Records. I’m doing research and creative A&R over there.”
He makes it clear that he hasn’t retired from making beats but is using his skills and connections from producing to help other artists with their projects.
“I’m putting all my energy into the A&R thing so I can be the best at that, then I’m going back to making beats. I’ve been making beats for the past ten years so me taking a year off to be an A&R is nothing.”
What does a typical day for you look like?
“Right now, I’m more in a routine because of all the A&R stuff. I usually go to the office at about 1 and leave at about 7.
I wake up, I go to social media and look around. I look for things people post like links and songs for research purposes. I’ll see if I missed anything from last night. Then I’ll put together beats, samples, or some kind of folder of music to send out. I may send out loops to producers or packs to other A&Rs at the label.
I do extensive research.
We have lists of a bunch of media outlets that post artists on the rise. I typically look for producers and vocalists. I would then send what I find to the main research A&R who keeps track of that information. Then I head to the studio/office, and we have research meetings. After about 2 o’clock, it’s free reign. We usually invite artists and producers over. Whether its beats or songs; we see what we like.
He also spoke with us about his beat making process.
“Before, it was just random. With beat-making, I would just wake up and put down an idea. I would put a melody or a loop or a sample down, or I would make a full beat. Then after that, I would do something that I want to do. I might go out and get something to eat, watch a movie, play video games. Something fun to me. Then after that, I come back and do a full music session. I flesh out multiple ideas for a few hours. When I was making beats, I wasn’t going outside. If there wasn’t a session or I didn’t have to go meet up with somebody, then I wasn’t going outside.”
I like how you said in your beat-making process, you take a break to do something more leisurely before jumping back into it. What is your comfort show?
“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! I love sit coms & Fresh Prince is a very warm show. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives – Guy Fieri’s show. I love that show. I like food. I like watching food. I like Chopped, too. Throw on any Food Network & HGTV. I like house shows."
You mentioned how you go on social media to look around for new talent. How has social media been beneficial to your career?
It’s easily the most important thing because I started an A&R artist help group called Park & Friends. When I started it, it was supposed to be this community thing where my focus was to get placements for producers. I would just reach out to a bunch of producers and have them send me beats, loops, and samples. I would send them to artists, artist managers, producers, have them collab and eventually get placements. That was the focus of Park & Friends.
Initially, I was going through all the submissions myself. I’m taking it a step further. I’m getting rid of the Park from in front of it. I may change the name completely. It’s not going to be so centered around me helping people, but the whole process of creating music in general.
Social media is important because when I started that, I posted on twitter asking producers to send me beats and I got a good number of interactions. I ended up getting over 100 submissions and I went through all of them. It’s amazing because I found so many talented producers and sample makers just from that one tweet. Through that I found this one producer, and last week I got him a placement on an upcoming project by FN DaDealer, an artist signed to YSL.
It’s crazy because so much happens through social media. There are so many producers that I found through that initial tweet that are still sending me music. At this label, they have an amazing roster and amazing connections that I’m able to share with my producers.
Social Media is so powerful. It connects me with everything I need for my endeavors to be successful. My main goal is to provide creators with stability. Social media connects those creators to me.
Social media is the easiest and the hardest way to get recognized. It could happen overnight, or you may have to build on what you want to achieve for a while.
A funny story is I started making beats in 2011 in Brooklyn. I used to rap when I was in high school. I hated it, but I was good at writing. My friends wanted me to rap, but I didn’t want to. I started making beats. They didn’t really care too much about making beats. I created a SoundCloud in like 2012 and started building on it. I was getting like 10 listens a month on songs. I kept building and building. Eventually YGTut found my SoundCloud in 2013. I consider SoundCloud a social media platform. He [Tut] doesn’t even remember how he found it. He played one of my beats for Isaiah [Rashad] and that’s how we became friends. Two years later I moved down to Tennessee, and I was making music in Chattanooga. Going back and forth from Atlanta to Chattanooga. I couldn’t sit and try to make everyone in NY support me. There are people in Tennessee that really support me, so I left to pursue that.
Last, but not least: how do you get over creative block?
Movies & Shows: “Putting shows and movies on the tv on silent. Setting plays a huge role into why I like something. If I really love the setting, and how it looks, I can just sit and watch it. If I like the environment and setting. I’ll put it on in the background and make sounds as I watch it. Basically, creating a soundscape or soundtrack to what I’m seeing.
I also like going back and listening to music from a specific time period. I always go back and listen to music that was being made in NY from 2010 to about 2014; Old A$AP Rocky, Action Bronson, Flatbush Zombies. That time period was so creative and special in New York. I was going to little rooftop parties and events and the energy was so special in that time period. That’s when I first started becoming good at making beats. There was this whole influx of inspiration.
When you have creative block, it makes you not want to make anything. I think going back and listening to that stuff makes me want to make something cool."
Before we go, share some of your shameless plugs
Simple Stupid Records
Park & Friends
Listen to The House is Burning by Isaiah Rashad
Listen to the Set by the House
Listen to the Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad
Listen to Preacher’s Son by YGTut
Listen to Just for You by Cousin Stizz; my favorite album of 2022!
Listen to Lowkey Superstar by Kari Faux; She is the reason I am doing A&R right now. She is the reason I’m taking it so seriously with a label. I was burnt out from making beats because the music industry treats producers like they’re expendable. She’s the one who hit me up on Twitter and said “I want you to help me make this album.” She made me feel important, like I had a voice, and what I do musically matters. I was helping find samples and beats for her. Still making music with her. She is very important.
Natalie W, The Sound Series.