Decap – the man behind the hardest knocking drum sounds
Decap is a San Francisco-based hip hop producer and artist. He’s been composing since he was 13, building his way to releasing new music every month. Today he’ll tell us what makes his work stand out AND a few tricks he uses to promote his products.
Decap, take us back to the beginning. When did you realise you loved music enough to spend every day creating it?
Back in my hometown Nashua, NH when I was 13 years old, I was part of a 9 member rap group called Young Tribe. We all would get together in my parents basement and record songs on my 4 track tape deck. I bought a sampler and drum machine and started making my own original beats for us to rap to.
I was inspired by the likes of DJ Premier, Pete Rock, J Dilla — and really studied their production style. 10 years later, I was in my early twenties in New York City producing for major hip-hop artists.
When did you realise you can earn money selling your kits?
I created my Drums That Knock series because after hearing my beats, a lot of people ask me how I get my drums to sound the way they do. How do I get them to “knock” through the mix. I decided to make a drum kit to give away my signature sounds that I designed. I was not expecting to sell many kits, but it ended up doing really well.
There are not any kits on the market using the same approach as this one, so I think it serves its own niche. It started out as a side project, but with vol. 1 getting the response it got, I’m inspired to do more.
What does your creative process look like now? Describe a working day in the life of Decap.
As my girlfriend says “all day all night”… lol.
I really love what I do. Every day I wake up in it. I try to give myself time every day to freely create and flow, letting new ideas for beats, songs and concepts emerge. To-do lists definitely help me stay organized, track inspiration, and constantly build towards my vision.
For example, the main goal I had for Drums That Knock was to design a drum kit where the sounds are perfectly crafted to punch through the speakers. Each sound is extremely loud and punchy, but below the threshold of digital clipping. That was the sound I wanted to put out there.
What’s the role of Sellfy in your workflow?
One of the things I really appreciate about Sellfy is I know exactly where my source of sales traffic is generated (Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, etc). I can track sales on a daily / monthly basis. It also tracks buyers and allows me to reach out directly (through Sellfy’s email tool) every time I launch a new product, or have a sale. I have direct knowledge of my customers.
How do you make sure you get through to your audience and tell them about your new releases?
It’s all about connecting with your demographic. First, you have to work hard to create one. I am active on social media, and I try to put out content that is interesting and engaging.
Live Video on Facebook has been great, because people can directly connect with me in the moment and ask me questions on the spot. I see immediate sales when I go live.
I’ve also had success marketing “Drums That Knock” by creating ads on the major social media platforms. And networking definitely plays a part — old school “word of mouth” was the biggest contributor to my sales numbers.
Those are some great insights! What advice would you give to budding producers? Perhaps, there are some rules you stick to?
I get asked this a lot. I tell new producers to be themselves and create the music that moves them. Create from an authentic and true place, and avoid trying to fit a mould.
I feel like this is what separates the great producers. Commit to continuously getting better at your craft.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just released ‘Drums That Knock Vol.2’, the follow up to my first kit of hard-knocking drum sounds. It’s a collection of 100% original hand-crafted sounds, perfect for producing hip hop music. You can buy it on my Sellfy store. Also, I am releasing new music every month on my Soundcloud page. And I am actively producing and collaborating with several artists.
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