Chris – Free the Robots – Alfaro tipped us off on this dude from California named Co. Fee. After we checked out some of his beats online we basically went mad, especially his track Spark Plug blew us out of our shoes. The same for the rest of his tracks; never heard samples and clever beats transformed into little auditive stories. We hooked up and talked about the drive behind his producing, My Hollow Drum and his favorite movies. Give it up for Co. Fee!
Alright, first question. Where do you catch your inspiration, do you have any role models you look up to?
I get inspired by a lot of visual art, mostly illustrators and photographers. I always enjoy checking out an artist blog or book and noticing how they created their own world. There’s a folder I have filled with all the art I find online that I go to whenever I need to get myself inspired.
I grew up on 90’s hiphop also, so that’s a large source of inspiration. Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang are the 3 most important groups for me, almost everything that I listen to stemmed from out their influence.
You’re part of My Hollow Drum, is it important for you to be a part of a creative community?
Very important. Once the crew started it just made creating music and doing mixes even more fun for all us, because now there was a group of people we could all share our ideas with.
Is that when your love for producing began to grow?
Definitely. After I joined, I really wanted to step up my production to keep up with everyone else in the crew, heavily influenced by all of those guys.
Tell us something about the software and hardware you’re using.
I used Reason 2.5 all the way up until last year, I then upgraded to 4, and then to 7 most recently. I use it because I’m so used to it now and there’s so much on there. You can really make any genre of music on it if you really want to.
I also had a SP 303; that was a lot of fun to use, but I messed it up pretty bad trying to repair it myself.
We know that you’re a big fan of J Dilla. Can you pick you all-time favorite Dilla track? And what makes Dilla’s work so special for you?
Dilla switched his style up quite a bit and I always think it’s amazing when an artist does that, he sounded like a completely different producer every few years. I also feel like even in every phase he was in, anyone could get into his music, it was accessible but still very raw and soulful.
My favorite track would probably be Verbal Clap, the beat he did for De La Soul. That was my favorite Dilla era; around the time he put out ‘Ruff Draft’.
What made you pursue music instead of film?
I didn’t really think about it too much, once I figured out how to make beats I got so obsessed with it. I didn’t leave a lot of room in my head for anything else, I remember I just started college around that time too and my grades were terrible because I kept missing classes haha. Also, I just enjoyed the whole process of making music way more than the screenwriting process.
What’s the last movie you’ve seen that somehow made an impact on you?
‘El Topo’ definitely tripped me out in a good way. I was kind of late in getting into Alejandro Jadarowsky films, but yeah he’s a genius, really psychedelic stuff.
Tell us about three movies that somehow inspired you.
Kill Bill vol. 1. I could put any of Tarantinos films in here honestly, but I’ll just say this one, felt like he combined all of his influences the best way in this. I usually hear how it’s a bad thing to have too many influences but he proved otherwise to me with this movie.
Goodfellas. The whole thing is pitch perfect from the dialogue, soundtrack, editing etc. I lost count on how many times I’ve seen it. I own it, but whenever its on TV I still watch the whole thing
Being John Malkovich. The whole concept was so weird and fun to watch play out. When I was getting into screenwriting, Charlie Kaufman was my main influence. I’m still a big fan of his work actually, and I’ve always been a big fan of everything Spike Jonze does.
If you had the option to fully re-do a soundtrack of choice, which movie would you choose?
Raiders of the Lost Ark. A lot of the music that I find while digging for samples would fit perfect in there, plus it would be fun to score an adventure film like that.
Imagine yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Which object in your studio would be your weapon of choice?
Damn, thats a good one! I have this wooden samurai sword my cousin gave me, it probably would take a lot of work for it to do much damage, but I figured it would be cool to use it as a weapon for once. My broken 303 has some sharp edges on it, so that one could help too.
Do you have any brand or person in mind whom you really like to collaborate with?
It would be crazy to work in the studio with Rick Rubin and see exactly how he produces an album.
'I also had a SP 303; that was a lot of fun to use, but I messed it up pretty bad trying to repair it myself.'
Imagine your house on fire, what are the few things you just can’t leave behind?
Laptop, this rare K. Frimpong vinyl, and if my hands aren’t full my George Foreman Grill.
What’s coming up in the future?
I was working on my album for a while, so I’m looking forward to finally putting it out this year. Also, more shows in the near future.