Interviewer is Joseph “Aqweci” Ofori
INTERVIEWER: Who is Drumroll?
DRUMROLL: Drumroll, born Derek Asare Amoah is a sound engineer, beatmaker, graphic designer, and artist. Drumroll has been producing for about 5 years, taking about 2 years to focus on sound engineering.
INTERVIEWER: Did you ever dream of becoming a producer?
I was part of a clique called ‘the Khidz Next Door (KND)’ Group of about 8 members but with only one producer. We had a home studio then at my Aunts, so I convinced the producer then (Ivan) to teach me so I can assist, but unfortunately he split from the group. Hence, I had to learn it all by myself.
So I started with producing for the members in the clique and myself. My encounter with the "insane" producer Illkeyz was another boost for me take beat production more seriously & be more diverse and not stick to a single genre.
INTERVIEWER: How did your record “Oluwa Is Involved” with Sarkodie happen?
DRUMROLL: One Ghanaian based Nigerian artist who goes by the stage name Oluwa Icey requested for a ‘twerk-type’ beat. I finished it up but he didn’t get back at me. However, I had run into a system malfunction & lost the data of all my beats. Silver (a showbiz guy who works with One Nation Ent.) gave the beat to Efya to mail it to Sarkodie. Upon hearing it and a couple of other beats, Sark requested to meet me so we could work.
So we did and the music got done.
INTERVIEWER: Are you signed to One Nation Label?
DRUMROLL: Not yet. It’s still in talks. I want to have time to study the label and the industry as a whole so I know what I’m really getting into.
INTERVIEWER: What do you think about beat production in Ghana?
DRUMROLL: It’s tough! Because it doesn’t really pay.
INTERVIEWER: What are your setbacks?
DRUMROLL: I’m a student at Radford University College reading Graphic Designing. Hence, school takes most of my time. I also have a few issues at home as well. As at now, I even make most of my beats in the living room.
INTERVIEWER: Considering the creativity behind the ‘All Black’ beat, can you take us through the creation process?
DRUMROLL: That beat was inspired by T.I’s “About The Money” Ft. Young Thug. Also, I was going through an album I had recently downloaded by Booker T. On the song “Sunshine” I heard a gutiar riff that sounded unique, so I sampled it. I also replayed some chords in it. Then it was down to adding the drum patterns & fills(rolls), the arrangement and little chopped up samples for detail.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have an unpopular achievement?
DRUMROLL: I was named Best Magazine Designer in the 2015 Graphic Design Awards Maiden Edition. This being the first of its kind, the competition had its participants mainly from just KNUST & Radford University. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to win so I didn't even attend the main event. I got called later on the day of the award presentation that I had won.
INTERVIEWER: What software or equipment do you use for beat production?
DRUMROLL: I use FL Studio, with my PC keyboard & mouse being my main equipments.
INTERVIEWER: What’s your favourite genre of music?
DRUMROLL: I honestly can't pick a favourite. My playlists are proof of that. Hip-Hop surely but production wise, I've really taken a liking to Afrobeats because of their use of percussions and complexity.
INTERVIEWER: Which artists would you like to work with?
Phyno, because he’s original with the stuff he does.
FOKN Bois, M.anifest, Stonebwoy and Dex Kwesi. Outside Africa, Kanye West for sure and Drake.
Not to forget, R2Bees, actually everyone.
INTERVIEWER: Who is your idol?
Which other people inspire you?
DRUMROLL: My idol, Kanye West! And never forgetting this guy, Jon Bellion.
Other inspirations include The Neptunes, Ryan Leslie, and Boi-1da, among others.
In Africa, Don Jazzy, Legendary Beatz, and Sarz.
Back at home, Killbeatz, Jayso and Illkeyz.
INTERVIEWER: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
DRUMROLL: Having a university whose sole purpose is to nurture people who have musical talents. Because me and probably some other people would like to enroll in such an institution but there’s none.
INTERVIEWER: What makes one a great producer?
DRUMROLL: Listening to all kinds of music. Knowing the artist before producing for him/her. I believe it doesn’t just take a producer to make a record. It involves the artist as well. One has to be consistent and keep updated.
INTERVIEWER: Can you take us through your general creation process?
DRUMROLL: I prefer starting off with drum patterns. Sometimes its rhythm first, it depends really. If I need assistance with some melodies I’d have to call in a professional pianist to lay some chords since I can't play the piano. The rest is left to the creativity and how the artist wants it to sound.
INTERVIEWER: What are your challenges in beat production?
DRUMROLL: That’d have to be me not knowing how to play the piano. And the usual financial difficulties.
INTERVIEWER: What is your favourite personally produced beat?
DRUMROLL: I'll have to say “All Black” for now because it’s one of my favourites that’s out there but I do have a bundle of unreleased productions I'm crazy about as well.
INTERVIEWER: What do you think about Ghana’s music industry?
DRUMROLL: It’s really messed up. It starts from publishing rights to royalties collection. These things don’t just work here. When I channel it down to the production aspect, it’s worse. the artists get all the fame, capital and credit, but we remain at the bottom, unknown and broke. I’m fine with not being famous, I assure you, but I definitely do not plan to work for free while you eat off my work. I advocate to change it.
INTERVIEWER: What will be your words to the producers out there?
DRUMROLL: The ones at the top are doing a good job, apart from the fact that some top-notch producers are limiting themselves to a genre. The message to them is that they shouldn’t get too comfortable in their seats, because we the young generation are working hard. To the young ones, let’s keep up what we're doing and make sure we’re not cheated. Finally, to the people who want to take beat production as a profession in Ghana, listen attentively and technically. Find a mentor, dedicate yourself, set up your mind that this is what you want to do, and give your all.
To work with Drumroll or book him, contact him through the following avenues…
Check out his SoundCloud page: http://www.soundcloud.com/drumrollin