Dominic Owen – Exclusive interview!
We caught up with Dominic Owen, the Nottingham born music artist who produced “Things done changed” – a song from the Notorious B.I.G’s legendary “Ready to die” album. Dominic Owen has gone platinum in America, worked with countless big time artists and has also released solo projects, whilst writing over 2,000 songs in his lifetime. With this in mind, we asked him some questions, and here’s what happened…
Any information on your next release? Such as dates, music genre and any features from anyone?
The Album is coming out on Permanent Damage Records in October and Its called How Rude.
Its a mixture of Electronica, Dubstep a few obscure samples and a Little bit of reggae.
I’ve got a nice selection of people from across the world making appearances, A group from Brazil called The Gioania Project, Tom Hingley who used to front The Inspiral Carpets, Philip Lewis from New York, Un-Sub from New Zealand, Notty Culture and Colin Cooper who used to front The Climax Blues Band.
How many songs do you think you have made in your lifetime, including ones unfinished, unreleased and so on?
Around the 2k mark I think.
You have worked with Notorious B.I.G. This is a great achievement. How did you come about getting in touch with him and what was he like as a person?
I used to live and work in Brooklyn and was working with a rapper called Lil Shawn at the time who was signed to Uptown/M.C.A. Records. This was where Puff Daddy was starting out as a A&R man and one of his first acts was Biggie Smalls.(He left Uptown that year and started Bad Boy records) Shawn played the beat to Puffy and he loved it, we recorded the song the following month in Soundtrack Studios. Working with Biggie was easy, this was the time when he was hot in New York but the album was not out so the world didn’t know about him yet .I saw him several times in Brooklyn and in the studio with Lil Kim and he was always very cool and humble. A true talent and a great artist.
Out of the rap artists you have produced for, who did you enjoy working with the most? And why?
Rakim was my all time favourite, he was also the easiest artist i have ever worked with. One take to warm up and set his headphone level and then one take for the main vocal, A very chilled out guy and a lyrical genius, one of the best to ever do it.
Your rainbows EP is different from your past music, the genre has changed. What made this come about and will you ever enter even more different genres?
I’ve always had a love for Chilled Out / Ambient flavoured productions and have done a few myself under different names. I’m also working on a couple of bands at the moment that are more guitar based. Look out for Notty Culture and Intelligent Vegetables. I’m always looking to do something new.
What is you proudest moment as a producer?
Producing the first song “Thinks Done Changed”, on The Notorious B.I.G. album, “Ready To Die”. A certified Hip Hop classic and a piece of history. Also my first Platinum Record.
What is your favourite song of all time (not including any of your own songs) and why?
That’s very hard to answer as I love so many, but if it had to be one. It Has to be James Brown , Get Up, Get Into It and Get involved.
How many years have you been producing for now?
How has music changed for you since the beginning? Is this for better or worse?
I enjoy making music as much now as much as I ever did, and I’m not as precious as I used to be about it, I take it a lot less seriously now. With the technology I can work quicker and with more people in more places with is great. You can bypass the record labels now and be successful which is a great thing, but it’s also harder to make money as there are a million bedroom producers out there all trying to eat off the same plate. I miss the vinyl and digging for records but wouldn’t want to be carrying them around any more. The general technical ability that the average producer now has is far higher than when i started, and records are mixed bigger and better. I think the future for music looks good.
What is your favourite genre of music and why?
100% Motown , Timeless feel good music that never gets old or tiring. There’s been No record label before or since that has ever had such a incredible stable of artists and musicians whose records are still playing after 40 years and will still be playing in another 40.
If you could go back in time, what would you change in regards to your music career?
First off I would of gone to engineering collage or did some kind of internship in a studio to get a good foundation. The information that we take for granted now in magazines and online about making music and production didn’t exist when I started.
I also would not of wasted so much money on lawyers discussing contracts and projects that were never going to make any money beyond the initial advance. I could go on and on…
Who is your favourite artist of all time and why?
James Brown is the king of music, the guy who invented the loop who laid out the blueprint for all modern music today. He had an energy and a connection with music and people that we will never see again. I was lucky enough to see him perform live the year before he died and it was incredible show.
If you could do one more thing in music, what would that goal be?
To have a number one album.
Dominic Owen is “The love theme” and that is “The love theme album”. “How rude” is out in October. Go get that!