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Dynamics Plus -Exclusive Music and Life interview with Lee Caruso

Exclusive Music and Life interview with Lee Caruso. It’s a Fallout Shelter start when producer Dynamics Plus chops it up over the latest release Elevator Music Volume III Going Down. We mind the music and more in this Q/A.

 

Dynamics Plus in studio

Fall out in the Fallout

 

Do you think that producers like Dj Premier, Dr Dre, RZA, Pete Rock etc. influenced you to make the decision to release an all instrumental album?

 

No. I knew of PeteStrumentals from seeing ADs about it, but haven’t been following anyone else. I think it’s a good idea to have an outlet for your productions aside from the narrow lane of backing music for rappers.

 

What was your biggest setback in becoming a musician?

 

It took a long time to discover that many ‘sounds’ are a product of playing technique and not generated solely by an instrument’s tonal character. It’s something close to an articulation where the interaction of notes, timing and velocity create a sonic moment that is impossible to create otherwise.

 

How does studio engineering play a role in getting the desired sound that all of us musicians have inside our heads but have trouble reproducing?

 

It’s about knowing the How behind a sound and the tools that are needed to achieve it. You can be looking for a massive drum sound and keep asking for more bass, EQ and compression. An engineer might know it’s really distortion you’re after. Or if you’re trying to get a certain character you hear on an older record – it might come from the tape saturation. A solid engineer can help translate what you describe into a process and help get you there.

Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your craft? How long does it usually take you to complete a song- Is it ever really finished by the time the release date comes?

 

The release date is usually what causes me to stop tinkering. You can noodle and keep adding things forever. Sometimes I listen and I want something happening every split second and other times I have that patience for repetition and let a groove run. Every song is different. Some records have taken years to realize. “Gear Lust” was written and rewritten a dozen times but then “Dominator Brainstorm” was almost a freestyle keeper.

Fallout Shelter Going Down album cover

Going Down is getting up

Do you generally do crate digging for vinyls or do you use digital software based models to come up with your sound?

 

I haven’t done any digging in years- although I have a pretty solid collection. I like hardware manipulated by software. Software affords so many advantages, but if I slide too deep in that programming direction, I begin to feel like my songs are an arrangement of sounds and not a recording of performances.

 

What kind of gear do you use- headphones, speakers, DAW, Plug-ins, compressors, EQs etc.

I keep it pretty simple. I like to work in pure audio. I like to see my recording. I reserve MIDI for inter-communication between pieces, but rarely for triggering a sequence or controlling my song.

 

What do you think of the concept of sampling? Do you think it is fair use if utilized in small increments of straight up stealing of someone else’s intellectual property?

That all depends on how it’s done. Sampling approaches the same level of thievery as copying someone’s chord progression, technique and stylistic tendencies. Just because you’re playing an instrument doesn’t mean you aren’t building off another artist’s work. How much- decides how thick the lines are between creativity, inspiration and mimicry.

 

What music do you listen to other than hip hop?

Well to be honest, I don’t listen to too much hip hop. I have a very wide playlist with just about everything on it- from cheesy 80s music to Funk to Classical to Calypso. I have fight music from video games and I record the audio from my favorite scenes in movies.

 

What was the best concert you have been to and why?

I’d say KRS One at Stony Brook University. It was my first time experiencing an artist at that level live. He was more than a rap star rapping his records. I felt like I took a trip and thought about music differently after that. Up until then, I was primarily experiencing music through recordings so when I made songs, I thought about the radio as the main delivery medium. Seeing songs in a live context opened up new ideas and avenues.

 

How is the music industry changing and how are artists able to get their music out into the open without the help of huge labels like Warner, Universal, and Sony?

The big change is labels wanting you to self-start your career. You need to get yourself out the gate. No one is looking to create or develop you; they are looking to discover you – already walking down that dusty road. The dilemma is, by the time they tell you ‘hop in’ you really don’t need that lift anymore. The ride is more about arriving in style at that point. Everyone has the media now: songs, videos, social profiles and band pages. The tougher part is getting people to care and that still requires a massive effort by the artist.

 

Rocket Science album cover

Blast Off!

Why do you do this- why is music such a passion of yours?

I don’t know anything else that makes me feel this way. There’s a moment of childish giddy when I listen to some things that I make. I rewind it over and over and over again. There’s a beautiful moment of disconnect where I don’t hear elements or see a sequencer rolling by, it’s just a musical experience at that point.

 

Who is part of your team- do you have lawyers, managers, agents, accountants, engineers, producers etc. If you want to do something big in the music biz you are going to need an army.

We move more like a specialized unit. The world isn’t about fighting wars against a stand up army anymore. It’s covert operations and small units. Why do I need to do something big? If you think about the most peaceful places to live and be in the world, those nations don’t have armies. I don’t need a room full of people scheming on your sensibilities to do what I do.

 

What do you think of hip hop music today? Do you think the best stuff is on the TV and radio?

Loaded question, but okay. You know what goes here.

 

Do you have any passion projects?

Yeah, anything story based. CHAOS Legion and Battlestrux. There’s a bunch of that material that I know is catering to a small segment of music listeners.

 

What are you most proud of as a musician?

I would say my catalog. I like being self sufficient.

 

What kind of student were you growing up?

Stronger in English and anything dealing with writing. I leaned that way, right from the start.

 

If you had one last meal before you died, what would it be?

Some kind of salad with toxic herbs- enough to fake my death and later escape, after waking up in the morgue.

 

How busy are you generally when it comes to music- do you still have time to socialize and have family time?

Everyone that knows me understands how important music is. If you’re around me, you’ve been involved with my music in some capacity. That’s the connecting point.

 

What was the first 16 you ever wrote? Can you spit it right now?

I know a few bars from it, but not the whole thing. And it’s pretty terrible except for the few bars I barely remember. Some things are best left buried and forgotten.

 

Who do you think holds the torch of hip hop right now and who used to? This doesn’t necessarily have to be subjective.

Yeah, I don’t know. That’s insider fan stuff and I honestly don’t consider myself a knowledgeable follower and haven’t been for a long time. I know so little about who’s doing what, I couldn’t even name an accurate top ten of anything. We’d have to go way, way back.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Doing whatever I would want to be doing. I only say that because I can look back 5 years a few times now. And that’s basically what I’m doing so I figure that won’t change. It’s like me from the future showing up now and giving myself advice. It would be the same advice each time: Find that thing you want to do and do it 100%.

 

 

 

What was the worst job you ever had?

I won’t name it, but I can describe it. It wasn’t enough money to better my situation. The length of time I did it was not adding up to useful experience. And the job itself wasn’t helping humanity in any way possible and as an employee, I was not appreciated. And last, there was no future or better days or advancement to look forward to or build toward. It made no difference if I was the best worker or worst.

 

If you can look at most situations with that same scrutiny, you’ll find a lot of decisions are pretty easy to make. Man, thank you for taking the time to chop it up like this. I appreciate it.

 

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Fallout Shelter Elevator Music Volume III Going Down is available on iTunes and other digital outlets

Rocket Science is out now and available on iTunes and other digital outlets

You can watch the video for the lead single “Phase Shift” on You Tube.

http://www.thedynamicuniverse.com/

 

 

 

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Fallout Shelter Elevator Music Volume II GRIND FLOOR Instrumental Album

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Dynamica Music and AVXP Present

Elevator Music Volume II Ground Grind Floor

buy Grind Floor Elevator Music Volume II for $9.95

Elevator Music Volume II Grind Floor

This is instrumental music from Fallout Shelter. It’s in your face and up close and personal. It’s a tough Grind on the Ground floor. Beats, bits and beautiful bumpers from Drew Spence, Domino Grey, Dynamics Plus and Xodus Phoenix.

Purchase Fallout Shelter Volume II Grind Floor from Dynamica Music

$9.95 Available now!

 

Like always, this will be available on iTunes, Beatport and digital stores where fine music is sold. And also, directly from Dynamica Music.

Track Listing

1. Give Her Back 95 bpms [originally titled Blast Off Captain] :46

Produced by Dynamics Plus

2. Quite Superficial 97 bpms 3:42

Produced by Drew Spence

3. Neva Listen 95 bpms 3:37

Produced by Drew Spence

4. My Girl Is… 3:45

Produced by Drew Spence

5. Chain Envy Everybody Needs A Gold Chain 3:38

Produced by Dynamics Plus

6. Isis Grill 105 bpms 3:24

Produced by Domino Grey

7. Blot the Sun 96 bpms 4:34

Produced by Drew Spence

8. Water Test 97 bpms 4:17

Produced by Drew Spence

9. Afternoon Departures 100 bpms 3:04

Produced by Xodus Phoenix and Domino Grey

10. Room and Bored 94 bpms 2:44

Produced by Xodus Phoenix

11. Bad Passenger 97 bpms 3:08

Produced by Drew Spence

12. Isolated Girl 102 bpms 4:08

Produced by Drew Spence

13. Split Down The Middle 92 bpms 2:17

Produced by Dynamics Plus

14. Get Up, Get On 93 Bpms 1:43

Produced by Dynamics Plus

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Fallout Shelter Music included in the newest issue of Rapper’s Delite Magazine.

December 28, 2011 1 comment
Fallout Shelter Evelavator Music Series Volume I: BASSment Level

Fallout Shelter Evelavator Music Series Volume I: BASSment Level

Some tunes from the collaboration project Fallout Shelter have made their way into the free bundled tracks for Rapper’s Delite Magazine! Rapper’s Delite is the sister magazine to Producer’s Edge with a similar idea. In Producer’s Edge you get free sounds/loops/kits to make beats with and in Rapper’s Delite you get FREE BEATS to rhyme over or write to.

Rapper's Delite Magazien Issue 02

Rapper's Delite Magazien Issue 02

And so, some of my beats from Fallout Shelter are in the Sugahill Gang issue for Winter 2011. They also have snippets to preview on their site. Here it is.

 

Thank you Rapper’s Delite Magazine for the nod.

Here’s their blog about it!