My name is Mertz and I am an MC/Producer from the group Present Rhymes. I am also co-owner of Mertz & Sun Productions, LLC with Rico (also from Present Rhymes). I have been making Hip-Hop music for about 8 years and have been featured on 2 (soon to be 3) releases. The first was my debut solo project, The Rise Above It EP. The second was, The Woogmatic LP by Aleck Woog, which I was the executive producer on as well as a featured MC. The next release I will be featured on will be the debut album from my group Present Rhymes entitled, Livin’ The Mission.
I started out making beats using a drum machine and instrumental loops in high school. When I was in college I stepped my game up and started using VST instruments to create my own melodies with a MIDI keyboard controller. That really changed my perspective on making beats and music in general because now I see how all the different parts of a beat come together to create the whole. It also pushed me to develop depth in my beats because with VST instruments you are responsible for everything that’s heard; from the highs down through the lows. At the same time, it gives you the creative freedom to go wherever you please. Most of the production on my debut project, The Rise Above It EP, was done with VST instruments and drum machines.
Later in college I heard about The Lab through my partner in rhyme, B Rouille (also from Present Rhymes) and I started taking production classes there. Sampling was a whole new world in production that I didn’t really understand up until this point. Through The Lab I learned how to sample records, chop those samples, filter them and rearrange them to create my own beats. This was also the first time that I experimented with making drums in a computer program. Again I was able to see making music through a new perspective and this really helped me grow as an artist.
Now that I know how to use samples as well as VST instruments I am able to blend these techniques together and make some really good music. I feel like sampling and VST instruments are at opposite ends of the beat making spectrum but that the best beats come from somewhere in the middle. Mixing samples with VST instruments is how most of the production on our upcoming release was done and I think it shows a lot of growth from our last project. Be on the lookout for the debut album from Present Rhymes, Livin’ The Mission, dropping in 2011.
Below are 3 songs that I produced. “Take It or Fight Back” is off of The Rise Above It EP and features live violin played by Tim Swanson. “Paradise” is off of The Woogmatic LP and features vocals from Aleck Woog. “Slow Down” is an unreleased exclusive for everyone who read this far. All cuts by Rico.
Outside picture by Bryant Moscote
Studio shot by Rico
Hello, my name is Patricia Bristow-Johnson, age 13. I have been into music for as long as I can remember. My dad is very interested in music, and was always introducing me to new songs. I have been playing piano since second grade,(I also play flute, violin, acoustic guitar, and bongo-drums), and knew Beethoven's Fur Elise since fifth grade. I discovered The Lab about a year later through an after-school program, and have been making "beats" ever since.
What I am currently doing at The Lab is hardly different from what I had done here at the very beginning, except for the fact that I am now working with a program called "Reason" by Propellerhead, and sampling sounds off of vinyl records. Although most of the beats I make are somewhere between pop, techno, and rock, I listen to all genres, primarily soft and/or religious songs. (I am a pagan, btw.)
I started my interested in making beats after I saw how much fun one of my friends was having sampling sounds off records. I started playing around with it but didn't have a good basis of knowledge as to how to use the equipment and the structure. When I moved to burlington for school, I became firmiliar with the LAB and Derrick, so I began taking classes as a Burlington College student. The Lab was where I learned methods for sampling, layering, building the beat and recording. This opportunity has been an essential stepping stone to where I am today as a producer and recording artist.
Currently I am part of a team that has been making some uplifting, soulful and simply amazing tunes out of my little home studio over on Cedar street. My homie Es-k and I hold down the production with the help of skilled musician from around the way. We got a few talented female vocalist, and the Milkman is always in pocket! Its pretty cool when technology allows you to make music out of your own home. Music for me..... Is what it does to your body and the feeling it gives you! I can't help myself sometimes, I just gotta move! I love the natural high you get from hearing music made with love and emotion and that's what I strive for. I love getting up with everyone huddled around the mic, flowing off some true inspiration. I listen to the stuff I've made and like what the TheCedarStreetCongregation has put together. I hope you do toooooo!!!!! Peace