64HIPHOP had a chance to sit down with the CEO of Alpine Studios, Ian King. He speaks about his musical journey and transitioning to being a music producer.
Tell us a bit about your musical journey?
Thanks for this feature. Well, my earliest musical composition came when I was in class 4 when I composed my first verse together with some friends who were also going crazy about the Kalamashaka jams dropping by then. Since then I was just in to poetry for fun up until my first year in JKUAT when I started attending rap battles at Metro FM. That is when I also met the other 7/11 members (Traz & Boi Fosa) and together we did two mixtapes and several singles. The first Mixtape was “JTown Chronicles” and later we did “Grand Theft Audio”. Being in a group was quite fun although we later went solo to further explore our creativities.
What inspired you to become a producer and why the transition?
From the first time I walked into a studio I knew my destiny was more in creation that execution. Mind you the first studio I entered was in Metro FM thanks to Chris Da Bass (Currently at Milele FM) and Labalaa of Wakamba Wawili, both who believed in me from the rap battles. I knew nothing about production then as I had just moved to Nairobi from Nyeri. However, after several recording sessions and disappointments from producers on deadlines and quality, I decided to do my own production. That’s when I joined Homeboyz MTA and the rest is history. It was a great platform for networking and learning from the best. Most of my production inspiration came from Saint P, Sappy, Evano, Yo Alex, Chrome, and Ares 66. All of whom I maintain great respect in the industry.
Who are some of the artistes you are currently working with?
I am currently kind of selective of who I invest time in but I have a few prospective artists including Alekym, Yeen Lirsh, Waziri, Bullet Acidic, Vii Sugar Bwoy, an RnB lady with a sensational voice named Attara. I love working with prospective artists’ coz they always have the element of surprise and introduce fresh voices and sounds in the industry.
According to you, do Kenyan music producers receive their fair share of the cake in terms of their earnings?
Yes and No – Mainly depending on one’s exposure and effort. People need to research and learn on placements, royalties and so on. Depending solely on waiting on recording fees may take a toll on someone particularly if they are new to the industry. I believe that is the reason most new producers quit after one year or so. But yes, it’s a big cake out here for producers if only you channel your efforts wisely in the right direction.
A lot of criticism has been held upon some of the major music producers in Kenya for sampling. A number of those songs have been pulled down due to the fact that the beats are stolen from another source. What is your take on this?
For me sampling is an art that has existed and I believe will be here for years to come. However, there is a difference between sampling and copying and that again goes back to a producer’s exposure and research on what passes as acceptable sampling. I am never against it. What I strongly oppose is copying or outright stealing of beats and content.
What is the future for Alpine studios?
As the studio slogan goes, “We Create”. So expect more content releases, more artists, wider coverage and yes, basically a bigger Alpine Studios KE fam.
Word of advice for upcoming creatives especially young music producers out there?
Persistence and consistency is key. We kinda lacked that back then when we were young as 7/11 The Crew. They should also learn to listen and filter advice particularly from producers who normally have a wider scope of the industry than then. Finally, enjoy doing music. Makasiriko sometimes huskika hata kwa ngoma haha
Drop your contacts here for artistes to reach you.
“Alpine Studios KE” on Insta, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
“Iannoh Muzik” on Insta, Twitter, facebook, and YouTube
Also “Ian King” on FB