Words By Miki Hellerbach
The Producer’s Voice is a new series for GUAP where we highlight the stories of instrumental crafters. We hope to bring their stories to the forefront instead of kept behind the artist they are producing for.
Producer Birthday was born and raised in Astoria, Queens by Bangladeshi parents and the diverse community that surrounded him.
Birthday recalls an OG producer and mentor of his, Rajib Rahman, who through Bangla Rock, slow ballads, and Folk music taught him the crafts of instrumentation, structure, and composition. This resulted in Birthday becoming a multi-instrumentalist that fuses those teachings with the primarily East Coast Hip-Hop and R&B music he makes today.
In his teens Birthday emerged onto the NYC scene playing in a band at legendary venues such as Brooklyn’s The Knitting Factory and Manhattan’s CBGB. These experiences thrust him further into being a career musician which ultimately resulted in him building quite the catalogue. A career peak was his initial run at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas where he produced with the now legendary Mike Zombie (“Started From The Bottom”, “They Don’t Love You No More”) on a track “Face Card” feat. Manolo Rose, Bizzy Crook, Telli & Black Dave. Birthday has many more epic collaborations coming from his latest production road trip down to Atlanta, but what he’s already composed within his established network more than speaks for itself.
I asked Birthday to give his backstory of three of his top instrumentals. Take a read.
‘Tears’ by Siddzartha
“I made that beat when I was making a lot more dark tones and midnight blue esque colors to music. Lowkey ominous vibes. Siddzartha is also Bangladeshi from LA. We connected ’cause of the Bangladeshi-American community. He hit me up on the gram, I sent him a few beats and he was really digging that one. At the time of us doing that song, we were smack dab in the middle of the pandemic and the protests were at an all time high. His angle was really based off that. I had made the music so long before anything like that was happening but it still was a layup to that mood. To capture mood you gotta find some sort of permanence. Texture is a big word for me. You want it to feel like you can almost hear the touch.”
‘Right On Schedule’ by Donnie Durag
“That was a special one because it was a checkpoint to our collaborative journey together. It set a trajectory for what we were about to get into. It’s all original instrumentation. I played guitar, bass, and electronic drums then made it trippy. Nothing was sampled. It was really when he did his ad libs that put a lightbulb in my head. They were sharp and stark so I thought I could elevate them and add harmonies. It set the whole trippy texture.”
‘Winter In NY’
“That was more like a slow burner. I found the flute sample then I added a simple structure. Then he did his little flow, “I got the hunnids on me/ Ralph Lauren down to my feet,” which then wasn’t totally concrete but it was all there. Then I changed up that B section a few weeks later on. It was one of those beats that I just kind of had (for him), that Donnie said was crazy. My approach when I work very close with artists in general is I just really try to scope out what their strengths are. For Donnie he’s really strong at catchy melodies with strong adlib game especially during hooks. So I’ll tailor-make the beat to (highlight) that. It’s organic, but also about orchestrating the organicness of it.”