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.
The Phronetic is a producer, live finger drummer, and one of the pioneers in the NYC beat scene. He was born in Colombia, but was adopted by Italian parents and raised in South Brooklyn.
The Phronetic came from a world of instrumental music and playing in bands pre beat crafting. When he first took interest, he got an MPD 24, learned how to load samples in, then picked up finger drumming techniques initially inspired by watching folks like Beats by Jblack and Araabmuzik. He eventually crafted his own style of not just hard hitting slaps, but true arrangements. He even caught notice of the legend Swizz Beats on Valentine’s Day 2017 when he re-posted The Phronetic’s Jazz key composition with layered drums and synth beats on his Instagram.
I asked The Phronetic to give his backstory of three of his top instrumentals. Take a read.
“I originally had to make it for an ad on a collaboration with this company Artiphon. They had just released their new MIDI controller called The Instrument 1. It looked like an advanced version of a Guitar Hero controller. They wanted to make a video of me using it to make all aspects of a beat. It all started with the opening keys and that chord effect from this one button. Then I built this drum kit from sounds I heard Beats by Jblack using. It was my first time using characteristically boom-bap drums. Prior to that my drums were more acoustic and natural sounding. I used that combo of Rhodes piano key sounds, hip hop drums, then added the bass by using the controller as an actual bass and it all came together. The sauce over it was like on Guitar Hero when you move it up and you get “star power.” On this when you move it up it fucks with the sound and makes it go crazy.”
‘Con La Guitarra’
“I was babysitting a dog for my Mom’s friend in Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan. This dog had seizures so I was really nervous. So I went to the store and bought a couple tall boys for myself and tried to relax then sat down and made some beats. I was searching YouTube and found this Brazilian guitarist Rosinha (De Valença) with that sample. I thought it sounded like a country song and thought that was cool cuz it wasn’t that at all. I ripped it from YouTube, went on Instagram live, found a drum kit, and started putting it together. I eventually went back in and found that B section with the other guitar, but it came together really quickly. But that beat would not have happened if I wasn’t babysitting that seizure dog, Jack.”
I was in Albany doing a show with a couple of my homies. It was my first hour long set and previous to that I’d done like twenty to thirty minutes. I was cramming in the Airbnb two hours before my set going crazy. On the bus ride there I’d been listening to Roy Hargrove and loaded the sample into a project, but had nothing on top of it. I was chopping it up and threw a drum kit on it. I thought it was really cool, but wondered how I was gonna grab people because it was just another basic Jazz Hip-Hop flip. I looked for acapellas in that bpm then started singing in my head, “I’m gonna make you dance, it’s your chance.” I thought it was crazy cuz you wouldn’t expect to hear Eminem in that context ever. “Goosebumps” also is in the key of E Flat Minor and the Jazz track is in G Major so they’re relative keys. It all came together in the two hours before the set.”