Production Specs: Paul Nice
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Paul Nice è uno dei DJ/produttori più raffinati in giro. Grande conoscitore di dischi oscuri e maestro del crate digging, è autore di innumerevoli mixtapes di rare grooves e di battle break, fra cui i celebrati Breaks for Days, Soul Grill e ben dieci volumi di Drum Library. Per non parlare dei suoi celebri mix a base di blends e remixes. Non esattamente un giovinotto di primo pelo, Paul ha iniziato la carriera giovanissimo, come DJ, mettendo dischi all’inizio degli anni ’80 a Poughkeepsie. Trasferitosi a Manhattan, dall’inizio degli anni ’90 ha iniziato a produrre a tempo pieno, e fra i suoi credits ha collaborazioni con Guru, Masta Ace, Biz Markie, Tony Touch e A.G.
First commercial beat sold/placed: It was for a pop single on an independent label that specialized in Latin Freestyle. The group was called Format. Two guys from my town I grew up. All I did was try to spice up the existing programmed drums with some sampled drums (Funky Penguin Part 2) and layered Eddie Bo’s From This Day On on top of everything since they wanted to have their song to be an R&B riff off of Pete Rock’s The Creator. I had the credit of “P. Nice” for “additional production”. I was excited just to have something I worked on come out on wax.
How long did it take you to produce something that you were proud of: As simple as my Beats Anonymous record was, releasing that was a proud moment for me. Fists of the White Lotus was the only beat on there that really caught anyone’s attention and it was the simplest one of all. The day after we pressed it, I played it at a show at Vassar College. Stretch Armstrong came in and bugged when he heard it. He asked for a copy (gave him 2 of course). Him and Bob played it on their show that week and Large Professor freestyled over it. Definitely a proud moment for me. I felt vindicated after all those years that were spent DJing and making beats.
Favourite production set-up: My AKAI MPC60-II. 2 Technics 1200s. Rane 57SL mixer. My records. I’m good.
Best digging advice from someone ever: Never judge a record by its cover.
Producer, in the last 3 months, that made you say: “Oh, shit, i have to go back to the lab!”: I really like the stuff I’m hearing from Phantogram (Josh Carter & Sarah Barthel). Loving the mix of chopped-to-hell sampled drums and synth-y melodies. Made me go, hmmm… you really can mix these two disparate styles together and not have it sounding like a total cluster fuck. Instead, they made something beautiful and hard at the same time. Inspiring.
Your worst production mistake ever made: That’s easy. Not being present at my own mixdown session. This happened with Don’t Understand featuring Masta Ace and Greg Nice and I couldn’t get down to Queens to Domingo’s studio for the session so Ace and his engineer did it. They did a fantastic job and people tell me they love the beat but in my ears the mix wasn’t right in a few places and it throws me off whenever I hear it. Completely my fault. Nobody else seemed to notice or care. Only me.
One essential mixing tip: Always give your ears room to breathe. You’ve been pounding away at a beat for hours. Take a break. Walk to the beach (or the bodega, depending on your environs). Listen to some Simon and Garfunkel. Give yourself time to refuel your perspective.