Meet rookie producer plusNONE who co-produced Primary’s latest mini album ‘Shininryu’. Get to know him and his music and find out about his work with Primary in this exclusive interview!
When I read that Primary collaborated with a rookie producer for his latest album ‘Shininryu‘, my curiosity was instantly piqued. Fortunately, the opportunity to interview the Coliseum Records producer came by soon after and I was able to get answers to all the questions I had.
First of all thank you for interviewing with us. Please introduce yourself to our readers!
What’s good everyone, my name is plusNONE.
What is the story behind your artist name?
So I actually used to go by the name Sleep2 (2014-early 2017), but changed it recently to plusNONE as I got to Korea due to there being a rapper here that goes by Sleepy. Having to rebrand was tough, especially since I’d been going by that name for a few years and fighting to get my name out there, and having the 2 in my name while performing in America was a big challenge since most people don’t initially understand. As a result, it actually took me a few months to come up with a new name, and by the time I set my mind on plusNONE there were only a few weeks til the album release, ha! As for the meaning behind the name though, simply put it’s my initials (pl) plus nobody else but me.
I’ve heard you used to be a DJ. Is this how you first got into making music?
I still am a DJ! But I actually started DJ’ing a year after I started making beats. I had my heart set on making music since I was in high school but didn’t have the equipment and know-how to get started.
In addition to DJing, you compose and arrange music. Are these self-taught?
I bought my first MPC (drum machine) my senior year of high school and started watching a bunch of Youtube tutorials and kept learning more and progressing as time passed. I knew how to play the guitar prior to starting so I took all the chords I knew and taught myself how to play them on the piano. I also majored in Jazz Theory & Audio Engineering and that’s helped me tremendously.
What music do you usually listen to? Does it influence the music you produce?
I listen to a lot of Hip-Hop/R&B, but I’m also really big on Future Beats and so I listen to a lot of producers/artists off of SoundCloud. To get a better idea of what Future Beats sounds like, check out Soulection Radio! Some of my favorite producers in the scene are Sángo, ESTA, & KAYTRANADA. I’m very influenced by everything I listen to and love, and I’d say my style is a direct reflection of that.
Is ‘Shininryu’ the first officially released album you were involved in?
Yeah it’s my very first official release and also my first time working with artists from Korea in general!
How did you meet Primary and get to work with him?
I met Primary back in December (’16) while he was doing work in New York for a few months. A mutual friend/mentor of mine invited me to a listening session and told me to bring a folder full of beats with me, and so I got to show Primary a bunch of my demos. We exchanged contact info and a few weeks later he asked if I’d be interested in flying out to Seoul to do some production work for a few months, and so I got to Korea in March and the rest is history.
I remember hearing “Primary & The Messengers” for the first time 5 years ago and being amazed, back when I was a senior in highschool and wasn’t even making beats yet. Fastforward to 2017 and I end up flying to Seoul and co-producing an entire album with him. Life is crazy. PRIMARY / plusNONE – SHININRYU is OUT NOW 🙏🙏🙏 #primary #프라이머리 #plusNONE #shininryu #amoebaculture
On Instagram you mentioned that you were amazed when you first heard the ‘Primary and the Messengers’ LP. What did you like about it?
“Primary & The Messengers” is what got me so into the K-HipHop scene in the first place. Before listening to “Messengers” I was a fan of a few Korean rappers/groups like Epik High, Tiger JK, & Dynamic Duo but the features on that album exposed me to a bunch of different new artists. What really amazed me though was the beats in general. I was already really into songs with jazzy chord progressions and Primary mixed that together with retro/electronic sounds on top of hiphop/R&B drums and I hadn’t heard anything like it at the time.
Title track of ‘Primary and the Messengers’ LP: ‘? (Question Mark) (Feat. Choiza, Zion.T)’
Did Primary already have a concept or a specific genre in mind when he asked you to work together?
I don’t think he really had anything in mind yet. I wasn’t even exactly sure what I’d be working on until I actually got to Korea.
What was it like to work with Primary and how did you approach the production process?
As far as the album goes, I’d made a bunch of beats/sketches while I was still in New York. When I got to Seoul I sent Primary a bunch of my project files and there was a lot of space on the beats for him to add his touch, and he sent me some of his beats for me to add to and we kept going back and forth like that. In total we ended up with about 8-10 tracks and so Primary suggested we put them all together and get an album going. The overall style of the album was very different from what Primary normally does, and with me being a new/upcoming producer we thought it’d be a good to set the concept as the “Next Generation,” with all the features being rising/upcoming artists who we think will be really big soon.
An experienced producer like Primary must be a good source of inspiration and skills. Did you learn anything new while working with him?
Oh, for sure. Primary is/has been one of my favorite producers and so working with him is an honor. I learned a lot about how the music industry in Korea works, the process behind putting an album together, and of course I’ve improved a lot as a beatmaker.
Did you encounter any difficulties working with him?
I wouldn’t say there were any difficulties between us, but there were definitely difficulties getting the album together. There were several other artists we would’ve loved to feature on the album but things didn’t work out due to conflicts like schedules not working out. We were also aiming to release the album much earlier but had some issues receiving a fixed date, which led to it being pushed back, but it’s out now so it’s ok.
Which song is your favorite and why?
I love every track, but I will definitely say I’m most proud of the beat for “Baby.”
Are you happy with how the album turned out?
Definitely! It’s been a overall great experience and everybody involved did amazing.
You’ve worked with a number of talented singers and rappers for this album. Which Korean or international artist/s would you like to work with in the future?
I’d love to work with Crush & SUMIN in the near future!
SUMIN’s latest music video ‘Sparkling‘, the title track of her second mini album of the same name
Do you have any upcoming plans or projects you can tell us of?
I definitely have another project in mind that I’d like to get going ASAP.
Any closing remarks for the international fans?
Honestly, thank you to anyone taking the time to read all of this. I was just a fan myself not too long ago so this is all very crazy to me. I hope you’ll all get to know about me and stay tuned for my upcoming releases!