Who Is Chris Rose?
I’ve been hearing about Chris for a while now. The 21-year old producer has been making quite a name for himself with his unique beats and remixes; allowing him to work with a handful of underground hip-hop acts in the USA and Canada – where he resides.
I reached out to the Cawmere alum to find out how he got into music, the process behind his sound, and more.
Images via Instagram | Interview by Carlos Brathwaite
Carlos Brathwaite: How did you first get into production?
Chris Rose: In upper 6th a friend of mine bought a MPC that wasn’t working, and we used to pretend that we knew how to use it in the prefab. So I think that was the spark that got me interested. From there I downloaded Fruity Loops on my mom’s computer, and basically threw samples into Edison and sped them up because I knew that’s what Kanye did.
Besides that, everything I did was pretty much rubbish and I soon gave up. When I got to Canada, one of my friends in my course [in Music and Digital media at Saint Lawrence College] happened to show me some beats he made and I got interested again. So from 2012 to early 2013 he was just showing me stuff in Fruity Loops.
You’re still relatively young, so how long have you been at it?
Well if you want to count in just dabbing around and not knowing anything about what I was doing, you can say from early 2012. But I started taking it seriously when I got to University [Brock University] ; so the middle of 2013.
Do you come from a musical background (classical instruments etc.)?
I started playing steel pan from the time I was born. My mother enrolled me in violin classes when I was 3, and then piano when I was 4. I did violin up to grade 8 and I did piano up to grade 7. I competed in NIFCA from the age of 7, until I left high school. I never did music CXC because it just seemed like too much work and I wasn’t about it. But to be honest, I hated formal training. I preferred to just jam with my lil’ bro who also played the same 3 instruments as myself.
Take me through your production process.
I usually find a sample. Or make a melody. And then I add drums and an 808. I’m not that complex, I’m very basic [Laughs].
Is it the same process with regards to your remixes?
To be honest, with my mixes, nine out of ten times I just mix an acapella onto an already finished beat that I did. But on the rare occasion that I want to do everything from scratch its pretty much the same as if I was making the beat; I place high importance on melodies basically, because I know absolutely nothing about drums. So once I make a melody that rides well I try not to overthink percussion things.
How much has spending time between Barbados and Canada influenced your sound? Has the scene in one country had a greater affect on you more than the other?
To be honest, neither of the countries has had a heavy influence on my sound. I try to stay away from making a particular sound or trying to slide into a category. My friends usually tell me that I don’t sound like anybody, or a particular subset of rap. Which I hope is true and they’re not just gassing me up [Laughs].
I actually want to do a calypso-trap beat tape. So maybe next time I’m in Barbados, I’ll try to immerse myself a little more with the culture. I just think that would be cool.
I saw your placement on Manolo Rose’s Concrete Rose mixtape, who are some other artists you have worked with?
I haven’t worked with a lot of people to be honest. But right now I’m doing work in the states with Relax Gang, Cashy and OG Che$$ – who all reside in the Florida area. I’m also sending work back and forth with Sha from Toronto. Me and [Haleek Maul] are also doing a lot of work together – which is cool because I’ve always liked his music, mainly the music that he made by himself. And Kristen Walker is creating magic on a couple of beats I did as well. So at the moment, I’m not working with a lot of people, but I’m doing a lot of work with some people [Laughs].
Are there any other artists you wish to work with?
Lamb$, Playboi Carti, Tory Lanez, Jazz Cartier, Yung Simmie, Chief Keef; basically people I know that working with them is an attainable goal [Laughs]. To be honest I want to work with a lot of people from Barbados, mainly Jah Koda. Idk how it would happen but that’d be sick.
As a young producer, what are your thoughts on Barbados’ music scene (Quality of productions, Artist lyrics, etc.) ?
Barbados has so many sick producers its not even funny. And the majority of the great ones fly way under the radar. From Mohammed [Haniff], to Luke Bonds, to Highlvnd, the level of creativity is way beyond me. Even just focusing on Josh [Highlvnd], the fact that he hasn’t been making beats for even a year yet, and is at that level of creativity, just shows how many persons within the island have the ability to just be amazing.
As for the music scene as it pertains to lyrics, etc. I can only speak on the rap, and in my opinion, Barbados has many talented rappers. Artists such as Blo Smallz, Giiibbz, Monk, Sarge, Flow, and Civile K are a few that come straight to mind.
What more can be done in your opinion?
To be honest, I cant even answer that question. [Haleek] and I have had conversations about this very same topic but I believe he’s better versed to answer because he’s more in the island than I am – and therefore he is able to see things better than I do. But a quick fix for the situation might be for Barbados to have some sort of rap festival, or something similar to the Boiler Room sets, where artists can come and showcase whatever they have to show.
What can we look out for from Chris in the future?
Hopefully to just keep making music. I don’t feel like I’ve succeeded yet or even gone anywhere, so I believe that once I keep working, good things will happen. I just gotta stop being lazy and eating so much junk food.
Carlos Brathwaite is the Founder of 246Mixtapes. Follow him on Twitter.