Finland is not a place which is known for having a huge hip hop industry.
However, unbeknownst to us over in Ol'Blighty, it's scene is florishing and making some proper noise around Europe. One of the artists over there that is part of that scene is EWON12BIT. With a style of production that harks back to the Golden Age New York sound, EWON12BIT is just getting started with his work on the Phatventures label, with his debut record for them 'One Time For Your Mind'. Guestlist managed to grab some time with him to see what's good in Scandinavia.
What was the first thing you thought of this morning? My back is aching from wiring a patchbay in my new studio yesterday, but thankfully everything is now done so I can focus on what matters the most: making beats!
What's the hip hop scene like in Finland and the rest of Scandinavia? It’s definitely widespread now since it became popular music globally, but the real stuff is mostly elsewhere for me. Don’t get me wrong, lots of good music is coming from here, but the instrumental stuff that I like is rarely if at all acknowledged. I think that Central Europe rules that game right now with labels like Daily Concept, Effiscienz, Postpartum Records etc. I’d like to contribute more to that whole scene in my own personal way.
Name 3 Finnish / Scandinavian artists you think we should listen to and why? FatGyver, Staffro and BennyBen because they make the illest beats and they do it in a manner that I truly respect. There are definitely other good dudes here too, but these are my friends with whom I share similar methods of making music.
If you could show everybody in the world one thing from Finland, what would you show them? My studio in Herttoniemi.
What inspires you to produce beats? Hip hop.
What's the best music concert/gig you've ever been to see? A Tribe Called Quest at Splash Festival 2013. I’ve been to many shows in different countries and different places but this is a show which I always remember clearly. The sound system was absolutely wicked there, like 30 heavy speakers on top of each other! Phife Dawg (Rest In Peace) was there too, so I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to see him live on stage, in the flesh.
What made you name your record ‘One Time For Your Mind’? It’s a cool phrase from the 90’s which really stuck with me, I always wanted to name my first record after that. Every real head knows what it’s about.
If you could have any 3 Emcees to spit over the instrumentals on this album, who would you choose? It’s really and truly meant to be an instrumental project, so I haven’t thought about it like that. I like to use acapella snippets from different rap songs in projects like this rather than full verses from rappers. If I were to produce a rap record, I would like to start it completely from scratch, instead of just sending random beats to people. That’s how the best records are made to my taste: the producer builds the concept of the song from start with the artist/rapper.
What was the first album you ever bought? I really can’t recall the first album, but the first hip hop album I remember and it was Wu-Tang Forever, when I was like 9 years old. After that, I instantly knew my genre and been at it ever since.
Great intro into the hip hop world! What was the last album you bought? The Soul Snatcha by Raw Mentalitee. Cop it, it's dope!
What have you been listening to recently? Lots of instrumental stuff as always: Soulmade and Budamunk are my favourites of newer producers. Highly influential stuff! But it’s always nice to return to the classics like Pete Rock, Large Professor etc. you know. I also like to listen a lot of dub-tunes from Mad Professor, The Scientist etc. I’m a DJ first so listening and copping records is highly essential for me on a weekly basis. Nowadays I’m pretty strict, so I have a list of records in my head that I want on my shelf. No matter how long it takes, those records will eventually find their place there.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Treffiburger, which has won the “Best burger in Helsinki” award twice I think. The place is located conveniently about half a kilometer from my home!
Nice! East Coast or West Coast? East defo. Since day one I was only after that old, misty New York sound in my music.
Probably informs your next answer...2pac or Biggie? Biggie, because his beat selections were always better and his style is nicer. Never was a fan of Tupac, and probably never will be.
Pusha or Drake? Neither one.
Fair enough! So, if you had a swimming pool and you could fill it up with anything, what would you fill it up with? Lots of dope records with lush samples. The critical ingredient of my music.
So you're going you live on a desert island and you can only take 3 albums with you, which albums would you take with you and why? Probably: George Fields - Beyond Realm, Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul, Scientist meets The Mad Professor - At Channel One.Those would fit the atmosphere rather nicely. Nevertheless, I’m more of a city guy than a desert island/beach guy haha!
Who is your favourite UK artist at the moment and why? Lewis Parker, because he is and always has been a very inspirational character who creates certifiably grade A music.
How do you normally make your beats? From wax to sampler to tape. That really is the thing for me. Usually I will first listen to the records and when I hear something nice, I sample it instantly and start bangin' on the pads. Typically everything starts with drums. Finding loops is always nice too, but you still need to flip it to make it your own. I’m not into meticulously chopped intense beats.
How would you describe your sound? Warm, Round and Big. I’ve done a lot of research compared to many beat makers, to achieve my particular sound. I collect vintage studio equipment. Lots of the stuff I have, I bought as broken or barely working and I’ve put them back together by myself. I fix stuff like MPCs for my friends too. I’m an engineer by trade, so messing around with technology really is my thing.
You sound like you're on an Adrian Younge analogue flex! So what are your plans for 2019? Make more music, upgrade some of my equipment, buy more records, the usual stuff. Would be nice to do a collabo with some artists who resonate on the same level as myself. We most definitely are gonna release new heat on our label Phatventures. Keep your eyes and ears open, I’m just getting started!
Keep your eyes peeled for much more to come from EWON12BIT. You can stream and buy One Time For Your Mind from his bandcamp page here
The vinyl version of this album is currently in production and will be available for purchase in the following weeks.
EWON12BIT - INSTAGRAM
PHATVENTURES - FACEBOOK
'One Time For Your Mind' album sampler mixed by DJ Neveready