O1 and U1 are Da Beatfreakz the brother-producing duo behind their most recent banger ‘Quavo’ that features Moelogo, Afro B, Sona and Sneakbo. With their hustle, they’ve secured a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic, and have revealed to us upcoming projects with artists in the States (which you can find out here in this interview). Their credits include them working with Ellie Goulding and Jeremih and are now branching out building their own brand as the go-to producers for the biggest and upcoming names in music.
Of course, having such a strong reputation as producers did not come without a backstory, and with Da Beatfreakz, they’ve been blessed to have musical loving parents who encouraged them to take the risk to go to aboard. For many aspiring music producers, it’s a dream to fly out to the States, and with that opportunity came more opening-of-doors and networks with prestigious names – including Jon B!
‘Quavo’ marks a new chapter for the Da Beatfreakz, as they plan to place their influences into their sound. They discuss exclusively with us in more detail about their parents and reminisce their first experiences producing aboard. The brothers also touch on the lack of female producers in the music industry and give us their thoughts on the massive international reception of Afrobeats.
1. Your parents were heavy supporters of your career choices. Do you see that as a blessing since many parents ignore the creative talent that their children have?
O1: Yeah I saw it as a huge blessing. The good thing about us was that our dad was a music journalist; so he was already into music. When we told him that we wanted to pursue music, he was like ‘Yeah go and do it, but make sure you do your education first. Get the grades up and do whatever and then pursue whatever you want to pursue.’ Our mom was fine with it
2. You’ve moved to St Louis and stayed there for four years and then later moved back to London, Looking back to your early days of being producers, do you now see it as a risk or an amazing opportunity?
U1: I think definitely for us, it was an amazing opportunity in the sense that it gave us the kind of experience in terms of looking at music from an international perspective. Being with the trap stars instilled in us the many things that we still carry with us today. It was a blessing.
3. From a producer perspective, what differences have you noticed between music in the States and music in the UK? Feel free to reflect on the business and your own experiences.
O1: To be honest, it’s the same; the artists are taking full control over their own music. So basically they’re the ones going out there, doing the social media, pushing their own music individually and then labels jump on board afterwards. I think years before it was a lot different. With other music in the UK it was hard to get out there, but in the US that was the main thing. Now it’s all balanced up.
4. You’ve had the chance to work with Jon B, Jeremih and Kat Deluna in the States as well as N Dubz, Giggs, Ellie Goulding from the UK. Are there other exclusive artists that you’re working with?
U1: Yeah. Sean Paul & Usher we’re doing some stuff with Chris Brown – we got a track with him. Ice Prince from Nigeria, Jeremy Renagh, he some big actor in ‘Avengers’ so we’ll be doing some stuff on his first music project. A lot of stuff, which is a blessing.
5. Do you think that there should be an acclamation for female producers also? As many female singers also produce their own music.
O1: 100%, Like, there is are really good producers out there, I kind of forgotten their names! Lemme think…
One of them did a big song on Jay-Z’s last album
O1: I think that’s her name. I think she’s also of Nigerian descent…There are a few good female producers coming up, but you’re right – there needs to be way more. I think they need to be pushed to the forefront. We’re all about equal rights, regardless of your colour skin, females or males.
The good thing, however, is that there’s a load of good female writers. We met a lot like Carla-Marie, Selah, Jin Jin, Taylor Parx…there’s so many! You may not see them at the forefront but they‘re working behind the scenes, and some big female executives too.
Trust me, it’s going to balance out soon.
6. Your single ‘Quavo’ with Sneakbo, Afro B, Molelogo and Sona. Tell us more as to how the collaboration came about.
U1: We were in the studio with Sona; he just laid a hook and it came out crazy. He just decided to call other future artists to come down and laid their parts. As soon as everybody heard it, they were blown away. It was kind of organic, never forced. It was natural and everybody loved it.
So far, it has got a great reaction. This our kind of warm-up single. As we progress, we’re about to drop some real bangers.
7. Sneakbo, Afro B, Molelogo and Sona have all made an influence in the rise of homegrown talent in the UK. From an international perspective how to feel seeing the rise of diverse Black music being felt across the diaspora regardless of the geographical location?
O1: We love it! We love seeing people like Skepta, JME, Tinie Tempah, Sona, Sneakbo…everybody. You know what it is? To see young black male and female coming so far from where we came from…five years ago that kind of music couldn’t be heard in this country. Now they’re in the forefront making money. Now they can actually provide for themselves. It;s a fantastic thing and we just want to help the scene grow and help young black people, especially from our own descent (and obviously everybody) to progress to another level.
We’re happy that it’s growing – and America is taking to it now. People around the world are open to new sounds. Whether it’s a Giggs song, J Hus or Afrobeat song, everyone’s happy to dance to it, and I think it’s so good that we have like Instagram and Twitter as it makes it easier to access different artists for sounds across the world. When we went to America we heard J Hus’ music on TV daily. This was like two weeks ago. We were in Chicago and heard his music on ESPN. We were smiling because we know where they’ve come from. To see that happen across the world is an amazing thing.
8. We’ve seen the likes of Wiz kid become a big demand in the States as a producer, despite his Afrobeat credibility and popularity in Africa. What are your thoughts of major records taking on Afrobeat rhythms into the pop culture?
U1: It goes to show how far the African scene has come. It goes to show that Africa is really here to stay. By you hearing influences in other tracks shows that it’s a genre to be reckoned with right now. Though it has a long way to go, it still has placed itself in a position whereby everyone is recognising it. Wizkid is getting signed to SONY music, Davido’s getting signed. Ice Prince is potentially getting signed to Roc Nation…it’s a beautiful thing man. By seeing other people take to it like Major Lazer, Justin Bieber means that Afrobeat is really popping right now. It’s at the forefront of pop culture.