Sitting down with BUDGIE:
Your favorite artist’s, favorite producer.
Half of Nothin’ – Episode 001
For those of you who aren’t up to game on Budgie, I promise you’re already familiar with his work. You just don’t not know it yet. A couple months back we linked with the South East London native producer to sit down and, as we do best, shoot the shit. To be fully transparent the idea rose naturally, all thanks to one of those weeks where everyone in the office was binging on the same music. First, The Good Book tapes with Alchemist were on repeat, next thing you know all the Panty Soakers volumes and Holy Ghost Zone were queued up. As for Budgie, the back end of 2019 was a busy one filled with: Soulection sets, Shabbaaaaa appearances, to spending September in Wyoming with Kanye West working on his recent album, Jesus is King. Since then he’s been consistent with Ye, touching later projects like Jesus is Born, as well as Sunday Service. It only makes sense considering Budgie’s Gospel, Reggae, R&B, and Soul cuts can no doubt go up against anyone in the game right now. Not to mention he showed us a sneak peak of his upcoming project called B-Funk – lets just say this cat might as well be from the West Coast! Hats off to Budgie for letting us stop by and kick it.
For those who may not know you, what’s your name?
Where’d you grow up?
South East London – Charlton, Greenwich, Lewisham, to name a few of the ends. Londons infamous for its large spectrum of culture.
How would you say it’s diversity helped shape your perspective on life as well as music?
London is just a real diverse place culturally and musically. I was lucky enough to grow up in my dad’s record store; Honest Jon’s Records – that’s where I learnt everything I know. People in London love soul and reggae, hip hop and jazz and kids are always coming up with new genres from jungle to UK garage to grime and dubstep. The music scenes are real eclectic, there’s a way to get into whatever you wanna get into. The jazz scene is poppin off now.
Being around an eclectic variety of music, do you remember your first intro to gospel music and how’d you come across it?
I heard the Snoop song “I Love To Give You Light” which was produced by Alchemist. It was the first song on Rhythm and Gangsta and it was a gospel sample. I really loved that, eventually I found the record Al used for it and started finding more and more records. That led me to make a mixtape in 2010. People really liked it and thought I was a Gospel expert, even though I only had a handful of the music at that point… I just kept it going. I still wouldn’t say I’m an expert. I just go out and find what I like.
This one’s for our music nerds and not going to lie I always wondered this too… Tapping into your creative process… What’s your sampling process like? Do you get a majority of your samples from vinyl?
I wouldn’t say majority because there are so many different places between YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify. Honestly there’s so much music everywhere. There’s really no point in being, I’m only this – only that, wherever there’s something good. I mean even if it’s trying to think of a strange place you might get something… Like a commercial, or something you have to plug into the TV real quick.. You know like a video game or DVD…. Oh No did a Rhythm Roulette where he sampled N64 games. That just goes to show, I mean he’s Madlib’s brother… Everyone’s a purist to some extent but the people who are really about it aren’t afraid to just go and do the opposite.
Thats right! Damn I remember that episode! Recently you’ve been working with Kanye on both of his last two projects, how did that come about?
I got in touch with Kanye through my boy Benji B. They’ve been friends and worked together for years.. He had already brought some of my gospel stuff to Kanye for the Yeezus album but this year they started working together again. I bumped into Benji at the Peppermint Club and he told me he was working with the Sunday service Coachella performance. So I sent him some music and then he gave me a call two days later saying Ye was recording all the samples into his ASR. A few weeks later I got a call from Ye inviting me to Sunday Service and the studio.
Did you know your tracks were making the cut?
Someone sent me a post with a photo of the Jesus is King album tracklist saying it was releasing September 27. They asked me if I was on it. Once I saw the track list I was like Fuck.. I missed my opportunity. I had been over there for like two months building up the relationship playing him stuff, but didn’t fully get to go in and play the stuff I really wanted to play. The whole time I was saving it for the right moment. So after seeing that post I was just like “let me reach out to him and see if there’s still time, you never know”. So I reached out to Kanye and said, “What’s up can I play you some more stuff.” He texts me right back, “Come to Wyoming.” I thought I was going to go to Wyoming for like two or three days. I ended up being out there working for the whole month of September. And then the album didn’t even come out in September.
Everyday he would write out different tracklists. Things getting cut, things getting added but none of my stuff ever made it.
At this point it was 1st of October – the album’s supposed to come out on September 27th – so i decided I’d catch a flight back home. I wasn’t going to stay in Wyoming for another month, I had to go along with my life.. So I left Wyoming and as soon as I got back, I get a call from Josh, one of Kanye’s engineers, saying “come to Calabasas right now we’re recording a choir to some of your stuff”. So I went over there and like that I was in Calabasas through October.
I was working with the choir on a bunch of different tracks still unsure of whether my tracks were going to make the album or not. The final week of the album we were just over there in the studio while he was listening to all the tracks… Two days before the album my boy Boogz (another producer) who’s been working with them forever is like “congratulations you made the album”.
What was that feeling like?
It’s a relief because I was thinking I was going to be working and there would be nothing to show for it. I was just relieved there was one (track) on there. It’s the first one and it’s straight up my sound. Not that it’s a bad thing but it’s an easy place for anyone’s sound to be compromised so I think I did pretty good to get my idea on there in tact.
You go from sampling gospel to working with the choir. Do you feel like it was an easy transition? Take us through that process.
It’s a dream come true. To go from listening to some Gospel records to actually working with a real choir, helping write lyrics, it’s a trip. In the end I’m just a guy who’s a fan.
What’s it like entering a setting with someone else who works in a different way?
I think it’s better to work with people who work in a different way. When people work in the same way it’s like what do we do. We both do the same thing. Working with a musician or working with someone who does a different genre, everyone’s going to have different ideas to bring to the table.
What’s it like over at Alchemist’s studio?
Exactly how you imagined it. Just straight fucking legends popping up at all times. Even new people that are dope, good people, and Alchemist is one of the best people ever.
Any new projects of your own we can look forward to in the near future? And what direction are you taking it?
I have a project I’ve been workin’ on with a bunch of musicians and singers called B-Funk. It’s pretty much me being selfish and doing exactly what I want. I wrote and composed everything as opposed to using samples like I usually do. It’s extremely groovy and it sticks to one sound palette throughout, it’s an ensemble piece but I’m the architect. It’s me doing what Kanye or Dr Dre do, really producing.
Any artists who would you want to work with?
Snoop. That’s like one of the main people/reasons I was influenced to come out here. James Fauntleroy. Shoreline, Greedo, Drakeo I love that wave of LA artists. I love Griselda, HER, Summer Walker, Ty Dolla Sign, Jaquees, Ant Clemons, Anderson, Guapdad 4000, Terrace Martin, YG. That’s not even scratching the surface I wanna work with everyone.
If you could paint the picture ten years from now, how would it look? Or would you rather just go with the flow?
Just go with the flow. This picture is pretty much what I would have painted ten years ago. Maybe I wouldn’t have painted it, but I would have liked to paint it. I probably wouldn’t have it if I would have been like, oh I wish this could happen… As for ten years from now… Just let me do the same shit while being even richer in everything, not limited to, but including money, accomplished in multiple areas, have credibility and prestige without being pretentious. As for music.. In ten years you don’t know what the sound is going to be like, what new guys are going to be around. That’s why I feel it’s important to just go with the flow and see where my taste takes me.
Once again man we appreciate it man. Thanks for letting us come thru and kick it.
Come on now. I appreciate you, I appreciate you caring enough to come and listen.
Half Of Nothin’ – episodes married by spews of shit