1WayTKT, a DJ/production team out of New York City on Deep Root Recordz, has performed with or produced for some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop and now they are making a name for themselves in Electronic Dance Music. Their music combines many genres from jazz to dub-step, but what really sets them apart is their melodic sounds, basslines, and the sweet addition of a trumpet. We connected with 1WayTKT (Josh and Chris) and asked them about how they came together to form the group, how they got publishing placements with some of the biggest companies in Hollywood and much more.
How did you guys come together to form 1WayTKT? 1WayTKT: We grew up together and have been friends since grade school. Since then, we have embarked on several musical collaborations, from being in various school bands, to releasing hiphop albums (always under different monikers of course). 1WayTKT began as an outlet for us to be our own artist for a change. we got tired of always being at the whim of the artists and labels that hired us, and not controlling our own careers. It also happened to come at time when our personal interests were shifting towards electronic dance music, mostly because hip-hop gave us a "been there, done that" feeling, creatively. The business of hip-hop is also rather disorganized and backwards, which certainly played a roll.
You guys have performed with and produced for a wide array of artists; do you decide in advance what type of instrumental you're creating or do you let the beat guide you, so to speak? 1WayTKT: Working with so many different artists leads to quite a variety of creative processes. Its a case by case scenario, so if we were to answer quickly, all of the above. When we are producing for other acts, we are there to support their sound and bring their ideas to life. Conversely, when we are producing for 1WayTKT, we are in charge of the sonic direction. Ultimately, we are big lyric and melody guys, so when there are vocals, we let them dictate the proper musical backdrop. In terms of which comes first, its a bit like the chicken and the egg; it always has to start somewhere, and both work well. Most often, we produce a skeletal track ahead of time. we keep it very simple until the song gets recorded, so we dont get in the way of the songwriter's creative process. The final versions we release sound very different than these initial skeletons. They go through phases of deconstruction and are rebuilt to best suit the song and artist at that time. We believe in experimenting, so there are many versions of each song that never see the light of day. But once its right, its right.
Getting publishing placements with Pixar, Disney, and ESPN is a really big deal; how does one go about establishing that connection? 1WayTKT: You know what they say, its not what you know, its who you know. It took a few different connections to make those placement happen. A lot of it is word of mouth, friends of friends, etc. We are constantly scouring the internet for bigger and better publishing opportunities. There are so many great services out there nowadays. Of course, having proper sonics and professional engineering certainly helps. Additionally, having great songwriters that write incredible songs go a long way. Great songs are undeniable. On the business side, we are big advocates of being flexible and taking risks. Too many artists are scared to send music around, and even more fearful of signing exclusive single deals with publishing libraries. But you have to give to get. We look at everything as stepping stones towards greatness. Sometimes its okay to compromise certain things in order to align yourself with the right outlets. After all, we can always make more songs.
I'm a really big fan of your new single 'Time' with Pleasant Russell; how did this feature and song come about? 1WayTKT: We have actually been working with Pleasant for years. He is a local songwriter/artist here in New York. We knew what a powerhouse he was, so it was only a matter of time, no pun intended, until we featured him on the project. Creatively, the process occurred through a method we previously outlined, with a very simple skeleton beat. After we recorded the vocals, we built several new beats, almost entirely from scratch. By the time we were done with it, all we kept from the skeleton was the key, tempo, and chord progression.
What next for 1WayTKT in 2016? 1WayTKT: We are starting the year with a big New Years Eve show at Santos Party Haus in NYC. We have many more shows in the works, but its too early to broadcast them. Release-wise, have quite a bit of finished material on deck, and even more in the pipelines, so we going to just keep cranking out content. We are really just getting started. Even though the project is a few years old, we only recently established our sound. Having a consistent sonic identity adds momentum to the creative process. So now its all about pouring gasoline on the fire. Its going to be an exciting year.