Major thanks to Denver based rapper and producer KataraK who connected with DCWS for an exclusive interview to discuss his newly released debut album “Arrival”. From start to finish, “Arrival” is a very DOPE project, so it was only right that we talk with KataraK about his creative process while developing it, as well as find out how it is different than his prior EPs and mixtapes, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with the LikeWyse Productions LLC representative, be sure to connect with KataraK on his social media, and stream the “Arrival” album on Spotify!
Congratulations on the release of your debut album "Arrival"; it's a very dope project. From start to finish, how long did "Arrival" take to complete?
Thank you so much; I appreciate you guys. I’ve been super pumped to release this joint for a while now. “Arrival” took a little under a year to make from start to finish. We took the creation of this project in stages this time around. I took about a month or two to produce all the instrumentals while getting some song and skit ideas down on paper, and another couple months to record everything into the DAW.
The mixing and mastering process was pretty quick though. Once my boy Chris Ellis over at LikeWyse Productions LLC got the sessions, he worked his magic and we were able to meet all the deadlines.
Tell us about your creative process when it came to the development of the beats and the songs that are on the album.
When it comes to cookin’ up beats I rarely have a set direction until mid production. Usually I come across a sample that catches my ear, or I mess around with instruments until I find something I can work with. My whole production process basically consists of chain-smoking herb and finding the flow. It usually isn’t until I make something that “speaks to me” that the writing process even begins. At that point, it’s all about what come out naturally.
I usually start by freestyling a cadence to follow, then it’s all about filling in the spaces, kind of like a word puzzle. What goes in my songs really all depends on the vibe of the instrumental, what’s going on in my life, or how I’m feeling that day.
Were there any songs that were recorded and did not make the final album cut? If so, why did they not and do you have any plans to release them at some point?
Actually yes. There were a few records that didn’t make the final cut for a variety of reasons. For one, I didn’t want too long of a track list on this project. Originally I was only going to have a 10 track album, but I ended up grinding out a lot of songs during the creation process, so I pushed the track count to 15 and picked the songs I felt suited the project the best.
As for the songs still in the vault, I haven’t decided if I want to release them yet. However, I usually have a hard time holding onto finished songs because I always want to share them as soon as possible, so I wouldn’t doubt the release of these tracks.
What software/hardware to you use to make beats? Do you sell any of them or keep them all for yourself?
For instrumentals, I use Logic Pro X, though I usually mix whole songs in Pro Tools. Most of the sounds and sonics are performed live through my Akai MPK Mini, or my old Casio.
I recently graduated with my BA in Audio Engineering so unlike before, I’m able play and manipulate on the spot. This helps a lot with the translation from brain to DAW. A lot of my beats are actually available on Airbit.com under KataraK, though most usually contact me directly for custom instrumentals. I try to update the online catalogue as much as possible but I produce so frequently it’s hard to keep up sometimes.
How would you say this debut album is different than your prior mixtapes and EPs, "Pursuit of Happiness", "Barz Life", and "Valleys 2 Peaks", from a conceptual and thematic standpoint?
This new project definitely gives more of an incite on my personal life for sure. Most of my older releases were aimed more toward the party demographic. As a young artist I tried to conform to what I thought everybody wanted to hear. This time, I gave them what they needed to. I’ve found that much like originality and initial appeal, authenticity is key to creating art that moves people, and I wouldn’t want to make anything less than that.
With the inclusion of skits and live show audio clips (Something that’s new to my projects) I was able to create a more in depth look at the ups and downs of my life as an up-and-coming artist; giving listeners more reference for lyrics found in the album.