This month we sat down for a chat with up and coming trap producer Soldado.
For our readers who are not familiar with you yet, please can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do musically?
Yea, I’m Soldado. 17 years old, born and raised in the UK. I’ve been producing for just over 2 years and have made songs / work with guys people such as Gucci Mane, iLoveMakonnen, OG Maco etc. Outside of music I’m in my second year of sixth form college.
Cool, so are you studying music / production or are you self taught?
Self taught. Never went to music college, just trial and error to be honest. Not that I’m knocking any institute like that - I just didn’t go through that myself.
Can you tell us a bit about your studio set up?
FL Studio for sure. It looks like a video game when you’re making music on it, all the lights and patterns. The visual side of it makes it that much better for me. Hardware wise I’m on an HP laptop and a pair of Sony overhead headphones. It helps me to keep things portable so I can make music anywhere.
Yea that makes sense.
Being portable helps with the inspiration. Same room you’ll get tired of ideas or start recycling. Being in different places is like adding a different flavour to your music, know what I mean?
It’s unusual to see a UK based producer so active in the US trap scene. Have you always been more drawn towards producing US rap music than the rap subgenres of the UK (grime, road rap etc)?
I would say so. I like some UK artists like Skepta, JME, etc., but I’ve always had US rap as a heavy influence. My dad gave me my first Wu Tang CD and from there it kinda just snowballed, having me check out old school and new school artists. I love both of them but the US has this vibe that I love.
I’ll always love the US scene, because of how it evolves, and the love I’ve been shown from it.
For such a young producer, it’s impressive that you’ve already worked with heavyweight artists such as iLoveMakonnen. Could you tell us a bit about how the collaboration came about?
I remember how Dodging 12 came about exactly. It was like 12AM in the UK and I couldn’t sleep. I got onto my laptop and on Twitter. I saw Makonnen had put up an email saying he needed beats. This was all before Tuesday, before Verification, OVO, all that. I sent him some packs and he followed me back, DM’d me like “send me more”.
We were talking through there casually, and I send the beat for Dodging 12 and he replies back on the email with that beat like “Yessss! Dodging 12!!!!! This is the one!”. The beat was actually originally called that.
From there we released it and it got such great feedback, so we dropped the remix with Yung Gleesh and Fredo Santana on Drink More Water 5. I remember Makonnen telling me he showed Drake the song and that Drake liked it. That was a good day.
Yea, I can imagine that must have been a great feeling.
It was motivational. It just made me want to work harder at getting better with everything I do on my beats. People still tell me they listen to that song to this day. I was talking with an artist the other day and he just found out I producing Dodging 12 and went crazy. It’s cool seeing the song still hold weight, even now.
It’s had a crazy amount of views on YouTube etc now.
It’s all a blessing. I keep it moving though. Gotta look to the next song, the next project etc.
If you experience a creative block in the studio, do you have any particular rituals that get the inspiration flowing again?
For me, I use other media. If you watch a good film, good show or do something like that, you are able to transfer it onto beats. Sample digging is also a good way to get through a block. To be honest, I’d just say things like playing PlayStation, going on Netflix, looking at different things can help.
Yea, I guess it can help to refresh the situation completely.
That’s my ritual anyway. If I can’t make a beat, I’ll relax away from the laptop for a bit - do something else and then go back, open a fresh session and be ready with some new ideas.
What would you give as a one sentence piece of mixdown advice for aspiring producers?
I’d say see each track as unique. Don’t look at numbers and levels like “oh I have to keep it between this number and that number”. Fuck that. Each song is individual - sometimes what works on one track will sound horrible on another. Don’t go about having a one mix fits all approach, take it one at a time and your work will be good.
What were your initial thoughts on Circle²? Are there any certain features you like in particular?
The visual side of things. The GUI, interface, whatever looks crazy. The presets that it comes with are great. The presets that come with it a great - tried a number out straight after I installed it and they were amazing.
I like the simplicity of changing the waveforms in each sound too - the blending between two of them to create a new waveform to drive the sound.
What’s next for you musically? Any releases coming that you can talk about?
I’ve been working. I have an EP coming soon with Larry June called “Route To UK”. That’s all I can really speak on but after a few conversations I’ve had over the phone these past few weeks…. I can’t wait to surprise you guys with the new work.
We’re looking forward to it. And finally, where can we keep up with you online?
My music is always up on Soundcloud. You can nearly always reach me through Twitter or IG. Twitter mainly though.
Thanks a lot for your time Soldado.
Any artists looking to collaborate with Soldado should contact him on Twitter at @SoldadoAudio