In high school, DJ Ryu, 24, and Pyro, 25, honed in on making it as producers individually before coming together to form The Sound of Magnificently Orchestrated Beats in 2007. The Houston natives, who play piano, keyboard, guitar and accordion, used The Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle as a steppingstone, winning the event as they triumphed over fellow producers S1, Mr. Inkredible, Roc Nation’s Lab Ox and others. Living by their mantra “Sound Mind, Sound Body, Sound M.O.B.,” Ryu and Pyro went on to produce a bonus cut for Bun B’s 2010 Trill O.G. LP as well as tracks for Mya, Paul Wall and more before crafting their biggest record to date, Kirko Bangz’s “Drank In My Cup.” M.O.B. took some time off from helping construct Kirko’s debut album t to talk to XXLMag.com about their inspirations, “Drank In My Cup,” working together as a duo and more. —Christopher Minaya (@CM_3)
XXLMag.com: When you’re making beats, who does what? Do y’all split it up a certain way?
Pyro: It pretty much goes how the work goes. We both capable of doing pretty much everything, so it just how it is flowing at the time; we just go with it.
How would you differentiate between each other’s sounds?
Pyro: Ryu is more of a melody-chord kind of guy, naturally. When I met him, he was already an advanced piano player, and when I started off, I started off on Fruity Loops, like kicks and drums, so I always paid more attention to the drums. So, everything that he showed me [about] piano kind of rubbed off on me. I’m second nature to all that. And, like, vice versa with me, I’m more drums and snares and percussion and stuff like that.
DJ Ryu: When I started off, I basically wanted to learn how to play the piano and try to hone my skills on the piano side and drums kind of fell second nature, but when I linked up with Pyro, he really showed me a lot on the drum side as well, as much as I showed him on the piano side, so we both kind of helped each other out in that sense.
Ryu, is DJing what led you to producing?
DR: Yeah, that’s exactly what happened. As a kid, my big brother saw I had a passion for music, and he wanted to keep me busy, so he bought me some turntables when I was 15, and ever since then, I just began practicing my skills as a DJ. And every time I listened to the beat on tracks, I just wanted to figure out how they would make ‘em, until I just started doing my research on YouTube and research big producers like Scott Storch, Timbaland, and just decided to try it out myself ’cause I already came from a musical background.
What about you, Pyro? How did you get into producing?
Pyro: I just always been a music lover my whole life. When I was in middle school, MTV came out with a game called Music Generator for the first Playstation, and I rented that from Blockbuster. [It] allowed you to make your own beats; it was like a simpler version of Fruity Loops. They had loops and kicks and stuff for you already in the game, so you just need to remake a beat that was already out or you can try to come up with something yourself, so [that] really what gave me my first taste into production and from there, I was hooked.
So, you’re gonna attribute your inspiration to Playstation?
Pyro: Yep [Laughs]. Always been a diehard video gamer.
Might get a sponsorship after this interview.
Pyro: [Laughs] I’m all for it.
Talk to be about The Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle. How was it like competing in that?
DR: Me and Pyro actually joined Red Bull Big Tune in 2007, separately; we was our own producers back then. And, I remember Pyro would tell me about this competition, and he was like, “Man, you should join it.” He already had signed up for it, and we both got picked to do the Houston battle. So when we did it, we both made it to the semifinals, but we both got knocked out. So the next year, we decided to link up since we [were] the youngest competitors. And when we linked up, we was like, ‘Man, we got to win this one the next year.’ So the next year, we came back as Sound M.O.B., and that whole summer we just stayed in the studio working till like seven in the morning, working on beats; we were determined to win the competition, and 2008, we finally won that competition. It just showed us that our hard work had paid off and people were really messing with our music; it was just confirmation that we had something and we should stick to it.
Is there anybody you’ve connected with musically the most?
DR: I would say Kirko is the one we connect with best musically. I guess we both kind of—kind of created our sound together, really coming up.
So, how did “Drank In My Cup” come about?
DR: We was in the studio working that whole week trying to come up with a second single for Kirko; he was really under pressure for another single, and so I remembered this beat that I had started on a couple of weeks before that, and I had brought it to Pyro’s studio. Me and Kirko and Pyro were in the studio working on beats just to come with another song. I remember telling Pyro ‘I sent over this beat,’ and I was actually going to forget about that beat but remembered to bring it up, so we pulled it up, and it was like the base of “Drank In My Cup.” It was like the chords and the beginning drum stages on there; from there, we just started working on the track. Kirko was feeling it; he came up with the hook right away. Pyro then added his thing to it.
Pyro: Yeah, after Kirko pretty much came up with the hook, I started tweaking the drums a bit. I wanted it to have a sexy feel to it but still have a swag to it. Kirko wrote his verses. It’s like as soon as [Ryu] played it, a spark just lit Kirko up. I can tell what rings his bell, so I knew that one done did it for him. From there, it was pretty much just finding each niche of the song, seeing what it needed at that point, and that’s pretty much what we did. So, Kirko took it to the label. The next day, they was already on it. That was kind of crazy, the whole process and whatever. They played it on 97.9, here in Houston, and people [were] just calling in like crazy. Like, they had to bring it back like three or four songs. Like, right off the rip, so I mean that was crazy.
How would you describe it as far as a genre? Which one would it fall under?
DR: Now, I can’t really say it has a certain genre, but when we made it, we certainly had intentions of it being a rap song, but now that it’s crossed over to top 40 and mainstream radio, you really can’t put it in a genre.
Pyro: I definitely agree. I would just categorize it as a hit song.