Meet The Engineer Who Works With Childish Gambino, Kanye West And Tyler, The Creator
Childish Gambino, because the internet
Andrew Dawson: Donald rented out [Chris Bosh’s] mansion out in L.A. I don’t think he’s ever lived here, but it’s a beautiful house out in the Palisades, and Donald set up a studio out there. I came by, and we initially started working on some production stuff. He liked a lot of the sonics I was doing, and while my production didn’t make his album, I pretty much mixed the whole thing. I mixed every single song on that album, which is pretty rare for hip-hop or pop records; usually they have 20 engineers, 10 mixers, a team of producers, and his album was pretty much done by a core crew of maybe 10 people, including all the producers.
I was a fan of his previous work, and watched him grow with each album from his mixtapes, Camp to R O Y A L T Y, and every one got progressively better. I met him one night when he was DJing a fun. Grammy after party, and I was hanging out with fun. because I worked on their record. He was DJing and I met him, talked to him a little bit, and then 6-8 months later I wound up going up to Chris Bosh’s mansion and we ended up just vibin’, makin’ songs and just hanging out together, and it turned into me mixing the whole album.
It’s really kind of a cool creative process—everybody’s there to work, there’s not distractions for the sake of distractions, and it’s really just a creative atmosphere that he created. And then we took the album back to my studio in Hollywood to mix; as awesome as his house was up in the Palisades, it really wasn’t treated well for acoustics, so I had to do it in my studio. So he came through my studio and we finished up mixing there.
Did you see the screenplay he released? I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but to me this is a concept album the likes of which hasn’t been done since Radiohead’s Kid A, to me. He’s created a world around this record, and I feel like that really… To me that’s what I love about music and hip-hop, and my favorite hip-hop records, my favorite music records, are ones that are honest. Be honest. If you’re gonna talk about partying, be honest about partying. If you’re gonna talk about heartbreak, be honest about heartbreak, show the pluses, show the minuses, and I think Donald’s captured that beautifully with this album, he’s super honest about life, his feelings and emotions, and he’s laying it out there for everybody, and I think fans are gonna really connect with that honesty.
Honesty, I feel like, is what will resonate with people and is what people are craving right now. Look at the comparison between Kanye and honesty—his first two records, “I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger…” or, “The strippers, the drug dealers, Jesus walks with them.” It’s a classic present: here’s an issue, here’s both sides, some of it may be an oxymoron, some of it may be nonsensical, but this is the reality of the situation. Classic Kanye lines.