SBS: Stitch By Stitch blogspot welcomes hip-hop producer Ray West from the Bronx, NYC. What should people know about Ray West?
Ray West: I was born in the Bronx in the late 70s. I always loved music and grew up watching my mother play the piano while my grandfather would sing by her side. Music was always in my family. As hip hop grew I was surrounded by it, inspired by 2 DJs that lived on my block. They were older then me but embraced me and gave me some old turntables and a mixer. I was about 12 years old. In high school all I did was make mix tapes and practice. Spending most of my time in my basement, spent every dollar I could get on records. I was most influenced by Kid Capri and Lord Finesse mixtapes back then. They both had thier voice with the echo banging out. When I would hear that sound pumping out of some older Kats car it was crazy! Some time in the early 90s I got a 8 second Gemini sampler and started looping old records mixed with drums on 4 track tape. That's how I started producing. I eventually got an MPC and stared making my own music.
SBS: Probably most of the SBS readers may know you from the latest 7" releases on Red Apple 45. Give us an introduction to the label please!
Ray West: Myself, AG and Abdul Jabar started red apples 45 out of the desire to put out records without any interference. We had a vision and wanted to preserve our culture.
SBS: Let me list the current discography of Red Apple 45.
RA45-002 - Ray West & AG - Pianos In The Projects - 7" - 2011
RA45-003 - Ray West & AG - The Pianos Companions EP - 7" - 2011
RA45-004 - Party Arty - Pianos In The Projects - 7" - 2011
RA45-005 - Kool Keith / Ultramagnetic MC's - You'll See - 7" - 2012
The record collector in me misses the cat-no. RA45-001. Does it exist and what's it all about?
Ray West: RA45-001 is a full length LP titled "Everything's Berri" by AG. It was released threw us and FatBeats in 2010.
SBS: According to your origin you feature some dope MCees from the Bronx. Please tell us about the connection to A.G. (DITC)!
Ray West: AG is my partner in red apples 45 and a mentor . I met AG threw a mutual friend and coproducer. Me and AG had chemistry in the studio and he had faith in my sound. Together we developed into something I couldn't imagine. Growing up in the BX I was always a DITC and AG fan so it has been a really amazing ride. We make music for ourselves and share what we want with the world.
SBS: Would you also like to tell us about the work with Party Arty who sadly passed away end of 2008 and left behind a shattered hip-hop community?
Ray West: AG introduced me to Party Arty. He was an amazing musican to work with. We instantly connected and started doing songs on our own. I cherish all the songs I have with him and all the time I had before he physically left us. But spiritually he is here! In the studio I feel his energy and the faith he had in me. R.I.P 80!
SBS: R.I.P. 80! What can we expect from you and the label in 2012 and even beyond? Any further collabos with D.I.T.C. in the making?
Ray West: In April we have a project with Ascetic Records coming out called LUVNY. It's a super group type project with AG, Roc Marciano, Kurious / Bamboo Bros, Kool Keith and OC. We have a LP with OC called "Rays Cafe". Also myself, AG and John Robinson have been recording an LP. Just putting finishing touches on it.
SBS: Who or what inspires you, your music and what machinery are you working with?
Ray West: Dilla has always been a great inspiration. Also Tarach, Madlib, Showbiz and DJ Premier. As far as the gear, I use an MPC2000, 1000, and the 60. I use a lot of analog gear, (synth, moog , drum machines). I also do a lot of live percussion and have a full drum set in the lab. I am always combing different gear to stay inspired. But the most important element is the records. Diggin for vinyl is how I always start.
SBS: WORD !!! Thank you very much for taking the time. I hope to see you again on the blog and please keep us updated on your activities.
Ray West: Thanks for taking the time for me and helping keep our culture pure. Much love and blessing! Ray West, www.redapples45.com