Saturday, January 10, 2009

HeadQcourterz Studios

Or shall I say D&D Studios? DJ Premier started producing at D&D from the beginning of his carreer, but D&D was also the home of Main Source, Afu-Ra, Da Beatminerz, QNC, ... It was founded in 1984 by Douglas Grama and David Lotwin and is located in Manhatten, NY (320 west 37th Street). Most of you guys are already familiar with D&D Studios, so I will close it with some clips straight from D&D:

But in 2003 D&D closed and nobody was prepared to take it over except DJ Premier & Charles Roane, I remember him saying it was a risky choice because there was a lot of money involved. But he followed his heart and bought it, I also remember he held in 2003 a big sale because it needed renovation for HeadQcourterz Studios. He renamed the studio to a fallen friend of him, sad story. HeadQcourterz was a great person, I got a message from Hashim from Rise & Shine about HeadQcourterz:
I believe he started as the head of the street team for Payday records when Group Home was on the label. I didn't know him during that time, but his presence was seen all through out the tri-state. There were Group Home stickers everywhere thanks to HQ and his thorough street team. I didn't meet HQ until he was head of the street team at Rawkus. He took a liking to my former group often citing us as one of the few "real" artist at the label, letting us know that we were on course to great things. He was also very influential in helping us secure the track from Preemo. I would see Preemo in the city and bug him to do a track for YEARS. Thanks to our buzz with Rawkus, HQ and a manager who believed in us we were able to secure the track with one of my favorite producers. The recording session was in D&D and HQ was there adding his always funny and witty comments while we smoked the finest green while working with one of the finest! Headqcourtez was unfortunately found murdered in cold blood one night in the Bronx a few years ago. He will be missed!, but thanks to Preem he will be remembered! Headqcourtez was an awesome guy. Very loyal and dedicated to promoting the artist he respected. The murder is till unsolved.
If you see HeadQcourterz studios you see a very beautiful looking and modern studio, a dream for every producers. But also Premo had to start with something, this is his history:

Mid 80's
Crew: MCs in Control, Texas
Equipment: Yamaha DX7 or RX7

Late 80's
Crew: Inner Circle Posse, Texas
Equipment: Unkown, same?

Crew: Gang Starr, NY
Equipment: Emu SP-12, but one year later the famous MPC.
On the first album, I didn't really do total production. All the samples were mine, but the programming was me and my engineer Shlomo because I didn't really know how to do a record. I knew how to do demos on a 4-track: Let the beat run, lay the next track, let the beat run, then do scratches on it. Then, I started to understand the structure of making a record and took it to the next level.
Crew: Year Round Records, NY
Equipment: HeadQcourterz Studios

Recording hardware, DAWs:

Apple Mac G4 computer
Digidesign Pro Tools|HD system, 96 I/O, Control|24 control surface
HHB CD recorder
Panasonic SV3800 DAT Recorder

Samplers, drum machines:
Akai MPC60 sampling/sequencing drum machine, S950 sampler

Software, plug-ins:
Focusrite Red 2-, 4-, 6-band EQ plug-ins
Waves Renaissance plug-in

It brings you back to the old EQs from back in the day, where it's that old more thick, straight-to-tape sound rather than that digital, thin sound. Renaissance Vox always just really crispens up the vocals where everything blends so well.

Turntables, mixers:
Technics SL-1210MK2 turntables

Technics 1200SHEX Championship Mixer

Numark DXMPro mixer

Instruments, sound modules, controllers:
E-mu Mo'Phatt, Proteus 2 modules
Korg Triton keyboard

The sounds that I do use are the ones Pharrell and them don't.
M-Audio Oxygen8 MIDI keyboard controller

Preamps, compressors, EQs:
DigiTech VTP1 preamp/EQ
dbx 166 dual compressor/limiter/gate

UREI 813Cs

I gotta have those. I can track anywhere — in the bathroom, on the street — but speakers have everything to do with mixing, because you tune your mix through the speakers.
Yamaha NS10s
A word from Charles Roane:
Most sessions, Primo will be on his own to create the track. He may call me in for a time stretch or some keys. Then, for mixdown, it's 50/50 with Premier using his HD system and I'm on his Mixplus system. At the beginning of a mix, I like to start small. Get your kick, snares and vocal level on a small monitor, like an Auratone, at low volume first. If the beats are from a keyboard or drum machine, I like the Focusrite compressor plug-in.
Source: Remix Magazine

Also peep this for info about this topic!