Jim Bond has been in the Hip Hop production business for years. Over those years, Jim has worked with a bunch of artists like Jim Jones, Joel Ortiz, Lloyd Banks, Ghostface Killah, Royce Da 5’9″ and many more. In addition to music production, he also runs the popular producer websites beabetterproducer.com & saturdaymorningsamples.com. As he continues to diversify his brands, Jim also recently became the new owner and creative director of the popular drum sound website kicksandsnares.com.
We caught up with Jim to discuss music production, coming up in the music industry and the drum sound business.
What was your inspiration to begin producing?
Back in High School, before I even thought about making beats, I was pretty much addicted to listening to Hip Hop instrumentals. I used to have 4 or 5 cassette tapes of just instrumentals. It was weird, I used to really analyze them and what was going on in them even though I didn’t even know how to make beats.
I graduated High School, dropped out of college after a year and had a lot of time on my hands. Around the time Ghostface’s Supreme Clientel was leaking onto radio & internet, those beats made me figure out how to make beats on my own.
What advice would you give to up and coming producers regarding landing placements with artists the way you’ve done with Jim Jones, Lloyd Banks, Ghostface Killah and Joell Ortiz?
There is a TON of advice I could give… But I think the number one thing is for producers to realize that successful people in the music biz and pretty much every other business WORK HARD. The odds of placing a track with a rapper is already extremely low. If you aren’t working your ass off, whether it’s working on your music, mixes, networking, promoting your music PROPERLY, you aren’t going to be successful.
So how long has KicksandSnares been around?
We’ve been around since 2004,
How did you acquire ownership?
The previous owner actually sent an April fools email out saying that he was getting ready to close the site down. I didn’t read it till the next day & didn’t realize it was an April fools joke. So I hit him back and said “Let me make you an offer to buy it!”. He was actually open to the offer anyway & we went through with it.
Was it easier to acquire a site than to start something new for the same purpose of selling samples?
Easier, absolutely easier. It cost me a good amount of money though. It was an investment. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I just started selling drums off the strength of my site beabetterproducer.com, which already had a strong following. But buying Kicksandsnares allowed me to own an established brand with an existing customer base. I definitely made the right move.
I understand that you’ve also been blogging for 5 years at beabetterproducer.com, why the transition from producer to blogger?
I kinda picked it up out of necessity. Back when I used to work for Dynamic Producer, I would get asked a lot of the same questions over and over. I always liked helping producers out with advice or whatever. So I decided to simplify things and start discussing the answers to these questions on my site. Since then, it’s expanded to that & just generally stuff I would of liked to have access to coming up as a producer.
What are your weapons of choice when it comes to production?
As much as I hate the program sometimes, I make my beats in FL Studio. That is the program that I started with & no other program has given me enough reason to leave it. Along with that I have almost 2 terabytes of VST samplers & sample libraries. I go with EastWest for all my orchestra stuff, Omnisphere is my favorite synth vst, Native Instruments & Imperfect Samples for my Keys, BFD & Addictive for live drums. I also have a lot of private stock samples & multitracks which I acquired over the years, which could get me in trouble if I talked about them!
On the hardware side, I use a Fantom g6, VirusTI Snow, Akai S950, MicroKorg, MPD32 & Yamaha P155 for midi. For non synth bass, I use a P-Bass w/ La Bella Flats & J-Bass with Rotosound rounds. I just bought an ASR-10 too but mainly for sound design purposes. I have a decent vinyl collection & probably around 1500 CD’s bought for samples. My soul CD compilation collection is crazy, don’t sleep.
What is your goal with getting into the drum samples business?
I like to keep it very real… so I got into the business to make some extra money haha. BUT, I do have to say that the state of this business has been ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL and needs to be changed. A lot of the top companies have been putting out and making a lot of money with products that are horrible. It’s so bad, that it’s normal for someone to spend money on a kit, knowing full well they are going to be deleting a bunch of sounds. That was the standard and that’s unacceptable. I want to bring a level of consistent quality that hasn’t been around.
I’d like to put a hurting on these companies selling bulls#it drums & dreams. There are a few of these top companies that are run by people who don’t even make music in the genres they are selling to, or don’t make music at all. They are the reason why the business has gotten so bad & they are gonna pay for it.
So what makes your drums at kicksandsnare.com unique and special?
The one thing that makes KicksAndSnares unique, first and foremost is my ears. Nobody else has my ears & my standard of quality. A lot of the kits out there, even coming from producers who can make good beats, are still underwhelming because of the lack of quality control. Even the best producers hand in bulls#it sometimes. Someone needs to be there to say “No, we need something better” sometimes. I’m that someone & have been that someone since day one.
There is no piece of gear, no matter how expensive or rare that will automatically create great drum sounds. No tape machine, sampler or mixing console is going to automatically make a drum sound sound great. I can’t stand when gear is the selling point of drum sounds. It’s the talent & ears of the people creating the music which makes great music. Starting with myself KicksAndSnares is going to be quality controlled by people with great ears using the right equipment and know how.
I think there are also a lot of aspects to drum sounds which are overlooked by almost everyone else in the industry. We focus on the small details, which when added together add a lot of quality and value to our products.
I listened to the demos and the drums sound good. There are some all star producers listed. How did these collaborative demo joints come about?
There aren’t really any great story behind those collabs. The process was a lot of fun though. My entire life I’ve been shopping my own music to other people, but this time I was seeking out producers for beats. I’m definitely a fan of all of those guys and was glad to get them on board & have beats they made which are now MINE.
whats next for Jim Bond and his many ventures?
I’m actually in the process of selling the business that I work at for my day job. This is going to free me up to do what I want full time for the first time ever. So things are going to get really interesting. Kicksandsnares is definitely my top priority. I’m going to continue my work on beabetterproducer.com & saturdaymorningsamples.com. I have a new project in the works that people are going to love, I’ll just say it has to do with music eduction. Since I won’t be working 7 days a week anymore, I’ll be able to really get back on my music business grind too. So I’ll definitely have a bunch of new records out in the next year. I’m also looking to buy some more websites, so if you are reading this and have a site you might want to cash out on, let me know!