Chicago native, instructor and beat-maker, PORE wants you to know that BeatsCostMoney. PORE is the beat-maker’s beat-maker. His workflow is back to basics,  and he doesn’t bother sticking to any one style. Digging for vinyl gems is the cornerstone to his flavor of beat making. Still access live instrumentation has opened his mind to the possibilities of expanding his production repertoire.

Let’s get it in with PORE for the re-entry of “MPC TUTORIALS Producer Interview Series.”

Tell us a bit about who Pore is?

Long story short, I’m from Chicago and I make beats. If you look up Pore in the dictionary one of the definitions is “to read or study with attention or application”, I consider myself of student of beats and music in general more than anything. I ‘pore’ over beats daily. The name originally was spawned because my father was adopted and for some time it was thought to be his birth name. My pops passed away a couple of years ago and soon after we found out that his birth fathers surname was something completely different. That’s kind of dope though, because if I decide to do a project under another alias I have that to go to. Who knows, I might even have other alias’ more well-known than Pore already.

What is your weapon of choice for beat making?

MPC 2000XL

What inspired you to become a producer? 

I used to rap in high school. By the time I was 17, I was doing a lot of basement tapes over other peoples beats with the homies. I grew tired of jacking beats so I started out messing around with acid pro on an old PC. When I was 19, I got into university and my credit went up. One of the first things I did was get a credit card and buy an MPC. Then I got into the radio station of the university and started jacking records. So many come ups! I’d give my pinky toe to have access to all those records knowing what I know now. Anyway, I found that I had a pretty good ear for beats so I decided to give up rap eventually (I had a nasally white boy voice anyway) and focus on beats as my craft.

In the time that you’ve grown as a producer what would you say has been your biggest hurdle?

Probably just keeping my head above water in general. I’m getting better at it now, but it’s a never-ending process. In a perfect world I would be able to just do beats and make a living at it. Now I have learned to juggle a bunch of stuff to make ends meet and still manage to work on music everyday. That is why I started the “Beats Cost Money” campaign. There’s multiple meanings to it, but the point is that as a producer you will spend a lot of time and money on equipment, records, studio time etc with little to no foreseeable return. If your production is quality, you will have rappers left and right expecting you to throw them beats for free. If you do live performances, expect promoters to do everything within their power to pay you as little as possible. From $12 royalty checks from your record label to shameful trips to the pawn shop with your MPC so you can pay rent, things can get very real if you are trying to make a living doing beat production. It’s almost as important to know how to deal with people as it is to be skillful in the craft because people can and will take advantage of you if given the opportunity. So the BC$ thing isn’t about being arrogant, it’s about recognizing your value as a producer in an abundantly overcrowded market and figuring out new up to date ways to make a living making beats.

How did you hook up with MPC tutorials? 

I always keep an eye out for any opportunities where I can use my skill base and further my apprenticeship. I caught wind of the MPC tutorials site through a friend, and that same day I made a quick tutorial video on drum programming and sent it over. When you do something like making beats for a long time, the process becomes internalized. Doing these tutorials has shown me that I know I lot more about the process then I even realized. More so, it’s been a great chance for me to teach and learn more about the craft at the same time. I’m constantly trying to study all aspects of making beats, so doing the tutorials has helped as a huge refresher course and keeps it challenging for me. Plus, I think it’s really dope to know that I helped someone out there get acclimated in the field.

What is your workflow like when making beats?

My workflow is actually pretty basic. I dig through records or music of any format till I find something I like. I’ll usually listen to it a few times over and come up with some ideas for how to flip it…. sample, chop, add drums, bass, keys or whatever else is needed. Experiment till it sounds right and then record it. If I don’t like where its going, I’ll turn off the MPC and start from scratch. Sometimes the homies will bug out like “really? you just turned that shit off? it was crazy!”, but I tend to rely on my intuition of what’s dope and what isn’t. I’d rather make 1 really dope beat, than have 5 mediocre ones.

Are you more of a sample guy or a composition (sample free) guy?

Samples. I’m a beat digger. However, I just recently moved in with a few other musicians, so I now have access to a bunch of instruments previously unavailable to me. At any given time I can go grab a moog synth, fender rhodes, wurlitzer, guitars, drums etc. So I’ve definitely been working on interpolating that more into my beats as of late. I doubt I will ever stop sampling, but there’s a definite possibility that I’ll be making some non sample based projects in the near future. You kind of have to if you want to make any money licensing beats.

Your bio says “Never one to stay stuck in a box, Pores beat catalog consists of a vast array of styles and experiments in hip hop and broken beat music.” What is your favorite style of beats to make?

Honestly, I can’t say that I have a favorite style anymore. I kind of look at it the way Bruce Lee looked at martial arts. He didn’t attach himself to any style or system. He didn’t just practice Chinese kung fu, he studied muay thai, jujitsu, fencing, western boxing, wrestling etc. and then formulated his own fighting technique based on what he had learned. It was constantly evolving. I try to do the same thing with beats. I never want to be caught out there “fighting the last war”, that is doing what worked for me in the past. There are lots of producers who make dope trap beats but can’t do a soulful chop to save their life. There’s also a lot of producers who can do a glitch filled flying lotus style beat really well, but lack the basic rhythm to do a classic head nodder, or a funky west coast party jam. Really, I don’t over think it. I just make the shit I’m feeling that day. I like to keep it challenging for myself and not worry about what the next mans doing.

Say I’m a young aspiring producer with little to no loot. How would you advise me in developing my skill? 

Bootleg some software, dig through music on YouTube or MP3s if you have to. Study and read as much as you can about beat production. Then apply it. When your money gets right then invest in some outboard gear and records (they just sound better). Hip Hop music has always been about making the most out of what you have at your disposal. Take advantage of the digital age and do whatever it takes to become acclimated. A lot of experts have a theory that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. So be prepared to put in a lot of work. If you are in it for monetary rewards or props, you probably should do something else. Most importantly, learn the business end of things and stay current with what’s going on.. that’s something I’ve learned the hard way.

As a live musician how does your home studio differ from your live set up?

Well, it’s basically the same thing. Just an MPC with some samples chopped up. I do live performances with my brother in beats Max who is another 2000xl user. We make it a point to play everything live off the pads, no sequences or pre-made stuff. I never saw the point in doing a beat set and not actually playing the beats live.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to make a shit load of money, travel the world playing my MPC, reppin’ Chicago, and seducing beautiful women that I meet along the way. When my pops passed away, it really hit me, life is fucking short. If you don’t leave your mark, you get forgotten and that’s it. I’m trying to leave that mark with dope ass beats.

Max & Pore – “Beats Cost Money” a collaborative beat tape coming summer 2013


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