My name is Alpha Centori, i’m a producer and sound designer and i’m from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2.Now Alpha Centori, that is a dope name what is the science behind it and how did it come about?
In terms of cosmology, Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to the Solar System. And it has 3 suns. In my music i always like to put that extra space, exotic, strange touch to my beats. I like melodies with weird chord progressions. I also come from Montreal, Canada which in terms of hip hop is a bit of an outsider. We never really made it internationally and montreal is not really known to the public. So all that made me think like i’m an outsider, i’m super underground. So in my mind, i see myself as coming from another star system. Another place with absolutely obscure samples that no one can imagine.
3.What inspired you to become a Producer/Sound Designer?
As a young kid i always was fascinated by the clicks and pops of vinyl sound. And when i heard those clicks and pops in hip hop beats, i immediately was intrigued at how the beats where made. I knew it had something to do with vinyl but didn’t know how it worked. So from there it sparked my curiosity and i made my research and when i found out they made those beats with samplers and turntables, that’s the moment i knew i wanted to make beats.
4.How long have you been a producer/sound designer?
I had my first sampler at age 13 in 1987. It was a Casio SK1 that my grand mother gave me as a gift. But i would say i started getting serious in 1998. Sound designer i began in 2007 with my partner at the time we opened a sound library drum company called Drumlabz which made 3 releases. You can cop them at boombaplabs.com
5.What is you earliest recollection of music in general?
When i was very young, almost a baby i remember slightly just flashes of my father playing so sad the song by Gladys Knight and Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore almost each night so i could fall asleep. They were my lullabies. That’s the farthest i can go back.
6.When did you fall in love with hip hop aka your brown sugar moment?
My pops one day, came back home with a Aiwa Radio and 1 cassette. The tape was a EP from Run DMC called Papa Crazy. And the song that spark it all was Run’s House. But on that EP they only had the instrumental version. So i kept listening to Run’s House with the funky drummer sample.....that was it ! I was born !
7. What is your stance on vinyl crate digging vs e-digging?
As long as the sample is dope, to me it don’t matter where it came from. I know producers that sample movies soundtracks from old VHS tapes and TV dialogues, best example is Wu-Tang. A few years ago i was only about vinyl. But i forced myself to open my mind and i did a good thing.
8.What is your stance on analog equipment vs digital software for music production?
I will always be a fan of the analog warm textures, harmonic distortion and all that. In my book it’s the best. But time made me realize i couldn’t wait to buy all the analog gear i want because i would be 80 years old making my first album. The cost of the equipment is too high. So i opted for digital. And technology evolved to a point were digital can replicate analog very well. I also learned to take advantage of analog tape the cheapest way by just record my drums on a standard cassette and sample them back to have that tape compression and texture. But at the end of the day, i think the most important is that you have the tools to express yourself.
9.Who are some of you influences from when you first started producing until now and how have they influenced you?
I was influenced by a lot but i would say Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Public Enemy, Diamond D, RZA influenced me the most. The way the Shocklee brothers accorded much importance to details to me that was a major influence. The « wall of noise » concept also was very decisive. And then came the crate diggin' aspect pushed by Diamond D. And then RZA came with all that and added movie samples.....wow !!! That was it !
10.I am a producer as well but what does your lab set up consists of without giving out any sector 7 secrets?
I use to believe that a big arsenal would make me better. But with time i realized that the contrary was much better for me. I use only Maschine Studio with the Roland SP-404 SX, some samples and plug-ins and that’s it.
11. What is your creative process as a producer and sound designer?
I first listen to a lot of music. Open my maschine and i try to stop thinking and just operate. Just do ! Anything even if wack for the moment but do, do , do..... and after maybe a few minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes a day or two, when i feel music touched my emotion that’s when i become good. I express those emotions. I Translate them into beats. It’s like drawing. First you warm up by doing simple circles and lines. Then all of a sudden a vision comes and there goes the creative flow.
12.What inspires you to create music and to sound design?
I let my emotions guide me a lot. I’m very inspired by new technologies and the way internet let’s you express yourself. I also watch lots of YouTube videos for inspiration. Movies, life events and lots of music listening. For sound design i basically inspire myself from other producers and how their music sounds.
13.If you could be in the studio with any artist or producer to create an album who would be your top 5 choices and why?
GZA, J Dilla, Madlib, Guru, Busta Rhymes
14.How do you define your signature sound as a producer and sound designer?
Melodic, underground, fly, bouncy.
15. What makes your brand stand out from everyone elses?
The sample choice i use. I try to chose strange obscure melodies. Stuff that makes you go deep inside your mind. And the drum patterns bouciness.
16. Do You represent any companies or labels if so who are they and how long have you been affiliated with them?
No, i’m totally independent.
17. What is the local music scene like where you live?
I live in the french canadian part of Canada. The province of Quebec. So french dominates but there is a lot of american influence and lots of english people also. If your a rapper it’s not easy to find your identity. Radio plays 90% french music. Hip hop in Montreal is mostly french but there’s also an english more underground scene. I dropped the mic long ago and opted for music only. The universal language.
18. Does the local scene affect how and what you create?
Oh yes indeed. Artist here have a choice to make....english or french or both. Then you create. And i think it’s a bit sad that you have to make that choice. For
19. Do you have any jewels for aspiring producers and sound designers?
Never give up and study music in your own way.
20. What are some of your current projects and how can we find them?
I’m currently working on promoting my sound library website Boom Bap Labs where you can reach at www.boombaplabs.com and i’m working on my third album titled : The New Diagonal. Of course always digging in the crates. It’s a daily opeartion.
21. What are some of your future projects and which ones do you look forward most?
I would really like my sound library company to grow, and i have lots of music that i want to make. So expect lots of more albums by Alpha Centori. My goal is to make as much quality albums possible in the lifetime i have. Sampling has such infinite possibilities. I want to do this for the rest of my life.
22. How can we stay connected with you?
You can find me on Facebook as Alpha Centori. This is were you’ll get the most recent news about me and my projects. I’m also on Bandcamp, Soundcloud and i’m working on opening a YouTube channel.
23,Do you have any special shout outs or special thank?
Special shout outs to my bro Pascal, my best friend Andréanne, Nate OG Detroit Oglesby, my main man Cashius Rockett, Remy Cosmo, Miki Funk, David Poe, Merc’em, Chad Nissen, Steve, Carl and Raycord, LMN8, Browny Beats and To Tozz.
24,Any final thoughts for the readers?
Do what you like and be passionate about it. Never give up ! Be willing to make some sacrifices. Believe in yourself !
25.Anything we didnt cover that you would like to mention?
Thanks to Nate OG for this amazing opportunity and for listening to my
Website links :
Boom Bap Labs