Dallas based music producer, ThaKracken, may have a problem finding space for all the industry awards he has accumulated. His widely acclaimed productions have graced the albums of a star-studded cast that includes Jermaine Dupri, Jagged Edge, Lecrae, Lloyd, Pleasure P, Cee Lo Green, Cherish, Bun B, KeKe Palmer and many more.
He has three Grammy nominations with Karina Pasian, Bow Wow/Omarion and Lacrae. The RIAA certified Gold single for Jagged Edge “Good Luck Charm” was nominated for an American Music award for best R&B Favorite R&B/Soul Band, Duo or Group. ThaKracken made Hip Hop History with Reach Records’ artist Lecrae, who released his Grammy nominated album “Rehab.” The album sold over 25,000 in the first week and was #17 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Christian and Gospel Charts, making Billboard history for a Faith Based Christian Hip Hop artist.
His chameleon production style has shown up on many other hit songs like Cherish’s 2006 hit song, Do It To It, which received an ASCAP Pop Music Award in April 2007 for most played song. And in 2012, he contributed his production talents to Lecrae’s Grammy award winning album “Gravity,” which charted at #1 on the BillBoard Hip Hop Chart. Since then, ThaKracken has worked with every artist signed to Lecrae’s Reach Records label. He has placed more than 25 songs with major TV shows and films and as a collective work, has sold well over 1 Million albums, garnering 3 Stella Awards, and 1 Dove Award.
ThaKracken is a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, who can truly do it all in the studio. It’s not that he was born this way. He simply believed that a music producer was supposed to play all the instruments so he taught himself to do so.
How did you become a music producer?
I became a music producer out of curiosity. I would listen to music and hear all those different parts and instruments and thought like, Oh I'll play a few of those. Why not try that one. So I thought that's what music producing was at the time, you know. So that's what got me going. And I was hooked ever since.
So Kracken, how is the recording studio like a musical instrument for you?
"I mean. It's my NASA station. It’s where I do everything. It’s life for me. And within that station you got all the important tools to create whatever you have inside your mind at the moment."
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered getting vocals back from other artists?
Usually, the engineer and I will spend time trying to take out all the extra background noise. Whether it be from room noise, maybe the room wasn't treated enough. To where they sound like they're in the bathroom. Put it this way, it's easier to add reverb than take it away. That’s just some of the pitfalls of a home music studio. They’re often missing that studio acoustic treatment or a proper vocal booth.
How has the Kaotica Eyeball helped you with your workflow?
"Well I'm all about the mobile. So for me it's like having that portable sound booth in your back pocket. I can run around town and take it away with me on flights to whatever city I'm going to be in, including hotels."
And I'm good. So the Kaotica Eyeball has really made it easy for me to just record anywhere and at any time that I want. (See how Eric Bellinger uses the Eyeball to record anywhere). It's the perfect mobile vocal booth.
How important are the vocals to the making of a hit song?
Well, one of the things I think make a hit song is vocal presence how it feels because how it feels will dictate how I may make the audience feel. So to make that feel right you've got to capture it right. So that's why I think Kaotica is great for that because you can capture that great sound that may turn into a hit record. It's like the perfect tool for your portable recording studio.
What advice would you give to other up and coming producers?
Invest in yourself. Invest in your craft and learn the business.