Ramahs: What’s happening, Thelonious Martin? Thanks a lot for participating in this interview. I appreciate it a lot due to the fact that you are one of the few people that inspired me to start producing back in 8th grade. Having said that, before I start tossing questions at you, can you please give the viewers a small piece of information about yourself and your occupation?
Thelonious Martin: Well I am Thelonious Martin, a high school senior at Montclair High School, in good ol’ Montclair, NJ. I am a student and music producer.
Ramahs: How old where you when you began to make music and what drove you to start?
Thelonious Martin: I started in middle school. Some of my friends and I started a little rap group, it was my homies Zane, Dallas, and Matt who are actually my brothers to this day. Matt was the one with the equipment so he made the beats; I would always pick his brain about little things just to learn the programs. Then one of my tech teachers in like 7th grade taught me Garage Band. Then I really got into what went into a record, like the sample and what not and just the musical aspect of creation.
Ramahs: Who were some of your biggest influences while you were growing up and why?
Thelonious Martin: Growing up some of my biggest influences were jazz idols like Monk, Miles, and Coltrane, and also N*E*R*D changed my whole idea of what genre is and how to have fun with music. Between the jazz and The Neptunes radio takeover that was my childhood, sprinkle in some Slum Village, Mobb Deep, the Lox, and of course a lot of soul music and you get my influences. My parents and grand parents all had great musical tastes and surrounded me with the same.
Ramahs: What equipment do you use to create your one-of-a-kind beats?
Thelonious Martin: My beats are the product of Logic Pro, my Akai MPD24, and a little bit of magic.
Ramahs: How has your music improved from when you first starting producing to where you are now? And, what would you say that you still need to work on?
Thelonious Martin: I always say people are a work-in-progress. For me, each beat is a progression or improvement from the last and I guess now I’m starting to get really good at it. I’m still refining my sound here and there, improving my drum patterns and so forth. I guess that’s the beauty of only being 18.
Ramahs: You have worked with various artists around the states, how would you say that working with those artists has benefitted your craft?
Thelonious Martin: I believe allowing my sound to not become something that’s just that belongs to one area has really paid off. When you say Thelonious Martin or hear the 1-Up tag on my beats I want you to be able to associate my music with artists from LA, Chicago, New York, etc. It also challenges me to create a sound that can fit different artists from different backgrounds, which actually has become really fun!
Ramahs: To the folks that have downloaded your music, why do you think that they enjoy your tunes and for the folks that have not heard of your music before, why should they check it out?
Thelonious Martin: I believe people know and love my music because it’s new and refreshing and reminds you of the hip hop they speak of in a Golden Era. I really don’t like to categorize my sound but it’s just “feel good” music; steal grandma’s convertible that sits in the garage and blast it type music.
Ramahs: Since we are speaking on the liking of music, which is getting the most play in your iPod at this moment in time?
Thelonious Martin: Well right now since it’s J Dilla month; Donuts, Jay Love Japan, and The Shining have been on repeat. But when I’m listening to rap music; Kendrick Lamar, Moshadee, Vic Mensa, and a bunch of others. I like to listen to up and coming artists so I can get a feel of the sound of the future almost and see what artists I can see over a Thelonious beat.
Ramahs: How has your fan base enlarged since you first began to create music?
Thelonious Martin: I get a lot of support from my New Jersey peoples, and, on top of that, my people back in Chicago. Some of the older heads with some cred mess with my music which really helps. Just word of mouth really and a bunch of people getting my name confused with other artists.
Ramahs: How do you think your music can affect the world in a positive manner?
Thelonious Martin: I see my music uniting people together, the strength of music is unparalleled, and hopefully I can open up studios for kids and teach later on the line. I put positive vibes behind my music so I hope that all things created out of love can affect people greatly.
Ramahs: If you could choose five people to collaborate with, dead or alive, who would they be?
Thelonious Martin: If I could collaborate with any artist it would be one track, me and J Dilla on the production, with verses from Jay-Z, Nas, Sean Price, and Kanye…and as a bonus Lauryn Hill on the hook.
Ramahs: Are there any projects that we can look forward to hearing your beats on? If so, when will that be?
Thelonious Martin: I have a beat tape or two coming out, and then when this Dope Couture project drops. I’d rather everyone be surprised on which tricks are up my sleeve.
Ramahs: When do you plan on dropping another beat tape for us hip-hop lovers to download and embrace?
Thelonious Martin: My next beat tape will be dropping on Valentines Day. It will be titled “8-Bits of My Heart”…trust me it’ll be lovely!
Ramahs: Word up! Whenever that drops we will be sure to post it here on OGKills! Speaking of OGKills, are you a supporter of Originallity Kills?
Thelonious Martin: I’m supporter of OG Kills, no doubt, my motto is “If It’s Dope I’ll Promote”.
Ramahs: Thanks for stopping by! We appreciate it a lot, keep killin’ it!
Thelonious Martin: Shoutouts to Dope Couture, my Montclair people, my Chicago peoples, and everyone killing shows doing big shit.