Can you give us a brief history of Beat Root?
KTC: I got the idea to do producers battle after Mel-Z (KTUH/Youthspeaks) the cousin of Sentric, came back from NYC and went to a IPA-International Producers Association, beat battle. That was in 2002. I did the first Beatroot in 2003 at Trip the Lights - Studio 1.
You have promoted your fair share of events in your day, where does BR rank among them?
KTC: That's like asking me what finger would I wanna chop off! I love'em all equal. BR fulfills the beat head/digger/producer in me. Trip the lights fulfills the MC, art, & experimental side. INERTiA fulfills the B-Boy/Writer in me. Those are my babies.
Where did the initial idea come about?
KTC: After Mel-Z told Sentric and I about the battles in NYC, I though that in Hawaii we had b-boy, mc, & DJ battles, why not a producers? I myself produce and I know like 10 producers, so lets go for it. Since then it's been lovely.
Talk about some of the rule changes and improvements you have made?
KTC: The first 2 battles I did it with 8 competitors, single elimination. That format sucked because if you lost, you are done, you cannot play your other beats. Then I found out that in NYC they changed the format to 6 competitors, with winners of the first round going to Final 4, and all the loser of the first round battle it out for a spot in the Final 4. That was genius, and it gave you a second shot to get to the finals.Also, now if you win a Grand Championship, you qualify to battle in the Grand Masters Battte, where all 6 Grand Champions will battle, hopefully for some $$$ & equipment. We also are working on the 2nd Beatroot Samplayer, which is a free CD that highlights all the producers that battled in the qualifiers, it's a great promo tool and the producers can use it for exposure.
About how many producers have entered/won?
KTC: Over 30 producers have battled at BR. DJ Fame of Mo Illa Pillaz won the first one. Aislin won the 2nd battle. Then when we moved to the new format, the "Grand Championship" format. It has been - QUES, LAEL, & ELY.
How do you think BR has helped in the aspect of networking artists with producers and just bringing like minded people together?
KTC: It has be fresh! Producers now work with each other that normally wouldnt connect. MC now have a spot to come and check for that new sound. I love seeing producers talk about machines & programs, i get psyched. To me this event is all about the producers, if only 20 people show up, no matter, cuz as long as the 6 producers and myself are vibing we good. I've learned so much and worked with some amazing producers.
What are the most common tools of choice?
KTC: Laptops with Fruity Loops, Reason, & Ableton. I still believe that an MPC's when used right will kill any software. That my opinion, but the proof is right there! Every winner of Beatroot has used a MPC 2000, 2000xl, 2500, or 1000.
Any interesting stories about past participants or winners?
KTC: Someone wanted to fight the judges after Lael lost in the first round, but lael came back to win in the sudden death, then went on to win the Grand Championship!
The main reason for BR is to expose, network, elevate & fun Hawaii's Producers. The battle format is to make it interesting and fresh, to challenge the producer. Cause if it was just 6 producers playing beats for no reason that would be BORING! If you win, you were the best that night, its what you do after that that counts. I want Hawaii to use this as a platform, a resume builder, a stepping stone, and give me a shout when you win a Grammy! Yes.