The Phronetic: Tacos, Music Theory & Freddie Joachim

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Photo by Ryland Vallely

What part of Brooklyn are you from ? How old are you and what does your name “The Phronetic” represent about you?

I’m 23, and I’m in South Brooklyn near the end of the Q train in Marine Park.

“Phronetic” comes from the word “Phronesis,” which is a term in Greek philosophy that means “practical wisdom.” Someone that has practical wisdom is someone that knows how to act virtuously in everyday situations.

I am not someone that has Phronesis, but I am someone that strives to achieve it. My artist name “The Phronetic” represents my journey to achieving Phronesis. I have always admired philosophy and I try to live my life in the ideal image of the ancients.

Where are you from, currently reside and how would you say your neighborhood growing up influenced your artistic creativity?

I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but I was adopted by an Italian-American family and moved to Brooklyn when I was little. Growing up in Brooklyn is essential to who I am.

Hip hop is universal because it speaks to people from all around the world. It’s a beautiful thing. However, growing up in NYC is what allows me to feel the fire, so to speak. Every day that I wake up, I am surrounded by the core of hip hop. I feel it in my soul, I see it on the street…I understand first-hand why it exists and what it means. Unfortunately, I don’t think people from outside of NYC can connect with this feeling in the same way. I really don’t think I would be the musician or the person that I am if I did not get adopted and move here.

How long have you been producing? Do you remember the first sample you ever used ? What was it and still have the beat you created from it?

I have been producing for about a year and 8 months now. It was actually a Sam Cooke joint, “Ease My Troublin’ Mind.” It’s also on my SC, it’s called “Ease.”

With today’s landscape of the music industry, what separates you from all the other producers out there?

It’s hard to say because I still don’t think that I’ve developed my sound completely. But my fans tell me otherwise, and they uplift me so much!! It’s so sweet of them and it inspires me.

Anyway, I think the difference between myself and other producers is that I’m an instrumentalist and a composer at heart. I play 3 instruments fluently and I place a lot of value in my knowledge of music theory and composition. It allows me to make beats at a faster pace than others because I don’t have to spend as much time figuring out chord progressions or harmonies.

What is your favorite movie ? What character in the movie would you compare yourself to and why?

Sorry, I don’t really watch movies!

Photo by Katherine Fredericks

Besides guitar, do you play any other instruments? If so, how many and which instruments do you play?

I play the drums, guitar, and piano fluently. But I dabble with saxophone, clarinet, ukulele, singing, and melodica!

What is your favorite food? How does it represent your personality ?

Tacos! Tacos can be so different depending on the person that makes them and the environment in which they are made. I’m someone that can blend in and relate with all types of groups of people.

Do you have a specific routine or mood setter before getting into production?

It really depends on my mood and the day. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk or a bike ride or a skate session beforehand, but other times I’ll hop right out of bed and make something on the spot. Either way, I always find myself listening to the music of my idols before I record anything of my own. It reminds me of why I’m doing this in the first place! Oh, and I play with my dog too.

What is your equipment setup like and can you tell us what you like about it compared to other products that are out there?

Macbook Pro retina (laptop)
M-Audio M Track Plus (audio interface)
JBL LSR 305 (studio monitors)
M-Audio Keystation 88 (Keyboard)
Akai LPK 25 (Mini keyboard)
Akai MPD32 (Drumpad)
MXL V67g (Microphone)

I like my setup because it proves to people that you don’t need an unlimited budget to make music. Almost all of my equipment is entry-level quality. Sometimes pretentious music producers laugh at my setup…it’s so silly. You don’t need to be rich to start doing this.

Please describe your approach when creating a beat

It depends on my mood, what the beat is for, and what genre it is. Usually I’ll start with either keys or a drum pattern…but even before that, I already have a clear concept in my head of where I want the beat to go.

If I’m making a beat for a client, I often start with keys or a sample. If I’m making a beat for fun, I usually start with drums or bass.

What is distinctive about a The Phronetic production?

I think what differentiates my music from others is that I really don’t have a genre. Even if my goal is to make a specific type of beat or feel, I always wind up making something that is reminiscent of several different genres. One time a fan of mine called my style “Phro-hop,” which is so dope!!!! I love my fans!!

How much time you do you put in on average week perfecting your craft?

I get asked this a lot, it’s hard to say. From the minute I wake up I am doing something related to music. I don’t think that what I do can really be measured by time. I’m a firm believer in immersing yourself in your passions, no matter what.

If an artist was interested in purchasing a custom beat from you, how would they go about it and what is the average cost?

I sell custom beats directly through my website, www.thephronetic.com

Non-exclusive customs are $100 and exclusive customs are $250!

What did you take to advertise and get your music out to the people? What platform have you found the most success using ?

Hands down, Instagram is the number one reason why I am where I am. I made my career just by posting little beat videos on IG.

How important is the business aspect of what you do ? Do you have a business partner or an individual you trust who handles the business aspect?

Right now I am working mostly independently. From time to time, I will hire other producers to help me out with my orders and workload, but usually I am doing work on my own. The business aspect is very important to me because I do this as a living. But first comes the passion and the love for the craft.

When you are not creating music, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time ?

Working out, biking, skateboarding, riding the train, driving, playing with my dog, or listening to music. I’m also really into politics but we won’t go there…ha!

As far as producers, who would you say your draw inspiration from and if you could choose any producer to work on an entire project with, who would it be and why?

My top 3 producer inspirations are Freddie Joachim, Damu the Fudgemunk, and Suff Daddy. I would LOVE to do a beat tape with any one of these guys. They have no idea how much they have contributed to my love of beats.

Freddie Joachim inspires me with his instrumental capabilities. He plays a bunch of different instruments and he is the guy that showed me that hip hop doesn’t have to just be samples.

Damu is the guy that taught me the jazz and soul of hip hop. His exquisite taste in samples and his amazing ability to flip them inspires me each day.

Suff Daddy is the perfect example of the blend between classic boom bap style with current electronic style. His synth melodies and jazz cuts always remind me that there is always a space to have both boom bap and electronic!

If you can produce an entire album for the artist of your choice, can you tell us an artist people might be surprised you want work with and why you would choose that specific artist?

Right now I’d say that if I could produce a project for Logic, I’d be the happiest person on earth. That dude has proven that he can rap any tempo, any style, any time period, with anybody. I can’t think of any other rapper with this kind of versatility. Even if you don’t like him, you have to admit he is the only dude in the game right now who has an insane versatility with his beat choices. Pop, boom bap, trap, electronic, you name it!!

Where do you see yourself in 3 years from now ? What needs to happen to make it successful for you?

In 3 years, I want to be doing exactly what I’m doing right now, but just with more freedom and versatility.

Right now, my main job is making beats for other artists and advertisers. However, my end goal is to to support myself by rapping and singing over my own beats. I’m slowly introducing my fans to my rapping and singing, so I hope in 3 years I’ll have a good balance between producing for others and producing for myself.

With 2017 coming to an end, can you let people know your plans or anything they should be keeping their eyes open for in the near future?

I’m dropping an album (and beat tape) towards the end of 2017/beginning of 2018! I’m also releasing a sample pack for all my producer fans in a few weeks.

Connect with The Phronetic: Instagram | Soundcloud | Facebook