Soundclouds of the Underground: Behind the Scenes Edition

Published January 8, 2015

ABOVE: NICK HOOK.

These days, music truly lives online, with an infinite number of websites dedicated to hosting tunes for the laptop-wielding masses. However, the web’s bottomless pit of blogs isn’t the only place to troll for mp3 treasures–some of the newest and most exciting (Internet-friendly) artists can be sought out via Soundcloud, the online stage that allows musicians to promote and distribute their music to fans and friends across the globe. In this weekly column, expert Internet sleuth Alex Chapman goes into the depths of the music-sharing site, in hopes of shedding light on emerging acts, as well as sharing some digital diamonds in the rough. 

Behind every great song is a great producer, and behind that great producer is a group of extremely talented people flying under the radar, helping turn the song from an idea into a reality. Below are three such people who have no doubt had a hand in one of your favorite tracks, all the while making some great tracks of their own.

Nick Hook: “Jaco,” feat. Todd Edwards & Kilo Kish

Who: Nick Hook is the musician’s musician, the guy everybody wants to record with, the guy whose input is essential, and the guy who can undoubtedly take your track to the next level. Hook’s transitional moment was when he recorded vocals for Azealia Banks’ breakout hit “212.” Since then he’s worked with friends like Hudson Mohawke (the two collaborated for Banks’ “Jumanji”), Young Thug, and more, solidifying himself not only as an engineer but as a hit-making producer.

The Song: Hook’s star continues to rise due in large part to his latest triumph, the debut record Collage v.1 (released via Ninjatune), which features Hook’s collaborations with notable musician friends like Kilo Kish and Todd Edwards, both of whom he works with on the track “Jaco.” Like “Copacabana” for the modern, funkier age, Kish’s sultry vocals sail seamlessly atop the smooth beat.

Current Project: Hook is always cooking up something, whether it be another track or some tour dates–keep up on his Facebook page.

Pro Logic: “What U Been Sayin”

Who: Pro Logic is a master of quality–one listen to the slew of tracks he’s part of and you’ll understand why the Toronto engineer is so in-demand. Working prominently with P Reign of Drake’s collective OVO, Pro Logic has also produced tracks featuring Ab-Soul, A$AP Rocky, and Machine Gun Kelly.

The Song: It’s easy to hear this instrumental potentially featuring one of the artists Pro Logic has worked with, given its hybridity of R&B melodies and hip-hop percussion. Don’t be surprised if you hear “What U Been Sayin” reincarnated as a top 20 hit (or on some random rapper’s mixtape who ripped it off the internet).

Current Project: Keep up with Pro Logic on Facebook

Humbled Music: “Sweet Sixteen,” prod. DJA

Who: You’ve likely heard or seen this Mad Decent-affiliate’s name before via Soundcloud king Diplo–the mega-producer has a habit for collaborating with a certain group of talents (see Djemba Djemba, Paul Devro, etc.). Derek Allen, who producers under the moniker DJA,  is definitely one of those aforementioned talents, having worked with Diplo on tracks by Wale, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, and many more.

The Song: Although DJA works with some of music’s biggest names, he’s by no means restricted to the big leagues. “Sweet Sixteen” features unknown Humbled Music on a slowed-up, surf rock-sounding beat.

Current Project: See a full list of DJA’s work on his website

SoundClouds of the Underground runs every Thursday. For more, click here.