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Friday, November 5, 2010

So Long and Thanks for All the Tags

Our new website launched today (check it out: CLICK HERE), and as a result, this will be our last post on Blogger.  

We felt it was important to have one location for various content:  info about the studio, our services, blog posts, etc., so rather than traipse around the internet managing site after site, we opted for a site that would allow us to feature all relevant info conveniently at one destination.

It's not you, Blogger, it's us.  It was fun while it lasted, and we'll always cherish the good times, but we gotta move on if we're going to evolve...isn't that what you want for us?  To be happy?  To grow?  LOL

Anyway, thanks to every and any body who has stopped by to read our posts.  From now own, please click the aforementioned link to get more.  Or better yet, click the subscribe button on the new site and get posts from us via email!

Our dedicated url should be effective on the new site in a matter of days, and we'll continue to add new features and content as the conversion process rolls on.

Here's to change.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Throwback Thursdays #3: "Holla Holla"

A few weeks ago, Wes and I started participating in this thing on Twitter called "Throwback Thursdays."  Basically, after one of our many conversations about the current state of music and taking into consideration the large percentage of what we consider "wack, unbearable, bull$#!" that's out there today, we realized that there was music from the early 2000s that we didn't give a fair chance back in its time; yeah we may have slept on it, but only because the bar was set really high back then, or at least it seemed to be.  Another generation, a different time zone.

So in retrospect, after listening to several popular records from the "aughties," we have a newfound appreciation for them- thus, our version of "Throwback Thursday" was born.  Previous inductees include Ja Rule & Ashanti's "Down 4 U," and 112's "Anywhere."  This week, I'm bringing it back to The Inc. with Ja Rule's 1999 debut single, "Holla Holla."  This dude just had sick energy on the mic and on camera and his hooks were solid and conistent.  It's murdaaaaa! 

Ja slam dancing on the 6-4 circa 1999

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

“King Hammer:” Better Run (Jay-Z Diss) Video

...I'm really at a loss; this video inspires the same curious, speechless awe I suppose you'd have while witnessing a car accident or church fire.  Whatcha say, Hammer, "Proper?"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beyonce: 'I Am...World Tour' DVD Trailer

If there was ever a reason to put the words "colossal" and "epic" in the same sentence, this may be it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daft Punk x Tron Legacy: "Derezzed" Extended Listen

I'm not sure which I'm more excited for:  the release of Tron Legacy in theaters, or the release of the soundtrack- produced entirely by Daft Punk.  

This new teaser/trailer features an extended listen to one of the songs: "Derezzed."

Audiotool: Create and Share Music From Your Browser

Audiotool is a web-based production environment that allows you to create and remix original music from the comfort of your web-browser.  Choose from a broad array of classic drum machines, synths, and an assortment of effects and processing.

While providing an amazing level of customization to your tracks, what's really impressive about Audiotool is the sound quality; most of the sounds were modeled from classic analog machines, but the level of sonic detail is astounding.
Setting up and creating tracks is a snap, and after familiarizing yourself with the interface, you'll be up and crafting beats in no time.  

Making beats alone is fun, but why not share your creations with friends?  Audiotool also has a social aspect:  after signing up to the site, you can compose and post what you've made for other subscribers to check out, as well as post links to your facebook, twitter, etc. 

As you can see in the screenshot, I cooked something up with a TR-808, a classic bass synth, and a Tone Matrix...hope my friends like it! 

Click HERE to try Audiotool now!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nike x Jay-Z: All Black Everything

Just in time for the World Basketball Festival, Nike unveils a new flavor of Air Force 1- a collaboration with Jay-Z:  the "All Black Everything."
In keeping with its namesake, the sneaker has an entirely black upper.  Jay-Z will be wearing a pair for his upcoming Radio City Music Hall performance, the shoes will then be auctioned on eBay with proceeds going to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Texas Urban Music Summit 2010

Last weekend was the third annual Texas Urban Music Summit in Dallas, Texas.
The event, presented by the Core DJs and hosted by the Definition DJs, was a three-day networking event for music professionals focused on today's hottest music.

In between discussion panels from DJs, artists, and executives in the industry, the event featured showcases from up-and-coming artists, and a fashion show presented by Core Models and Lavish Models.

New to T.U.M.S this year was the inclusion of the iStandard Producer Showcase, in which we participated.  Out of the countless beatmakers from around the country who submitted material, we were among the eight selected to present our tracks to the summit's attendees and a panel of judges which included Drumma Boy (prod. for Birdman, Gucci Mane, Plies, Young Jeezy), Jai (prod. for Diddy, Nicole Scherzinger, T-Pain, Consequence) and Christina Prince (A&R, Virgin Records).  We ended up placing third in the showcase, with second place going to Texas native B-Eazy and first place going to 12 year-old music prodigy Vohn Beatz, also from Texas.  Vohn wowed the crowd by displaying an aptitude for beatmaking far more mature than his physical age.

Over the last year, we've frequented music conferences held in the midwest such as the NARM convention and the New Music Seminar, but this was the first time we migrated to another region for such an event.  I felt there was no barrier between attendees and panelists, and it was a truly open forum for exchanging ideas as well as contact info.  Maybe chalk it up to southern hospitality?

Shoutout to all the great artists, bloggers, DJs, label heads, and producers I got to meet in Dallas, hope to do it again next year!  

Big thanks to:  A. Steele Unlimited and Tony Neal at Core DJs for organizing the event, iStandard Producer, Grand Hustle Entertainment, So Icy Entertainment, the Core DJs, and the Definition DJs.  Also, thanks to the Doubletree Hotel in Dallas for that amazing cookie.     

Friday, July 16, 2010

Paul Thomas: "Smackin' Your Gum"

Errything ain't hardcore you know!  

I can't sing, but I'ma let my man?  I'm confused...

Anyway, check out the video for a track we did with "comedeogenic" Chicagoan, Paul Thomas. The track's called "Smackin' Your Gum," it was conceived, written, produced, recorded, and mixed right here at The Bank.  Also watch for a cameo from your boy TJ performing as a "club douchebag."

WARNING:  You may be disturbed by this video...probably.

Paul says, "To be a successful R&B singer, you gotta love yourself."  
I think my man (my girl?) may have taken it too far...probably.

For more skits, music, and general hilarity, go to

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Verse of the Year (So Far)

This is not an album review.  

I don't normally do this, but I've been listening to Sir Lucious Left Foot...The Son of Chico Dusty nonstop since it came out, and I felt the need to proclaim that, in my humble opinion, Big Boi's got the best verse of 2010 (so far) on "The Train, pt. 2."  

"Look up up and I pray / ChannelIng that heavenly energy / There’s plenty we can say / See the enemy is winning cause your punk a** be afraid / But I Spray what’s on my brain to educate and entertaIn / KRS, he said it best / I learned from listenIng to the tapes / Before i-i-Tunes came out and made a CD obsolete / Before realIty TV would seem to be that bIg mistake / Now BIg Brother's got these cameras deep in each and every state / WhIle each and every rapper claims to be the heavy weIght / Cause he mentions cocaine in ‘bout everythIng he make / And then wonder why them people try to pin him wIth that case / Cause his blow is dixie crystal /Pistol play was just for play / Fake / Just for play play / Got them bay bays / Believe in that bullsh*t / I said just for play play / But got them bay bays / It’s f***ed up" 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mizrahi Gold Digging

To stay on top of what's going on with music, as well as observe its cultural impact, I try to devote some time to checking out pop music from around the world.  While most of the industries of the United States have been improved upon by our international counterparts, there is still at least one product the US excels at:  pop music.

Browse your favorite video site and you're guaranteed to see the influence of our pop stars in videos and performances of artists throughout the world.  From fashion to dance moves, it's always interesting to see our artists' stylings applied to the expressive, region-specific norms of an international artist.

Today I came accross a video by Kobi Peretz, a notable singer from Israel.  Kobi performs in a style called Mizrahi, which is an amalgam of Arabic, Turkish, and Greek music and a very popular genre in the Middle East.

Check out Kobi's latest video, "I Am Not A King" (the title is loosely translated from Hebrew...very loose).  As I watched this video, it began to remind me of something, but what?

How 'bout this?

I think all that's missing is the Israeli Jamie Foxx, but even without him, the similarities are pretty undeniable.  If you need further proof, try watching both videos simultaneously with the sound muted.  I don't speak Hebrew, but considering the title of Kobi's track, you kind of get the gist of what he's getting at.  All in all, I think the "I Am Not A King" video illustrates the influence Yeezy's had on music.  It also cements his relevance and impact on pop culture as a whole.

For better or worse, the web has broken down barriers in music which in the past prevented international artists from gaining an audience, let alone a chart position, in the US.  We're already seeing the effects of these changes as evidenced by artists like Drake, Lights, and many others.  Meanwhile, the Kobi Peretz video has a lag time of 5 years on Kanye's, but I'm still interested to see what will happen as technology continues to advance and cultural borders shrink.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Bank x Chicago Public Schools Present: Men of Honor

In 2009, Chicago Public Schools launched an urban leadership program through their Office of School Turnaround.  The program focused on creating a mentorship group for high school students to allow them to address issues in their community through, among other efforts, creative expression.

One of the results of this program was an excursion into music.  Directed by the Project Manager from the Office of School Turnaround, a group was put together featuring students from Harper High School, located in the south side neighborhood of Englewood.  The group was aptly named Men of Honor, and during the course of the leadership program, they recorded a song called "Streets Ain't Me."

This leadership initiative has received much praise from the Board of Education, and aims to accomplish even more this year.  Among the other activities planned for 2010, the Men of Honor will be creating a full length album which will be produced, recorded, and mixed at The Bank.  We're proud to be involved with this project, which will give kids the opportunity to live out their dreams and learn about the various steps of the production process.  Check back here for updates as the project gets underway.  
Watch:  Men of Honor, "Streets Ain't Me" 


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Bankover: Part 1

If you follow us on Twitter, or one of our other social web hangouts, you may have noticed at some point the mention of a re-vamp/rehab/overhaul/makeover going on at our facility.  Well, it's true- The Bank's being upgraded!  Because of that, I've been out of the loop online, so I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed as we continue working to make our studio even better! 

What's past is prologue.

Back in 2007, Wes and I discussed a few things we could do in the studio to not only be more appealing to clients, but also to increase our productivity where it relates to songwriting and beat making.  Not to say we were slackin' on the beats, but we both share a tremendous amount of responsibility throughout the day-to-day, which can get in the way of making time to be creative.  Perhaps if we were living in our parents' basements with no pressing obligations, we'd be free to tap out bangers every day, but that's not the case.  

Additionally, the studio configuration we had was somewhat cumbersome and often prohibited us from utilizing some of the analog synths and hardware we have in the arsenal.  If you listen to anything we've made over the last year, you may notice that the majority of sounds are sampler instruments and/or Logic plugins.  Not that there's anything wrong with those types of sounds- we're avid fans of Logic and there's some incredible instruments to be found in there; we just feel that they're often severely lacking in depth compared to the lush juiciness of an analog synth.  This applies to drums as well.  Even with the outrageous flexibility of our DAW's sequencing capabilities, there's just nothing like the swing of an MPC...that's open to debate for you beat makers and audio gearheads out there.

Fast forward to February 8, 2010.

After finishing our last project and a brief excursion to The Land of Bubbles, we began a project we've dubbed "The Bankover," (The Bank + Makeover).  For the last three months, we have been working tirelessly to streamline our production process and add improvements to the studio setup.  These adjustments will allow us to implement the full capabilities of the lab and make use of everything The Bank has to offer.  These are truly exciting times, not just for us, but also for the recording artists, musicians, and producers we work with as well!

Check back here for updates; as of today we still have a few more weeks to go until we're up and running, but I'll add new posts and pics as the process comes closer to completion.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Miami Affair"

The 2010 Winter Music Conference kicked off this week in Miami Beach, so we thought it was only appropriate to share a track we made about those hot Florida nights.

"Miami Affair" is a song from Doug Rich, a brother from the Chi we had the opportunity to work with last year.  The track features appearances by Virus and Bruce Blacc, with R&B crooner John-Jon on the hook.  "Miami Affair" was produced, recorded, & mixed at The Bank and mastered at Sterling Sound, NYC.  Doug's full length album, Boot Camp, has yet to be released.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weird But True: 'Mastering: The Movie' (via

This is one of many bizarre but true-to-life animated videos floating around youtube and the gearslutz message board. Surely they were created by an audio engineer, because the situations depicted in these shorts take a candid poke at situations we regularly deal with: trying to work with clients who, in today's realm of cheap production and reocrding solutions, simply do not understand the value of professional mixing and mastering.
Mixing and mastering in itself is an artform. Just as musicians use tools and vocabulary creatively to express themselves, engineers employ their own cache of terms, tools, and tricks to enhance a recorded performance. As an artist, a good engineer is your strongest ally when it comes to the quality of the music you release, yet today it seems the love is all but gone.

Technology has evolved to the point where anyone with a computer can download torrents and/or install plugins to music software in order to simulate the process of proper mixing/mastering. However, there are elements to mixing/mastering techniques that require a skilled professional (aka human being) with a trained set of ears to balance levels properly and bring out the subtle nuances that make great music, well...great!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

'Playas' Only!

We work really hard, so it's a MUST that we play hard too.
Here's a short video we made on vacation, it features a beverage we came up with and dubbed 'Playas' Only.

The name comes from "playa," the Spanish word for "beach," and a pun off the song "Playa's Only" by R. Kelly and The Game.  So in effect, the drink's true title is "Playas Solamente" or "Beaches Only."  A fitting name, considering our location.

To make a 'Playas' Only, mix the following:
  • Chilled glasses with ice
  • CIROC premium vodka
  • Tropica'l "Uva" flavored fruit bevarage (if you can get this in the U.S., please tell me where!)
  • Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry
  • Red Bull
  • 1 grape per glass (mashed bananas work well too)
Serve and please enjoy responsibly :-)


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bank Remixes Part 5: "What Up Gangsta"

So it came a little earlier than scheduled, but we couldn't wait to post the new remix.  It's strange to think of a song from 2003 as a throwback, but nonetheless, this joint got made over.  Typically we lean towards producing songs with more modern sounds, but if you download the track you'll hear that churning out those raw, grimy beats isn't really a problem for us either.

Like it?  It's yours, click the image below to download the track.  If you're an artist and you want the instrumental for your upcoming project email us at and let's go!

Click the image to download this track.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bank Remixes Part 4: "You're Not My Girl"

Remix 4 is up, check out the video!  I had fun with this Ryan Leslie song, as it was originally recorded at 108 bpm- a nice break from the slower tempos of most of today's hip hop and r&b.

I'm not really sure how to classify this remix; it's not really genre specific, but it has a loungy-club vibe that's somehow able to be laid back even with some aggressive, off-kilter drums.

You can download this remix by clicking the image below. If you're an artist interested in using the the track for your own project, email us:

click the image to download the track.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bank Remixes Part 3: "Pimp Like Me"

This time around, Wes produced and mixed Twista's "Pimp Like Me."

Check out the video, let us know what you think.  Like it?  Click the image link below to download it.  If you're an artist and you want to lace this track with your own lyrics, email us at


click the image to download the track

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bank Remixes Part 2: "Forever"

Thanks to everyone who downloaded our first remix, the response was good enough to warrant that we keep this little experiment going.

I mixed "Always Strapped" in the box (within the DAW) and it came out pretty good.  This time around, Wes mixed "Forever" on the SSL.  If you compare the two songs, the differences in depth and warmth of sound are striking.  My only real gripe with this remix is the source audio of the a capella for "Forever."  The vocals were riddled with filters and processing (especially on Em's verse for some reason) that degraded the audio quality, and there wasn't much we could do but to work around what was there.  The instrumental sounds much fuller and clearer, but overall I think this remix came out really well.  

Check out the video and let me know what you think.  If you like it, click the image link below to download it!

As with all of the remixes we do, the instrumental is available for artists to spit on.  If you're interested, email us at

click the image to download the track!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bank Remixes Part 1: "Always Strapped"

Happy New Year!  Beginning this month, we'll be sharing some new material- a collection of remixes titled, appropriately enough, "Bank Remixes."  Throughout 2010,  new tracks will be available to download.

Some of these tracks are intentional remixes, others are "accidental/experimental scrub" tracks that just happen to sound good with the selected a capella.

Check out the video (also remixed) for the first installment- "Always Strapped," Birdman feat. Lil Wayne.

If you like it, feel free to dowload the song- just click the image below the video player.  If you're an artist and you want to use the instrumental, email us at and we'll hook it up.  Enjoy!

The Bank:  it's 2KX, let's get it!


click the image to download this track