Nick Hough is a Senior Advertisement major from Wingdale, New York. He is 21 years old and enjoys producing. Nick was Howard’s Hottest producer 2014-2015, Campus Pal, Passionate Lover, Hunter Gatherer, loves to watch Friends, Shop for records, and listen to instrumentals.
Tierra: What or who inspires you?
Nick: Musically, I’m inspired by a lot of instrumentalists. Such as Thelonious Martin, Iman Omari, Knxledge, Tuamie is pretty much my top favorite producers right now. Kinda all underground but they are well respected within the music industry. Other than that, my sister inspires me forreal forreal…She’s like very hard working and we have different interest but are like the same person at the same time. And I just admire her work ethic and how much she gets done.
Tierra: Do you have a favorite musical project that you’ve worked on?
Nick: Uhh… mine. That’s the only one I worked on as far as project wise. I’ve worked on a project coming up from an artist named Wooty, that’s out in April though. But besides that, project wise I haven’t done too much. I just make a lot of beats and put them out. Not too many bodies of work but I have a lot of individual songs out.
Tierra: In your opinion, what values a good mix and master?
Nick: The warmth of the song, the swing of the drums, the side chain of the drums. Just making sure that there is enough sonic room. Because you know, the music I make there’s the base lines, and like the base tones are very prominent. And at the same time, since it’s hip-hop, the kick drum is very prominent. So, those take up a lot of the space as far as sonically, so you want to make sure that the unison between the two is a good one because if not, your song won’t be as easy on the ears. And I’m still myself trying to perfect that, or just trying to get better because I’m still kind of a raw guy… I haven’t been doing this too long, I just really work hard at it.
Tierra: When did you start producing?
Nick: I started producing in December 2013. I’ve known I wanted to produce since I was like in 9th grade. I just kept putting it off all throughout high school because I didn’t want to play second fiddle to my best friend who was actually a pretty good producer already. So, I didn’t want to play, you know? catch up. So once I came to Howard, I kinda went after it. I bought my equipment and I was in Meridian I was a sophomore and that’s the origin.
Tierra: What are currently your main challenges with producing your own music?
Nick: My current challenges would have to be… getting the best quality out of my songs. Because I feel like I have really good direction and my sample choice and even my drums are pretty good. It’s just like, programming and really just the technical stuff. Not as much as the creative things because you know, it’s really just like a process and sometimes I don’t necessarily execute as well as I should. But that all comes with time. I shouldn’t rush myself you know?
Tierra: What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?
Nick: I like to watch the tv series, FRIENDS. I enjoy, shopping for records. I have a vinyl converter that converts vinyl to MP3. I be going to hella record stores in DC. And my father and mother have tons of boxes of records outside in the garage that I search all the time. For fun, if I’m not making music, I like to listen to music. I be on SoundCloud looking for new artists all the time, new beats. I find myself with my two best friends all the time throwing around ideas for like a tv animation show. It’s VERY casual. If we applied ourselves it’d be great. But right now, every time we just sit around we just make jokes and write them down like “OHH! THAT SHOULD BE A CHARACTER ON THE SHOW!” So I have a lot of fun doing that, but yeah… I ride my bike to get from point A to point B sometimes. One of my least favorite things is getting a retwist. I’m tender headed so that hurts a lot. But you didn’t ask that…*chuckles*
Tierra: If you could eternally be stuck in one year’s music scene, which year would it be?
Nick: I would be stuck in… 1996.
Nick: Because my favorite era of music is the golden age of hip hop, which I consider from 1989… really 1986 to 1997ish is what I consider the golden age of hip-hop in my opinion. And I just feel like, right in the middle of that, you have Nas in his second album, Jay-Z is in his first album. Big is on top of his game and everything… Has he passed away already? *ponders* Maybe. But I mean like, it’s just a lot going on. The music is organic, it’s not gimmicky. Even if it was, people make the mistake of saying like ” all the music today is so gimmicky”. But there has been gimmicks from the beginning of time, it just gets weeded out eventually. And when we’re in the present time it kind of just ticks you off depending on what type of music person you are. you know? But 1996 I would have to say…but that’s kind of hard because I like different eras. I like the early 2000s, I like the Dipset, Rocafella Era… the early 2000s that was a great time! That actually may be my favorite time. Maybe just that Rocafella time, like the Black Album, the Blueprint, that time… when Kanye got really put on as far as a producer… So maybe like the early 2000s.
Tierra: Do you have advice for young people that want to become producers?
Nick: Yeah… Just do it. Like really, if you love it, it’ll come. Don’t discourage yourself, that’s my advice. Don’t discourage yourself from anything, and don’t compare yourself, negatively. You know what I’m saying? And don’t be like “he/she so this that and a third, but I’m not this…” because that’s not good for anyone’s ego or moral. Because music is supposed to be positive. I’m suprised when music isn’t someones favorite thing because I feel like it’s such a mood changer and it brings people together… it makes people relate. So I just feel like, if you’re going to be apart of the creative process of music you shouldn’t discourage yourself or anyone. And just over the years, I realized that I started to… when I speak about music and other people’s music I used to be like ” Oh, that’s trash…Oh that’s no good”. But it’s really like subjective and good is just relative to whoever..because everything has it’s own place and that’s a fact. because Somethings for everybody, whether it’s Soulja Boy or David Bowie. It’s gonna hit somebody, it’s really on how it makes you feel. Because I know how the music I listen to makes me feel… and it’s not even what it is, it’s how it makes you feel. And I want everyone to feel that, however it makes you feel.
Tierra: What song do you listen to that gets you going? Like motivates you.
Nick: That motivates me… oh man, I listen to Come Over by Faith Evans. I’m a big hip-hop guy but sometimes I feel that I’m just a 90’s R&B guy. Like, whether it hit the surface in the 90’s or whether it was below the radar… it feels gospely, and it feels so rich… and authentic, and grand…and…just the chords in the music… it makes me wanna actually like become a professional pianist because of some of the things that I be hearing. But uhhh… what was the question?
Tierra: *laughs* it was, what song—-
Nick: What song… whether it’s Forever my Lady by Jodeci or something, probably not even Hip-Hop, some R&B. It’s really weird because I be in my room and I be listening to Luther Vandross and it’s like very, VERY lowkey high as hell *chuckles* but, that’s like high energy for me. Like I’ll just be on my couch chilling very hard. You know? So, definitely stuff like that.
Tierra: So basically, DYNAMITE! magazine is a celebration of young African-Americans doing positive things…So, how do you feel the media portrays the lives, struggles, joys of young African-American people today?
Nick: Man I feel that the media portrays it… It’s weird because like, *sighs* that culture is hip-hop right? and now more than ever, pop culture is hip-hop culture and media covers pop culture and the fact that it’s so to the forefront and being embraced, but at the same time it’s being torn down all the time because like ” Oh, that’s negative…” or ” Oh! that’s not good for the youth..” It’s like you’re making so much money off of it, and it enriches so many lives, I feel like the media does a condescending job of how they portray hip hop in the lives of everyone. So, I’m not a big fan on how that is… you know? Because if you’re gonna be negative. Be negative. But don’t flip flop… just for the sake of what looks better or what fits your case the best. You feel me?
Tierra : If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of young people, what would your message be?
Nick: Find a passion… Find a passion and just work at it. Because then, you can turn that passion into like, a skill… and then from that point on it can become a career or something like that. But it’ll blossom. Like perpetual happiness if you find your passion and you build on that.
Tierra: How does one find their passion?
Nick: Trying new things, like really guys when is the last time you did something for the first time? Just being open to things. Luckily, I found my passion early but I kind of didn’t pursue it til late… well later than I should’ve, not TOO late. But you really gotta be open to like putting yourself out there and trying new things. It’s really pretty much what everybody says, you really just gotta try it, you know what I’m saying? There’s so much out there and you would never know what you’re into if you just don’t go out there for it.