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On Our Radar: Harm Productions [Interview]

Calgary, AB – Local producer Harmit Sandhu of Harm Productions is the go-to man for rappers in need of fresh beats. The 23-year-old composer-producer-keyboard player has been creating music through Harm Productions since 2005 and has collaborated with a long list of MCs including J. Thaddeus, Kid Canada, Mr. E and more. To date, Sandhu has created more than 700 instrumentals and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. This week HipHopCanada caught up with Sandhu to find out about his involvement in Calgary’s hip-hop scene, upcoming projects, and early-onset Dr. Dre inspiration.

Harm Productions

HipHopCanada: What sparked a love of hip-hop in you, and what steps have you taken to be part of the scene?

Harmit Sandhu: My hip-hop spark came at a very early age. I still remember the day when I first had a listen to The Chronic by Dr. Dre. It was a bootleg CD my friend had. From the first listen I was intrigued by the way Dre produced his sound and music. To be a part of the scene, locally, I have tried to network as much as possible— whether it be in person by doing showcases at 10 at 10, to more competitive appearances like Beat Street battles or the Beat Drop/Red Bull competition. I’ve volunteered for Urban Arts Expo as well. I’ve also tried to maintain a heavy online presence.

HipHopCanada: What elements of hip-hop culture appeal to you most?

Harmit Sandhu: The main elements of hip-hop culture that appeal to me is the production—and the battling aspect.

HipHopCanada: Specify your craft – what part of it you are the most talented at, and what do you work the hardest on?

Harmit Sandhu: My craft is music production. I’m proficient in custom production for artists in any genre: Hip-hop to electro house. Dubstep to East Indian roots. I spend most of my time creating ideas and samples of music. I believe having a large database of music for artists to choose from is beneficial because it shows that you are actually committed.

HipHopCanada: Who do you feel you represent?

Harmit Sandhu: I represent Harmed Forces. I represent the love of music. Music has been the highlight of my life and has helped me through a lot of circumstances. I represent local community and the togetherness of all arts that come together to form the local scene we all take stride in.

HipHopCanada: What are some signs of success in your musical career?

Harmit Sandhu: Being known as part of the local community as a producer means the most to me. Other forms of success are from the fans and other artist that reach out to me to show love or to work on future collaborations—not just local, but abroad as well. I’ve successfully received sponsorships from media outlets in Europe for my talent in production. [I] also work closely with my engineer in Macedonia, Boban Apsotolov, who is [the] production manager [at] one of Europe’s biggest studios, Studio M1.

HipHopCanada: What have been some of the biggest roadblocks and how have you surpassed them?

Harmit Sandhu: One of my biggest road blocks was the quality of production. I’m very picky when it comes to music, so when I wasn’t able to produce up to par to industry standards I had to figure out alternatives in order for me to achieve this. Once I started investing in my art, my quality increased. When I started to get sponsorships, my outlets to live musicians increased as well.

HipHopCanada: What is your overall goal for your career in hip-hop?

Harmit Sandhu: My overall goal is to continue with production and release as many projects— whether it be songs or commercial scores. Continuing with any aspect of music is my long term goal.

Harm Productions

HipHopCanada: What people or groups do you see as being instrumental in helping you to achieve that goal?

Harmit Sandhu: My production manager in Europe, Boban Apostolov is the main person who has took me under his wing and brought my career to uncharted levels. His vast knowledge in music has been very instrumental to me to achieve my goals. The local Calgary community has also been very supportive to me, and is essential for me to continue as a musician.

HipHopCanada: Where can fans find you? Both in person and online?

Harmit Sandhu: Locally if there is any show related to beats or production, I will most likely be in attendance or [there] as a performer.

YouTube | XDjxHarmx
Facebook | Harm Sandhu
Twitter | @HarmProductions

HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada community?

Harmit Sandhu: Canadian hip-hop will continue to grow as much as we want it to. With the local community and scene there are endless possibilities [and ways] in which we can all be part of and grow together to make every artist’s dreams come true.

Photography courtesy of 10 at 10 Hip-Hop Showcase

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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