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We talked to Lava Cru producer Neemz about how he turns his beats into Horcruxes

London, ON – Earlier this month the Lava Cru trio (Kachinga, Cam, and Neemz) released a 13-track instrumental project titled Horcruxes.

The project is a nod to the concept of “Horcruxes” from the Harry Potter series. A Horcrux is an object containing a hidden piece of a dark wizard or witch’s soul.

As the lead producer of the project, Neemz wanted the project title to body his process; he always puts a fragment of his soul into his compositions. So the title was an obvious fit.

Neemz likes to start his beats off with the melody, and build the rest of the beat around that melody. He mostly produces with Fruity Loops, and has a penchant for sampling. The project itself takes us on a 13-track journey through more hopeful uplifting beats (“Blessed”), emotional sadboy compositions (“Sad Songs”), and even nods to the OGs (“Nas”). There’s actually probably a beat on here to coincide with any type of way you’re feeling right now.

Although this project was released by Lava Cru, the guys are pretty open to artistic collaborations right now. So if something resonates with you, get in touch with the guys and get to work. And if you’re going to use any of these beats, please remember to credit your producers. Without them you are nothing. Check out the project below, and scope our Q&A with Neemz after the jump.

Horcruxes: Neemz discusses LavaCru's new project & putting pieces of his soul into his beats -

Q&A: Neemz

HipHopCanada: Start off by telling me what this project means to you on a personal level.

Neemz: Each track has a piece of my soul in beat form.

HipHopCanada: Explain the significance of the title Horcruxes.

Neemz: If you’ve ever seen Harry Potter you know what the title means. The reason why I think it works so well for this is when I produce I put a pieces of my soul into it. I feel as if every production is an extension of me in some way.

HipHopCanada: On a technical level, walk me through how you typically build a beat. And what would you say are the elements that make up your signature sound?

Neemz: The beginning process is always the most challenging, I find. I always like to start with a melody and go from there. Once it gets going there is no stopping the workflow. Once I get a solid foundation everything seems to just flow. I believe my signature sounds came from my life experiences. I go through phases that are often influenced by different time periods in my life.

HipHopCanada: What do you produce on, and what’s the story behind how you got into music production?

Neemz: Over the years I’ve produced on pretty much everything. But time and time again, I see myself coming back to Fruity Loops. It’s super powerful if you know what you’re doing with it. Growing up I had a small MIDI keyboard that ran on batteries. [It] was my favourite toy and was the only toy I took with me when we left our country. Long story short… I came to Canada in the year 2000 and after learning [the] language I got to learn computers and how they worked. While doing that, I stumbled upon some music programs and I guess you could say the rest is history.

HipHopCanada: Which instrumental on this project is most significant to you and why?

Neemz: Strings, always the strings. It fills any empty space on a beat naturally. Also it’s classic and useful on many different levels.

HipHopCanada: You do a lot of sample-based work and it seems – in many ways – that your samples tend to dictate the feel and vibe of your compositions. What’s your process for picking a sample?

Neemz: I do a little bit of everything. But for the most part it’s just listening to music, really. I have maybe one [or] two albums on my phone that are hip-hop. Everything else is classic, blues, 70’s, 80’s, rock, soul… you just gotta listen. And depending on what you’re going through at the time, the sample speaks to you.

HipHopCanada: What’s your vision for this project? Do you see the beats as stand-alones, or would you like to collaborate with artists, or did you have something else completely different in mind?

Neemz: Honestly I just want to see what artists out there can do with what we do. Our style is different and not everyone can rap on the beats we make. I just wanna hear artists over it who have substance and something to talk about.

HipHopCanada: How can artists get in touch with you to purchase or lease beats?

Neemz: Well for one the website is always a great source. Also we do exclusive YouTube and SoundCloud uploads so makes sure to check us there too. And of course email and phone is also great.

Twitter: @lavacru

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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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