Oh my, how to introduce Valentino Khan. You know those corny “Most Likely To Be Successful” high school yearbook awards? That’s pretty much how I feel about ‘Tino, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of the big boys within the next five years. Moombahton would not be the same genre if this dude didn’t get involved; I sincerely feel he’s one of the genre’s most influential producers. And the best part is he isn’t a one trick pony. He does dubstep, house, he remixed Watch The Throne in its entirety, and he was recently featured on a T.I mixtape. You can catch Valentino at the Avalon this Friday; it’s his main stage debut so I’m sure he has something special planned!
The man himself was nice enough to have a conversation with us, and even made us an exclusive mini-mix. Let’s see what he had to say…
Dont get too high off your successes or too low off your failures. Youll stay treading water and remain complacent if youre not honest with yourself.
I like to start off with this icebreaker: a club promoter just handed you a fistful of drink tickets, what do you get for your first round?
Capri Sun or I don't perform.
In a young genre that gets flack for being a tad amateur, I feel that the thing that separates your tracks apart is their superb production quality. Tell us about your creative process.
I really don't have a process in particular.
If I hear a particular sound I like, I usually am able to envision the concept of the rest of the track around it. It could be just one note or a full melody that I come up with at the beginning. You've got to be aware of when you have a good base to build a song around.
Whether I start with drums, a synth or a sample I generally know what's missing and what I should lay down next. I think that's an important quality to have. Recognizing how to give your track direction is vital.
Everyone makes throwaway tracks. The key is remembering why you didn't like them and to be mindful of avoiding those negative aspects in the future.
If I do have a process, it's probably more “big picture” in terms of how I constantly look to improve myself. Don't get too high off your successes or too low off your failures. You'll stay treading water and remain complacent if you're not honest with yourself.
Back in 2011 you remixed every track on Watch the Throne in under a month. What inspired that project, and how did you get such a huge undertaking done in so little time?
When I first listened to the original album I loved it. I think it's a classic. More importantly though (at least for my case), I immediately realized it was very remixable.
Going into it, I already faced the fact that I wasn't going to have track-by-track stems (separating the instruments) or acapellas. But my background producing hip-hop helped give me the ability to find sections and samples of the album and flip them into something different.
It was pretty apparent that Watch The Throne was going to be one of the year's biggest albums. I knew people would take interest if I were the first guy to do it. So I knew I was going to have to work quickly. I had this paranoia about how annoying it would be if someone beat me to it.
I basically shut myself in for those weeks and just had to focus. If you're trying to do such a huge project when pressed for time, you can't really get out of that zone.
So I didn't allow myself to feel satisfaction after I'd completed a track. Once one of them was done, I wouldn’t even listen to it again. It was only until the album was finished that I finally could appreciate it.
Your collab with Will Bailey, Rukus, got a ton of love at the Ultra Music Festival. How does it feel to have such big support from the genre’s heavy hitters?
It's been awesome to know that guys like Diplo, Dillon Francis and Nadastrom all spin it regularly. Seeing the response to the track down in Miami was great too.
I think the fact that Dave Nada plays it is the coolest endorsement because he invented the genre.
A lot of people don’t know that you’re also active in the hip-hop world. How did it feel to be featured on T.I’s latest mixtape, and do you have anymore rapper collabs in the works?
It was very, very cool because Tip's one of the dudes that I respect most in hip-hop. I think a lot of rappers don't try hard these days. Once you reach a certain level of success or have a couple of hits, it's easy to lose focus and slack off. On the other hand, a guy like T.I. has proven his longevity and I think that's admirable. He always comes correct and actually cares about his artistry. And I loved 2 Chainz' verse on our track as well. He's had a remarkable resurgence. If you get Dr. Dre and Just Blaze to get behind the boards on your mixtape, you're obviously not settling for less.
Yes, I definitely have more hip-hop placements, but I can't talk about them since paperwork isn't signed yet!
Who are some producers that Magnetic readers should keep their eyes on?
Billy The Gent & Long Jawns always comes correct too. They've got this new track “Holler” that's been going off.
There's also this other dude Metsi who's from Poland. He just did a release on Mad Decent called “Murfs.” I've been playing that a lot in my sets and mixes. He seems to make a lot of hard electro stuff.
I've also been bumping Eptic's latest release. It's a four-track EP called “Like A Boss” and the dubstep on there is next level stuff.
I threw all these tracks in my mini-mix.
I'm really feelin' your NAPT remix! How'd that track come about and what else do you have on the horizon for 2012?
Thank you! I've worked with the label (Vicious Bitch) in the past before and they hit me up to see if I'd be interested in remixing it. I didn't have to think twice about it once I heard the original song. And that vocal sample is so infectious.
I've got a bunch more EDM releases, a remix coming out on Dim Mak Records, and my first EP coming out in a few months. I also just did a remix for DJ Craze's “Selekta” and can't wait until that gets released!
Of course I've also got some big hip-hop placements in the works as well, but as I said before I can't talk until the ink is on the dotted line.
Magnetic Mini Mix:
01 Valentino Khan “Flare Gun” (Original Mix)
02 Angger Dimas “Kitchen” (Original Mix)
03 Valentino Khan & Will Bailey “Rukus” (Original Mix)
04 NAPT & Peo De Pitte “Gonna Be Mine” (Valentino Khan Remix)
05 Billy The Gent & Long Jawns “Holler” (Original Mix)
06 ETC!ETC! “Killafornia” (Original Mix)
07 Chuckie “Who Is Ready To Jump” (Valentino Khan's Warhorn Remix)
08 Kraymer “The Concept” (Will Bailey Remix)
09 Metsi “Murfs” (Original Mix)
10 Eptic “Death Ray” (Original Mix)
11 David Heartbreak “Elmo” (Valentino Khan Remix)