Last month Music Mondays had the privilege of sitting down with Mashoni. A hip-hop based producer out of the Northwest, we discussed everything from their upbringing, future projects and love for The Alchemist. Don't miss this one of a kind Music Mondays exclusive interview with a very rare producer.
Blank Thought: This interview has been a long time coming given our work on On Death’s Door earlier this year & the current work we are doing for your next project. My first question to you would be from your perspective, why have you found our working relationship fruitful enough to continue to work on so much together?
Mashoni: To be honest man, before we put out On Death’s Door, I had mostly done a lot of the more creative side of things. Kinda just making beats & occasionally sending them to other people, but you really helped on that side of things. I respect your opinion a lot, and I feel like you know what I’m looking for. The whole putting projects together thing is new for me. Previously, I felt there was not much structure in my work, and you obviously have a lot of practice in that area. So, I’ve been kind of stoked to have you involved to help compliment some of my experience & knowledge with your own. I saw a lot of the stuff you did with Zim and that turned out great, so I wanted to reach out and see about this new project.
Blank Thought: Our path in working together has been natural, which I appreciate, but to start at the beginning, what would you say is the genesis to you creating your own music?
Mashoni: It's funny, I've always had an odd passion my entire life for sound. I was always very curious as to how things were made and what technically went into making that happen. Rap music has always been a part of my life, whether it was my first memory of my dad playing The Blueprint or Illmatic in the car or me bumping MF DOOM when I was in middle school. I liked a lot of different subgenres, and my dad was a big west coast guy, but that rugged New York sound pioneered by guys like Mobb Deep or the Wu Tang Clan that always attracted me. I got to college, and I never had created any of my own music and more just had a deep appreciation for the art. I had met some homies who used to get together and freestyle. They would always try to get me to join and eventually it worked. It became a passion, and we would go through playlists of YouTube beats. One day we ran out, and I realized that I could be making the beats we were rapping to. I started messing around in Garageband and I found myself feeling extremely limited with the stock stuff that the DAW had. Before you know it, I got Ableton, and I fell in love with producing. I always liked rapping, but I gravitated towards beats more in my own creation. That was around 2015, and I tried so many different genres and styles and have settled into my more recent sound.
Blank Thought: What has your experience been in terms of producing for artists? For me that’s when things really changed in terms of me taking this more serious as a career.
Mashoni: Honestly, the shift between producing for me and other people is still kinda happening. I’ve always been in my room making beats for me. I never had much of a plan & I’ve dealt with a lot of imposter syndrome as most artists do. I haven't put myself out there in the way I’m starting to now. It all really started with some of my guys I've been doing stuff with locally, such as the homies the Deadphone Dummies. You always learn a lot when you're in a room working with artists, and those guys particularly instilled a lot of confidence in me. It gave me the push to start working with guys like Toombs, and my experiences have helped me become more practiced and knowledgeable. Even connecting with guys like Knowitall and having him want to work with me has meant a lot for my development as a person as well as an artist. That first project with us really showed me it could be done.
Blank Thought: Speaking of our first project On Death’s Door, what was that experience like for you? It was good man. I'd never really done anything to that extent in terms of music. We worked with a lot of different artists, and it was a bit uncomfortable at first because it was so new to me. It was a little overwhelming. I appreciated the belief in me, but I was still battling with those thoughts. I think doing that project was crucial for getting me out of my shell. It was therapeutic for my growth because it really helped me see the result and know what it took to get there. It was also really nice to have an album with artists on my beats.
Blank Thought: It’s always an awesome feeling to create a true piece of music with artists that have the same vision, are you currently making any collaboration albums?
Mashoni: I have a couple projects going on though I’m not ready to fully talk about it, but there have been some prior music dropped as together and if the way I see it pulls through, my listeners are in for a treat.The artist can be a bit elusive so I’m not sure when that'll shake out but I’m excited for whenever it does. I’ve talked about doing a project with my guy Blakk Treez but nothing set in stone in that aspect yet. You and I are working on the project I’m gonna have a big hand in producing for Zim, which I think is being announced for the first time here. But that’s the plan for the time being and who knows what will come of the next couple of months.
Blank Thought: So, why don’t you tell me a bit about your next solo project we’ve started work on?
Mashoni: Well, it's super early, and we're just now starting to put some of the pieces together in terms of artists and sound, but I just wanted to make an album for me. I just want to have something I can show my kids someday, something that’s fully me and something I’m really proud of. The biggest influence for me on this record in particular is the Alchemist. Just the way he strings projects together and transitions from song to song, I really wanted to make something of that vein. It’s a lot of different stuff with a lot of tastes and flavors. The plan is to hopefully get some personal vinyl's and just make something really special to point to as my own project. It’s a big part of my life so I just want to make something great. Based on where we are, the features we have so far & the direction we are heading I’m feeling really confident.
Blank Thought: Obviously as you just stated the Alchemist, but who are the artists that give you the drive and spark of creativity to want to make some beats?
Mashoni: I draw a lot of inspiration from listening to things and feeling emotions from the track and wanting to recreate that in my own way, but honestly, a lot of it as I’ve gotten older are mentality things. One of my favorite things to do is listen to artists I love and respect speak on interviews, podcasts and such because it helps me see why they do the things they do. Specifically, the Alchemist has one video where he put together a drum kit for Drum Broker that is one of my favorite videos ever. I think I must have watched that video most times that I make music. I’ve been listening to the Danny Brown show recently. The more media I take in, the more my vision and inspiration comes to pass. We make collages of what's going on in our reality, so real life can influence my music too. If I’m feeling a certain way in life, it tends to fuel and show through my music.
Blank Thought: Who are some of the people more local to our scene that inspires you & Who are some that you would want to work with going forward?
Mashoni: Some names that come to mind immediately are KnowItAll, Patty Honcho, Unruly, no god., & Mourning Run. no god. especially has been a standup guy that I’m really excited to lock in with. These guys inspire my music and are people I would be happy to work with further. It’s a fun thing to be able to work with that caliber of artist. I’m also super stoked to lock in with Zim further because Memoirs has been one of my favorite projects recently.
Blank Thought: Anything else you’d like to add?
Mashoni: In 2022 I dropped a beat tape called consigliere available on all streaming platforms, featuring my guy Blakk Treez on the track On my Grind, one of my favorite songs ever. On Bandcamp you can get my remix tape for only $7, a fairly good deal if you ask me. Shoutout my dudes locally. My tribe guys, the artists I know from home, they're super talented, I'm excited to see them make a push in their music. They’ve had my back from the jump.
Blank Thought: Thank you for your time.
Follow Mashoni: twitter.com/mashonibeats
Written By Blank Thought: linktr.ee/b1ankthought