EXCLUSIVE: Emerging Artists Discuss Recording At Iconic Stankonia Studios As Part Converse Rubber Tracks Program

Converse Rubber Tracks offered an amazing opportunity for up-and-coming artists from around the globe. Performers across multiple genres were granted free access to record music at world-renowned studios such as Atlanta’s Stankonia, Kingston’s Tuff Gong, and Brooklyn’s Converse Rubber Tracks.

“Since we opened our first permanent Converse Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn four years ago, we’ve had aspirations to elevate this program even further, hoping to extend this opportunity to artists across the globe,” stated Jed Lewis, Converse Global Music Marketing Director. “As a brand so deeply rooted in the next generation of creative spirits, we’re eager to make history while inspiring creativity and self-expression among music communities worldwide.”

In total, 12 different recording spaces participated in the program with 84 acts granted the chance to work with top-notch producers and sound engineers. AllHipHop.com connected with three of the music acts and three studio heads to get their thoughts on being part of Converse Rubber Tracks and the experience of recording in the iconic studios.

Discover A.J. Crew of Los Angeles, Gemini (Rey Morado & GC) of Atlanta, and DreamR Digital (6LACK, Edrick “Bloo” WoodsDavid LukeSteve CantrellIsaiah Smart) of Georgia. In addition, get insight from Stankonia’s Rey “Renegade” Oliver, Tuff Gong’s Marie Bruce, and Converse Rubber Tracks Brooklyn’s Brad Worrell.

ARTISTS

A.J. Crew + Gemini + 6LACK

A.J. Crew + Gemini + DreamR Digital’s 6LACK

Why did you decide to apply and participate in Converse Rubber Tracks?

A.J. Crew:

I was reading a bunch of articles online at the time and came across one on Converse Rubber Tracks. I had heard of the program before, but this article had a video with Big Boi speaking on Stankonia Studios. I was thinking, “They’re letting people record at Stankonia?!” I applied the same day. I had no expectation of getting in because I never win anything. They emailed me and I was bugging out. I didn’t know which studio I was going to be at until like a week after the initial email. When they told me I was going to be at Stankonia I damn near cried, but I was at work so I had to keep it cool. Cooler than a polar bear’s toenails… Had to make the reference.

GC of Gemini:

We were interested in the Converse Rubber Tracks session for a great opportunity to learn more about the engineering aspect of our music and to learn better ways to enhance our sound!

Isaiah Smart of DreamR Digital:

I saw a link about the initiative and looked around about it and thought it was cool. I thought that there would be no way we would make it through the thousands of applicants. But, I’m very big on “you never know until you try,” so I decided to shoot for it. Now, we’re here. You just have to be willing to take a chance even if you feel unsure sometimes.

DreamR Digital's Bloo Woods + David Luke & Steve Cantrell

DreamR Digital’s Bloo Woods + David Luke & Steve Cantrell

Now that you’ve been selected to record at Stankonia what are you most looking forward to? What are you goals for your session?

A.J. Crew:

The energy. I want to feel the vibes and get inspired by the building. A lot of classic music, not just in Hip Hop but all genres, has been made there. So I want to soak up as much of that as possible, hoping some of that energy rubs off on me. Outside of that, my focus is on creating the best work possible. Period. I have a number of songs to work on, but I don’t want to force anything. I’d rather work on one song for the whole session and have it sound amazing than to approach it scatter-brained or try to do too much. Finding the funk is necessary.

GC of Gemini:

We are definitely looking to enhance our sound, learn from the experts and the ones in the industry – even have them give us pointers with our music.

Isaiah Smart of DreamR Digital:

It’s Stankonia. The Stankonia! We are looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere that bred some of our favorite songs/albums as well as adding to that legacy. DreamR Digital has some of the best minds that music is waiting to hear. While there, we intend to fully track and mix one song and leave with 3-5 additional rough mixes. We’re excited for the experience and ready to work.

 

STUDIO HEADS

Renegade + Marie Bruce + Brad Worrell

Renegade + Marie Bruce + Brad Worrell

Why did your studio decide to partner with Converse to give free recording time to emerging artists?

Brad Worrell (Studio Manager – Converse Rubber Tracks Brooklyn):

Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn is the flagship studio that opened in July 2011 and since then, we’ve expanded the platform immensely to support local music communities. Typically, we have local bands come in for free recording sessions 5 days a week, and with this program we are so excited to be able to open our doors to so many international artists.

Marie Bruce (General Manager – Tuff Gong):

Tuff Gong is excited to partner with Converse, as the opportunity that Converse has extended to give free recording time to emerging artists is exactly in line with the vision of our founder Bob Marley encompasses. Bob’s vision for Tuff Gong was to provide independent artists an avenue housed under one facility, to provide a vehicle for them to fulfill their dreams… so we are honored to be on board with this partnership!

Rey “Renegade” Oliver (Studio Manager – Stankonia):

Stankonia Recording Studios was glad to partner with Converse for the Rubber Tracks sessions, because it’s our responsibility to help maintain a thriving music world. After all, that’s what got us to this point today.

[ALSO READ: Converse Rubber Tracks Launches Free Program For Aspiring Musicians To Record At Iconic International Studios]

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