EAST NEW YORK NATIVE, ALCATRAZ ED PRODUCES, ENGINEERS AND DJ'S. AT AGE 14 HE STARTED OUT DJ’ING LOCAL PARTIES IN BROOKLYN. AROUND 1993 HE BOUGHT HIS FIRST SAMPLER AND A FOUR-TRACK MIXING BOARD WITHOUT KNOWING HOW TO GO ABOUT MAKING MUSIC. EVENTUALLY HE MOVED ON TO DAW PROGRAMS AND BEGAN WORKING ON HIS CRAFT AND PERFECTING IT. THE FIRST FEATURE HE LANDED WHEN HE JOINED A PRODUCER GROUP CALLED AUDIO NARCOS (NO LONGER WITH) WAS WITH INNOCENT?, NEMS, TRAGEDY AND OTHERS. THEN HE BEGAN TO WORK WITH INNOCENT? AND PRODUCED THE NOW CLASSIC ALBUM "ESCAPE 2 ALCATRAZ" WITH FEATURES FROM SHAZ ILLYORK, STUCK B, ROC MARCIANO AND MORE. ALCATRAZ ED IS NEW TO THE SCENE, BRINGING HIS OWN SOUND HE CONTINUES TO EXPAND AND BUILD HIS RESUME AS HE CONTINUES CREATE.
VALIDATED: Growing up, what kind of music was played in your household?
ALCATRAZ ED: My father was a DJ so I was exposed to disco, early hip hop music and early house music. I’m Puerto Rican so salsa was played heavy. My uncle used to play a bunch of soul music from his record collection. Definitely a variety of music played in my house.
VALIDATED: What makes a great producer?
ALCATRAZ ED: Creativity and passion.
VALIDATED: How do you feel New York has influenced your sound and outlook on hip-hop?
ALCATRAZ ED: Born and raised in NY, East New York, Brooklyn... definitely my environment had a lot to do with my influence. I live and breath the culture! I was a graffiti writer, I used to break dance and at one point I used to be a mc but I always was djing. The traditional sound of hip hop definitely played a major role. Boom Bap sound! I remember hearing Kool G Rap one day and it changed my whole perspective on the way I looked at hip hop. The beats knocked and I was like I need to learn how to make music like the dark street stuff I gravitate to. So I started to study on my own about everything and anything hip hop from the very beginning of its roots and where it started. Big up to the Bronx for starting it, the Mecca of it all.
VALIDATED: When did you decide to take producing from a hobby to a career?
ALCATRAZ ED: I have been making music since the 90’s and perfecting it ever since. Career wise about four years ago. So I’m new to some but been working on it for years.
VALIDATED: What was the first peice of producers equipment you owned?
ALCATRAZ ED: I had a gemini sampling mixer with a four track mixing board and one turn table because my other turn table was broken. The struggle was real! LOL
VALIDATED: What type of equipment do you use now?
ALCATRAZ ED: Reason is my go to. I have been using the software since the first version so I use it for programming. And Logic for editing, mixing vocals, etc. Recycle to chop samples if that’s what I’m doing. I also use Sony Sound Forge. I will be adding some out board gear soon. It’s always a work in progress but it’s not what you have it’s what you can do with it.
VALIDATED: How did you get your start in the music industry?
ALCATRAZ ED: It all started about four years ago when I hooked up with The Amazing SB. We started a producer group call Audio Narcos. We started to work with established artists and working on getting features and pushing that brand all independently. Eventually it came to a end. I’m no longer a unit with another producer but it definitely created other opportunities when I departed.
VALIDATED: What did you have to sacrifice to excel at your craft?
ALCATRAZ ED: Time and family life.
VALIDATED: What goals did you have set before you started your career?
ALCATRAZ ED: To be recognized as one of the elite. Setting the bar high and creating my own signature sound.
VALIDATED: Who is one of your mentors? How did you first meet them and how has working with them influenced your own production?
ALCATRAZ ED: My cousin and brother, they make house music. Their approach to making house music is what influenced me. The technique and understanding of sound, placement, bridges and mixing every sound as you create.
VALIDATED: Who would you say inspires you most?
ALCATRAZ ED: There is so much music out there right now that inspires me but I vibe off trip hop or downtempo music, classical music, 70’s funk instrumentals, experimentation albums from the 60’s and 70’s. I go back and listen to older hip hop at times from 85-90’s depending on my mood.
VALIDATED: Who are your top 3 hip-hop producers of all time and why?
ALCATRAZ ED: Damn, that’s a short list because there are so many. Not in any particular order. Rza, definitely! Too many classics under his belt. Dj Premier, he has a signature sound. Anytime you here his music you know he made it. Dj Muggs, the whole Cypress Hill sound is so dope to me. I know you said 3 but definitely some honorable mention’s, Alchemist, Pete Rock, Stan Da Man and Prince Paul just to name a few.
VALIDATED: Which major artist have you worked with?
ALCATRAZ ED: I’m working with Innocent? often. That’s family right there, I’m one of his in house producers. We have a really good chemistry and that’s important when creating. Plus his work ethic is unmatched. Additional production credits include Shaz Illyork, St. Ivan the Terrible, Royal Flush, Nems, Roc Marci, Tek, Stuck B, Sean Doe and Da Ded Rabbits. I'm looking forward to working with other artists in the future as well. I’m still fairly new up and coming.
VALIDATED: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give the younger you pertaining to your craft?
ALCATRAZ ED: Learn and absorb as much as you can because knowledge is power. Apply it and do what you feel in your heart you want to create. Be original and don’t let anybody in your circle that’s a energy vampire. Cut them loose! Keep like minded and creative individuals surrounding you. Also every beat is not for every artist so if they turn it down that should be motivation to make something better. And if you make something that’s wack delete it! Don’t hold on to something you're not going to work on. Try to out do yourself at all times and don’t worry about what everybody else is doing. Learn how to stay away from social media when in the creative process because it’s just a distraction.
VALIDATED: What is distinctive about a production?
ALCATRAZ ED: I've been working on my sound for years. I definitely have a signature sound and it’s my own. I took elements of older hip hop but put it together with a new feel giving it more body and full of sound. At times it’s real cosmic, hard, slapping, soulful and dark with a bunch of sounds hidden in the background. My approach is like a painting. You won’t see everything the first time but if you look you will find little details in the background. Mixing is a big part of my production process. I mix all my own beats and apply it to every single sound separately. This makes a big difference and separate’s me from other producers. I’m very hands on as well and that includes working with a artists ideas. Just sending a beat to someone with no input is stale and makes for generic kinds of songs.
VALIDATED: What upcoming projects can we expect for the 2nd half of 2018?
ALCATRAZ ED: Right now Innocent? and myself are in the beginning stages of making the "Escape2Alcatraz 2", a follow up to the original release "Escape2Alcatraz".
So if you're a fan of dope beats and rhymes you will definitely enjoy what we are about to do. In the mean time Innocent? and myself dropped "Perspectives Part 1". "Perspectives Part 2" coming soon. Just a sample of what’s coming. I got some stuff coming out with St Ivan the Terrible soon also.
VALIDATED: Where can the fans support you and your music online and social media?
ALCATRAZ ED: You can follow me on Instagram Alcatraz_Ed, Twitter Alcatrazedd1 and SoundCloud Alcatraz-Ed. I respond to anybody so hit me up.