Music is often solely viewed as a whole, finished product and rarely for the various, crucial parts it’s creation process comprises of. Needless to say, production is probably the most integral stage of the entire process. Producers bear the brunt of the work; creating and polishing the sound behind the scenes while receiving little to no spotlight. Some desire as much fame/recognition as the performing artist while for others, a single line crediting their work is just enough.
For Lagos based trap producer on the rise, Chukwudi, the latter is all he seeks. Releasing music anonymously under the moniker, weirdjason, and collaborating with fellow budding acts like ICTOOICY, Bianco, and Osayuki, the 17-year-old is slowly making his mark on the Nigerian trap scene.
Tell us about yourself?
weirdjason: My name is Chukwudi. I’m 17 and I live in Lagos. Just got into uni a month ago and everything sucks. I do not know about any of that introvert or extrovert stuff because I’m quite literally just floating through life. Almost every media I like is at the far edges of both sides of the spectrum of insanely gritty and dark (from movies to music) to cute and upbeat which you can mostly tell from the stuff I make. I’d like to believe I’m good at what I do or I’m not and everyone’s lying. But who cares, I’m having fun. Everyone says I’m funny. Am I? I don’t know. I just say words and people laugh.
How did the name ‘weirdjason’ spring about?
weirdjason: Jason’s my middle name, Chukwudi is my first. weirdjason was my 2go username and I’ve just kinda stuck with it ever since.
Why the anonymity?
weirdjason: To be honest I do not like taking pictures.
So that’s the sole reason?
weirdjason: That and people have gotten used to not knowing my real face so I’ve just run with it.
Do you have any face to your online persona at all?
weirdjason: Yeah, Fubuki from One Punch Man.
What got you into music?
weirdjason: Would you believe me if I said Humble by Kendrick Lamar back in 2017? I never was an avid listener of the music of any kind until I heard that song.
So that’s what got you into production?
weirdjason: Not really. There was a melody I used to hum in my head back in school and I just wanted to pull it out somehow. Then l discovered FL Studio and it slowly became my hobby.
Who would you say are some of your biggest music influences?
weirdjason: Ronny J, Pierre, Kenny Beats, and Scarlxrd
Every producer has a particular audience they naturally appeal to, how would you best describe the music you typically create? Who is your sound for?
weirdjason: [I] don’t really know how best to put it because I just make whatever genre I like and the tone’s ever-changing. Yeah, I’d just call it 808-heavy music because a lot of people have told me I always go over and beyond with the 808s in my beats, no matter the genre.
Can you describe your creative process? Do you have any rituals per se?
weirdjason: [I] don’t really have any major wizardry behind my creative process. Every day I just open up the DAW [Digital Audio Workstation] and hope whatever melody I’m working with doesn’t sound terrible because it falls from there but yeah first melody, then percussions, and then the 808s.
Your produced work is prominent for the unorthodox curation of samples used, how do you usually select your samples?
weirdjason: Basically whatever sounds right and has minimal amounts of drums. Sometimes a sample could be bad on its own but end up sounding amazing with a little manipulation; mostly reversing and chopping.
Do you have any particular aesthetic you usually go for?
weirdjason: Mostly distortion with excessive 808 slides.
What do you think sets you apart from other producers in your lane?
weirdjason: [I] don’t really think there’s anything tbh. We’re all just making good beats.
So you don’t think you have a distinctive sound?
weirdjason: Probably stemming from my 808s.
How long does it take you to come up with a beat on an average?
weirdjason: It takes me on average 2-3 hours to complete a beat. The shortest time I’ve ever made one was 10 mins.
Your SoundCloud discography is quite dense, what’s your favorite collaboration or beats you’ve made so far?
weirdjason: Collab would have to be ‘777’ with Osayuki. While my favorite beat is ‘Hajimemashita’.
Have you faced any altercations with artists regarding crediting while working with them?
weirdjason: Absolutely none. But it’s a different story when it comes to pricing. I’ve had an artiste tell me (rudely) that my work was not good enough for the price I had stated. It didn’t really affect me because there comes a point in your career where you know your work is good. And not in a way that says you’re bragging.
So what did you end up doing?
weirdjason: I just remained courteous and told him “alright”. He came back a week later asking again but I rejected [him].
Do you have a particular process in picking the artists you work with? Or it’s just whoever asks for a beat?
weirdjason: Yeah, if they’re good or someone I’ve always wanted to work with I find a way to contact them. If the message [me] first then we talk about pricing (depends on if we’re friends or not.)
Does your creative process differ when working with artists you approach vs artists that approach you?
weirdjason: Yup, especially when they tell me specifically what they want.
So when you approach an artist do you usually have a vision in mind?
weirdjason: Yeah I usually make stuff in tune with their type of music before contacting them. Never messaged straight up without having nothing to give [them].
How soon do you discuss pricing when working with an artist?
weirdjason: Depends on who contacts first. Almost immediately when told you to want to be worked with. If I contact first I send like a snippet and if they like it then we talk pricing.
The importance of producers is often belittled by consumers as well as artists. What are your thoughts on that?
weirdjason: A good beat can always elevate a vocal, likewise a good vocal can do vice-versa. Only a handful of talented artists can make a good song with just their vocals and now this isn’t bragging but most producers (especially in EDM) can really just release a track without any vocals and it’ll still sound amazing. So yeah the belittlement hurts especially coming from artists but there’s really nothing you can do about it from the consumer perspective. Like when a song uses a good sample you hear things like “this [artiste] sampled this omg he’s a genius” when in reality it’s the producer that sampled it. It’s even worse when different songs use the same sample because a lot of people are not aware of what sampling and interpolation are, they just straight-up call it stealing.
Right now, you’re still in the underground scene. What’s your vision for your music ahead? Do you plan on doing this full time in the future?
weirdjason: [I] don’t know actually. it’s just a hobby and if it ends up booming any further then I’m going with it.
Lastly, how would you describe the current climate for upcoming producers in Nigeria and what would you suggest can be done to change it?
weirdjason: [The] current climate is good already. There’s a lot of hidden talent slowly reaching its way to the surface. Things are going to change soon.