BLOCK: featuring the hottest Hip Hop Producers across the board!
This is the spot where you'll see upcoming producers as well as established
veterans in the game.Alot
of people don't know what
goes into production. This will be the section where we feature the hottest
producers on the scene. Each month we'll bring to you a new producer along with
MONTH'S FEATURE IS: Sir
ve worked with alot of people.. but the most memorable for me were working
with the new artists and seeing what their careers became. That was
the best feeling for me... but I mean doing a song with T.I. and Andre
3000 doesn't hurt either, lol."
Born in Philadelphia in
1986, Derel Sir Clef Haynes knew from his background in church
that he wanted to pursue music. Soon, he was taken under the wing of super
producers Carvin Ransum Haggins and Keith Pelzer where he earned
his stripes in music production, working with artists as varied as Will Smith,
Floetry, Kenny Latimore, Timbaland, Lil Kim and Boys II Men, just to name
But that wasnt enough
for Clef he stepped up his production game, focusing on musicianship,
taught himself to play keys by ear and moved to Atlanta to make his mark.
With his own production set-up, he circulated beats he made in ProTools and
Logic, landing him gigs with T.I., André 3000, Freeway, Charlie Baltimore,
Robin Thicke, Keri Hilson and numerous others.
Clef classifies his sound
as "unpredictable" with cultural influences that know no boundaries.
Clef's current focus is on nothing but the years of work ahead and constantly
redefining himself. As he puts it, "Without faith nothing is possible,
with it nothing's impossible."
You are orginally from Philly? How was that growing up?
Yes, North Philly....Philly is Philly, what can I say, lol.
At what point did you know that music is something that you wanted to pursue?
was always around me .... growing up in my home church and family I was surrounded
by musicians and producers... watching them grow into their craft I realized
thats what I wanted to do.
What were some of your musical influences growing up?
ATOJ (CARVIN & IVAN, VIDAL & DRE,KEITH & DARREN),THE ROOTS CREW,
Scott Storch, JAMES POYSER, Teddy Riley, JUST BLAZE, RICH HARRISON, TIM MOSLEY,
Quincy Jones, Swiss Beatz, THE NEPTUNES, B.COX, DR DRE, Rockwilder , COOL
& DRE, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, Lil Jon, Rodney Jerkins,
Ryan Leslie, Kanye West, Tim & BOB, Polow Da Don, Khao, T.I, DJ Quik,
The Runners, Track Stars ,Heatmakers, Sean Combs, Kevin Liles, L.A Reid, Clive
Davis, & Berry Gordy.
How has your Church background influenced you?
I went from playing drums to playing keys..... learned a lot of music theory
and structure from it.
Who are your musical infuences now?
I'm a fan of music period..... I have respect for the real musicians and people
who utilize their musicianship to the max.
How did you link up with producers Carvin Ransum Haggins and
Carvin and Keith are like family .... they family were members of our church.
What artist(s) have been the most memorable to work with so far in your
I' ve worked with alot of people... but the most memorable for me were working
with the new artists and seeing what their careers became. That was the best
feeling for me... but I mean doing a song with T.I. and Andre 3000 doesn't
hurt either, lol.
Who has the craziest work ethic you've seen so far in the studio?
The Dream... I was blessed enough to work with him in Vegas.. I've seen him
write a whole song within 15 min and was ready to move to the next one. DJ
Toomp too, He sits in-front of his keyboards for hrs banging out tracks.
In terms of production, what is your process? Do you use live instruments,
It really depends on the artist or what feel I'm going for on the track.
Do you use alot of samples, or do you like re-playing samples manually?
I'm not really a sample person but when I do I try to play over them to take
them to another level or to the point where I can remove the sample.
Are you using mostly software or hardware?
Take us through a typical studio session with you..
Depending on who I'm working with, the sessions change but I'm a silly person
I try to make a comfortable fun work enviroment.
Do you think an artist or producer can do it alone these days by just leveraging
the internet, YouTube, etc?
Yes.. there are alot of people who are doing it.
What do you like to get into on your downtime? What do you do for fun?
I'm random. I'll just think of something and wanna go do it..... from shooting
pool to theme parks and depending on how I feel that may be the same day,
What you got in the ipod right now?
Kendrick Lamar ,Big Sean, Kanye, T.I., Maroon 5, The Bird and the Bee, Andre
3000, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Adele, Brandy, Asap Rocky, Journey and so on...
I listen to alot of different types of music.
So how did getting T.I. and Andre 3000 on the "Sorry" track come
I linked up with Jazze Pha a few months back and we were working on a a couple
tracks for T.I.'s project and a few weeks ago we received a call saying that
they picked 1 and that it was featuring Andre 3000.... my mouth dropped ..
Will we see any more projects with you involved with Andre 3000?
Not as I know of but it would be an honor... he is one of the artist I've
always wanted to work with.
So what else is on deck for you?
Working on a couple different projects .. a couple placements floating around.
Looking ahead, what are your long term goals?
I really didn't set a goal... I just feel whatever blessing that God has waiting
for m.e, i'll accept them with open arms .