If you’ve gotten someone pregnant in the last decade Steve McKie is probably partly to blame. The veteran Philadelphia based producer has put the “O” in Neo soul gems like Jill Scott’s “My Love” and tracks for Bilal, Lizz Fields, Vivian Green and Kindred The Family Soul.
Today Bilal’s Airtight’s Revenge hits stores so I had a quick chat with Steve, who has been making music with Bilal since 2001, about their creative process and whether the eclectic singer is really two Cheese steaks short of a picnic.
So, is Bilal crazy?
Nah. [laughs] He’s not crazy at all. It’s crazy that he gets that tag a lot. He’s just not the conventional R&B type of guy that people expect. If he’s crazy then we’re all crazy. We all have our special way of doing things. He’s actually a down to earth dude.
You produced seven tracks on Airtight’s Revenge. When did you start working on this album?
I’d say we started in late 2008 and had like 13 songs. We just went through a bunch of sounds, locked ourselves in the studio and experimented with different snare drums and kicks. It took a bunch of time because we had that freedom to just experiment and be creative.
I’ve been listening to the Love For Sale leak for years. What kind of creative zone were you guys in for that album?
We recorded that entire album at Electric Lady. For me that was some of my best work as a producer and a drummer. It was innovative and crossed a lot of boundaries. We had a whole lot of inspiration and we tried to take it and …it was sad that that record got leaked. I wish it would have been released commercially. But we were able to tour still and it still reached people. We worked on “Gotsa Be Cool” “Let It Go” there were a lot of songs that people didn’t’ hear from that record. We were trying to get them on the new release but it just didn’t happen. Some of the songs like a remake of Stevie Wonder’s “Rocket Love” and the label erased the file for whatever reason. That was a great record.
I walked in the studio and there was no drums–just a Rhodes and a bass amp. The room that was going to be for the drums had really great acoustics. Back then, 2001, 2002, I felt like I was in H.S. tapping on tables and we just made kick from candle and notepad, put a drum mic on the floor and made a wild acoustic kick. That was a wild record…