5 Questions With….. Ken Lewis
1. What do you feel are the most important qualities and/or qualifications to be a successful producer and/or engineer?
Well,talent helps, but the things beyond that which will help you become successful are drive, focus, work ethic, business ethic, trustworthiness, personality. Rarely do I meet a successful person in the music industry without all of these traits, at least most of them.
2. You’ve worked and work with some heavyweights in the industry (Kanye West, Heavy D, Aaron Hall, Eminem, Rick Ross, Drake, Jay-Z, etc.), how is your approach to work when working with such esteemed artists as opposed to, maybe, lesser known artists? Are there any specific techniques some are required to be done in order to satisfy the overall production of the record and/or project?
Actually, I approach everybody the same, and I’m damn glad that I do. For instance, I met Just Blaze when he was an intern at a studio I worked out of a lot. As he moved up the ladder and began producing, I helped him out early on, showed him a lot about engineering and mixing, recording vocals, etc. this was before he had placed any records. As his career grew he brought me in when he could and returned the favor. I’ve seen people treat interns like shit. I don’t understand that. You should be a decent human being to everyone. It will come back to you in unforeseeable ways. I approach working with new artists the same way. They are hiring me and entrusting me with probably the most important thing in their world, and I don’t take that lightly. However, I can’t lie, its always fun working with the really big artists, there’s nothing like turning on the radio and hearing your work.
3. When you aren’t helping producers and artists create hits, you are helping others with a site you have, Audio School Online http://www.AudioSchoolOnline.com, could you tell the audience what the site is about and why you decided to extend this to the peoples?
AudioSchoolOnline.com is my way of giving back and helping the next wave of aspiring producers and engineers learn the skills they really need, taught to them from someone (me) who’s probably helped make a lot of the records they listen to. I don’t hold anything back; I pack as much knowledge into every Lesson as I can. But it’s not a “school” in the traditional sense. There is no enrollment, no commitments; everything is downloadable Video Lessons and Music Sessions. Just find what interests you and buy that. There’s also a ton of great free stuff on my site. My prices are super cheap but I do have to charge something, this site was very expensive to build and costs a lot to maintain, I really want to keep it going and build it into a great resource for anyone who wants to learn to make records. My Lessons feel like a one on one SKYPE session, like I am sitting there showing you exactly what I am doing.
4. What is Ken Lewis doing in ten years?
Oh, let me dream for a moment. Hopefully sitting on the beach writing songs. I just bought a great place on the beach in South America and I want to set up a private studio there for myself to go and write and produce when I want to get away. Who’s with me??? 10 years from now I hope I am there a lot. My entire career I never seem to be content with my accomplishments. I keep setting bigger goals and challenges, and now me and my production partner want to be the next Dr. Luke or Stargate or Fill in name of major producer / writer. We’ve been placing songs left and right lately as writer / producers so I think its a matter of time til we have a big breakout. I’ve got smaller writing and production credits on a few big albums, Watch The Throne, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, College Dropout, Rick Ross’s new album, some G Unit stuff, Ghostface, etc. But the really big career changing things are on the horizon.
5. We all know that music goes through different phases, sounds and direction, with what you’ve done in the past several years, where do you think music is going as far as sound and/or production?
I love where music is going right now. All of this blending of styles and sounds. EDM is bringing long stretches of instrumental music back to pop radio; dub step is so fresh and powerful. Me and my production partner, Brent Kolatalo, are always mixing sounds and influences. We placed a new beat last week that sounds like M.I.A. had a baby with the Black Keys. There are no rules for us, we just create what moves us and hope other people love it as much as we do. On any given day we might do a hip-hop anthem, or EDM mixed with Country, or pop with dub step influences. We are producers. We make music. We are not hip-hop producers or pop producers; we can do anything and love the challenge.