After independently releasing one of our favourite LPs of last year, Black Koolaid, Boonie Mayfield is back with another project – this time on film. Doing things independently has gone way past just music in the past couple of years, with independent video makers utilising platforms like YouTube and Vimeo to create their own video shows, series, and even banding together for independent online video networks. Boon Documented is reality TV without the wannabes, and gives viewers an insight into Boonie’s life and musical path. In this first episode Boonie makes the dream of many a soul producer a reality and buys his own Fender Rhodes, and we get to go on the journey to find, collect, and install it with him. Boonie and friends’ talent and enthusiasm is portrayed superbly throughout the show, and we’re really excited about having an interesting, independent video series to watch over the coming months. Watch it below, and subscribe to Boonie’s YouTube channel to get new episodes delivered to your YouTube homepage as they become available! (You’re subscribed to the Oh Drat YouTube channel too, right?!) You can also read our interview with the man himself here when you’re done…
Boonie Mayfield, aka Boon Doc, came to prominence through his YouTube videos; considering most beatmaking clips are lucky to break a four figure view count, the fact that one of Boonie’s is approaching a million views is indicative of something special. Despite years of putting in work (and putting out videos) he’s only just released his debut LP, but as you’ll see from our review we were relieved to find it was worth it. We caught up with Boonie for a chat on production style, advice, perseverence, and a whole lot more…
Boonie Mayfield: Yeah, it was really important. Basically, I’ve been on the YouTube scene and everything like that for the past four years, and people have been waiting forever for an album.
“a lot of the stuff I was hearing I thought I could recreate and it would sound like something I would sample”
I’d started using Ableton to do live sets and originally Black Koolaid was gonna be an instrumental album but it was gonna be ‘normal’, you know, and what ended up happening was I was practicing one of my sets I was gonna do for a show, and I burned it on CD just to ride to and see how it sounded, and I was like “you know what? This is gonna be Black Koolaid. A listening experience where everything flows”… I was more excited about the album once I decided that.
OD: Gotcha – so when it comes to the way everything flows, what are you using? Did we hear Stutter Edit in there, or is it custom stuff in Live?
BM: Ahaaa! (laughs) A lot of people have been asking that, and I’ve been kinda keeping it a secret! I use a lot of the effects that are in Ableton, but there are a couple of programs… I’ll give one of ‘em away, The Finger from Native Instruments. I set up the automation to the faders and pads and do all that stuff live.
OD: I gather you had a bit of bad luck about 18 months ago when your studio got turned over – it must’ve felt like the end of the world at the time, but what did having to build your set up from the ground up again do for your sound and approach?
BM: I’d just started to dabble in Logic around that time, and at the time I was rebuilding the studio there were just so many VSTs and AUs that were coming out that I was just researching, you know, “what VST has really good sounding horns?” and all that stuff, and I built a pretty good arsenal of a lot of instruments that sound to me really authentic. Although I love sampling I kinda got a little bored for a while, and at the same time learning all this music theory and getting better with keys and all that, so a lot of the stuff I was hearing I thought I could recreate and it would sound like something I would sample – that’s what started happening after I got robbed. After it happened I think a lot of people thought I was was gonna lose my mind, and to tell you the truth I did… for like an hour. Something in me just kept on telling me “this is not over”. Truth be told it was kind of a struggle for a bit, but I wouldn’t take it back at all.
OD: It’s good to hear that it kind of turned into a positive experience, I guess.
BM: Yeah, it definitely did! (laughs)
When Boonie Mayfield calls himself a Hip Hop and Soul producer he means it in the truest sense
We’re not purists per se, but I do think it’s a bit of a stretch to call hip hop beats with soul samples soul. When Boonie Mayfield calls himself a Hip Hop and Soul producer however, he means it in the truest sense of the word. Black Koolaid features 23 cuts, three of which sound like they’ve been pulled straight off old Buddha and Stax instrumental sessions. For my money they’re actually the strongest points of the LP, but that’s not to discount the other 20, which are slices of neck snapping prowess with a definitely Detroit sounding bent. Filtered chords, rimshots and fingersnaps are the order of the day, but there’s enough variation to ensure things stay interesting throughout and with Black Koolaid’s pay-what-you-like price tag, there’s very little reason not to give this a chance to woo you.
Available directly from booniemayfield.com, take a look at a video performance from the launch party below – and we’ll have an exclusive interview with Boonie on Oh Drat next week, so stay tuned!