Thirty Five Ventures’ The Boardroom Podcast Network in partnership with Cadence13 dropped the 2nd episode of Kevin Durant’s new podcast, The Etc’s with Kevin Durant, Drake’s longtime right-hand, producer and co-founder of OVO Records… the legendary Noah “40” Shebib!
Kevin and 40’s conversation spans everything from: 40’s origins in Toronto, his early musical influences, the impetus of his relationship with Drake, the birth of the OVO sound, Drake’s musical and technical genius, dealing with success, building a musical empire, and details on Drake’s next album!
More specifically, the conversation with “40” and Kevin covers off on:
- The impetus for Noah’s love and passion for both music and math at an early age; and how he became a self-taught DJ and Producer.
- His relationship and working with Drake: first meeting and building together from there.
- Early musical influences, especially with R&B icons Toni Braxton and Mary J Blige.
- Mixing “So Far Gone” in a hotel room, and one of the earliest, most valuable lessons he learned by working with Drake on a new, original sound
- Being a master at dictating the sound of every track down to the last detail.
- The intricacies and reach of Drake’s albums and musical style/range: “he makes two types of R&B and two types of rap”.
- The city of Toronto and all that comes with its musical inspiration and more.
- The process of sourcing and bringing in new producers: “Someone’s always got the bounce”.
- His influence on OVO and other artists, like Travis Scott — but by the same token, consciously declining to work with other artists beyond Drake’s and OVO’s scope.
- Drake’s next album: anticipation and timing for release!
Available now, you can listen to the premiere of The Etc’s with Kevin Durant on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RADIO.com and everywhere podcasts are available.
Below are pull quotes from the episode:
On technical elements of creating Drake’s “So Far Gone”
“I’ll never forget when we did So Far Gone. The most asked question I would get is ‘what console did you mix that on?’ I was like, ‘what console did I mix that on? I did this on my laptop in the hotel room. Like, what are you talking about? I mix this on a clock radio and a pair of headphones’, but that was like a foreign concept to people like you weren’t allowed to do that. You needed a big studio and big money and you have to pay big mixers and get the big SSL. And like, ‘yo, you missed out on a G plus or a J what’d you mix it on’. It’s like, ‘yo dude, what are you talking about? I didn’t mix that on nothing. ProTools headphones all inside the box’. So like we were at a time where that was brand new. Now that’s the norm that’s standard. Everybody records in the hotel room. When me and Drake were recording in hotel rooms. That was like a very, very unorthodox thing.”
On his sampling process
“It’s nostalgia for me. When I’m reaching for samples, I’m trying to find like some of the most like nostalgic moments for me, like things that I miss and moments that I can remember from like my own childhood or my own journey that like sparked a chord with me that I never forgot. A moment in the back of a car where somebody puts on a song and you’re just like, Oh shit, this is crazy. It’s a special moment. I’m trying to capture those moments again.
“…I sample a lot for Drake because Drake doesn’t care about the business behind this shit. He cares about the music. So like a lot of people will be like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to sample that. That’s going to cost too much money or that’s going to this or that’. Like, Drake’s like, ‘I don’t care. Like if that’s the song, that’s the song. Like how much, what do they want? Whatever, give it to them. Like, let’s make this work’.
On Drake’s musical and technical genius, especially as a producer
“Yo, listen, he’s so fucking hands on. His impact is so great when he’s in the room… He knows exactly what things are supposed to sound like. He dictates most of it. I’ve reaped the benefit of that my entire career. All of that praise, I give so much of that back to Drake. Are you crazy? Half of this shit is him, man. It’s all his ideas.”
“…it’s him who’s got those ideas. It’s him who’s got those visions. Every fucking time. You know? It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about. Sample ideas, pieces, loops, whatever, anything. He’s an incredible producer, but he’s just knows what the (shit’s) supposed to sound like.”
“…But he doesn’t take all the credit for it, and I’ve often given him production credit, uh, on (the song) ‘Fucking Problems’ it’s produced by 40 and Champagne Papi. And that was before he even had the Instagram handle. That was just like, a nickname we were calling him back then and … ‘So, I was just like, it was a joke. I thought it was funny. I was like, “Yo, bro, I’m giving you a credit on this. You crazy?'”
On declining to work with other artists
“I probably solidified the decision when I, I won the ASCAP Songwriter Award three years in a row. And I think it was ’11, ’12, ’13. And so, in ’13 when I won it a third year in a row, I’m sitting there like, ‘Yo, I only have ever worked with one artist. This is crazy.’ Like, what, like… I’m songwriter of the year again? Right, this is like, insane. Like, what.’
That moment, I was like, ‘I’m never working with anybody ever again.’ Because it’s just too much work. It’s too much effort. I don’t need to do that. It’s, and it’s a very emotionally exhausting experience to go into the studio with somebody and create from scratch and do all of that. I found one of my best friends, and we make incredible music together. And it’s just kind of like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know, what, what am I here to, to do? Like, I’m gonna go sit with someone else and have to, like, relearn that energy and figure out what we’re gonna do, and blah, blah, blah.’ And also, I make, like, slow ass, like, dark ass R and B and like, fucked up weird music that only Drake knows what to do with. Give that shit to other people, and they’ll look at me like I’m crazy, right? So that’s kind of, like, you know, also it sort of turns me off from wanting to branch out. And then, I always tell people, like, ‘Yo, man, we’re in a band, and I’m like, the lead guitar player. Like, you’re asking me to go play for your band?” Like, fuck outta here. Like, we’re killing it.’
“That’s another reason why I’m almost scared to branch away from the boy, because I need his help. I need his guidance and assistance and reassurance in what I’m doing. Right? I, but I think that what we have created is, is just special and unique, and I don’t want to give that away. I don’t want someone else to have the sound that we have. You know? Like, only he gets that, and that makes it more valuable for him and it makes it more valuable for me.
“And truthfully, I don’t think every other artist in the world is good enough to take my weird ass shit and turn it into something as incredible as Drake.”
“Straight up. Most people you’d give them Marvin’s Room, be like, “What the fuck is this?” Shit don’t sound like anything. I’d be, ‘Yeah, it doesn’t sound like anything….make a song out of it?’ I don’t know. Drake did.” You know? And when he does that shit, I’m just like, “Yeah, fuck everybody. He’s the goat. Like, I don’t need to s- deal with no one else.” And then on top of that, man, he’s incredible. He’s so talented. His bars are crazy. The way he makes songs is crazy. He talks to you. He’s not even rapping. There’s no work. There’s no mental labor to listen to a Drake song. He’s just talking to you.”
On the story behind inspiring a young Travis Scott:
“You can always figure it out. And me and Drake made So Far Gone on a little laptop in 2009 with a little M-Box and a little shitty TLM-103 microphone, and like, that’s it. You know, we didn’t have nothing. And we went and we made that whole album. It’s funny, Travis Scott told me this story one time. When I first met him, the first time I met was at Wireless Fest in London, I think. And he came to me, he was like, ’40, man. This one time you did this…’ ….’You did this post-‘ Excuse me. So you did this post on the OVO blog about all you need is this microphone, and an interface, and a shitty laptop, and like you can, you can get it done. Like don’t let no one tell you need more, you know, you don’t. That’s all you need. And he was like ‘man, you, you posted that and I went and I showed it to my mom, and, and I-I told her like, yo, you, we gotta buy this mic and we gotta buy this and that, trust me this is all I need and I begged her for it and, and she bought it for me and look- look-look what happened, look what happened, you know?’ … and he’s sitting there like telling me this shit in wireless. I’m like wow, fuck, crazy. You know?”
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