This interview originally appeared on EARSTYLE July 01, 2009
EARSTYLE.NET recently had the opportunity to catch up with Producer Los Da Mystro. We are fans of his work and it was great learning how he got his start and learning about some great projects he have in the works. He even has some advice for up & coming Producers. Check out the interview and be inspired!
Congratulations on all of your success over the last few hears! How does it feel to be one of the hottest producers in the game?
It feels real good. I still keep quite a low profile. It definitely feels good. It’s been a long haul for where I am at. It wasn’t an overnight success. It’s been a long grind man. I’m happy to be here and hopefully to continue to bring great music, hits, and acts.
What exactly was that long haul? How did you get to where you are today?
What most people really don’t know about me is that I actually started off as a musician. I started playing piano at the age of 3. I come from a historical Jazz family out in Detroit. My uncles were Jazz musicians that played with some of the greatest Jazz musicians. My uncle was one of the greatest solo pianists in the world. So I grew up around all types of music. Jazz and classical pianos from the time I was 3. I got my first keyboard when I was 12 years old. I started playing in clubs at the age of 12. I was in the band and playing all of the latest hits in cover bands. They had to sneak me in to the clubs and cabarets. (Laughs) So I’ve been doing this for a long time.
When did you start laying down tracks for others?
The first time I started laying down tracks was when…I started laying down tracks for money when I was in I was in sixth grade (laughs). Not for artists, but just for people who wanted to sing other people’s song or sing their own karaoke. If they couldn’t find the track I would reproduce the song for them. So I started making money doing that. So that was kind of my intro in production, but I was learning other people song and reproducing it. I learned the elements of how to make a basic track and how to do those things. From there I went on the road as a jazz musician for a while and traveled all over the world. On breaks I started doing a show called “New York Undercover” with my Godfather James. I was young at the time, but I started learning the ropes. If you ever seen the show at the end of the show they had a production/artist come and do an old school song. From there I had a chance to lay the tracks down. The piano parts along with the drums. From there I got to work with Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle. Pretty much everybody that was on that show. I had a hands on with. That was the basis for my production and learning from that old school type of era. From there I just took it and ran with it.
You definitely have a trademark sound that many recognize you for. How did you come up with that sound?
My trademark sound…well what people call my trademark sound. I do a lot of different things that people don’t even know its me, because it does not sound like my “trademark sound”. The trademark sound is kind of what they call the Prince drums, which is basically an effect that I put over the drums. I was a big Prince fan so I just tried different things. I never sampled his song per say, but I just tried that effect that he used back in the day on the drums. I just started experimenting with those things and just tried to create a sound. With that I came up with the Los sound. (Laughs).
I was surprised when I found out you did Electrik Red’s “Friend Lover”. It’s pretty different compared to some of your other work.
Yeah, I try to just push the envelope and do some different days. Sometimes I just do my tribute to music I grew up loving. Prince, Michael Jackson, even “Walking On The Moon” just had the Michael drums and feel to it. We did that and I had no idea that Michael Jackson was going to pass. That was just my tribute to the good music, but still make it modern. Dream “Fast Car” was kind of my tribute to Prince’s sound. “Friend Lover” was a mixture of Michael, Prince, and Ready For The World, and The Toms. I kind of just do a track that I grew up listening to and my mom listening to, music that I consider great music. People love it! (Laughs).
Speaking of Michael, when do you hear the news about his passing?
I was on my way to the gym in Jersey driving down the street. I was listening to the radio station Hot97. They just stopped playing, I think they were playing Soulja Boy or something. They just said “5 seconds of silence” and then all of the sudden they started playing “Beat It”. I was just like estranged. I just pulled over and Googled Michael Jackson. It said Michael Jackson died 2 minutes ago. I said wow and then I got the calls that he passed. I pulled over on the highway and just sat there in disbelief. I was just dumbfounded. It was just so surreal.
We have to also celebrate his legacy, what are some of your favorite Michael Jackson moments?
My favorite moment was…I actually got to see the Thriller tour. My mom took me to see that. I was all the way up in the bleachers, but I did get to see that. I also saw the Victory tour so I got to see him in concert twice. My other favorite moment was the Grammys 1984 when he introduced the moonwalk. I just remember after that going to second grade going to school and everyone was talking about it. From there it was just Michael Jackson fever. This year we actually reached out to him about getting on “walking On The Moon” with Dream. We were hoping that would happen this year, but he didn’t do it. There were also talks of me working on the next album as well. Those are my favorite Michael Jackson moments right there.
If you could add your own flavor and cover a Jackson track which would it be?
Oh wow! Everytime I sit down at a Piano I always play “Can’t Help It”.
You have worked with everyone from The Dream to Usher. What are some of the upcoming projects that you have worked on?
Mariah, R. Kelly, Jordin Sparks, Jazmine Sullivan, and I am about to go back in with Usher.
Someone on Twitter wanted to know if you worked with Monica on her upcoming album.
Yes I did. We have an incredible single on her. She’s finishing the album. It’s an incredible song. It’s actually one of my favorite songs I did in a while. Actually, it was written for Mary, but Monica ended up cutting it.
Speaking of Mary, another person wanted to know fi you were going with her for her album.
Yes, Yes. We are supposed to link up sometime soon. We just worked together in LA. I think we are going back in at the end of this month.
You also worked with Def Jam’s Amerie. How did that turn out?
Amerie went really well. I did that with Sean Garrett. I think we came up with some great songs for her. I am anxious to see what her project is going to do. Great vocals, great person, and she has great energy. The energy is crazy! What’s funny is I think her and Mary have the same birthday and it’s the day after mine.
Well y’all need to have a big bash and just let me know when it’s going down. Send me an invite! (Laughs)
Yeah I know, right! Absolutely! (Laughs).
Amerie have been compared to Mary since day one. I have to agree, they both have great energy and are extremely talented.
Both of their energies are incredible. Incredible people.
What else are you working on?
Sometime in the near future I am going to do an album kind of like what Quincy Jones did back in the day with a Presents album. Something where I will be featured, because I do sing, but I will do production. It will feature different artists I work with and some of my artists. A feature album.
I have an artist doing something on my own record label. Her name is Taymalo Ren. You can check her out at TaymaloRen.com and twitter.com/TaymaloRen. We have a first single that is going to radio really soon. It’s called “Slow Grindin”. That’s one thing I am very excited about. She’s from Detroit, a great voice. She’s a dancer and an entertainer. She’s on point, so we are bringing her out.
What’s the name of the label?
The label is called Da Mystro Music. Most of my stuff is Mystro. I’m also really excited to go in with Jamie Foxx. He’s about to come right back out in December. We were supposed to go in to work last week, but he got really busy with the Awards and Michael Jackson passing. We have some great songs that we are about to cut.
December Release? He’s about to do some more numbers!
(Laughs) He’s going in! His album is going to be a great album.
What artist would you like to work with?
That’s like everyone’s favorite answer to that question. She is definitely great at what she does and has been doing it since she stepped into the game.
She’s incredible. (Laughs)
What’s your favorite track that you have produced?
My favorite track? Wow that’s a hard one man. Honestly, I would say “Bed”. That’s a favorite. I think “Trading Places” was one of my favorite tracks as well. “Fast Car” was one of my favorites and “Friend Lover”.
What’s your advice to up & coming producers?
My advice to up & coming producers is if you want to have a long career and have longevity in this business, learn all types of music. Don’t be just a producer that only produces Hip Hop beats or R&B. Learn types of styles of music. Go back and dig into Classic R&B, dig in to Rock, dig in to the 80′s Pop Rock, dig in to 90′s R&B. Just go in and dig. Knowing music, you have to know your history. Just like Michael Jackson knew James Brown. You have to know that history. He had the style of dance like James Brown and the style of Frank Sinatra. To be great you have to know the history and put it all together.