19-year-old British old school hip hop producer Motel Eola is infecting the world with his vintage beats. Growing up the UK, Motel’s original dream was to become an MC, and not long after he quickly realised that making beats was where his heart really lies. At a very young age Motel has successfully tapped into the original roots of hip hop, which is quite fascinating considering the brand of hip hop that is brought out today. We chat to Motel about his production process, why he’s getting so much love from abroad and not much at home, and about his latest EP’s that have been dropping in the lead up to his debut beat tape ‘Kids looking for gold.’ Margaret Tra writes.
How did you get started in producing?
To begin with I thought I wanted to MC, and as it was my introduction to the scene, I wanted to create an amazing project of hip hop as my first release. I quickly realised the key to doing this would be through original music, and even better if it was self produced. Somewhere around half way through my short MC life span, I started producing my own beats and sometime later the phone I used to write my lyrics on broke, leaving me stranded with nothing but a bunch of beats with no lyrics. After a while I started back on making beats, stuck to it, then realised I had more of an affinity to producing than rapping. I'm too much of a fan to rap myself, I'd much rather produce a beat for another artist to bless.
As a young person yourself, how did you get into the old school era hip hop artists'?
I've always been a fan of great hip hop. By this I mean in a lyrical, deep, relatable good music sense, that you could literally just live your life by. In respect to my production style sounding very classic with its use of samples and drum breaks. I still love contemporary music that is great, from XV’s ‘Go On Without Me’ to Fashawns ‘Boy Meets World’ album, to Voli ‘Inferno.’ Old school hip hop will undoubtedly always be incredible to me, but the same goes for great music of this generation.
Tell us about your latest EP. How do you find the music industry in London? Is there a good response to your music?
Weirdly enough most of my reception comes from abroad, which is understandable seeing how my style is very sample heavy. In the UK a lot of artists build their fan base regionally, then try break into American markets, so perhaps my backwards approach will bear greater fruits in the long run. However as long as my music receives love, I'm not concerned where it's from. My latest EPs are the "Go To School" series which are short beat tapes. All in build up to my debut beat tape "Kids Looking For Gold," which will be available possibly late November or mid December. I'm trying to put some more production out there before it drops.
Walk us through your production process. Do you use instruments or is it strictly vinyl?
For my production process it's actually completely digital, all made on my laptop. As of yet I have never sampled purely off the vinyl, CD a few times but never vinyl. My current budget depends on my downsized production process. I have a collection of my dad’s vinyl, which I am still saving to use. I search for my samples digitally whenever I’m at on my iPhone, or perhaps when travelling or when I have time to spend. I then list them down for later to get digitally. To begin with I lay down a simple drum loop, just so I can hear how the sample sounds over drums. I then start working through a stack of samples until one grabs me in the moment, I chop it up and play it over the drums. Once I have a couple sample chop patterns that I'm satisfied with to use for say the introduction, the verse and hook I then sample drums into the beat. I feel sampled drums sound more realistic and hip hop in comparison to program drums in my opinion. After that I may add additional instrumentation to the mix and just generally play around with the beat. I listen to the beat the morning after, and if it still sounds crazy then I keep it.
Who influences you?
So many great producers from all over play a part on my influence. From 9th Wonder & Oddisee, to the whole Dreamville crew, through to the Australian M-Phazes. Now even fellow producers I've met online I've had to add to this list. Recently I've been catching up on my Exile. Exile's Production on Fashawn's "Boy Meets World" is amazing for any sample lover. In all, I'm influenced by any producer who can sample skilfully.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I feel very late for saying this but Blu. Recently I've become fascinated by his music and I think he's lyrically on another level even with his older music. One day I hope I'll be in a position to make that collaboration possible. His work with Exile always sounds very vintage, although at the same time people aren't ready for it just yet. Maybe one day.
What stimulates your soul?
Musically, I get stimulated whenever I hear a deep track that just reminds me of how great music can be. J Cole's 'Can I Live,' BJ the Chicago Kid featuring Kendrick Lamar's 'His Pain, XV - Go On Without Me & DMX's 'Slippin' are just a few tracks that will always bring back that deep feeling of when a track actually touches your soul. But above all my family, I'm the oldest out of my siblings and I take that very seriously. I love them to pieces. More times I have fun annoying them, like coming home late on a weekday playing music from my phone, with my youngest brother grumbling at me to get off his bunk bed that he has school tomorrow. Or just fooling around together in general, but for me it's all part of the fun and love that'll keep me forever young.