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Leeo – Everyone has to find their own way

He produced issues for: Szpak, Qrego, Margaret and Inee, but, as he himself admits, he created most of the songs for pop music artists. Leeo told me about learning to play drums, using artificial intelligence in music and meeting Rip Scotty. I invite.

I read on the Internet that Rip Scotty’s first job was in construction. Do you remember where you caught yours?

Unfortunately, no, although I’m sure I’ve seen some construction projects as well. However, I remember my worst job, which was mowing plots. A friend of mine organized it for me, and I thought it would be mowing small allotment gardens. As it later turned out, it was mowing city plots, where I had to run with the mower across the largest intersection in the city. It was such a casual thing, and although you might think it was stupid, it certainly teaches a lot about life. More recently, I remember that when I moved to Warsaw, I worked for Uber for some time.

And your first musical job?

I actually played a lot of different instruments. I started with guitar and then played drums, which I was a professional musician for a long time. There was a lot of it, and in fact, at the very beginning I played in punk bands and in various strange projects. Later, I started giving concerts in restaurants, at events and even at weddings, where I was a substitute and could try my hand at it. However, I don’t remember exactly the first performance. I think it was a concert with Bezczel and it was from that moment that I started earning money as a musician.

It is also a bit of a trap that it is easy to stay in a place where you are comfortable financially and, unfortunately, you start to neglect other things.

And how did you manage to get there?

We started our cooperation when I used to play drums with rappers from Białystok, because they were my classmates. We had some studio and we made music together. Naturally, we also started playing concerts together. After one of them, one of the Fabuła band members approached me and suggested that we play together. Later, I somehow found my way to Bezczel and went on three concert tours with him.

So you actually have a lot of experience being such a session musician.

I don’t know if it was the end of the session, although I went to Warsaw with that intention. Later I went to the State Music School Complex. Fryderyk Chopin in Warsaw to the Faculty of Jazz to study this field and play concerts as a session musician. However, life happened in such a way that at the same time I started producing music and I became much more interested in it. Playing drums on stage was no longer enough for me. I’ve always wanted to participate a little more in the creative process and have more influence on what I do. So I decided to change my career. Once I even had an idea to make an album where I combined drumming with music production. However, when I learned a little about production, I wanted to do it with someone else, etc. Everything was going in this direction and producing or writing songs came naturally to me.

How did your parents approach your passion? Have you wanted to pursue music since you were a child?

It came to me around the age of 13, but there had never been any musician in my house or even any connection to music in my house before. At first it was quite abstract for my parents. They did not see that they could do it professionally, make a living from it and lead a satisfying life. However, they always supported me and it was never like they wanted me to take a different path. At some point, they realized that I was so seriously interested in music that I would definitely devote my adult life to it. The breakthrough moment for them was the appearance of the first major money from music. However, I have always understood their position, because for people working full-time in traditional career paths, it may be abstract that they earn money by playing concerts or making music on a computer. Despite this, they always supported me and, above all, did not block me. There was never any pressure that I had to go to college. I went to music school because I wanted to.

The first money you made was also from playing at weddings, which you mentioned?

Exactly no. The first money came when I played concerts with rappers. Weddings were a slightly different story, although I found a nice band and good people, so we played well. Overall, I remember this episode well, but it’s a bit of something that makes you disgusted with making music. I can’t imagine continuing this in the long run. I usually don’t play disco polo events, but I went to a music job a few times and it turned out that we had to play disco polo songs. Playing like this was both discouraging, but also motivating in a way. It’s kind of like doing what you love, but not really. You play music, but the kind that doesn’t really excite you. However, it motivates you to do your own thing and feel fulfilled artistically, not just financially. It is also a bit of a trap that it is easy to stay in a place where you are comfortable financially and, unfortunately, you start to neglect other things. Ultimately, you’re stuck with these weddings forever, and I don’t know if that’s entirely good. On the other hand, some people are great at it, so I think everyone just has to find their own way.

Did you have support from your peers when it came to your introduction to music?

I think so, because I have always surrounded myself with people who were involved in music or video creation. Most of my friends did the same, so we supported each other rather than cutting each other’s wings. Many of them also managed to enter the professional market.

Among these friends was also Rip Scotty, did you meet later?

Patryk and I met through mutual friends because we lived in the same housing estate when we were 13-14 years old. At that time I was playing in some punk bands, and Patryk was singing. At some point we decided to start a crazy band called Handjob, where we played alternative-rock-pop-punk music. When the band broke up, everyone went their separate ways and we had much less contact with each other. At some point, however, we agreed and decided to move from Białystok to Warsaw together. We moved in together with the assumption that we would then focus on music production. And so it happened. For 3-4 years of living together, we made music in every free moment.

Ultimately, you joined GuG as a duo of rapper and producer, and that doesn’t happen often.

Yes it’s true. Rather, a rapper enters the label and the producer simply makes an entire album with him. However, we were in this together from the very beginning and we created the entire album together in our apartment. We shared the work, so Patryk also had a big influence on the beats, and I had a big influence on the lyrics.

And you created hip-hop from the beginning?

We never really thought about what genre we would make music in, because we didn’t want to limit ourselves to any boundaries. We did the numbers that we felt. Ultimately, apart from hip-hop, we also made a lot of pop music. Besides, we still do things for other artists. We write pop songs, but we are also familiar with other musical genres. So it wasn’t like we were rappers and now we would create hip-hop. This may turn in a completely different direction in the future, because our path is a bit different than most people associated with the hip-hop community. Patryk started as a vocalist, was in The Voice of Poland, and previously graduated from the music school in Nysa at the jazz department. We’ve always rubbed shoulders with different genres and haven’t really thought about what genre we’re working in.

Can you explain this topic of writing songs for other artists? What does it look like for you?

We create such songs, for example, for participants of The Voice of Poland or YouTubers. However, we have produced most of them for pop music artists and they are always very cool processes. The form of creating such a piece depends on who we work with, because everyone is different. In my case, the process looks like this: we meet with the artist or performer of a given song, talk about a given production, and then work on it together in the studio. It’s rare that we make ready-made pieces, although sometimes it happens when people don’t want to interfere in the creative process. There are no strictly defined frameworks as to how such a process should proceed, because working with everyone is different. Sometimes it looks like we write the lyrics with a certain songwriter and artist, sometimes the lyrics are already prepared in advance and we only make corrections and then record the song. The type of our intervention in the piece depends on what we get at the start. However, I definitely prefer working in teams and face to face in the studio. This form is much more organic, we can inspire each other, and the joy of creating music is greater. I also send beat packs and work that way, but usually it only involves collaborations with rappers. On a daily basis, however, I work mainly with singers and non-rap creators. I only really had a few studio sessions with rappers.

You mentioned that you helped with the lyrics, but for example in the song Origami you also rap. Have you thought about going further in this direction?

For now, I’m focusing on more production and songwriting things. However, I’m not saying no and maybe something like this will happen in the near future. Time will tell.

I also wanted to ask you about your passion for computer games. In your verse on “Origami”, you mention the character Caitlyn from League of Legends. Do you know this universe well?

I used to have a passion for computer games, but now I have absolutely no time for it. The only gaming I’m currently involved in is a game of Fifa with friends in the studio, and that’s my only gaming activity. I used to have more time for gaming, but I was never completely into it and I didn’t spend, for example, 12 hours in front of the computer.

This is interesting, because many producers spent a lot of time in front of the computer when they were teenagers, which later turned into a passion for music production.

It was also a bit different for me, because the first one was an instrument, not a computer. I started producing later and had never had any contact with FL Studio and arranging blocks in it before. Either way is good as long as you achieve the desired effect.

What was it like for you to learn to play the instrument?

At first, I took private guitar lessons for some time. But then I switched to playing drums and also took individual lessons. Then I started participating in music workshops in various places in Poland to develop myself. Fortunately, I missed the primary and secondary music schools. I managed to get over it and only as an adult did I decide to go to a music school to further my education. I played drums in the State Music School Complex. Fryderyk Chopin in Warsaw at the Jazz Department, but I finally resigned in the third year because I no longer had time for it.

I’ve also seen a lot of song generators that spit out ready-made stems to you. People are starting to use it normally and for me it’s absolutely fine. There is no point in resisting it, because in the end it will happen to everyone sooner or later.

I think I know why you say that “luckily” you missed the first steps of music school. Unfortunately, Polish education, including music education, is not very adapted to our times.

Definitely. I believe that Polish music education has a rather archaic approach and the problem is often that, unfortunately, these schools suppress the passion for music. People create, play and learn songs that they don’t feel at all. This causes the teaser to burn out. Of course, you can get through it and graduate from music school, be a great musician and enjoy it. Either way is fine, but I think the system is outdated and should undergo some changes. Especially because there is no such school in Poland strictly for pop music, apart from the Faculty of Jazz and Popular Music in Katowice. However, there, at the first and second level, you learn mainly classical music and it is difficult to learn anything useful in today’s popular music.

What’s interesting is that it’s 2023 and music has advanced so much – computers and their versatile applications have appeared, and finally, if you want to graduate from music school, you still study classical music for two years.

That’s true. However, I think that it works on many levels, not only in music education, but also in general education. It seems to me that we will probably not overcome this systemic change in the near future. So let’s not demand that music universities start introducing any changes, because here we really need to start with the general education and the very basics. Additionally, some time ago there was a lot of talk about using artificial intelligence in various creative ways, and this will certainly have a strong impact on the education of young people in the future.

Do you use artificial intelligence yourself, e.g. to create music?

Definitely yes. There are a few programs that I try to use somewhere, but in general I am very passionate about it. Many of these music programs only cover some basic issues because they are still beta versions. However, looking from a perspective perspective, in 5-6 years it can do quite big things, and that’s when it will really become a serious issue. I don’t know which direction it will go, but I hope we won’t be unemployed in 10 years.

So how do you currently use these programs?

I’m testing various solutions, but for example I don’t use the ubiquitous GPT Chat at all, because the publicly available version still gets a bit lost in all these musical things. Of course, it also depends on what you enter there, but I think it doesn’t work very well yet. Recently, I tested the MelodyStudio application for writing toplines, in which you type in the harmony and write the lyrics, and it spits out several versions of the melody lines. This may not be the target melody line that I would use in the song, but you can definitely draw a lot of inspiration from it. If you want to refresh your mind because you are stuck with some ideas, why not use tools such as MelodyStudio. It seems to me that this is the only way to use it at the moment. I’ve also seen a lot of song generators that spit out ready-made stems to you. People are starting to use it normally and for me it’s absolutely fine. There is no point in resisting it, because in the end it will happen to everyone sooner or later.

I think that many people are still not aware of how artificial intelligence, even currently, affects everything.

That’s for sure, and I think that in the next 15-20 years it will change many areas of our lives. However, I don’t know if there is any other way out of this situation, because since it has developed so much, I don’t think we will be able to escape from it. It’s probably better to just start adapting and using new tools. It is known that music is not only about counting, numbers, etc., but above all emotions. Something that AI hasn’t been able to come up with yet. As musicians, we are probably safe for now, but we definitely need to build a career quickly.

Artificial intelligence will certainly not replace playing concerts. However, it is contact with another person.

Yes, although there are already robots that you can program to play drums so that they have different articulations etc. so you can’t tell whether it’s a human playing or not. A concert is something else, but I think it also depends on how demanding the recipient is and how much they actually need these live concerts. Currently, many large concerts, e.g. at hip-hop festivals, involve playing backing tracks from the console and singing or rapping to them live. Is it wrong? Honestly, I don’t know. If there is an audience for it, great. Currently, we don’t see so many live bands on stages, because much fewer listeners are focused on changed arrangements or the energy of live instruments. However, people prefer to hear their favorite songs in the same form in which they listened to them on headphones. If both parties are ok with it and the artist wants to do it this way, it’s hard to have anything against it.

Concluding our conversation, I would like to ask you one more question. What is your biggest dream right now?

I would definitely like to finally do something with my original material and focus mainly on it. I would also go back to concerts, because I’ve been missing it a bit lately. I’ve been really swamped with commissions lately and I’m really dreaming of switching to creating my own music. I had planned to do it relatively efficiently, but I’ve been working on it for a few months now because something else always comes up. I also have too many projects that ended up in a drawer, so I decided some time ago that it was time to start working more on myself. Don’t do everything as a songwriter and from the background, but start signing it with your nickname. I hope I will be able to do it this year, and if not, next year for sure.

IG: @leeo.wav
FB: leeobeats

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