Today, on Musicians’ Corner, I’ll be featuring an interview I had with Oluwadrumma, one of the finest music producers in the city of Jos. He has produced quite a number of both known and upcoming artistes, both within and outside Jos. He is also the founder of Kr8 radio, an online radio station operating from Jos city. I would say it’s a privilege for me to interview him on this blog. Due to the length of the interview, I decided to split it into two parts and this is the first part. Enjoy!
Spirit: Let’s start this interview with the name, Oluwadrumma”, how did you get the name?
Oluwadrumma: Well, initially, my production name was “drummaboy” from my favourite Christmas carol, ‘The little Drummer boy’. And drums was the first instrument I learnt to play. Even till date, it’s still my favourite instrument. But when I moved to Lagos to work, as a producer and sound engineer, with a particular outfit over there, my boss called my attention to the fact that there is another producer in the U.S who also goes by the name ‘Drummaboy’. He advised that I find another unique name for myself, so that it wouldn’t be a problem when I grow bigger than I was then. And honestly, I’m grateful for that advice cos I had never thought of it before then. Also, my mum is Yoruba, and Yorubas basically add ‘Oluwa’ as prefix to most names. So, one time, I was in Ogun state with my uncle and he called me ‘Oluwadrummerboy’ and it struck a chord. I thought to myself, “this might just be the name I’m looking for”. I pitched it to my boss and he said it’s too long. He suggested that I shorten it to ‘Oluwadrumma’ instead and that’s how the name stuck from 2015 till date.
Spirit: Wow! That’s interesting. Please can you share with us a little about your childhood days before music?
Oluwadrumma: Ok, errrmh… I used to drum on anything; pots, plates, anything. I grew up with my grandmum, I stayed with her till I was 14 years old or thereabout. Back then, in the church we attended, the use of musical instruments was sort of prohibited. I didn’t really get the opportunity to learn or even see any musical instruments till I was like 14. So, I would say I started music very late. I know it takes a lot of time and learning to develop and be very good at any skill, but considering when I started and how fast I learnt, I would say I’m blessed. However, I remember my grandma used to play a lot of music in the house; the likes of Fela, Lucky Dube, Femi Kuti, etc. Also, she had a file with those song sheets that had sofa notations. She taught me how to sing the notes, so I would pick them and sing; I think I went through all the sheets she had. I knew tonic sofas when I was about 5 or 6 years old and that knowledge has really helped me. Right now, I don’t think there’s anything that can confuse me in music. So, I would say, I had a little bit of music theory training from my grand mum.
Spirit: Interesting! So, what or who motivated you to start music production?
Oluwadrumma: Well, first of all, I would say my frustration. I come from a home where my father is very passionate about education. In my father’s house, if you don’t have a degree, you can’t talk. Hahaha. That was on a lighter note. But then he ensured that every one of us had the best of education. However, I was frustrated with school and exams and all that, so music became my escape. I used to sneak into a church, would get locked in the vestry all night, just so I could learn piano. I’m a self-taught pianist; nobody taught me to play piano until much later. Back then, there weren’t many YouTube videos and they were not easily accessible like they are today. The only way for us to access the internet then was cyber café`s. But whenever I could afford browsing time, I would download and print materials and then go back and study them. Good thing my father did for me was the reading culture; I read more than I listen to music. All this to say that my frustration with school was my first motivation to learn music production.
Then a friend of mine showed me how to use Fruity Loops (I can’t remember which version it was). I used to spend hours figuring stuff out myself and learning. Later on, my brother bought a desktop for me. It was a Pentium 4, 3.2GHz, 4Gb RAM, 500Gb HDR, oh my God! It was everything for me. I felt like Einstein. But I had to trek long distances to get software. Then I started learning and learning. I’m still learning though. There are a few people I would like to mention their names, first is Mr. Seth. I interned with him for a very long time, he took me like a younger brother and showed me everything about production, from beat making to mixing, then mastering. I would say I became a music producer because of him.
Spirit: Wow! That’s quite a journey. I’m sure there’s so much more you couldn’t say. What were some challenges you had in your early days of learning production?
Oluwadrumma: Oh yeah, there were a lot of challenges, man. The first was getting good equipment. Man, I had to build everything myself. I had no financial support from anywhere. Since my passion wasn’t medical practice or law practice, I guess it wasn’t important to people around; I mean what is music? So, I had to use my business sense, eat less, save more so as to buy equipment, pay rent and survive. Up till now, no one has ever supported my music production career financially… I laugh when I see people who are just starting out in music production and they want to earn big immediately. Things don’t work out like that. I remember one time, I produced a full album of 10 tracks for N15k. And then I had to use N10k out of the money to buy motherboard for my desktop. I made many sacrifices, man. There was a time I was interning at studio. I would come around and watch but I wasn’t permitted to touch anything. The only chance I had to practice was in the night. So, I would plead with the senior intern there and he would lock me in the studio. I had so many ‘locking insides’ in my journey. Hahaha. I would practice and learn on my own from 11pm to like 6am. Up till now, I still sleep on coaches and on the floor sometimes. Hahaha.
Spirit: You sure have a lot of stories to tell. Now, I’ve heard some of your productions over the years, and I must confess, you’re really good at the craft. What would you say helped you become this good with production?
Oluwadrumma: I’m flattered (smiles). But thank you… The first thing I would say that helps me is the power of imagination. All the music I’ve ever made started in my head. I think studying Physics in college really helped me; all those mathematics and calculations really stretched my mind. So, I do everything in my head before I start production and that has helped me a great deal. Also, I like experimenting a lot. I ask questions like, “what if the things that has been said about this is not right?”, “what would be the worst-case scenario if I do this wrongly or if I don’t follow the rules?” and that also helps me. The funny thing is I still use the regular software that everybody uses, but because of the trainings I received in my early days, I tweak the sounds, use EQ, filters, make them sound unique.
Secondly, I understudied a lot of people. There are a lot of producers I’ve learnt from that I have never met. Their sounds and their approach to music production has influenced me a lot.
Thirdly, I listen to a very wide range of musical genres. I used to have a 20Gb library of classical music that I listen to. In fact, I spent the entire lockdown period of 2020 listening to classical music and they have greatly influenced me….
This is where I’ll end this first part of my interview with Oluwadrumma. I’m sure you learnt a lot from it and you’re itching to read the remaining part of the interview. Don’t worry, you’ll get that soon enough.
Meanwhile, I’d like to remind you that you can get unbiased song reviews for your songs (whether they have been released or yet to be released). The reviews could be private (for your consumption only) or it could be published on our site. You’ll get honest appraisals as well as constructive criticism of your songs. This would help you get better in your music. Plus, other people who might never have heard about you before would get to listen to your songs when they read the published reviews (who knows, they might even turn to fans). If you’re interested to get your songs reviewed, send an email to email@example.com and attach an mp3 of the song to be reviewed. Also state if you would like a private review or if you would want it published.