#ProducerOfTheMonth – Meet iO

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Every month, we’ll be speaking to the names behind the beat of some of the hottest UK tracks out now. After all, a song wouldn’t be what it is without the music producer.

This month’s #ProducerOfTheMonth is iO.

The 25-year-old music producer from South London began his production journey at the age of 14. Today, he stands as the man who leant a hand in the production of J Hus’ ‘Common Sense‘ as well producing for the likes of Loski, NSG and more.

How and when did you first start producing music?

I moved to Manchester when I was 9 – I was the youngest so I had to move by force. I moved back to London in 2016 after I finished uni. I started producing when I was 14/15. I was just bored, Manchester was a new place, I didn’t know many people and I didn’t go out a lot. I stumbled on FL Studio and started messing around and then my mum got me my first keyboard. She was supposed to take me to a concert but she didn’t so she made it up to me by getting me a keyboard.

What is your favourite track produced by yourself?

It would have to be Bobii Lewis ft. Not3s – Force You. Sonically, that song is just me. That song is me musically doing what I want (I mean, I always do what I want… but yeah.

If you could describe your sound in 3 words, what would they be?

Wavey, fresh and hard.

What are your thoughts on production in the UK scene – do you think producers get enough credit?

There’s a lot of wavey producers in the UK, theres a lot of talent here. I know some sick producers and I’ve seen sick producers work. The UK is home for talent. Producer’s getting credit is definitely getting better, it’s not the best but it’s getting better. MOBOs have introduced a producer category for this year, Link Up TV obviously do #ProducerOfTheMonth… but there’s still improvement needed. Like simple blog posts where people just don’t credit us. But as a whole, people seem to be respecting producer’s names more and saying ‘this song is wavey, who produced it?’

I’m seeing a lot more love for producers – obviously you’ve got to crawl before you walk but at least we’re getting more love. We work hard man, fair enough we’re behind the scenes but we work hard to make music enjoyable for you.

Who are your favourite producers right now?

Firstly, Maestro – without Maestro in particular I wouldn’t be making music today so he is forever one of my favourite producers.

Also, TSB, ADP, Levi Lennox, Diztortion, iLL Blu, Alan Sampson, Scribz Riley, JAE5 and Ebenezer (LongLivThePlug). These guys are inspirational – they are crucial to me making music. I don’t think I would’ve done it without them.

You produced a few tracks on J Hus’ ‘Common Sense’ album, the story about how this came about is quite interesting, how did this come about?

Yep, I produced 3 tracks on J Hus’ debut album ‘Common Sense’. I did ‘Leave Me’ with JAE5, I touched on ‘Sweet Cheeks’ also with JAE5 and the single ‘Spirit’ with TSB & JAE5. It was mad, in 2015, when I was still at uni, I made a beat and I wanted to get it to Hus. I tried to DM his management and they got back saying they were only working with JAE5 at the time – they were keeping it in-house. Fast forward to 2016, I was back in London and working at the studio that all my friends and family work – I didn’t actually have a room at that studio I was just kind of crashing with my cousin TSB. I was there making music all the time with everybody. At this point, Hus and JAE5 moved to our studio and they were already making ‘Common Sense’. I used to see him around, at this point we were all in grind mode so I would fall asleep in the studio, wake up to go outside and Hus would be bunnin a fat spliff downstairs (laughs). For a couple of weeks it was just like ‘Yo, what you saying’ every morning. It was like that for a while and then one day I must’ve said to him ‘How’s the album sounding? and he smiled and said ‘It’s good man, do you wanna come listen?’.

So I walked in and listened to what they had at the time and I was like rah! This is not the same J Hus I was listening to in uni, he is taking it 3 steps up. I said to him ‘Fam, this is grown – you have improved’ Eventually, he started coming upstairs to our studios more. We (Me, TSB and Hus) actually spent months chilling and talking, unintentionally getting to know each other. It was a couple of months before we actually worked. So yeah, he started to hear us making music and he started to be like ‘This is nice.’ ‘This is sick’ ‘What’s that?’.

Before you know it… I have 3 songs on the album. It all happened in the most organic way. It’s all still crazy.

 

Recently, you’ve worked with a few hot names, how did the NSG ft. Not3s track come about?

I’ve actually known of NSG from back in the day. Funnily enough, I used to do some camera work (I still love doing camera work). There was actually one rave where I met NSG in person, I was filming it for my friends and they were performing. I don’t know if they remember this, it was in Manchester and I was like these guys are cool. At this point I was still learning to produce, nobody knew my name, I couldn’t really holla anybody and nobody was giving me the time of day so I couldn’t really get to them like that. Fast forward a couple of years though, NSG were always around studio working with JAE5. I never really asked them to work and they never asked me, again, it was just organic. We done a session, mad thing is, the first session we done was actually for ‘Pushing Up’. We just vibed, played some chords, drums and there it was… ‘Pushing Up.’ It was mad because when we had the track, they were really stuck for a chorus. What happened was, Not3s was in with ADP on the other side of the studio and I had to grab something from that room – so I went in and he was like ‘Are NSG still here?’ I told him to come through. So he did and we were all chilling and vibing, this was also just after NSG had come off tour with Not3s. We played him the track and Not3s was like ‘This is crazy, can I jump on this?’ He laid a hook just as we needed a hook – I couldn’t complain! Yeah man, NSG are dope.

You’ve also worked with Loski?

Loski actually happened through my team. Funnily enough, our first session we made ‘Cool Kid!’ We made a few others too. Everything I’ve got has come so organically, being in the studio, being around and meeting people.

Keep up with iO on Twitter and Instagram.

Make sure to keep an eye on our site on the first Sunday of every month we’ll be speaking to our new #ProducerOfTheMonth.