Akachi : Interview
A young producer in the unique spot of balancing a career with being a full-time college student, Akachi has adapted his life style to be able to excel in both areas. With experience working with many legends and greats, we hopped on a call to discuss stories, experiences, music and more. From working with Chief Keef to Famous Dex; PnB Rock to Shawty Redd, Akachi has been developing his work while helping others around him grow. Dive in to our experience learning about him and his life:
Max: Just to start off, give us a background on your
self—name, where you're from, and what got you into wanting to produce music?
Akachi: Alright, word. My name is Akachi. I'm from Sandwich, Massachusetts by Cape Cod. I started getting into music I think because of my family; my dad was really into old rap music. When I was growing up, my dad played a lot of different music for me; I was always exposed to music like that, and I used to play sports and shit. I play hockey, I used to play soccer, and I got hurt playing those sports and I had Osgood-Shlatters, so my leg was messed up and I had to stop playing sports. I think right when that happened, I needed something else to do. I always thought music was hella interesting. I played guitar; I was not good, but I got guitar lessons, drum lessons and shit like that. I really needed something to do, so I started just researching how to make beats 'cause I never really understood how they made beats for songs, you know what I mean? I never really understood that.
So, it was just something I decided to get into because it was so interesting. I just started doing that shit probably in like 2012 or 2013. I've been doing that ever since, just every day working, trying to get better. Here I am today.
Max: That's awesome. One thing that we found unique about you is that you're balancing college life with having a career. How have you been able to do that?
Akachi: I kinda gotta live my life a little different. So, how I live... I'm a pretty healthy person. I don't drink that much. I really don't smoke weed often. I work out. I try to get a good amount of sleep. It's a hard balance 'cause I gotta get all my shit done early. This year, right before Coronavirus, I was waking up at 4:30 in the morning every day, working out and doing shit like that. I did yoga, I was meditating; I'm big on health and I'm spiritual and shit like that.
So, I would do all that shit. I'd go to the library at Fairfield—that Starbucks in the library—and just crank out work in the morning. That would free up a ton of time, but it's definitely hard.
It's hard to balance. I have to balance a social life on top of music. I was just signed to 300 Entertainment as an A&R, so I was bringing in talent and shit like that. That required me to go into the city a lot, and New York is the hub that's close to me. That's where I go. I go to Atlanta and LA too, but New York is just an easy place to go, so it's really just time management. I enjoy school; I make Dean’s List and shit like that, but it's like a balancing act where you just gotta make sure you don't procrastinate on shit. I'm always trying to get ahead with school so it frees up time for me to be able to work on my career.
Max: So, this builds off of that. Looking at your Instagram, you live a pretty healthy lifestyle with fitness and health. I know you got your own garden going on. Do you think that's helping your career?
Akachi: Yeah, I just have been a person that’s never tried to act like someone I’m not. I've never been afraid of just being who I am; I would never pose as someone. I like to try to influence other people, too. Sometimes, people think, “Oh, I like trap music. I have to smoke a shit ton.” I have nothing against weed; don't get me wrong on that. People think they gotta burn 24/7 and go crazy getting too lit all the time. They get lean if they're around that; they gotta be tough with guns and shit.
I've always been a person where that's not me. I've always just been true to myself; I like fucking growing food, I like cooking food. I like working out; I like feeling good. So, it's really just been that I'm trying to base my image around who I really am. I feel like people respect that.
Max: To dive into more of the music side, what was your first big placement? Or a song you did that helped you pop off and get on a lot of people's radars?
Akachi: I started 'cause my favorite rapper is Chief Keef. He has his whole group Glo Gang, so that's where I tried to enter. So, I had a couple of songs with some of the smaller artists like ManeMane4CGG, Benji Glo, and Lil Flash—just people under Chief Keef. The first big placement that I ever got was Soulja Boy. I was in high school; I was in the car with my mom touring schools. I was just in the car with her and I went on his Instagram story, and I was like, “Oh shit, that’s my beat.” That was the first placement. I was like, “That’s mad cool I got a song with Soulja Boy.”
Max: How did you get on the radar with 300 Entertainment and how did signing with them help you out?
Akachi: Well, I am off it now. I think I got discovered for that. I don't know how much into underground rap you are, but when I was coming up, the way I got placements was that I got around the producers of artists that I liked and just sent shit that I made and would post beats on my Instagram when I didn't have a lot of followers. I posted mad videos and I would start working with their producers. There are these rappers like Uno the Activist and ThouxanbanFauni, Famous Dex; that's who I was really working with. Smokepurpp before he blew up. People like that, and I just started working with their producers. That's how I eventually got some recognition for my name; the songs weren't getting a shit ton of streams, but they were getting 600 to 700,000 streams or a million streams. I worked with this kid Yung Bans who blew up now with my boy; I did a lot of shit with him when he was on house arrest before he signed to Future. He got me a lot of really cool placements and opportunities. I worked with this guy named Chapo who's around Future and Dough Boi. I started with smaller people and producers who eventually got up to higher places. I knew Ronnie, who made shit for X before he really popped off. A lot of different people; Gnealz and Big Head who made “Gucci Gang” and all those songs. I knew a lot of those people. So, just knowing those producers and the way I connect with people; I just treat everyone like a friend. I'm not looking for anything out of people, so I just really build genuine connections with people, and then that transpired into my name getting out there. When I was getting mad calls and texts, the guy who signed me at 300 was Famous Dex’s A&R. He asked me for beats for him when I was a freshman at Fairfield, and then one day he just called me and was like, “Yo, I wanna sign you. You wanna come in to a meeting?” That's when I went; I met Dex and him. He wanted me to be a talent scout for the label, so he trusted my creative visions. The whole thing didn’t go super well. I was a little guy coming in, so I didn't get a ton of trust. I don't know; it was a cool experience and I'm grateful for it. Thank you to Michael for signing me! Now, I'm off and back independent, so I learned a lot from it. That was a good experience to be in that position at a young age and a good professional experience that definitely got me a lot of connections; I met Gunna and Thug’s A&R in the office. Some of the artists on YSL walked around the office. I got to meet a lot of people.
Max: I've been interacting with your manager, Travis. How is that? Have you been starting to build a team around yourself?
Akachi: I don't know where you're from, but where I'm from, there's no music culture at all; there's no people that are doing that or into it. So, I started doing it when I was in high school. I met Travis when I was a freshman, right when I was going to my freshman year of college. I always liked him as a kid, but now that’s my brother. I started to build a team around me when I started to realize how fake people were in the industry. I’d rather have people that I'm actually friends with. I'm a genuine person, so I’d rather have genuine people around me that I actually like—not just someone that is like an industry manager that can get me a bunch of crazy songs and shit. Yeah, that would be cool. But at the same time, would I enjoy being around him? Would I want to work and talk with him all the time? Travis was really interested in doing stuff like that; interested enough that he went to UMass Amherst, but left to start doing that. When he started off, he had no experience as a manager, so I started to try to bring him places and give him experience in being a manager. Now, he knows exactly what he needs to do and how to interact with people. Then, me and him started recruiting. We have boys from home that want to rap; we have boys from home that wanna be producers. We've just been trying to build. There's no structure where I am from. Even in Boston, I don't really feel like there is a music culture. So, it's like I've been just trying to give people the opportunity to do stuff and it’s mad fun.
YBT Jugg is one of my boys from school and I started doing projects with him. My boy, Cardo Creek, I worked on a project with him. He’s from Virginia, but he was really good friends with one of my boys, Mark, up in the Navy.
I like building from the ground up, 'cause that's where genuine stuff happens. I like building people from nothing; that's just how I like to be. That's why I've been building a team with just my friends because it's way more genuine and also gives an opportunity to people that wouldn't have an opportunity to do shit like that.
Max: How would you define your style of producing based off of where you want to enter the industry?
Akachi: I make trap music, bro. Like real shit, that's just always the music I listen to. It was funny 'cause I was like this mad preppy kid you would never guess makes beats. I'd be listening to like old Gucci, OJ Da Juiceman, Jeezy; mad people like that. I love trap music; that’s just the music I enjoy. It has a different type of energy. With the position I am in now, I can do music in general, too. I do all different types of styles. I have a girl I work with now who's a singer; I’ll do R&B records with her, pop records with her. But, I'll do fucking real trap records with Sosa. And then, I'm working on some dancehall shit, too. Just a bunch of different shit. I just like making music. I work with this kid Sean Ferrari who's signed to Mike WiLL and Swae Lee, so we do shit like that. I’m really trying to bring that sound back 'cause that's what I listened to when I was a lot younger and that music just affected me differently. I really just make trap music.
Max: Trap music is really what got you into it, and you just wanted to dive into how it's made?
Akachi: Yeah, I remember I used to watch these videos of Southside, Lex Luger, D Rich, Metro Boomin; I’d just watch videos of them making beats and it would inspire me every day, especially when they would be in a studio. I had never been in a studio like that, so it would just inspire me and I’d just be like, “I want to do this.”
Those are the people I connect with; those are the people I want to be around. Just creative people like that.
Max: Do you like producing on your own, or do you like collaborating with other producers?
Akachi: I love working with my boys. I have a boy, Seabass, from home I like working with. I have a boy, Kyle, here I am living with in New York right now that I love collaborating with; we have some really crazy shit I can’t talk about right now, but we have a lot of the Sosa records together. I like working with DJ Plugg. The cool position I'm in is that I have a lot of big producers that are in the industry that are just mentoring me and giving me game and working with me that just inspire me. DJ Plugg, Supah Mario, and Bugz Ronin, who did a bunch of shit on Uzi’s
Eternal Etake. Bobby Kritical, who does a lot of shit. Shawty Redd, who's Jeezy’s producer. I met him in Atlanta; I got to go to his house and he gave me mad game, we cooked up. He's one of the inventors of trap music. I am around these producers who have already reached where I'm trying to be, but then I love collaborating with people that are hungry. Kyle and Seabass, people like that, that really are hungry and trying to do something. I genuinely work with anyone that just wants to work and really wants to go to the next level.
Max: What’s the most interesting studio experience you’ve had? I know you’ve produced at home, in a dorm room, in New York, Atlanta, and LA.
Akachi: Hmm. I'm trying to think, 'cause I have a bunch of funny things. I've had mad different experiences. My boy Lil Wop, one time we had a session and it was before we were really tight. Every single beat I played, he was like, “Next beat.” So, that was a messed up experience because he skipped all of them and I paid $500. We didn’t make a single song for like five hours. I’ve been locked in sessions from 7pm to 8am with school the next day and have had to take either a train or Uber back from the city. Cooking up at Shawty Redd’s house; he's made crazy records, the dude knew Prince. To cook up at Jeezy’s; the guy arguably created trap music. To be able to go cook up at Bobby Kritical’s house and then go to the strip club in Atlanta where they work. There's just a lot of memorable experiences, man.
There's also the ones with YBT Jugg, that's my boy from home who raps. We just make a song we really like in my studio at home; I built this studio out in my shed.
Max: I’ve seen on your Instagram that you go live and do beat critiques for younger producers and aspiring producers. Do you think it's important to give back that way and help younger creatives learn?
Akachi: Yeah, I like doing that to connect and find people new. I like helping anyone who wants to work hard. I know when I was younger, that shit helped me a lot. It helped me connect with producers that were in the industry and I got feedback from people I looked up to, and I feel like it's just a good constructive way to find people that are dope and to connect younger kids together so that we can get better together. I just like hearing people's shit sometimes. We can definitely discover some people, 'cause there's people like my boy Kyle who had 400 followers. He's a monster and is better than a lot of the producers I know who have way more traction.
Max: Who is your favorite artist, and who is your dream artist to work with?
Akachi: I love wor