[Feature] Free (of The Niceguys): Creatively Speaking

Interview by Charne Graham (@88nae88)

The Niceguys are a rap group of four talented young men based in Houston, TX. The group consists of rapper Yves, DJ Candlestick and producers Christolph and Free. The Niceguys offer a diverse and vibrant sound that gets any party started and just genuinely feels good. The group that has been recording together since 2007 and recently dropped their second album James Kelly this past September. One half of The Niceguys production team, Free sat down with us to discuss his creative process, James Kelley and standing out from other Houston producers below:

How long have you been producing?

I started messing around with production back in 2002, my brother was doing it so I started watching him and then decided to try it for myself.

You seem to help play a major part in giving The Niceguys a signature sound, was there anyone that has truly inspired it?

One person who without a doubt though has influenced us is Eddie Murphy, his work with Rick James was groundbreaking and inspiring.

Can you describe your sound in three words?

Mayne. Hol. Up

A lot of music from Houston and Dallas can often sound the same what do you think separates your sound from the others?

As a producer and musician, naturally what you create is influenced by what you listen to, whether the influence is big or small, it's there.

I think what separates me and other producers like me is that we have a wider musical palette, so we don't aim for a genre with our production, that prevents any creative limitation, which makes for much better beats.

Take us through a day of your creative process when making beats. Do you produce with a certain artist in mind?

Well, first I gotta have candles lit, then take a bubble bath while meditating and listening to Mozart. Kidding. Honestly, it's pretty simple, wake my ass up and work on beats, I used to have a set routine but I'm over that, my process is random, but it works.

How long did it take to make the quickest beat you ever made?

5-10 minutes, done a lot of those, sometimes 5 minutes is really all you need for a quick beat, but I don't do those much anymore.

I think detail in your music is important, so I'm always starting something and adding new things and touching them up. These days no beat for me is ever finished until the song is finished.

What project are you most proud of and why?

“James Kelley” by The Niceguys, we really challenged ourselves to makesomething timeless, to make something way better than anything we've ever created, something unique, and I think we did. It definitely took a long ass time to create, but it was worth it. The album has a really diverse and cool sound, we kind of reinvented our style, made the bass hit harder, all that. It’s fun music, if you hear it you will enjoy it, guaranteed.

For beat inquiries hit my email: Niceguysfree@gmail.com, and follow me on twitter: @Niceguysfree

Written by Thomas Agnew