[Base Room] Spax In The Base Room

Tell us about Spax?

I am Olufemi Samuel from Oyo state, Ibadan to be precise am young years old, am a music producer and arranger. Music is my life that’s all I do, I play car racing video games for leisure so yes am a boring guy {laughs] am an introvert I cherish my alone time this has a lot of influence on my production style I like my things detailed to the core. 

How did your passion for music production Begin?

Nigeria Music 2017

My passion for music started in secondary school you know one of the producers in Nigeria today who’s currently based in the US taught me how to play the piano in my junior school (JSS2) he taught me three chords I had to learn the rest on my own I played in church and when I got to senior school I had developed my skill in it mind you I had no materials learning am not really a theoretical person I had my ears so I knew my way around what I was doing as long as I can hear it in my head. I played in church praise and worship you know, social nights, I think in senior school the same person taught me some things on the Bass guitar and like every normal Naija kid that attended a white garment church so we all played percussion when we were 5/6 so I understood music African rhythm. I wanted to go into music after secondary school but like every Nigerian parent you have to go to school o! This music isn’t it, this was like the era of D’banj, 2face so to my parents music wasn’t really encouraging to want their kids to come into that kind of setup up and you know Nigerian parents think when you go to school you forget about everything else but for me it was different I stopped music for like 4 years I went to school I had my first degree so I finished 2006 and you know passion burns in you, my ability to learn quickly musically, like whenever I want to learn something on the piano or the bass guitar it’ comes easy without instructions but I knew I didn’t really know the technical part of it this was about the same time I saw a documentary of Dr Dre working and I noticed he couldn’t really play the instruments so much but he could orchestrate it and made good sounds so it clicked and I was like this is it this was a three minutes video but it did the magic. The major issue was getting into the industry mind you the producers then were ID Cabasa the time of 9ice, J Martins at that time I didn’t really listen to much of Nigerian music I have always being a jazz, soul Rnb I’m listening to Earl Klugh, George Benson, Maxwell, De Angelo… so for somebody that has that wide range of listening and sense of appeal it’s going to be really hard for me to see myself work in this setup so that was my first struggle as a producer like how to I fit into this because I wanted to produce the kind of sound I enjoyed listening to. I only enjoyed listening to Nigerian music when am unwinding you know, when I drink. So that was a very tough space in my life because I had finished school and I wanted to make a living out of music production ‘How do I even start’ even if I have to pitch to the artiste another thing was would they even accept my kind of sound? I had this struggle for two years until 2009 I can’t remember how I met Dipo I think we met somehow at Syndicate Record’s studio then I went there to do something for someone I can’t remember vividly but you know we made “Be Your Man” I think that same night we met but people found it hard to believe but Dipo’s “Be Your Man” was my first song as a music producer I played the live bass, I played the keyboards you know the entire percussion I was excited about the opportunity I wasn’t making beats at that point you know I didn’t make the beat down already and sell it but it doesn’t work for me so the next day Dipo called me to ask me what my fee was because he thought I was a producer who’s already producing artists I remember I charged him the same amount a friend of mine who worked in a bank was as salary in month, Dipo was also working in a bank so he priced it down a bit and sent me the difference, I was like Wow I got this much for just like 6 hours process am earning my guy’s salary so that was a good start for me it was all I needed to kick start if one person could relate with my sound and pay me for it then I just need to sit-down and figure it out. After which I produced 4/5 songs for Dipo I think I produced songs he recorded from 2010 till now I think I have produced all he had songs with Dr Frabz, Don Jazzy and Ikon so for me that was key you know so gradually I setup a band for him and then I got the opportunity to meet artistes in the space of like two years Dipo does a show he had this series then “Dipo and His Women” Waje, Efya and Temi Dollface were on it you know that was the concept I was able to network during rehearsals, and I guess they see the way I orchestrated these musicians without knowing so much about the process and they were like this is actually production arranging music not beat making so gradually I went on to produce Waje, Efya then you could tell this people were doing ”good music” not “commercial music” so I keyed into that now the whole commercial breaking into the pop market came about when I met Falz in 2012 we met at the same studio Ikon’s studio and he says Bro men I have always wanted to feature Dipo on a song , you produced that song Bro we have to get into the studio then the next day I was in Falz’s studio at Omole I was there for a week we mad like six songs by then I was beginning to make beats like soul beats, Hip-hop bringing my own style in Falz was a lawyer then so I would be at the studio by day Falz would come in by night when he closes from work about 6pm in the evening am not surprised with his level of growth right now because we actually grinded and worked for this we did a couple of songs after which he put out an album which features Olamide then he got to feature Dipo on the same album and goon ‘Marry Me’ was my song actually that’s something I respect about Falz also because some artists are amazing they have talents and can sing anything while some have their ears to the ground but I just wanted to do it I played “Marry Me” for Falz. Before I met Falz I met Poe. ‘Chardonnay Music’ was a record I produced I wanted Poe to jump on I produced it far back as 2011 but Falz released the song 2016, Falz listened and decided to record a verse on it and he also purchased the entire song from me. When Falz heard “Marry Me” he was like this thing could be magic he tried getting Temi Dollface but iit didn’t happen he also tried getting Seyi Shay still didn’t happen then Falz called me up and was like Yemi Alade is coming to the studio to record, she recorded it and Falz was like this is fire but I didn’t like it much because it wasn’t Soul/RnB but Falz said trust me its fire it was the last song he recorded before the album dropped like a week before it dropped. Studio Magic produced half of the album while I made the other half so basically its being history from there.

How would you describe your kind of production?

Bro! Organic that is one word men, music is a feeling for me if am not feeling it no matter how excited people around me is I don’t work on it making music for me I see it as a blank canvass to paint on like I’m about to make a piece so there’s no format like starting with a kick or a trumpet I have had productions that I tell the artist you have an idea of the vocals right? I just record the idea no piano nothing it takes months sometimes so when they call to ask what’s up I tell them “it has not come to me” it has to tell me something you know it’s very easy for me to just pull up Alkaida clap and put kongas to make a beat in 10 minutes but for everything to stand out so as to get the best of me the song has to appeal to me one the vibe has to come to me naturally and you never can tell when and am never in a rush and again in terms of urgency depending on the artistes like some artistes have the kind of song they want to make so I put them in the zone giving them songs they could listen to get an idea of what they want just the same way every painting cannot be the same from a painter you can’t paint the same things twice because I see stereotyped beats around but for me I challenged myself that every new record I produce is different from the ones I have made two songs shouldn’t emit the same feelings regardless of my traditional Spax tone you know am a guitar guy, I use horns my percussions are always there so these tones are constant because they define me.

How did you come about your nickname “Spax”?

Nah I can’t tell you that You produced all songs on Showdem Camp’s Palmwine Music this which has folks asking who be dat Spax guy tell us a bit about the project? I met Showdem Camp last year me being a visionary I think in our first conversation I told them it’s very simple “I can put you guys back on” I guess it was a big statement, thank God Wale (Tec) was humble enough to listen to me I said if people can listen to your most commercial song, like a song you guys didn’t really rap, more of like a vibe through record. I was like I think you guys should concentrate on your singles you can do your hip-hop thing for a mixtape and Wale (Tec) was like I’m down men but you know I’m down means let’s see how it goes so the first song we made was “Compose” with Boj. Wale (Tec) wrote the hook and BOJ sang, Wale (TEC) also did his verse but Ghost wasn’t involved it was just Tec then like a week later I made ‘Independent’ beat I think I even posted it on Instagram that day over like 12 or 13 people reach out to me Dice, Black Magic… So I knew there was something about that beat personally I didn’t know how dope it was because I made it, I don’t get excited easily so I nurture my beats they are like my babies so if I tell you am working on a beat for 4 months it’s not like I can’t make it in one day so I play it every day until am ok with it so I sent the beat to Wale (Tec) I think and I told him this is for Ajebutter he said how do you mean? I told him just send it to him you see what will happen so he sent it and Ajebutter sent a voice note and I was like Bro this is a jam next day Ajebutter was in the studio and we did the song “Independent” I think at that point they sent it to Ghost and he was like ok you guys are doing something then we recorded “Up to You” Ghost heard the song and left his house as a matter of fact he wrote his verse on the Third mainland bridge he was on his way to the studio this was like in a space of 1-3 months because I was working on another project I had a very tight schedule too was working on Funbi’s EP, Lynxx Shaydee’s album, DJ Spinall’s I was really busy last year so before we knew it we were like five songs deep then am like this is it men, everybody we played it to was like this is mental and what makes it special is that it’s an extension of “Feel Alright” you can tell but I also like the fact that each song has its vibe even though they are similar like they sound related like kids from the same parent they relate to each other but they don’t necessarily look alike in the context of father to children so Palmwine music is the umbrella while the songs are the kids and we are in the studio already Palmwine two is coming we got like 14 demos already trying to structure the beat drawing up the feature list..

Do you plan singing someday?

Sing? Bro chill abeg me I can’t sing to save my life.

If you weren’t a music producer what would you be?

To be honest with you music saved me from a lot of things, am a complete introvert I don’t club, I don’t go to events am a very private person you know {laughs} funny thing is before music I was like the director type of person but I have never thought about that probably working in a bank or something living the Lagos life work on weekdays and extremely ball on weekends but now my life is like weekday all through because I don’t have rest days but I don’t think I would have been able to work in the bank because am nocturnal like music is really meant for me because I sleep during the day and I kick start my day from like 5PM just like now then I sleep like 8AM in the morning so I don’t even know how that would have worked that is why God is good.

Can you list artistes and songs you have produced?

Sdc Palmwine Music Volume 1
Falz – Chardonnay Music Ft Poe X Chyn
Falz – Senator
Chynn Find You Ft Funbi
DIPO – BE YOUR MAN
Shaydee-Satisfy You
Shaydee Feat BurnaBoy -You Go Holla
FalzTheBahdGuy – Right Now Ft Dipo
Falz – Marry Me Ft Yemi Alade
Lynxxx – Ghana Girls
Blink feat. Maka – Dedication
Efya-Me Ni Woa( You & I)
Lynxxx – Serve You
Mojeed – The Charm
Francis Sampah – Ba sumomi
Tomi Agape – Breeze
Waje
Poe – Lifelines (Ngud’ Refix)
I Want You – Poe x Tesh Carter x Tec x Saeon x Mojeed x Spax
Dj Spinall-Don’t Stop Feat Falz & Shaydee

 Are you working on any personal project as a producer? To be honest with you it’s one step at a time for me it will really be hard for me to drop a project I have scrapped two projects I had a project last year titled “Watermark” on this project I had Efya, Shaydee, Falz, Sir Dauda, Sarkodie, Omawunmi just like two days before I was supposed to release the project I critiqued myself it’s like a Me Vs Me thing I was like Falz you are greater than this and this year I started a project earlier on titled WOW “Words of Wisdom” it’s supposed to be a conscious tape myself Ikon, SDC I started that and in the middle am like no Spax you are more than this that’s what Dr Dre is going through that’s why “Detox” hasn’t dropped trust me it’s really hard. I design music so music is supposed to be the best I mean I design music so if my project emerges second rated project of the year I feel like I have failed. It’s a little bit selfish I work all in on other peoples project but on mine I want to take it too seriously and music doesn’t work that way because it’s just a vibe but I really like what Juls is doing, Maleek Berry, Masterkraft and I also understand that tone is not for everybody I like what Sarz does every once in a while that he can independently drop a song without too many vocals. Who are the Nigerian Producers you recognize? Definitely Spellz my very good friend em Ikon, Sarz Bro I told Sarz it’s almost like you the only one that can make me like a party song, we have spoken a couple of times via DM and am like I don’t know how you do this thing but up tempo songs if it’s not sarz or Masterkraft I find it hard to move. Sarz bridges the gap between good music and simultaneously making it commercial, who am I forgetting em yeah Shizzi, these are producers that would make me want to check out a post or a song with their names attached to it Ikon, Spellz, Sarz, Masterkraft and Shizzi.

What do you have to say to your fans?

I appreciate the love men it humbles me trust me I never imagined people would love my kind of sound this much because of the “Commercial Music” thing and that drives me to say like for everybody that has seen my sound work out for artistes its simply because I stayed true to myself no one should tell you to do “Commercial Music” stop it! There’s nothing called commercial music you can sell anything it’s about selling the right product in the right market. If you are a huge fan of good music the phrase “Classic” should ring a bell, if not you must have heard “Chardonnay Music” by Falz or better still ShowDem Camp’s Palmwine music project with records such as “Up to You”, Compose and many more these wonderful tunes were created by Olufemi Samuel aka “Spax” he doesn’t just make good music he makes them sellable too he’s Nigeria’s most wanted producer and he’s our guest on the Base Room today let’s meet Spax.  

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