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Statik LNK's New Beginning
Sampling

Statik LNK's New Beginning

US producer and multi-instrumentalist Statik LNK went from sampling to being sampled. On the verge of the new year, he subtly altered the alias ‘Statik Link’ to say goodbye to his background as a duo in EDM, trap & electronic music. All to fully focus on the fusion of jazz, soul, funk & hip-hop he loves most. So much has changed, so much has not: his love for sampling still runs as deep as ever.

By DannyVeekens
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3:21

The free track above is part of Statik LNK's all-new album, 'Horizons.' The free download is available for a limited time only!

You both make music and sample music. What’s the beauty of sampling to you personally, in relation to playing instruments yourself?

To me, it all stems from the earliest instances of popular music. Before samplers, artists would record overdubs of tape as background tracks or cover songs by artists they were influenced by. These were tributes to the past but also defined the music of the future.

To me, sampling defines the music creation process. It allows people who are creative but may not know how to play an instrument to experience the creative aspect of music. It teaches song structure and composition. It inspires artists who have the ability to play instruments to think outside the box. It can become the bed of a track to build an idea around. It captures a sound from a time that can be modified and renewed.

Sampling was an integral part of my learning process. It taught me song structure, composition and song spacial awareness. It also opened the door to learning about the different eras of engineering and how the technology defined the sound of that era which has helped to characterize my records to sound a certain way.

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2:30

So which artist or album did you learn the most from in regards to that?

I came up as a hip-hop head. When I first started producing in 2007, I owned an MPC2000XL and learned music production from studying Slum Village, Dr. Dre, DJ Babu, and others. But the first record that got me into hip-hop was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. I remember the first time I heard it. It made a major impact on my life and got me into the world of rap music. It also introduced me to psychedelic rock and soul. It was amazing to me how the west coast G-funk sound could be inspired by melodic music when traditional rap music was less melodic and more drum machine/rhythm-based. Dre changed that. He was paying tribute to the artists who influenced him while pushing the hip-hop genre forward. The Chronic introduced me to sampling records. And sampling taught me song structure.

However, while learning how to chop samples, mimicking Dre’s 2001 was always the goal. That album introduced me to interpolation and replaying of samples. It made me want to learn to play all these different instruments and become a producer instead of a beatmaker. I wanted to learn how to communicate with the musician in the studio and understand what the engineer was doing.

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2:11

To name an example of that from your own catalog—or correct me if I’m wrong: on your track “Illiad Vibes,” I thought there’s a comparison to the “Impeach The President” break...

Good catch on the Impeach The President break reference. It 100% inspired “Illiad Vibes.” Of course, I’ve modified it to make my own, but it def was part of the inspiration. I’ve also tried to mimic sounds from records, too. To give another example: the clean sound of the Fender Strat and Fender Clean amp from Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive” is a sound I try to replicate a lot.

Over the past 15 or so years, I’ve been learning different instruments. I now play piano, guitar, bass, trumpet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, and am an active DJ. At first, I would take samples and try to play instruments over the top of them. Then eventually I learned to play songs myself and create my own samples to chop. To this day, samples do inspire my original work.

“The obscurity of the samples and new music of the underground makes Tracklib unique.”

—Statik LNK

Your track “Checks” samples a slow song by The Deltas for a quite uptempo trap-based track. Can you recall what finding the sample on Tracklib was like, and how it fitted in with the production process of “Checks”?

Man, those horns! They sounded MASSIVE to me. Reminded me of Jay Rock’s “Win.” After I heard them I was like 'yo, I gotta chop that.' The Deltas are a group I would’ve never known existed if it wasn’t for Tracklib. It’s awesome that Tracklib not only delivers quality music to sample but also introduces me to new music. The track was next-level. It was awesome getting OG Maco on the hook, Big J Tha White Wonder, Keysha Freshh, and Freddie Black to drop insane verses. They are next-level talents. I actually met Freddie Black through hearing him drop on a Tracklib sample. Now he’s the mega homie who always is down to deliver a verse or hook.

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3:17

Cool to hear Tracklib made that collaboration happen! And now your own music is available on Tracklib as well. What type of music do you hope producers end up using it for? Any personal favorite tracks you’d like to highlight?

Use it for everything! I like hearing it flipped in the most obscure way. I’ve heard it used in some house and hip-hop stuff. I even had a politician use one of the songs for a political ad which is so DOPE to me.

As far as personal favs, that’s tough. I currently have six full-length records on Tracklib ready to be chopped and reworked. I can name a couple. “Uh Oh” is a classic and I think it is my most sampled track on the site. It’s been flipped TONS of times. “2Strings” is a favorite because of the bassline. “The Show” is another personal favorite: the lo-fi piano makes this track stand out in my mind.

It’s SO awesome when I hear producers chop my work. If you download my tracks on Tracklib, please hit me on Instagram. Def love it to repost people reworking my tracks!

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1:28

Which potential do you see for producers who use Tracklib in the upcoming years?

One of the awesome things about Tracklib is the collections that Omar puts together. That dude has THE ear. The obscurity of the samples and new music of the underground makes Tracklib unique. I think we’ll see more producers use Tracklib to sample more modern stuff. I also loved the Rhythm Roulette option. It was a challenge. I think continuing to run contests that push creativity is essential.

I also think growing the library is crucial as well. I mean, y’all got an unreleased Issac Hayes record. WITH STEMS! WHAT! That’s wild. I was blown away by that. That’s the future. Obscure, hard to find—if not impossible to find—records with stems that give producers the ultimate control.

“I can tell you this: Tracklib changed the game. It’s made sampling inclusive and not something only for label heads and lawyers. It makes the business side easy so the artistic side can be done and delivered.”

—Statik LNK
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1:53

How has your perspective on sampling changed throughout the years after making and releasing music yourself?

It’s definitely become more accepted from a business standpoint from when I first started. I think the internet changed that. Sites like YouTube and SoundCloud forced the labels to attempt to work with artists to clear samples instead of fighting against them. Are we there 100%? No. It still has a lot of ways to go. It’s gotten a lot better, though. However, I guess one could argue that the internet has also made it easier to track what samples are being used. I guess it’s a double-edged sword of good and bad. [Laughs]

I can tell you this: Tracklib changed the game. It’s made sampling inclusive and not something only for label heads and lawyers. It makes the business side easy so the artistic side can be done and delivered. It takes away the complicated bureaucracy of label business.

That’s a major difference from when I first started. I would put out records and pray that I wouldn’t get caught. Now, it makes sure the proper people get paid and that the producer doing the sampling doesn’t have to worry about getting caught or sued. It’s an all-around plus. I think Tracklib is going to become the standard for sample clearance in the near future.

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