Brad Beatson is at the raquet ball court in basketball shorts
“Old English” was the first firework of summer, combining vicious bass with a running electronic tone and a bit of the trap sound that Salva started back in 2012. The raps, triangulating America’s hotbeds, come from Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs and A$AP Ferg. As Son Raw put it: “It’s the summer anthem for people who like rappin ass rapping. They bodybag this.” Half a million SoundCloud plays a week and a half later, confirms it.
So how does a song like this come about? After Ferg had two of the hottest tracks of 2013 (“Work” and “Shabba“), and with Thug & Gibbs owning the discussion for the first half of 2014, you’d think they hopped in the studio not too long ago to get it done. As it turns out, the track had been in development for about a year and a half.
Salva, working with NY producer Nick Hook, sent the track back and forth, cleaned it up, and started playing it in sessions. Hook made a trip down to Atlanta and got in the studio with Young Thug, then the track went back to Los Angeles, where Salva linked up with Freddie Gibbs. When he returned to New York, Nick got Ferg on the track, and after some polishing, the track was a wrap by the beginning of 2014. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the right time to place it. “When Nick got Thugger on the track, none of the hype had even happened yet” says Salva. Then “Danny Glover” and “Stoner” blew up, and Freddie Gibbs & Madlib released one of the years best albums, Piñata, all while Salva and Hook were sitting on a street anthem. That’s when Nas’ label, Mass Appeal Records, approached and it became the lead single for the upcoming Mass Appeal Compilation Vol. 1.
Another one of Salva’s hits from this year, “Drop That Bitch”, was first heard on his Odd Furniture EP, released in February 2013. Fast forward to April 2014, and we’re blessed with a fantastic reissue, that certainly benefited from the success of Oxymoron. With Salva, patience is definitely a virtue.
Over the past 15 years, he’s been producing and DJ’ing, from his hometown of Chicago, to Milwaukee, Miami, the Bay, and now L.A. He’s always thinking to show his audience something they weren’t expecting. “It becomes unappealing when everyone does it, I never want to sound like any of these guys” he says, after I mimic the modern festival DJ gearing up for the drop. He teases the EDM staple on a remix of Classixx’s “Stranger Love”, and instead of the typical blast, he opts for a far groovier alternative. Oh, and you guessed it, the remix came out a year after Classixx album dropped.
Back in the Bay, he ran the successful Frite Nite collective, and since he moved to L.A., he’s been involved with FoF Music. Up next is his Peacemaker imprint, which he says will serve as an umbrella for his rap and vocal collaborations, as he eyes bigger records and expands to videos. He has a free album, also titled Peacemaker, due out in September, that’ll feature the two songs featured above, and a handful of rap and R&B tracks. The first of the upcoming videos? “Old English.”
I ask if he learned a lot from the recent Gold Gone Wild tour, where he supported A-Trak. “Yeah it was great, to tease on the EDM scene, he was an early inspiration of mine when I was 15 or 16. Every show was sold out, a real party rock vibe.” he says. “Mad Decent or Fool’s Gold — they already have that scene: the block parties, the day’s off. I don’t want to do that.” Peacemaker will be more about publishing and content. Salva’s going for big hits. Maybe one of them will come via Kimbra, who recently stopped by his studio, after she enjoyed the remix he and DJ Shadow did for her song, “90s Music“.
Before I get off the call, I ask if he’s got anything planned for his son’s 1st birthday. The new dad replies, “Oh I don’t know, probably something Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.” By the time they blow out his candle, you can bet Salva will have the throne.