Meet Taylor Galford aka The Heisman
I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to do a feature interview with the 23 year-old producer from Murfreesboro, Tennessee who has produced multiple songs for Lil B and is one of the main music contributors to a famous Youtuber, Casey Neistat. However, chalking him up as just a bedroom producer would be an unfair assessment. Having years of experience playing the guitar, drums, and piano and an advanced knowledge in music theory combined with studying Audio Production at Middle Tennessee State University, calling him just a bedroom producer would be an injustice. Check out our interview:
CC: How long have you been doing music? What led you to production?
TH: Well, I started playing the guitar in 5th grade. So I’ve been playing for about 12-13 years and I have also been playing the drums for about 13 years. My freshman year I got a Casio keyboard and I just played around with it, and it wasn’t until I got out of high school that I learned to play the piano while I began messing around with Pro Tools and just practiced recording myself. In 2011, the summer after graduating high school I began messing around with beats for the first time using loops. After that I was hooked, but there is so much more that goes into it than anyone realizes and I had to make a ton of crap beats before I ever got anything that I was proud of, and that’s what drove me. In the beginning, I would make five beats and only one of them would be any good, but that one good one pushed me to keep making more.
CC: I’ve seen you worked with Lil B, what was that experience like and how did that all happen?
TH: Well Lil B put his email out there for people to send beats or whatever, and I sent him a little batch of beats around October of 2012, and the first time I sent him something I got placement on his next mixtape and that was inspiration to keep going. I also got placed on the project after that I so kept thinking I was going to keep climbing rapidly, but it wasn’t like that. A year passed and I finally got back on a Lil B project called Pink Flame, this time with the song “flex 36” which B did a video to, and so that was kind of a big deal because that was my first video with B, and that’s a song he plays live a lot.
CC: Was that a moment where you kind of thought you had began to make it and gain momentum as a producer considering Lil B is an artist with a million followers on social media and stuff?
TH: Yeah for sure. I felt like that was the moment where I kind of broke the ice and sort of showed myself that I could produce stuff that people enjoyed listening to. He also has thousands of songs so for him to choose “Flex 36” as a video and be something he performs live was huge to me. I felt that the beat was at the threshold of being good and was something that had an anthem sound, at least at an underground level. About a year after that he chose a beat of mine and did the song “Katy Perry” which was huge to me because he put it on iTunes and he doesn’t put a lot of stuff on iTunes.
CC: Have you been able to make any money from all of your work?
TH: I haven’t made as much money as I probably deserve, but it’s not even about that for me right now. I’m focused on just getting my name out there and perfecting my craft. I’m not necessarily that worried about the money right now as long as I get credit because I’m still in school and I’ve done pretty good from selling my stuff on Bandcamp.
CC: Is there anyone else that you do work with regularly?
TH: There is a guy on Youtube who is a freelance filmmaker named Casey Neistat and I saw he had an Action Bronson instrumental in one of his videos and I thought that was sort of cool, and I just hit him up and told him to let me know if he ever need any source music or what not for his videos and he hit back up and was interested and I have been sending him stuff ever since. I started working with him when he had about 100,000 subscribers and now he has about 2 million subscribers. That’s where a lot of my followers on Soundcloud and people buying my stuff on Bandcamp come from. I don’t know if you saw it, but most recently I did the music for a video of his that went viral and had 12 million views in five days. He wanted me to take the Frank Sinatra song “New York, New York” and use that as a sample and make something a little more modern sounding and something that wouldn’t be copyright infringement on YouTube.
CC: Musically, who inspires you and what do you like to listen to?
TH: Radiohead first of all is my favorite band of all-time and I love Johnny Greenwood (?) because I feel like he has so much musical knowledge. They’re the only band that consistently surprises me. As far a rap goes I have a lot of influence production wise. I love Kanye West, Lex Luger, Southside, TM88, Alchemist, Action Bronson, Young Chop. Luger is on another level to me. If I ever taught a production class I would spend a whole class talking about the “BMF” instrumental. Shawty Redd invited that style, and I even love old Jeezy and Gucci (Mane). I always wanted to make beats that had that hard street style.
CC: Do you have a signature style or maybe trying to find your signature anytime soon?
TH: I think I have a signature sound to some degree and I think you can sort of tell that it’s me, but also because my stuff is clean and not out of key because I am so aware of music theory. I’ve always tried to be multi-faceted as far as my music goes. I like to make a plethora styles and I enjoy pushing myself to try new stuff. Regardless of the type of beat I am making I am always trying to make sure it’s quality and up to a certain standard. A lot of people come to me for custom stuff, and like Casey has a lot of music contributors, but if he ever needs something custom-made he always comes to me because he knows I can do a variety of sounds.
CC: So in the future could you see yourself being more project based rather than sending out single instrumentals?
TH: Yeah for sure. Something I always thought was cool would be doing a project with like Lil B for example and composing something from scratch and not really using any samples or anything. Maybe even composing music for film one day. I don’t ever want to limit myself.
CC: Do you have any favorites that you’ve produced?
TH: Well that’s tough because I have made over 1000 beats, but I definitely have some gems that are my favorite. I think back to “Flex 36” being one of them because I felt that beat was way head of my ability at the time and almost didn’t sound like something I was making around then. I kind of guage it like this, when it doesn’t sound like I made it that’s when it’s good because then there’s nothing biased about my judgment and I feel I can listen and would love it even if it were made my someone else.
CC: What are your plans for the future and what’s the ideal dream?
TH: Well I’m graduating in December and I feel like the combination of being self taught with Pro Tools and being trained by some of the best professors in the industry on how to use Pro Tools has provided me a unique advantage over the next guy. I’m going to school to be an engineer, but if I could make it strictly as a producer obviously I would much rather do that because I view myself as a musician first. It would also be cool to be able to do both you know if I was working on a project with somebody, but if I got a job in Nashville as an engineer then they obviously wouldn’t need my beats. That still would be cool because I love music and I want to be a facilitator of music. It’s interesting how everything has worked out because had I never gotten placement with B I don’t know where I would be right now. The more placements I got, the more inspired I was to keep working. A few weeks ago, I sent him more stuff and he loved it and asked me to make him more similar to that stuff. He was really digging it and it was a big deal because he asked for my phone number and then he gave me his. So my goal is to just keep working and trying to make connections and see what happens.
In the most recent OVO sound radio set, “Summer Sixteen” by Drake and Nas’ remix to Future’s “March Madness” may have been the most talked about songs on the show, but hidden in the shuffle of great music was a gem. This gem is a very “Toronto sounding” remix to Kodak Black‘s “SKRT”, which went viral this past fall after a Drake co-sign dancing in a video on Instagram. The remix comes from ironically another artist that has a Drake co-sign and is also signed to OVO (Drake’s record label), Roy Wood$. The EXIS artist hasn’t dropped new material in a while, but the wait was worth it.
While Kodak Black’s original version is a very “gangster” and a violent song lyrically talking about swerving on everybody and even talking about having a sniper looking over playing peek-a-boo over a very ambient and soft sounding beat which you can listen to above, Roy Wood$ takes the song and turns it more into a break up anthem about swerving on his ex. Give it a listen for yourself: