Team Supreme: Strength in Numbers


L.A. is like a teeming-city
full of all kinds of good music. To get noticed, to get heard isn’t hard, I mean there’s plenty of ears
going around but it’s just… It’s hard to stand out,
it’s hard to be counted. There’s only so much time at the radio
or on stage at Low End. The culture is kind of closed
so if you’re young… and of the Soundcloud generation,
this kind of post-music industry, what do you do? When you’re starting off as a musician, You’re trying to have
the world hear your music, And you’re trying to progress
as an artist yourself and get better at production, and one of the best ways to do that
is to start a crew. Because then,
not only are you pushing your music but you have ten other people
helping to spread your music. And you have ten other people
who can teach you how to do stuff. Team Supreme kind of started
in a classroom. It was called advanced tech music and
taught by this dude, Nalepa. I started teaching down at
Chapman University. When I was there I did an intro-class then started teaching
an advanced class. The first time I taught it I had: Andrew,
Djemba Djemba, David, FuzZ… Preston and Henry were Virtual Boy. Their homework every week
was to make a new track. Make something dope
and we’re going to pass it around, and we’re going to listen to it
at the beginning of class. That was the biggest motivation in the
world because you’re making your art, and immediately want to share it
with the world. We’d bump it loud
and y’know, get in trouble… from the choir teacher down the hall, because I was rocking it
as loud as possible. And that semester I brought in
all sorts of different artists that they could grab inspiration from. There’s people like, Nosaj Thing,
who is a friend of mine and Boreta
from The Glitch Mob came in. And they went back and told
Mary Anne Hobbs from BBC radio… You got to check these kid’s music out,
they’re making really dope stuff, and she literally hit up these guys
on their MySpace pages they’d made as homework assignments
and asked to send her music, which she then played on her show. She played Virtual boy and she played
Andrew and Mike Jones and Marty Soul, and it was like guys, you just got played
on like, the hottest show, where she had discovered
all these amazing artists. When we got to that point I felt like, this is everything I ever wished
it could be and more. Once we’d graduated, we were kind of
missing that weekly get-together, where everybody would show what they
were working on, because it really helps to form a community like that
to push each other. 2012, a year after I graduated college, Dane Morris,
he and I were just up one night… and we kind of challenged each other
to take 30 minutes… to write a one-minute track
using the same sample. Everyone says it’s like a Biggie-sample
but technically it was me saying: “my Team Supreme, stay clean” which was just something in the middle
of a random Biggie song. We went in separate rooms and just
made something with it, just kind of see, like, what we could do. And both of them we really liked
and then we thought, what if we email this to all the people
we know who are producers. We sent the samples and the rules
to about 12 or 13 of our closest friends, and said, if you have an hour,
make a track, send it back and then next week we’ll put it out
as a mixtape. We added a few more people to the
team, like: Kenny Segal, Jonathan Stein, Aaron Carmack and kept building… and before y’know it
we had this crew of people. Starting from then,
for two years, we did it every week. If you go on Soundcloud you’ll find
one through 100 and whatever right now. People started commenting on all the
videos, like, “this person won this week”, and it’s like… that’s interesting,
who’s going to win next week, y’know? And then you kind of listen and say ok,
I like what they did and what they did, and you’re really kind of firing on all
cylinders as oppose to like here’s a beat, and it just sits in my
hard drive forever, it’s like this week it comes out, and I see what it looks like
next to these other beats, y’know. So it’s very, like, in your face,
with like, how good are you? There are times when I’m like, I feel like I’m never going to be as
amazing a producer as like, Djemba Djemba or whoever but then you just have to realize that it’s
not fair to compare yourself in that way. It’s better to just learn from one another
and make each other better. Yeah, the great part about being in like a
crew with your friends is that if anybody did something amazing
that you hadn’t heard before, it’s not out of bounds
to just talk to your friend and be like, hey how did you do that sound? A lot of people are competitive but with
us it’s just more about bringing the whole group up, so we’d
share projects, files and techniques. The way the Beat Cyphers worked
is there would be anywhere from one… very short sample to maybe
a long sample or even a set of stems. For a while there was a transition-sound that would kind of be a bookend
between individual beats. There was a specific bpm, tempo… and a deadline. Just that alone was enough creative
inspiration to get people progressing their music. That was like the first time
that I really challenged myself to make something within
a certain time-limit. Before I would mix and cue
and do everything all at the same time as I’m writing and I would get
so caught up in all the details… too early in the writing process. So making it like a game
just brought back all of the joy and was like an awesome reminder
of why we’re all doing this. Every week we were assigned
to bring in a completely new track… and that’s how I learned that like, you
have to get comfortable making more rather than spending time
working on one thing. I sort of realized that early on
from watching Djemba Djemba… he’s one of our superstar producers, and when I see him write, it doesn’t take
him very long to write an idea, or a track. I feel like the most important
thing with production is getting your idea down in Ableton
as fast as you possibly can. If you’re able to spit out
all of your greatest ideas in a relatively short amount of time, odds are your tracks are going to sound
a lot better I think. Doing the Cypher every week, it’s hard
for one person to come up with samples so every time we were doing this
it was like, who can we ask to, like… help curate a tape. Sometimes a guest would make a beat
as well, sometimes they’re just a curator, and then, y’know,
we’d put the tape together as well. At first it was like, that’s cool
that they’re doing that and there’s this thing called
Team Supreme going on, but then DJ Shadow ended up curating
one of the weeks of the Beat Cypher, and then it was like, these guys are kind
of legit now, y’know, like, DJ Shadow’s fucking with them,
y’know, so… yeah, I think that was kind of like the
tipping point for those guys and then, everything just took off from there. For the first 40-50 weeks it was mostly
just Team Supreme people and friends, close invitations on all the Cyphers. And then we opened it up to the public. We found all these younger producers who desperately wanted to have a beat
on one of our tapes… and wanted to share their music
with the rest of the world just like we did when we were younger. And I think all of us
kind of like loved that. We got so many submissions back
from beat-makers that we might not have previously ever
heard of and then it’s like, oh my god, they just sent us this crazy fire
that’s so awesome. So eventually we started doing it more
often and then just made them all open. I think it’s a really great thing
for kids to get excited and want to make a beat
that will get on a tape… and it’s really interesting to see
how they progressed… as well as all the people
on Team Supreme. Every project that I put up online was
like a calling card to some people. One of the songs that I made in
Team Supreme ended up in the hands of Gaslamp Killer who’s like an L. A. staple
for beat-music. I saw the video on YouTube and I was
just blown away that my music could make a crowd
jump like that. Brand new LA shit! I was super happy but at the same time I
was like, I can do this… next time I’m going to be on the stage. And y’know, within two years
I was on the same stage. A couple of the guys
are more on ahead with their careers like, Carmack just churns out
insane beat after insane beat, and there’s like whole genres of music
that start from like one song of his then there’s a bunch of producers
making that are kind of making that style. Andrew’s like in the studio
writing a record with Madonna, getting a back rub from her,
on Instagram. But they’re so supportive
of the whole team… you’ve got the guys who are the younger
ones who are just coming up, but everyone’s really cheering for them
and helping each other out. And that’s what I love about
the Team Supreme crew is there’s this comradery
and, y’know, this, like… mutual respect and love. If any of you ever need advice
or anything, I got you… Even now as people reach new
milestones in their careers and have bigger and bigger
things happening… everyone kind of shares
all their experiences and I think it’s a real asset to everyone. There’s a lot of synergy with with like all
of the different things people bring, as far as what they know
and who they know. The coolest thing about it is like when
we all meet and we’re all together and it’s just familiar,
it’s family, it’s togetherness. And that’s the things that I love about
Team Supreme… that’s it’s more family than, it’s more… like this association, bro-club, y’know. We’re not putting up any fronts, it’s just… we like to make music, that’s it. I think when it comes to music, it’s
really important to have an open mind. I’ve never felt like I’ve gotten weird looks
about my silly – children’s… toy-beat music from the
Team Supreme family. And I get a lot from that. We met when we were so early in it
that we weren’t skeptical yet. It was just kind of like,
oh, you’re making like, weird, like, toy-beat music?
That’s awesome. Everybody just has like different styles and everybody appreciates
and loves those styles. Just as long as you’re like being you
and making your style of music… then we’ll probably all really enjoy it
and want to support it. It’s been a really fun ride so far. The last big thing we did
was our first tour outside of L.A. You made these beats?
– Yeah. Oh you’re nice… So all you do is make beats, you don’t
get on stage and do no other shit? Sometimes I rap. We did the East Coast
and the West Coast… and we sold out every show. That was the most
relevant, big thing we’ve done… since the inception of Team Supreme
because those were the biggest crowds personally I’ve ever played for and you could tell that they had gone
and done their homework on like who we were as a collective and
like understood the collaborative joy we get out of this
and I think the tour was a big, like… let’s keep doing this. I think the sky’s the limit for all of them. It’s not because of L.A. or anything, it’s
because of their own ingenuity, really. We’re in a moment now,
it’s like a new collective moment. It’s a really awesome time in music
right now and… and to have strength in numbers… I think everyone realizes that
squads come up together and then… it fosters a sense of community. Even just forming a community
where people share their work… allows for such
creative growth and expression… it’s like, I don’t know why
more people don’t do it.

93 Replies to “Team Supreme: Strength in Numbers”

  1. Greetings all,

    I cant agree with the idea and purpose of this video enough.

    It speaks to all those starving musicians and producers who have been creatively marginalized as the music industry slowly evolves, or dissolves, (depending on how full your glass is)

    At the end of the day, theres a lot of us who end up alone with a laptop, trying to create.

    So as this video poignantly suggests….lets team up!

    Im a musician and producer who LIVES with Ableton.

    I actually JUST started a Meetup group a few weeks ago, specifically for Ableton producers.

    We are Los Angeles-based but all are welcome to participate in discussions and feedback sessions

    If interested, check out the Meetup page

    Check out Ableton Electronic Musicians on Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Ableton-Electronic-Musicians/

    This is a solicitation for creation, not for money, support, or endorsements

    There really is Strength in Numbers

    Hope to collaborate with some of you soon!

  2. BIG UPS to Mr. Carmack – he's been out here to Honolulu for some of the Lightsleeper's Events (Beatroot, etc), and he's a real dude, a true cool cat. Glad to see him down with such a great group of artists and creators such at Team Supreme. Peace and blessings!

  3. GREAT video.. really cool to see the collaborative nature of the group. Reminds me of https://www.facebook.com/groups/undergroundmusicproduction

  4. Love this! Very inspiring, thanks Team Supreme and Ableton for spreading these vibes and collective drive. dope as!

  5. This is inspiring and frustrating. I've been trying to get this collaborative collective dynamic happening for a good bit in my life with little to no reception due to where i live and the conditions of those i reach out to. Its tough to actually collect a group of committed individuals who will show up with something once a week or show up at all really. Fuck this for showing my the lifestyle I've been reaching for but even more thank you guys for sharing this valuable knowledge because it has inspired me to refine my approach a bit.

  6. Sometimes the collective can conjure up something brilliant, other times it's more about community than substance and your tracks become too diluted with opinion. Creativity with others can often unlock that special something, no doubt a good tool…. but ultimately what it comes dow to as an artist, is that you have to know your identity and more often it's individuality and integrity that brings something new and unique.

  7. So, if I'm reading the tracklist right, the first song that hits around :50 is JNTHN Stein's "Bond" track, though no traces of it online or on youtube. Anyone got a link to it?

  8. Team Supreme rock! check me out. itz 2COOL4U! different. cool. and original. wish I could be apart of something like this. a lot of people think that there better off on there own tho. So not true. keep up the great work Team Supreme.

  9. At 3:28, the guy on the bottom right is named Kloud, but that's actually Hoodboi. Is Kloud an old producer name that he used, and if so, does anyone know where I can find his music?

  10. Hey everyone im a newer producer and I just came out with my first song not too long ago. If you have time could you check it out??? Thanks!!! Soundcloud.com/brokosis

  11. I like how u choose the avi that includes someone throwing up Satan Horns….just like every "artist" who gets a deal nowadays….

  12. So much love in this vid. Thanks so much for continuing these awesome cyphers for everyone to try their hand at!

  13. At first you yearn for Los Angeles recognition then (at the end) plug-in that you're ingenuity has gotten you where you are … Your crew, gang, squad mind-set is nothing new to the area?

  14. the song from the intor is a remix of mo money mo problems by biggie but i can't find it anywhere plz help 0:49

  15. unfortunately you need a minimum of 2 million in cash to get a dj career going at a superstar level which will need to be supplied by your family, buddy, wife or girlfriend.

  16. Pleeease someone Tell me the ID for Goodnight Cody's Tune at 10:23 … The tracklist at the end says its called 'Big Waffle Kingdom' but its unfindable… I'm dying.

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