Bobby Frazitta - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
This is part 1 of an interview with Bobby Frazitta, conducted by DJ L.K. (Low-Key) in January of 2004. Bobby, along with his brother Danny, are the CEO's of Bring It Back Entertainment, Virginia's best up and coming label. Their debut mixtape "Throwbacks" features such artists as Sketch, Little Brother, Skillz and SoulStice, among others. In the interview below Bobby talks about the struggles coming up in the Hip Hop game, as well as Bring It Back Entertainment's future goals.
MVRemix: First off, why don't you introduce yourself for those that don't know.
I'm Bobby Frazitta, CEO of Bring It Back Entertainment, northern Virginia. Basically at this point and time we are trying to push ourselves as an independent label and push our artists to some labels, either independent or commercial. We have our production team which consists of me, my brother Danny, and this kid David who goes by the name of Kevlar. At this point and time, 2004 is going to be a big year for us to start shopping a lot our beats to independent labels. Basically we are trying to become Virginia's next big thing and I think we are doing a pretty good job of it. That's who we are, we are just people who love Hip Hop and love making music.
MVRemix: You and your brother Danny are the CEO's of Bring It Back Entertainment, so what made you want to start your own label and how did you come up with the name?
It all started back in like December of 2000. I had already been DJing and David had already been making beats for couple years, and I started becoming good friends with Sketch. So he brought us over to David's house and he started to show me how to make beats. At that point in January 2001, I got my own machine, I got my own Triton. A lot of the early stuff we did was keyboard stuff, because a Triton is a keyboard. Then we started getting into sampling and whatnot. It is kind of a weird story because my brother really wasn't into the whole thing until July of 2001. I actually went on a trip with my girlfriend and he basically took the machine over, and in the week I was away he already recorded a song with Sketch. He was immensely talented. So that's how it all kind of started. We just started going to David's basement and making beats. Daily we were making beats just trying to get better. We didn't come up with the name Bring It Back Entertainment until we finished the first album for Sketch called the "Wild Irish Rose". We put some CD's together and we realized we didn't have a name, so after listening to our beats we realized our sound was a vintage soul, Pete Rock, Premier type of throw back sound. So we were sitting in our basement brainstorming and Danny was like "yo how about Bring It Back Entertainment, because we are bringing it back to the real Hip Hop". And the name kind of stuck, so we went with it. About a year later we become a company, so thatís basically how we got the name.
MVRemix: Plus the popularity of throwbacks these days can only help.
It's weird because we didnít have an idea to do a compilation until we went to Atlanta in February of last year. We did an event with EA Sports and Clipse for NBA All Star weekend, and we did a show out there in Buckhead. And at this point last year throwbacks were on fire and everybody down there was wearing them. So we came back and said "yo we need to put something out now, why not do a compilation". So we were going through names and I was like "why not call it Throwbacks". I know a lot of people have used that name, but it sort of has a double meaning because we were trying to correlate it to the whole Bring It Back Entertainment and how we were bringing real Hip Hop back to people.
MVRemix: Just take us through the whole process you had to go through to get Bring It Back Entertainment to where it is today.
It's interesting because David and Danny are younger than I am, so I had to sort of take it upon myself, as I finished college a few years ago, so we needed someone to get us out there to push our name. So I knew a guy by the name of Double J, who is an old friend of my brothers from college, so really he taught me a lot on how the industry works. He was just getting started out himself, but I just started networking through him. If I had any questions I would go to him or if I need to get in contact with any people he would help me. Then I started establishing my own relationships with people. I went to Rocksteady twice, just going up there and meeting some people from a lot of independent labels. Going to CMJ, going to New York, really its all about who you know. Fortunately I was able to meet a lot of people by going to these places and once again through Double J. I was just emailing and calling people, sending out my beat CD's. Even if they weren't interested in what we were doing, they would still remember our names. That's sort of been the whole marketing process, each day, each month, each year, just meeting new people and finding a way to work with them. Whether it's through music or helping them promote shows out here in the Virginia area. It's hard though, its hard when your not from an area where Hip Hop doesn't really have a big scene and where it's really popping like NYC, LA or Atlanta. But really it's just been a matter of spending a whole lot of money on traveling, and for a lack of better words, having the balls to phone call people and really talking to people on the phone and emailing them, letting them know what you are about. So that's how we really have done it, through networking.
MVRemix: So how has it been dealing with the industry politics so far?
It's interesting because we really didnít have to deal with politics, then all of the sudden once we got this "Throwbacks" mixtape done it started to happen. You deal with it especially when you are trying to shop your beats. Because you hear about all these people that are hard time doing it until they finally got their break. We are still waiting for that, but the whole politics of "oh your nobody, your beats are hot but your not hot right now". And trying to convince people who know artists to hand them your stuff. It's really hard to convince artists to listen to your stuff, especially bigger artists. We have hard our problems in this area, with shows and promoters, on a smaller level. As far as industry politics goes, unless you know somebody that knows someone on a label, its hard to get people to respect you and pay attention to what you are doing. There is a lot of shady shit going on man. I would say there is a lot of bullshit involved in trying to get artists on compilations, and how much they are trying to charge you, and overcharging you. Stuff like that is the things we have dealt with. Plus, there's a lot of hating going on. At this point its been a struggle being where we are from to get people to really give us the respect we feel we deserve. At this point thatís about it, we haven't really gotten involved in the real nitty gritty. But once again, a lot of these artists, because they know you can't charge them a certain amount, try to screw you over. For example, if we are trying to shop beats to them and get them on Sketch's album, they will be like "give us a free beat, we'll give you a verse". While itís a great situation to be in because you are going to be able to record with a bigger artist, at the same time we are in a situation where we have to make money. It gets to the point when people are really trying to manipulate you and fucking with you, and your like "yo I cant have it". I don't want to call certain artists out, but we had a situation with a certain artist when we where doing the mixtape that became obvious they were trying to shiest us. I was like "I may not be producer so and so, but I'm also not an idiot, and I know how things work, and I'm not gonna let you take advantage of me, so we are better off just not working with you". So we dealt with all that stuff.
MVRemix: So when you guys were making "Throwbacks", obviously it came out of your own pocket. So how was the price tag, was it a lot?
I gotta be honest, a couple of the bigger artists on it came very cheap, because of my connections.
Like Phonte & Skillz.
Yeah, they were very inexpensive, because of friends I worked with. I was either giving their artist beats, or like DJ ReeRock out of VA, he hooked us up with Skillz. I know Little Brother's manager on a telephone/email basis. I told him "look our budget is real tight, we are coming to the end of the line, I donít want to short change you guys but would you wanna do it for x amount of dollars", and they were like, cool were down. Almost all together it costs around two thousand dollars. But thatís on the front end, paying for the CD's to get manufactured and paying for the artists. Then you gotta pay for mailing all the stuff out to different labels and publications. And that means using a lot of the CD's we manufactured for promo's, giving them out free. We were pretty fortunate to pick up the distribution deal with FYE, because that is going to allow us get our CD's into bigger stores. I basically paid for it fully, but a lot of the recording we did was in our own studio. Phonte and Skillz for example, did their songs, so we didnít have to pay for studio time. It was pretty inexpensive, we made a lot of our money back, but we were definitely better off doing that this time around than say a single. Because singles cost anywhere from two to three grand to get done, depending on what type of artwork you get done as well. Plus, on your first single you are probably going to loose money. So this was an opportunity to for us to get a lot of featured artists on it and actually make almost all of our money back. It's pretty inexpensive to get CD's done, so I think thatís a better option for people on a small budget. Also, you are not limiting your audience to just DJ's, anybody can walk through Tower Records and buy your CD for example.
MVRemix: Now when you send your beat tape in are you ever afraid that your beats are gonna get jacked?
It's really something that you have to be willing to deal with. If you send CD's out and put the copyright symbol on it, even though the beats we are making right now are not technically copyrighted, you are sorted of protected when you put that on the CD. But if you sample some famous soul record and some asshole producer gets their hands on it and knows who it is, they make take the idea for it. And anybody would have no problem loading our beats up in cool edit or sound forge and looping it and jacking it. But at the same times its not going to be in the utmost of recording quality. It's a huge risk you may take, but its something you have to do in order to get artists to work with you. You kind of have to cross your fingers and hope people aren't going to jack you, but there is really no other way to do it. Unless you are able to sit down with an artist in a studio and run through your beats with them, which is uncommon.
MVRemix: Now you and your brothers producer names are Bee Oh Bee and Digger. So who is who?
Digger is my brother, I'm Bee Oh Bee, and David is Kevlar.
MVRemix: So what is the meaning behind Bee Oh Bee?
It's actually a nickname that my mom has for me. Ever since I was young she would call me B.O.B., spell my name out. It kind of stuck with me over the years. As far as Digger goes, its kind of weird. My older brother gave him that name and started calling him Digger instead of Danny. I guess David came up with Kevlar because of the whole bullet proof thing. But I'm not real big on nicknames, but I kind of wanted to take something that I always had.
MVRemix: I thought Digger was gonna be because of diggin in the crates and whatnot.
Yeah, I guess it could have a double meaning, cause Danny does do a lot of digging.
MVRemix: What equipment do you use?
We mainly use the Triton to make our beats. The Triton is a great machine because it is a keyboard and a sampler in one. We do make a lot of keyboard beats but we like to compliment that with a lot of sampling. Because a lot of times when you loop something or chop something up there maybe nothing else in the song that you sample that you can add to give it some texture or layers. I started playing the piano by ear when I was like 14, so it's something we really like to do and the advantage of using a keyboard is being able to add a lot of different instruments to beats that you make. And it allows you to make keyboard beats as well, so thatís something we like to do. We do have an MPC, and a lot of times if we cant get something to loop right we will use the Triton and the MPC together. For some reasons drums sounds coming off the MPC hit a lot harder, so if we are going for something real rugged we'll throw the beat pattern on the MPC and midi it up on the Triton. As far as recording, we do a lot of our recording on a eight track digital roland that is about four years old. But we have a nice AKG mic, it's about a thousand dollar mic, the vocal quality is real good. And we basically one track our beats from the Triton into one track on the track board because when we started out we really didnít have the money to invest in a bigger studio. But we actually just got an incredible board, itís a 24 digital roland, you donít even need Pro Tools to use it. Because when you link it up to your computer it comes with a sound program. We have used studios but they are really not worth the money. Because, to really mix and record one song down its going to cost you over $300. And you are just better off saving the money to build your own studio.
MVRemix: So how long does it take y'all to make a beat?
For me it really depends. When I make beats I might spend two or three hours on a beat at one time. And if I get to a point when I get stuck, I'll save what I have and turn the keyboard off and go do something else. Then I'll listen to the beat in my head and think about stuff I heard about in the record or something I can add to it. It can really take me a day or two. Danny sometimes will spend several hours, same with David. On average we spend about a day or two.