One of the brains behind Crown Ace, Josh SB is putting out an EP named the “The SB Sessions” which features different artists. Music on the EP is being released at every last day of the month and we saw him releasing “GOD DNA” which featured Sonny (download here) at the end of January. I caught up with him to discuss his musical production journey and the entire EP.
QN: Who is person behind the name Josh SB and when did you start production?
Josh SB is first a songwriter that’s just something I have been doing since I was a kid, I’m a session musician and I’m a producer. Generally I have love for creative art. I’m into film cause that’s what I do for a living film & photography. I’m into creative art generally organizing events and all that. So I’m someone who is passionate about artistry.
I started production (professionally) when I was sixteen. I did my first song with the help of Allan Wasswa, Richy’s producer. It was a song called “Get Your Groove On” by a south-African based artist called Danielle. That was my first attempt & it was successful of course Allan helped to panel beat so that it fits to the standard of the other songs. Then my next project was with a gospel singer called Mac Elvis (R.I.P) he also gave me a platform then after that’s when I met CODE.
QN: You started with church and you had a gospel background how did you take a turn to hip-hop and how was your first interaction with CODE before “shut it down” the monster hit came into picture?
I have always had love for hip-hop. Yeah, I met CODE then he wants to be an artist, I told him I’m a beat maker blah blah. I Sent him the first beat he didn’t like it at that time he was a “sweller”. The first beat didn’t work out I don’t know why I liked it but he didn’t. So I go back to the board I came up with a beat that happened to be for “shut it down” I sent it to him & he didn’t even know where to start. “Shut it down” was released 4/5 months after I had given him the beat. It was my first radio worthy song
QN: So, let’s talk about the EP “SB Sessions”, what’s the story behind it?
I have a lot of sessions with people and we get to record/play stuff that we don’t get usually to listen to on radio. Some stuff is probably considered too urban for the market; you know whatever the excuse is. So what happened is I’m getting a compilation from those songs combined with some other original compositions then I’m putting them on an EP. What I have decided is get a bunch of pop vocalists; MCs have been taken care of a lot so my main concern is vocalists cause I have encountered so many talented vocalists some we don’t even know and we get in studio, do some amazing stuff and I’m thinking okay keeping this in studio or in my phone doesn’t really help that’s why I decided to put this out.
But most of them are inspirational songs, gospel songs because most of the people I have met are from church.
QN: So which artists should we expect on the EP?
Just know they’re so many minimum 12 we also have collabos but I have got a lot of artists on the project. I’m putting on board who I believe are the best pop vocalists around town at the moment. There’s Ruyonga, Sonny, Crown Ace & others. These are people who are unique & they’ve to be out there for-example Sonny has been in the background a lot doing things here & there but I got to put her on song that brings out “the real Sonny” in her. So I’m trying to do that for every artist that’s on the project.
QN: We’re used to seeing you work with rappers & a few RnB artists here & there but on the EP you’ve changed the direction, could someone say that you’re trying to be versatile on the EP?
Yeah, that too but also the message, being a Christian and having a church background I’m trying to do a project that can be enjoyed by church and also people from the mainstream cause I’m featuring gospel artists & those that are not necessarily Christians but also carry a message especially to the youth. But at the core of the message there’s artistry that’s why I’m not leaving it to Christian artist, I have rappers, poets, vocalists, session musicians on the EP.
QN: When you were picking artists to feature on the EP did you have criteria that you followed because some are known and others aren’t popular. What did you mainly consider about these artists that made appearances on the EP?
I did have criteria; first I was looking out for someone who has a pop sound cause that’s the target audience I’m looking at. You know someone if they opened their mouth they can easily grab the attention of the youth who is probably on their iPad face-booking and they’ll look at you & ask “who is that?” To me that sound from an artist is very important and as time goes on as we continue releasing a project each month you’ll realize the artists aren’t so popular or they haven’t spent a long time in the game but they’re good at what they do & their sound is so appealing.
Secondly, artists with the sense of originality; the artists on the EP, each of them have something unique that you won’t find anywhere. You won’t feel like this artist is trying to be like “so & so” or they’re trying to sound like a certain international artist. That’s pretty much the criteria I followed.
QN: Lastly, you also direct/produce documentaries, films & music videos like CODE’s latest “Enter the Ring” video, should we expect visuals for some tracks off the EP?
Filming is my profession & I’m now shooting documentaries for NGOs. It’s something I do mainly because of the art & it’s my profession. Being a music video director is just a bonus.
We’re going to release visuals of some studio sessions; some will be combined to make videos for certain songs. There’s also a mini documentary coming up about the EP towards the end of the year probably in December.
Furthermore about the visuals we’re using a red scarf for the artwork where I try to hide the identity of every artist. What we’re looking at is if we hid half of their identity, would their output still make sense to you? So it’s not about its Ruyonga, its Sonny it’s about the audio & message. So for every song I release the artists have a red scarf around their heads on the artwork.