T.Castles is an Australian beatmaker who dropped Flowers Don’t Grow Here in November 2021. The project is a trippy, chill, textured journey. Songs like “Beachfront Funk” show his ability to take soulful sounds and combine them with funking, swinging drums that are bound to make your head nod. I spoke with T.Castles about the project; read below and develop a further appreciation for this great underground producer. You can listen on Bandcamp, YouTube, and Spotify:
When you sequenced the beats, what was the process like? What sort of things do you consider?
For this project, I knew I wanted to use lush samples but arrange the track in a way so that there was more variety than just a 2-minute loop. I chose to use a bridge in some tracks to create that variety, or even to do a beat switch halfway through a track. I usually start by searching for samples that I love, and then deciding if I want to chop them up or take different loops and stitch them together. Once that is done, I can hear the drums in my head straight away, as I’ve been playing the drums since I was 9.
What inspired the title of the project?
The title of the project was inspired by both positivity and frustration. I’m living in Sydney, Australia, and the hip-hop scene here is very drill oriented, and not very good in my honest opinion. The artists I love are First Nations artists such as JK-47 and Kobie Dee. The frustration comes from the fact that the sounds is hip-hop that I love and are inspired by, don’t seem to be very prevalent here. So, the flowers that I could be receiving for my efforts and passion aren’t easily obtainable here. The positivity aspect comes from the fact that I might have to cultivate that for myself. It’s like saying “ok, they don’t grow here yet, but maybe I can change that.” Like my boy says in the intro, “you gotta make something from nothing.”
Q: I especially like Beachfront Funk. Very soulful and the drums are awesome. When making beats like these, when do you know what kind of vibe you’re going for?
Thank you so much, I appreciate that! It makes me so happy when people take the time to listen to my tracks, and maybe even enjoy them. When making something like Beachfront Funk, the vibe comes from messing around with the sample is various ways. When I heard the original track, I knew instantly that I could make something with it. I started messing with the speed and pitch, which added some great texture and warm to the sample. This creates that soulful vibe you described. Stitching together different elements of the track gave me ideas for what drums to use, so that it could keep that relaxed, soulful sound.
I’m getting L’Orange vibes on some of the project. Who are some of your influences?
Wow, that’s a huge compliment, L’Orange is an incredible producer. My main influences are Madlib, J Dilla, The Alchemist, Exile, DJ Premier, and 9th Wonder. I have many more, and I could make a giant list of my influences, but these ones really inspired me to start making beats in the first place. I absolutely love when a producer can make a sample the focus of their beat, and give it that super soulful or even dark sound. Now that I’m using the SP404 MKII in my beat making, I’m honing in more on my sound and loving every part of the process. I would say that Madlib was the artist who really gets me to think about keeping things simple, and adding variety in unexpected ways.
Be sure to checkout the project and let us know what you think! To find more albums, mixtapes, and EPs, visit our Projects page.
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