I can honestly say it was tough writing some introductory statements about the producer known as Antman Wonder. This is neither due to a lack of knowledge on the Philly native nor a lack of interest in his life and music. It’s more indicative of the man’s talents being so insanely good that to anyone unfamiliar it would seem like I’m embellishing details. Wonder’s name is derived as part homage to the legendary Stevie Wonder and mostly due to the mysterious nature of his creative approach. Along with his live drum arrangements (which may or may not be really played live) and melodic song compositions, his ability to organically recreate music opposed to traditional methods of sampling is simply out of this world. Think I’m exaggerating, check out his sample free recreations of the tracks “Coming Of Age” and “Bring It On” from Jay-Z’s classic debut “Reasonable Doubt”.
“Coming Of Age (Wondermix)”
“Bring It On (Re-Imagined)”
Serving as one part of the musical team The Getards with partner iLL-Meel, Wonder has been making an impression in the world of Hip-Hop for several years now. I actually caught wind of Wonder from fellow producer and New Jersey native Ken B., who brought to my attention Wonder’s trailer to his upcoming instrumental album “Memories Of The Fewture”. Being thoroughly impressed by what I seen and heard, I had to familiarize myself with his contributions to the projects “Tale Of Two’s City Vol. 3 & 4” and “Save. Our. Souls” by esteemed Chicago emcee Add-2. Add these along to solid work on tracks by Peedi Crakk, Chill Moody, Dominique LaRue, Boogieman Dela, R.J. Andrews and his EP project “The Present” (my favorite instrumental project of last year), Wonder is easily a producer I can see with the versatility and talent to have immense staying power and being instrumental to many projects, music and film included.
As he prepares to release his full length instrumental project, the sample free “Memories Of The Fewture”, I got the opportunity to speak with Wonder as he opens up on his approach to production, his motivations, inspirations and why he momentarily quit making music. Thankfully that idea didn’t last long.
Best Kept Secret: Interview With Antman Wonder
What Hip-Hop producers and composers are you influenced or inspired by?
That really changes from piece to piece. Sometimes I may have a style in mind and I always go to who I feel mastered that style It’s a hard question to answer because I was influenced by everybody I liked growing up. Sometimes when I’m composing I blank out and I’m just influenced by my experiences and how I felt at certain times in my life. The techniques I use are very tentative to how I feel at the moment I’m creating. . Dj Premier was my first favorite hip hop producer though.
Do you remember the song or moment that turned you away from traditional methods of sampling?
It wasn’t a song or some epiphany that turned me away from sampling, I just knew that I had so many creative ideas that I couldn’t express with someone else’s music. I chose to stop sampling because I’d rather express my formula in the same vein of what I admire and what captivates me but from a composer’s perspective. I’ve only got one chance to show people who I am, they’ll never find out if I keep trying to give them “industry standard” music. I just decided to attempt to give back that feeling I was once given in my own unique way.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is extensions of my character. It’s ever changing but still reminiscent of something you’ve experienced. All of my tracks have their own individual personalities. So I would just describe my sound as galvanizing.
What are your tools of choice for producing and can you play any instruments?
I never directly answer these type questions because I like that they have to be asked.
What is the average time it takes for you to produce a track?
That depends on the depth of orchestration. Something that’s highly progressive can take a day to 2 days on average. Back in my sampling days it could go from 3-5 decent tracks a day. Some tracks may take longer depending on how my ideas flow. I may think a piece is finished and hear something I just HAVE to change or articulate weeks later.
What is the inspiration behind the title of your upcoming album “Memories of the Fewture” and how would you describe the creation process of it?
“Memories of the Fewture” came from a line I heard on a videogame. It resonated with me because I feel that music has become stagnant in its evolution and I was thinking what if it weren’t? What if black music grew forward in its complexity and emotion and not in novelty and sensationalism? What if music were just about what makes us human and not what makes us money? It’s just a look into how my mind perceives music.
The process began in February 2012 and ended around September. I lost my job and everything was falling apart. So I decided to quit music, and it was gonna be the last thing I did. It only created more opportunities for me to stay in music.
What is your most memorable experience in music to date?
I couldn’t tell you. I have moments all the time. I’ve met some of my role models and have seen legends play live. But my favorite moments just come from hearing something that I react to involuntarily. My favorite moments really are people telling me my music does that same thing for them. I know you said “moment” but I’m horrible at pinpointing,
What artist would you love to produce an entire project for?
This wouldn’t be a hard question a few years ago. All the people I can think of, I already love their production. To be honest, I would like to produce an entire album with someone I could just mold… like a create-a-player.
With your music getting praise and admiration from very notable music producers, what motivation do your peers give you?
My peers motivate me by doing what they do. I associate with some pretty talented folks, I call them mutants because they all have their own noteworthy abilities. I realize I’m not naming anyone, but that’s for sake of leaving someone out.
Along with “MOTF” what other projects should we hear you on this year?
I’m on a few… I’ll let that be wondrous though. I do have a couple of my own projects in the works. I’m producing an Add-2 EP. Maybe some other random stuff. If the people enjoy the music on the albums I produce on, they’ll find me.