Storm Watkins is the type of producer who isn’t chained to one sound, Watkins is a master creator and seeker of eclectic sounds and this always keeps his fans guessing what’s coming next. Along with not knowing what you’re going to get from a Storm Watkins project, the influence and/or theme for his next mixtape will always be a surprise as well, seeing as he’s dropped many themed tapes over the past 3 years (from his TRAP inspired– an Erykah Badu sampled tape– to his Forever Alone & Forever Together LPs).
Faux Society got a rare window of opportunity to pick the brain of this young (20) composer who releases mixtapes as often as he changes t-shirts. During our interview we touched on the musicality of today and what fosters his insane creativity.
To indulge in the full discography of Storm Watkins music, check out his bandcamp.
FS: Who is Storm Watkins?
SW: Damn, a lost traveler. Somebody constantly looking for something that isn’t there. A loner. An overthinker. But musically focused enough to be your next favorite producer.
FS: What distinguishes your sound? Also how does Baltimore influence this sound?
SW: When I first started to produce, sampling became so much more of an artform each day I was making beats. Back then, I just wanted to make dope beats, but all of my music started to sound exactly like my influences. So I took time out to actually listen to what I was making & around that time I was an avid J.Dilla listener. Anybody that’s familiar with Dilla knows that Dilla switches his style up every-single-beat. So from that point on, I was like ok, time to step it up. I started adding mad filters & drum breaks into my production. I just wanted to mold my own sound so you’d know what a “Storm Watkins” beat would sound like when you heard it. As far as Baltimore goes, being there just added to the grittiness of it all. I wanted my production to sound like a walk down a Baltimore alley. I want you to feel the emotion of every sample I use & try to understand why I picked that sample for that particular beat.
FS: How did you get your start?
SW:I made my first beat the day I dropped out of high school. I was in the 10th grade & I was basically skipping class & doing dumb shit. I went home pissed off lol & started watching a lot of 9th Wonder & Charles Hamilton interviews. That led to me downloading a copy of FL Studio later that night & I started messing around with it. I did end up going back to school that next school year, so yeah, I graduated from high school (lol). In the beginning, making beats was just something to do to keep me outta the streets. I didn’t start to get serious with it until my Junior year in high school.
FS:What’s an essential Storm Watkins listening project?
It all depends on how you (the listener) is feeling. My music is based off feelings but I have two that I can think of right off the back. “The Schizophrenic Symphony” & “(E)ND The Instrumental Album”. I made both of those projects in 2 different rough times in my life. I feel like I make my best music when I’m not the happiest person in the room. So, those two you should definitely check out. I highly recommend them.
FS: I see you drop a new mixtape every two weeks. Most of your projects have themes, do you create in cycles?
SW: I think a lot & I smoke a lot. So 9 times outta 10, if I think of an idea for a project, I’m gonna start on that project right after I figure out the concept for a project. I don’t plan out projects ahead of time or nothing like that. I just make music. That’s it. And I’m gonna continue to make music until I leave this planet.
FS: When you create a beat…How do you know it’s finished?
SW:When I throw that “Storm Watkins Ain’t Shit!” tag at the beginning lol Sike! naw it just sounds finished. It’s been times I’ve had friends over my house & i’d have a beat playing or something & I could have just finished making the beat. They would say something like “Yo, add something else to it” & I’d be like “Negative” lol. If the beat sounds finished to me, then its finished. I usually don’t spend too much time on a single beat anyway so I just know when its done.
FS: What are some artists you’d like to hear over a Storm Watkins production soon?
Any up & coming artists. Such as Chance The Rapper, Lute, GrandeMarshall. I would love to hear Action Bronson on one of my beats. But put me in the studio with Dipset & watch what happens. That would make my life.
FS: Touch more on your ZEROES project.
SW: Well ZEROES is a project by myself & an MC by the name of Vonny Del Fresco out of Milwaukee. We been in contact for about 2 years now & since then we’ve put out some bangers. After we put out “Limitless”, we figured it was time to put together a full project. I know for me, that was a dream come true. Every since I started this music shit, I always wanted to have the opportunity to produce a full project for another artist. So when he hit me with the idea, it was a done deal. This project is gonna be real special. We tryna bring that soul rap back.
FS: What is it about Vonny Del Fresco that makes a collab between you two so special?
SW: Dope beats & Dope rhymes. What more could you ask for? That’s what this rap shit is all about & everytime we bring that to the table. Even though we both ain’t shit lol, we make some chill ass music.