I got to have a candid discussion with Shey Mertz AKA BK Beats about his musical endeavors past, present, and future. Interviewing BK was a blast; he was down-to-earth, honest, and pretty fucking hilarious. Above is a link to “My Only Wonder”, a single off of his upcoming EP that he was kind enough to drop with this interview.
When did you start making your own music?
I got Fruity Loops my Sophomore year of high school and started messing around with it, nothing serious though.
What does the “BK” in BK Beats stand for?
(Laughs) That’s everybody’s favorite question. I used to roll a LOT of blunts when I was a teenager so they would always call me “Blunt King” or “Blunt Kid”, so it came from being a big smoker back in the day.
Back in the day?
(Laughs) Naw it’s still the same thing. Blunts forever man.
Who has been the biggest inspiration to you musically?
My mom, not just musically of course. She would play that cool 90’s shit, always bumping Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blind Melon. She played guitar and always kept music in the house; she was really into different stuff, like Depeche Mode and stuff like that.
When did you get introduced to hip-hop?
I always liked hip-hop as a kid; I can remember watching the old Wu-Tang videos on MTV and buggin out, but it really came to me when my cousin in Chicago started putting me onto Tribe Called Quest and Mobb Deep. We would pump the Hell on Earth instrumental back to back to back to back. This was probably 2001, so I was 11 when I fully got into hip-hop.
Who inspired you to start producing?
J Dilla was the one who really got me into it, R.I.P. Dilla. I got rough draft when it was first re-released in 2007. My mind was blown; I had been making beats for awhile, but the shit I heard on that CD really punched me. Then I started seeing people who could do it all themselves; Prince, who can make a drum machine sound like a whole band. I was definitely big on the whole Detroit scene when I first got into making beats.
There has been a noticeable shift in your style from more traditional beats to newer age beats. What inspired this change?
When people started giving me love for the weirder shit I would make. I always thought that stuff was too weird so I would never put it out, but then the stuff with Greenova and the stuff with Zach G started generating interest, which was getting more trippy and more spacey. Basically just seeing the response. I had been making drum break beats for awhile and the response for that wasn’t there; I don’t think I was getting to the right audience. The people who I wanted to hear my shit was the younger, diverse crowd.
What do you do when you aren’t making beats?
I work and I’m going to school at UNM trying to finish up my undergrad. I’m doing business marketing, so that works with music.
Have you met the artists you work with or is it mainly internet/phone collaborations?
The latter for the most part. I finally met Deniro Farrar though. I was up in New York for you a few weeks and he had some shows booked; we did the KittyPride show which was our live debut. We raged like crazy, dude can party.
What can we expect from your EP?
It’ll be ten songs. The first four are from me and my keyboard and guitar player PBZ. He’s a good child hood friend and we finally got together and started making beats with no real aim or anything. So that’ll be like four joints with some crazy strings, keyboard, and live guitars on em; we went up to Denver and recorded that shit. Deniro jumped on one of them. I got some bonus tracks with emcees going over them. I don’t want to say too much, but I got a couple guests on there. It’ll be on iTunes and bandcamp with my label PotHoles Music.
Do you think advances in Internet technology have been beneficial or detrimental to the music industry?
It’s definitely both. All my music is released for free, so as far as my shit goes it has been hugely beneficial. I’m not too concerned about leaking or pirating. I haven’t met most of the rappers I’ve worked with; Main Attrakionz, Mo Green, Shady Blaze. The Internet let me reach out to those guys and they liked my shit. Technology makes artists way more accessible, which has been awesome. There’s also the marketing side, like building excitement and keeping people informed of what you’re doing. People see me in New York who have read about the Kiddy Pride show and know who I am, shit like that.
How important are music blogs to you personally?
Blogs are huge to me now. I wasn’t as into them about a year or two ago, but I was always on 2dopeboyz to hear all the cool shit. It’s changed now, I’m gunning to get on the big blogs; I find myself happy if somebody mentions my name.
What rappers would you like to work with in the near future?
Danny Brown is up there. My shit isn’t good enough, I want to be better before I try to work with Danny. More shit with Deniro, I would love for that to happen. I really like the whole Greenhead crew, they have this dude Le1f who I would be stoked to work with. Shit, everybody (laughs).
What does the future hold for BK Beats?
I’d like to get to the point where I can produce full time. Just making good music, I want to get better and better.
Information on BK Beats can be found below (click links to be redirected):