Upon the release of BK Bambino’s first single and music video “Sheriff” we got to talk shop with producer behind it all, D Phelps.
Phelps, who recently relocated to Los Angeles, is a young gun with a lot to prove. Originally from Chicago, this jazz musician and Berklee College of Music alum was lured to music at the age of two when his dad sat him down on the drums.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I knew I wanted to be a musician before I knew how to read or spell my name. I began playing drums at the age of 2. I grew up playing drums at my dads church and I did a lot of jazz from a young age. Once I started my own band named Music Has No Color in high school, it was my first crack at music production and I knew that I wanted to make music for my career without a doubt.
What was your first instrument? Do you still play a lot?
My first instrument was drums, but I learned piano soon after. I am not able to play drums anymore as much as I would like or should, but I can cut drums in the studio at anytime during a studio session which is a great tool. I play keyboards all the time and that has become the focus, but I also began learning guitar recently too.
What kinds of things do you play on when you aren’t producing?
I’m lucky to have a group of friends/musicians around me that are incredibly talented and doing big things in the music industry. So when I’m not in the studio creating, we will get together and play music ranging from hip hop, jazz, gospel and most genres in-between. And when I’m not doing music I’m at the movie theater. I’m a big movie fanatic.
When you left college your goal was to just “work”…. Are things turning out the way you wanted them to? Was there a game changing moment that made you want to move to LA?
Absolutely. College isn’t for everyone in the creative arts and getting to LA has been the most important move to develop my career so far. Growing up in Chicago is incredible. But as a music business city, it’s very limited. Once that became very clear, I started taking trips out to LA every 1.5-2 months. This built up my contacts out there and created more and more opportunities. When talking to a friend out west one day, I just decided that I had to make the move and was living in LA 5-6 weeks later.
How are you settling into LA life? What are the biggest challenges?
It’s been a very smooth transition so far. I’ve had the sleeping on people couches experience and more uber rides than at any point in my life lol. But from the many trips in LA in 2014, I had a great network of contacts and friends out there…and just got a car too so things are looking up! Moving to LA during a Chicago winter is never a bad move and makes it hard to complain about too much.
Do you think you’ll ever move back to Chicago?
I’ll always be in Chicago mentally, but with the opportunities and music industry really based in Los Angeles, I doubt that I’ll live in Chicago full-time for a lonnnng time. But I plan on going back there to see the friends and family of course and to create. There is an energy in Chicago that makes it a special place to make music. And I certainly want to go back there with artists when working on projects to bring something that LA couldn’t quite offer in the same way.
When did you start working with BK Bambino?
I met BK at Soundscape Studios in Chicago. He was leaving a session and I was coming in, but I heard some of his music. We immediately clicked and created the EP that is coming out on March 24th in under two weeks total in a basement. BK is a really special artist who has it all and the first drop is the music video for “Sheriff”.
What was the inspiration behind the video for “Sheriff”?
BK is a character and a really funny dude. When we made this song, it had a really fun and easy-going vibe to it. I think it’s clearly heard in the production and BK’s delivery. The director Bridges wanted to express this same vibe in the music video. So we obviously picked up a fat suit, sheriff costume and hit the streets of Chicago to create “Sheriff” lol. We really hope you enjoy it!
What’s on deck next?
We are very excited to debut BK Bambino’s next EP ‘The Trailer’ on March 24th. We are always creating new music and very special things on-deck there. I will also be working on a solo project entitled “identity” that is a conceptual project I have had since I left Berklee. I am very excited for what’s ahead and the songs will start coming out very soon!
What are your ultimate goals with this project?
We really want to push culture and inspire people to make great music. It’s really that simple.