“I Told Myself, ‘Damn, This is What Home Feels Like’”: The Making of Foisey.’s “Byrds”

Two years after founding Street Corner Music in 2013, DJ/producer House Shoes was looking for some new talent for his label roster. After hearing tracks from several members of the Mutant Academy collective — which includes rappers Fly Anakin and Koncept Jack$on as well as producers Foisey., ewonee ., and TUAMIE — Shoes reached out to them to get a broader sampling of their work. “I told them to send a pack from everyone in the crew,” he remembers. “Foisey.’s shit blew my head off.”

The Bandcamp version of Byrds.

Foisey. and Shoes struck up a correspondence and the Connecticut-based producer sent several digital shipments of beats to Shoes for future consideration.

By the time the process was complete, Foisey. submitted a staggering 250 instrumentals, which were later curated and sequenced by Shoes into the 20-song Street Corner Music debut Byrds.

The album title comes from Shoes’ favorite track on the project and also worked on a metaphorical level. “I had the age old idea of having that represent a bird, or a key of cocaine,” he explains.

This drug/music double meaning also inspired the powerful album cover art, which was designed by Street Corner artist DertBeats.

“I told myself, ‘Damn, this is what home feels like.’” — Foisey.

Foisey. also felt the narcotic/music analogy fit his the release perfectly. “Byrds is an album of beats to fly out to the people as if beats were drugs,” he says. “Each track is an audio representation of something in my life. Every track I ever make is actually.”

Micro-Chopping Foisey. — a 20-track playlist of hand-picked instrumentals.

Produced “only on FL Studio and an M-Audio keyboard,” Byrds demonstrates Foisey.’s broad range of sounds and styles. The album starts with a bang, as the first instrumental makes use of stirring piano chops and an unexpected Kanye West vocal sample. “With ‘bak.hohm’, it was a gospel sample and I chopped the shit out of the keys,” Foisey. tells me. “The chord progression was so powerful, I had to get the right chops and loop for it. Once I put it together, I felt very charged from it.”

Once the keys were properly chopped and sequenced, Foisey. stumbled upon a last minute addition to the song thanks to a happy accident. “I randomly started humming the Kanye’s ‘Touch The Sky’ chorus and luckily it harmonically fit the joint at the end of the process,” he says. “Hearing Kanye say ‘feels good to home’ with the the feeling I got from the beat, I told myself, ‘Damn, this is what home feels like.’”

“Foisey.’s shit blew my head off.” — House Shoes
The Bandcamp version of Foisey.’s latest album NowOrNvr.

On “Latch”, Foisey. flipped a piano cover of a mega-hit song after randomly seeing the music video one morning. Feeling that he could re-imagine elements of the song with his own distinct touch, he constructed “Latch” by “having two layers of the melody playing at the same time, one at a high pitch and the other at a low pitch but in the same key.”

In an experience many producers can relate to, Foisey. doesn’t necessarily care for the beat after releasing it to the world, but he’s still open to other people deriving some joy from it. “I honestly don’t really like the beat anymore but if it still resonates with some people then OK,” he says.

ShwEm.86” — another standout track towards the end of Byrds — was originally meant for live shows only and wasn’t intended for an official release. “That’s why there’s the ‘86’ on the title so I could see the bpm,” explains Foisey. “But of course I couldn’t help myself and released it,” he adds with a laugh.

“Each track is an audio representation of something in my life. Every track I ever make is actually.” — Foisey.

While “bak.hohm” started Byrds with a feeling of home and nostalgia, Foisey. created “ShwEm.86” to make a definitive statement about his abilities and confidence as a producer. “This is about showing people that I am here killing these beats,” he says. “I think its time you, the people, understand that. It’s a more confident approach to the beat.”

Whether or not we, the people, fully grasp his talent and his music yet, Foisey.’s Byrds is a perfect entry point to begin the journey of understanding.

Connect with Foisey. on Bandcamp, Instagram, SoundCloud, and on Twitter @foisey_.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider following my Micro-Chop and Bookshelf Beats publications or donating to the Micro-Chop Patreon page. You can also read my work at HipHopDX or follow me on Twitter.