Maschine Master Marv4MoBeats on Being an iPad Producer, Beatmaking on Vacation, and His 10-Year-Old Son’s Production Skills
Long before he had thousands of dedicated followers regularly ascending on his Instagram page to see his latest iPad creations, Texas-based producer Marv4MoBeats used anything he could get his hands on to cook up instrumentals. “I started making beats in 2001, that’s when I first picked up a drum machine,” he tells me. “I come from hardware, I wasn’t always on the iPad.”
Using a Yamaha RY 20 rhythm programmer as his first weapon of choice, Marv learned how to build compositions and melodies despite the machine’s limitations. “It was basically drums, a little bass, and some wood blocks that I was able to kind of make up melodies with,” he says. “Literally, that’s what I started out with.”
From there Marv added a Yamaha RM-1 drum machine, a Korg Electribe, and a Boss 202 sampler to his rig, using MIDI to run all of the machines together. Then, a catastrophic natural disaster in 2005 forced him to uproot his home studio and relocate. “I didn’t start getting into software until after Hurricane Katrina,” he says. “I’m originally from New Orleans and we evacuated after Hurricane Katrina and came to Texas. I brought all my drum machines, my digital workstations, and my Scratch magazines with me — except maybe three or four editions.”
“If I get inspired, get a melody in my head, I can pull over at a gas station or whatever and knock something out real quick.”
Marv soon transitioned to a digital workflow after moving to Texas, experimenting with Reason, Cubase, and Native Instruments. In 2011, after a brief stint on Logic, he caught a YouTube video of Mannie Fresh making beats for Mos Def on his iPad and was immediately fascinated by what he saw. “I was floored bro, I could not believe it,” he says.
When his wife surprised him with an iPad birthday gift shortly after, Marv became a dedicated disciple of Beatmaker 2 — one of the most popular and powerful music apps around. After navigating a brief period of time with no iPad due to his first one crashing, Marv got a new device and made a pledge to himself. “By the time I got back to my regular iPad, I said ‘I’m gonna learn Beatmaker 2 in and out. I’m gonna know every function of it. I’m not even gonna touch Logic anymore,’” he says. “And that’s what I did for two years, everything about the program I mastered and learned.”
Quite a bit has changed for Marv since deciding to master every aspect of Beatmaker 2. These days he’s a Grammy and Stellar-nominated Christian producer who sells his own customized drum kits through a partnership with Maschine Masters, while also featuring heavily in their online tutorials and helping them run showcases and events.
He also plays an integral role in a vibrant online community of iPad producers. By sharing their workflow on Instagram and detailing the portability and user-friendliness of the device, Marv and his cohorts have built considerable awareness about how serious the iPad is as an instrument and production setup. “I get so many DMs, so many people say, ‘Hey man, after watching your videos bro I’m persuaded,’” he says. “I guarantee you that the iPad sales went up from a production standpoint.’”
“We went on a boat cruise the year before last year and you know what? I had my iPad out there. As soon as I had some internet access, I was uploading some beats to sell.”
Though Marv believes he is partially responsible for the rise in popularity, he’s also quick to point out that several other producers have been key to the rise of the iPad as well. “I don’t even want to take all the credit for it,” he says. “Henny Tha Bizness, he co-produced “Best I Ever Had” with Drake and a whole bunch of stuff for other artists. He’s another dude who’s bringing a lot of awareness to the iPad. Another producer by the name of Stan Da Man, he’s a producer from out in New York. He did an on the spot series for Maschine Masters using the iPad.”
Now that Marv has mastered Beatmaker 2 and a slew of other music apps, he always makes sure his iPad is at an arms distance when he travels so he can capture his ideas whenever inspiration hits. “Even right now, I’m on the road, I have my iPad with me,” he says. “If I get inspired, get a melody in my head, I can pull over at a gas station or whatever and knock something out real quick.”
The portability of the iPad and Beatmaker 2 also extends well beyond gas stations and rest stops, as Marv always figures out a way to get in some beatmaking time during family vacations. “I have a wife and seven kids,” he says. “So when we all go on vacation at one time, it’s mad expensive. We went on a boat cruise the year before last and you know what? I had my iPad out there. As soon as I had internet access, I was uploading some beats to sell.”
“I didn’t even go to YouTube, I ripped the video off his IG.”
And unlike some people who think of the iPad as a mere sketchbook for ideas, Marv sees it as a fully functioning production unit where he can piece his songs together from beginning to end. “I do a song start to finish in an iPad,” he says. “I’m even recording vocals in my iPad.”
This ability to build a track from scratch was on full display when Marv concocted “Anita and Spice”, the lead song from his Sketches from my iPad 2 album. “The idea came from YouTube, a comedian and ex-football player named Spice Adams,” he says.
While Marv was laughing at some of Spice’s clips, he noticed that he kept using a familiar R & B track in several of his segments. As he kept watching a light bulb went off. “As I was looking at the video I said, “Man, that would be a dope part to sample,’” he says.
“Man, I don’t know if to cry or to laugh or what, but I am proud man.”
Without wasting a second, Marv got to work right away. “I didn’t even go to YouTube, I ripped the video off his IG,” he says. “I took the video and converted the video into an MP3. I dumped the MP3 of that 60 second video into my iPad and converted it into a WAV. I put the WAV on there and chopped it up.”
After chopping the sample up to his liking, Marv went into his studio and started adding some live instrumentation. “I went into my recording booth, and played the tambourines and the shakers live,” he explains. “That’s all I had was the sample, the tambourines, and the shakers first. Then I pulled some drums from out of this Dilla drum kit that I got and took the quantizing off. I’m a drummer, so I’m good with keeping timing.
Next, Marv layered in sounds from the Minimoog app and a guitar. At first it just seemed like a cool, spontaneous Instagram video he could share, but he soon realized it was a perfect fit for his Sketches From My iPad 2 album. “Initially I made the video and tagged Spice Adams in it,” he says. “But then I said, ‘Man, you know what? This is what I’m gonna start the beat tape with.’ It all came from me watching Spice Adams on IG just being funny.”
Now, as Marv continues to innovate and inspire with his iPad concoctions, it seems that his youngest son is also picking up the family trade and becoming a member of the iPad gang. In a recent Instagram post Marv showcased a professional quality beat, only to reveal it was his son’s creation. “This is my baby boy’s beat,” he said. “This dude amazes me, I’m telling you. He’s been working with this artist from out of Austin. This little ten-year-old making money and got like three placements on this dude’s album. Man, I don’t know if to cry or to laugh or what, but I am proud man.”
With Intua’s recently released Beatmaker 3 app at their disposal, and a rich family history of producing already established, it seems like the sky is the limit for Marv and his 10-year-old apprentice.
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