August 12, 2023
Join us in the studio with professional guitarist and producer, Cam Griff, as he shares his experiences, influences, and the unique tool that has transformed his music production game - the Jamstik MIDI guitar.
Cam is an LA-based producer and guitarist signed to 10 Summers.
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What are some upcoming projects you're excited about?
"I have some stuff coming out with Gunna, Young Thug, Mustard, and some R&B stuff with London On Da Track and some artists there."
What's your favorite genre to produce?
"My favorite genre to produce is definitely R&B. It has a lot of emotion in it and like, I grew up in the church, so I have like a history of playing like jazz, country, quartet music. And then you can show that the most in R&B music. I mainly work on R&B.
I do pop sessions. I do rap as well. But R&B is like, what I make for myself and that's kind of like where I am with music. I'm kind of just making what I wanna make and not trying to chase anything else."
What advice would you give to an up-and-coming producer?
"The advice I would give to a younger producer wouldn't necessarily be like, "just create what you want to create" because I had to go through the, "let me try to get placements". "Let me listen to the radio and figure out what people like." So I kind of got my foot in the door, and then now that I'm there, my advice is definitely like, once you've gone through that period, you know, do what you want and make what you want."
What drew you to the Jamstik MIDI guitars?
"The Jamstik is actually pretty wild to me because, like, I played football in college, so like, whenever I'm producing, I care to have like a team around, right? Like I could throw a football, but I'm not the quarterback. So, when I was making music, I could figure out the piano part, but it will take me like, two days. So, I'll have a piano player come in and just play it. I'll have the bassist come in and play the bass or I have the drummer come in and program the drums or whatever. The Jamstik kind of like, I could do it all by myself now. I want to be self-sufficient and just play the piano by myself, you know, or play the trumpet or any VST sound I want to."
What other MIDI instruments do you use in your workflow?
"I don't use any other MIDI instruments. When I'm programming drums, I draw them, when I'm programming bass, most likely it'll be a Jamstik. The 808s will be the Jamstik. Everything is really just the Jamstik and the real guitar. That's it.
Having the Jamstik definitely makes me feel like I could do any session now. Fit any need. You know, I like to create from scratch, so when there's like a piano player or, you know, I go with the artists and they want a piano, it's like, "I'm sorry, I'm just a guitar guy. I don't have a piano, but here's some guitar ideas we can start with."
But having the Jamstik it's like, do you want a piano, here's a piano. Do you want a crazy synth sound? Here's a crazy synth sound. Like I could fit whatever the session needs with this instrument."
How do you deal with writers block?
"I'm a producer who's very in touch with mental health. If I don't feel like creating, I won't create. If I don't feel like sitting on my computer, I don't like going to that session, I would just go outside or go to sleep or do whatever. Anything else, watch TV, go for a drive. Do anything other than music, I'll just take a break.
Music should be easy, right? So if I'm sitting at a computer for hours, I'm like, I can't come up with any ideas. It's most likely not my day. So it doesn't make sense for me to just sit here and work through that. It's like, let me just go take a breather and come back and then it'll happen in 30 seconds."
How do you go about collaborating with other artists?
"So when I'm working with an artist, it's very much like I wanna get to know you on a personal level. I wanna get to know like, how are you feeling? What makes you laugh? Are you the type of person who loves to joke in the session? Are you a person who likes to, you know, just work hard and work fast? Are you the person who wants you to play beats? Like how's your mom doing? Are you the only child? Ask questions like you're getting to know someone. Therefore it's not a transaction.
I could come in and play the best beat ever. But if I don't say a word to the artist, if they're not smiling, they don't laugh, they're just on their phone, that song might not come out. But if it's a song that we did on my rooftop when we, I had acoustic guitar and they were just freestyling and we just happened to get a voice note of it and that, that song will come out quicker."
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