Hip-Hop producer Freddie Joachim (JO-AH-KIM) hails from San Diego, California and has been involved in music for over twenty years by way of DJing and instrumental production. I was initially introduced to his music a few years back after hearing his fantastic track “Ride” on Pandora. Diving deeper into his discography, it was easy to hear his affinity for Old School Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Soul; And his tracks are obligatory for fans of those genres or listeners interested in mellow, neck snapping beats.
With productions featuring distorted synths coupled with relaxing guitar variations, Freddie has a signature sound that most instrumental aficionados can instantly recognize. Tightly mixed, old school boom bap sequences perfectly accompany soulful collaborations with wonderful vocalists like Lauren Santiago and Carlitta Durand, and has allowed him to carve out a spot in the expansive producer driven hip-hop scene. As a result of this, he has been able to work with companies with like NBC, Nike, and the superstar MC, Joey Bada$$.
In this interview, we learn more about his background, musical inspirations, and some of his dream collaborations.
Prox: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, how did you initially get into music, and how long have you been producing?
Freddie: I'm from San Diego, CA. I was born in the early 80's and listened to a lot of hip hop in my early youth, then I started DJing in the mid 90's when i was teenager, which lead into recording and producing music since around 2000.
Prox: Who are some of your biggest inspirations? Is there anyone or anything outside of music that has impacted your work?
Freddie: Pete Rock, DJ Premier, J Dilla, Hi-Tek, DJ Khalil, Spinna, DJ Cam, and more. I think traveling, meeting people, and understanding the world has helped shape my music.
Prox: Midway was an expertly crafted and massive release. What was your mindset going into it and is there any particular reason that there were so many tracks released for that project?
Freddie: Midway is a collection of tracks I produced in 2009/2010. I just wanted to show my range as a hip hop/soul producer. It was the start of Mellow Orange, so I wanted to release something pretty substantial.
Prox: Could you describe your sonic and tonal evolution from Midway to Fiberglass Kisses?
Freddie: Midway was a collection of different styles of beats, while Fiberglass Kisses had a central theme. I think during the time in between those two albums, there was a shift in music in general, with a lot of producers and artists touching into the more electronic and synth heavy vibe. I myself took some influence from that, which you can hear in Fiberglass Kisses. But ultimately, I want to continue to produce music that I enjoy making, and that's jazzy, soulful music.
Prox: Some of your productions have a very islandesque (almost Hawaiian) feel to them. What inspired this sound? Do you travel to these kinds of climates often?
Freddie: I'm a pretty easy going person, so my music is a reflection of that. I grew up listening to a lot of jazz and soul driven hip hop, so that's what I initially wanted to create, and it's a sound that a lot of listeners would identify to me.
Prox: Which of your albums would you say is your favorite? Can you give us some of your favorite tracks?
Freddie: I really liked working on Midway because it was all me. I had just come off of producing a couple albums featuring other artists, and it was an exhausting and sometimes stressful process. When I produce albums where it's only me involved, it's a lot easier on me. My favorite track on that album is "Ride"
Prox: How does it feel to be working with budding hip-hop stars like Joey Bada$$ as well as big name brands like NBC and Nike? How cathartic or gratifying is it to receive such acclaim for the collaborations?
Freddie: I have to treat everything as a great opportunity, and I've been blessed to be able to work with great artists, and companies. Sometimes things will just fall into my lap, while others, I have to find ways to make it happen, but either/or, it's a great feeling.
Prox: Is it possible that we could get a full mixtape or EP collaboration with Joey?
Freddie: Ha. Probably Not. That would be dope, but we're both busy with our own things, Joey especially.
Prox: Are there any other rappers that you would be honored to work with?
Freddie: Pretty much any of the rappers I grew up listening to: ATCQ, KRS-One, Mos Def, Common, and I really want to work with Talib Kweli. He's one of the first big rappers I want to work with.
Prox: How important was Mellow Orange in promoting your music?
Freddie: Before Mellow Orange, I was just releasing music with other labels and artists, and whoever approached me. But Mellow Orange is all us (me, Yusai, and QSTN). We're in control of the music, the design, the distribution, promotion, etc. I didn't belong to a team before, but now it's like, "cool. i'm releasing music with my friends. the way we want"
Prox: Who are some contemporary producers that you enjoy?
Freddie: I enjoy a handful of new producers. Right now i'm listening to Theory Hazit, Tall Black Guy, Brenk Sinatra, Moods, Hazel, Nehzuil, and a handful of others.
Prox: How close are we to the next album?
Freddie: Not sure. Honestly, i'm not super focused. My mind is everywhere right now. However, I am working on new stuff, and I want my next album to be a representation of myself and where I am currently, and not recycled tracks of my old stuff.
Prox: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Freddie: I'm a fairly normal dude so I like a lot of movies, sports, and technology. Right now I'm a gym rat, so I go everyday, and i read a lot on workouts and nutrition. Other than that, I really enjoy traveling to new places, and spending time with my girlfriend.
Prox: Tips for upcoming artists?
Freddie: It's cliche, but work hard and stay humble. I guess you just gotta remain patient, but work toward goals regardless of the size. It's easy to get discouraged at times, especially when a lot of other artists are killing it, but use that as motivation. It's not about being better than other people, but to better yourself. Learn from other people, learn from mistakes, study other music, take criticism to better yourself and your art. Also, invest in what you believe in. Meaning, if you really want to pursue music, take the extra steps to learn all you can about it, like going to school, or taking music or instrument courses, and investing your own money in projects and releasing them, instead of wasting money on other junk.
Prox: Final thoughts?
Freddie: Big thanks to everyone supporting mine and Mellow Orange's music. Drink plenty of water and eat your vegetables.
freddiejoachim.com // melloworange.com