Eminem’s Cinderella Man Co-Producer Dubspot Student Nick Low-Beer

Today, we shine light on a former student doing doing some incredible work. Nicholas Anthony Low-Beer, better known as Nick Low-Beer is an NYC based DJ, musician, and producer, originally from Westchester, NY.

Nick was born in the ’80s, and sounds from that decade are ingrained in his musical DNA. He grew up listening to groups The Cure and Guns N Roses, but at the same time, he was also heavily influenced by early to mid-90s hiphop from groups like Black Sheep and the Wu-Tang Clan. The summer before he entered 8th grade, he was gifted turntables by Alex Patterson of the Orb, and Nick began spinning parties, making remixes, and entering local DJ contests. An interest in composing and producing original music was sparked.

After high school, Nick went to Colorado State University, where he did opening DJ sets for legendary rap artists and groups like Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and The Beatnuts. He left CSU early, and relocated to Manhattan, New York to pursue a career in music. While taking classes at Dubspot, Nick worked as a freelance music writer, and made connections with other aspiring music producers. We catch up with Nick, several months after graduating Dubspot to talk about everything from how an old collaborative effort was picked up by Eminem, recorded and released on the rapper’s most recent album Recovery (Shady/Aftermath, 2010) to working with veteran British electronic musicians.

Nick is constantly producing, and he makes his tracks available for preview here:

QuantcastNick Low-Beer Dubspot Interview

Tell us the story behind Eminem’s “Cinderella Man”?

When I was working with BangOut, we had a studio on 42nd and 8th, called BigSound. I was an engineer producer there, but really the main production draw was BangOut, who had done beats for 50 cent and Christina Aguilera, and the point of the studio was supposed to be to support him and advance his career. Someone was renting time in there, and they had hired a writer to help with their projects. That writer was Script Shepherd, the writer of the hook and producer of “Cinderella Man.” Long before it was ever heard by eminem, long before I ever heard about this song, Script was singing this song to himself and imagining its greatness.

How did the beat for that track came about?

Script came into my little production room and said, “hey I got a song idea would you do a beat for my song? It’s called “Cinderella Man,” and I need a We will rock you feel for it.” I played around with some drums and I came up with something very simple, and Script played his guitar line on top of it, we had a very simple beat, and script said, “that’s dope. That’s it.” I was kinda surprised, I shrugged my shoulders, burnt him a disc of this (beat) and that was all I heard of him for three years. Then this past January, he called me up and told me that Shady Records wanted the song and there was a couple days of turbulence while we worked out the legal stuff. It was absolutely crazy to hear that thing come to life, from the moment after three years when I first heard what Script did with our little 4 track beat, which was crazy, and then I heard EM, and that was also crazy, and then I saw my name on it, and it was done, then I could breathe.


How did you get into producing music/making beats? When did you start?

I always hung out with the music kids, and I was the DJ, and a few of us were fooling with the Triton and with Fruity Loops, this was like all through high school, 1998 – 2002. It was a great way to have fun by myself. I did joints for my rapping friends where I would just change the instrumental track every verse, then I went completely the other way and did beats from scratch on Triton, trying to make the music in my head, with as few samples as possible.

How did you hear about Dubspot?

I went to the AES convention, which I always do when it is in New York, and I saw some DNB cat using the launchpad, and he was flexing it, liked destroying it, and I was thinking I had to learn this.  I was looking for a way to do beats live on stage, which i still have not quite figured out. But I went right after and bought a launchpad, at the time, I didn’t know why, actually, my launchpad is defective and i was quite peeved about that. But I found the Dubspot flyer and decided I would go check it out. The next sunday, I went over, and it was just about the coolest place I’d seen. So I just jumped right in, and I completed the Ableton classes and I am a humble student of DJ Shiftee. We will resume turntablism lessons soon, and I’m terribly excited for that. Being a great turntablist and pianist are two pursuits that I know will never be out of style, that will always enable me to make better music.

How did your Dubspot experience affect your production?

Dubspot kinda freed me up to make music in a more convenient way. Ableton is a special kind of platform that writes things to the arrangement window quickly and makes arranging fun and live instead of a process that feels like you’re doing your taxes. But what is REALLY great about Dubspot is the people who run it and the energy around the place made me feel loved and energized, and even when I finished my courses I knew I could never leave. So I still lurk around Dubspot and help out however I can.

Sampling is what hip hop and most popular dance/electronic music are built on… Do you write your compositions, use samples, or both?

I usually write the music from scratch but there is always inspiration behind it, and sometimes I can’t get the sound that  I need without sampling the original record. but I have a kind of an aversion to just taking a sample and layering drums on it because it doesn’t satisfy me the way composing music from scratch and adding old samples for ambience does.

How would you describe your style, your sound?

I tell people my music is made of neon colors over hard MPC drums. I love to dance, and I enjoy music that is really kinetic, so when I hear music that makes me dance, I usually put it into my own music one way or another. I love hip hop, dancehall, bhangra, trance, dubstep, DNB, house, hard rock, a bit of metal, classical, I like a lot of music but there are a few things that I don’t really get with, two of them being roots reggae, and most jazz music. I was trained in violin when I was four and stopped when I was ten, so the classical harmony structure is probably my biggest influence.

What doesn’t your tool of choice do that you wish it did?

What doesn’t the MPC  do… well, I guess it would be great if it could print the audio on all the tracks with the touch of one button instead of having to go back to my DAW and change the track when I need to bounce out my mix, but I’ve gotten so used to it i don’t mind. Maschine has some upsides but I don’t see myself ever replacing the MPC because it is the way that I sequence all my hardware synths and I love doing drums on my MPC, it has a sound and a work flow and it has certain FX that just make MY sound. My sound is not the worlds crispiest sound as of yet, I recently just saw Step Up 3D, and the sound was so crispy I was grinding my teeth with ambition and restlessness the whole time. What a crazy sound engineering project that movie was.

Are you someone who prefers to master one thing or constantly learn new ones?

Constantly learn new ones, but the old ones don’t leave ever. I had some mental hangups about this, trying to replace my old workflow only to find out that what I needed to do was build on the past and not replace it. Mastery only comes when you stick with things, and its easy to get caught up trying to catch and assimilate the newest technology and never end up finding your flow, which is really the most important thing. I was reading in some E-music magazine where some house producer was talking about how all his mixing is done outside the box, then put through an 8 track tape recorder and then printed to the computer and mastered on the computer, and I loved to read this, that this guy was so stuck to old ways that none of the labor saving devices of computers could tempt him. Loved it.

Do you prefer to work solo or with others?

Both are very important but I am in some ways a loner and working alone is the reason that I do music, because I don’t need others to emotionally heal myself, entertain myself, and build equity all at the same time. Man, it’s so important to work with people. I can’t downplay that though. Today some high school kid came over, and played me some songs he had just done, I had never met him before, but my neighbor introduced us. His work was so inspiring, we made a track on the spot with a sample he found on the internet. We ripped it off youtube and he was just dancing and rapping for a half hour while we made it. I met a producer who said he just does it for “the hang,” and I think there’s something to be said for that too.

How do you get feedback on tracks?  Is it helpful?

Recently, I have started posting all my tracks on reverbnation, linking them to Facebook, and seeing what my friends say. If I don’t get a comment, then the next time I make a track, I replace it. I meet a lot of artists, and we all meet up and scheme on making music money together and it always starts with you playing your music, so you get to see a lot of reactions after you get used to this life. But at the end of the day, I always end up with a  few tracks that I’ve made that I listen to a LOT that people don’t really understand. I kind of like that aspect of the music making life, you always hear that the tracks that are successful are the ones producers or artists are not too excited about, and thats just the breaks. But I like that. It seems every track I’ve ever done is someone ‘s favorite. I have tracks that no one likes, not even me, and then some weird artist in a funny hat will listen to two hundred beats and then get to that one and say I should have played that one earlier.

What is your preferred tempo to work in right now?

If its hip hop, I like it in the 80s, and I do a lot of things in that dubstep tempo of 140 to 150 bpm, I do some electro and house stuff in the 120s, i do some breakbeat stuff in the 130s, i’d have to say the 140 range is where i find myself the most right now.

How long do you usually take on a beat?

Usually, the average is two sittings of an hour each. Just yesterday, I did a track start to finish, and called “142_paramortem” which is a dubsteppy type production. I just did start to it finish wihtout stopping. I’ll make the track and bounce to it for a while, and then make another, and then I’ll arrange them and do all the Ableton. I make my beats on hardware for the most part, MPC, KORG Triton, Virus TI Snow, Korg MS2000, Andromeda, etc. So its easiest for me to just a few loops different and have a little dance while I imagine different ways to link them up and then put it into fruition later.

What music do you love that people would be surprised to hear?

I love me some Brian Eno and the Orb’s Alex Patterson, these two just turn down the noise on your life and make you float, they’re the greatest.

What non-music influences your sound?

Beautiful things that I see, natural or architectural, so many things from things that happen to you, people in your family, different countries, mountains. I have a practice of buying magazines, ripping out the things that are interesting to me and taping them to my wall. My wall is covered with all sorts of beautiful futurist and natural pictures which inspire my sound… neon lights, black lights, the moon, gotta love the moon.

If you had 10,000 bucks to spend on your music what would you do?

Like an idiot, I would buy all equipment, synthesizers and compressors and limiters and NOT spend any of it on the promotional and marketing, and things that are so important, according to lots of people. I don’t focus on these things at all really, and probably my career would be better off if I did. I’ve heard that many creative people never see the day light because they have no method to turning their art into a business, which is something I certainly need help with. But, all that aside, the fun answer to this question is Native Instruments Maschine, Stereo Distressor Kush Audio Fatso, and Access Virus TI Destop Synthesizer.

  • Paulmichael Youngmills
  • 8/23/2010

that’s my little brother and, TRUST, there’s is more to come.

  • Paulmichael Youngmills
  • 8/23/2010

That’s my little brother and, TRUST, there is more to come