LA’s Team Supreme music collective of upcoming + veteran producers has been steadily building a reputation in the global beat scene over the past year with a unique series of collaborative mixtapes and performances, and now a 19-track compilation arriving January 29th on Daddy Kev’s esteemed Alpha Pup Records.
Team Supreme Compilation – Out January 29 on Alpha Pup
LA’s Team Supreme is the name of a music crew, a weekly mixtape, a series of parties, and most importantly a musical project that has put 18 local producers on the map as some of the most innovative beat creators in the city. What started as a weekly “beat cypher” game and a collaboration between friends has recently evolved in many directions at once, the most recent being a 19-track compilation of music due out on Daddy Kev’s Alpha Pup Records on January 29th.
When asked about how the collaboration with Kev came about, Dubspot Ableton instructor and Team Supreme member Steve Nalepa explained that hanging out at Low End Theory was a point of connection between all of the Team Supreme members: “We all spend a lot of time at Low End Theory, and just about everyone in the crew has played there. Kev’s been very supportive of this project, and every week you hear the Low End residents dropping Team Supreme beats on that epic soundsystem.”
You can hear a sample of the compilation at XLR8R, who are hosting Snorlax’s “Bottle Service” as a free download to promote the release.
This new compilation comes hot on the heels of numerous individual successes from the members of Team Supreme. Team member Djemba Djemba’s “I Just Go” release on Mad Decent sublabel Jeffree’s was one of the bigger moments and has helped the crew gain exposure on an international level. Nalepa has been on tour working with The Weeknd, Fuzz has been working with Sleigh Bells, Djemba Djemba has been producing with Diplo, and Mr. Carmack had the top-selling release on Bandcamp the week he dropped his album Bang, Vol. 3.
Meanwhile members ELOS, Great Dane, Dot, and DJ Nobody are all scheduled for full-length album releases in the coming months, and King Henry just dropped a free album.
“It’s a great outlet for young producers to find their voice,” explains founding member Great Dane (a.k.a. Dane Morris). “Many of us started finding our own unique sound in the cyphers each week, and surprisingly we all stay very independent in style. We’re trying to push each other to the limit of what we can create.”
The Team has done 41 consecutive beat cypher compilations so far; check out number 40 below, one of their longer mixes, accompanied by a collection of favorite animated JPEGs:
A Creative Game
The original idea behind the Team Supreme beat cypher was simple: take a group of talented producers, give them all the same two samples and a preset BPM to work with, and allow each person approximately one hour to make a one-minute beat. Then take all the finished beats and string them together. The result is somewhere between a mixtape and a freestyle production jam session.
“Team Supreme came about after Dane Morris and I had experimented with a songwriting exercise,” explains founding member Preston James. “We gave each other 30 minutes to write a one-minute beat at the same tempo. Each beat was strung together with a transition sound and had to incorporate the vocal sample ‘my team supreme stay clean’ from Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Mo Money Mo Problems.’ Immediately after we listened back to our results, we knew that we needed to invite every talented producer we knew to take part in the project. This is how we formed the team’s first roster of producers. We also decided that this needed to happen every week.”
Professor of Beats
Another important point of connection between many of the members of Team Supreme has been time spent learning about music and beatmaking from Nalepa, who is an Ableton instructor and course designer for Dubspot Online in addition to being a well-known music software guru and teacher locally in Los Angeles. Out of the current Team Supreme lineup, Preston, King Henry, Djemba Djemba, FuzZ, Papi, Dot and Great Dane have all studied electronic music production with Nalepa at one point or another.
Evolving the Sound of LA’s Beat Scene
The sound of Team Supreme is truly a modern hybrid of sounds, somewhere between deconstructed hip hop, bass music, trap, grime, house, and R&B. This range of styles is partially the result of the weekly beat cypher rules, which introduce a new tempo and new samples to be used for each week’s beat; tempos range between (approximately) 60 and 160 BPM, depending on the week. “Having to work at different tempos and with different samples sets a creative challenge that can really push you out of your comfort zone to try something new,” says Nalepa.
“Most of the productions featured each week are some of each producer’s best work, so it challenges you to step up your game,” explains Preston James, who created the project together with Morris. “Team Supreme has helped me develop my technical skills with music production and I’m also more confident with making decisions with my music in the moment. The main reason why I produce for the team is simply for the practice. The beauty is that we have 17 other producers who do also.”
Team Supreme is ELOS, Dot, DJ Nobody, Great Dane, King Henry, Preston James, Djemba Djemba, Mr. Carmack, Kenny Segal, Penthouse Penthouse, Jonathan Stein, Tk Kayembe, Snorlax, Papi, Kendo, Kloud, Fuzz, Colta and Nalepa.
DJ Nobody: http://soundcloud.com/DJ-Nobody
Djemba Djemba: http://soundcloud.com/DjembaDjemba
Mr. Carmack: http://soundcloud.com/mr_carmack
King Henry (Virtual Boy): http://soundcloud.com/kinghenryla
Preston James (Virtual Boy): http://soundcloud.com/preston-james
Penthouse Penthouse http://soundcloud.com/penthouse-penthouse
Jonathan Stein https://soundcloud.com/jonathansteinmusic
Tk Kayembe http://soundcloud.com/tkdoeswerk
Great Dane: http://soundcloud.com/grrrreatdane
Kenny Segal: http://soundcloud.com/kennysegal
Dubspot blog editor Michael Walsh is a journalist, music producer, DJ and Dubspot instructor. He believes in open-source ideas and advancing the evolution of music by sharing ideas that push technology in new directions. As a catalyst and curator for electronic music, Michael was co-founder of the Ritual Recordings house imprint, helped launch a series of turntablist records with Berklee School of Music, and has been a DJ for events including outdoor festivals in Nova Scotia, fashion shows in New York, and elite clubs in Russia’s Far East.