Skinny Bonez Tha Godfatha is a producer from Nijmegen, Netherlands. He currently resides in Wijchen, which is not far outside of Nijmegen. He is the founder of the Hip Hop collective, Voodoo Docterz (an international entity) and part of the Lost Children of Babylon (from the Netherlands, not to get mixed up with the group from Philly).
He mainly works with artists from all over the globe making beats of all styles and vibes that showcase both the light and the dark sides of Hip Hop. He's worked with such underground artists as, G Fam Black, A-God the Old Soul, Tha Soloist, Gamblez, ILLtemper, Leo CaSeeNo, Eclyse, Ginsing, Jake Haw, and Silentmind, to name some of his collaborators. He has worked hard to improve in his craft and comes from a musically talented family. It's always an interesting listen when a project has Skinny Bonez connected to it, the soundscape is always vast, and samples are always selected and masterfully blended in each and every beat he creates.
New project releasing sometime later this month...
Growing up in the small town of Wijchen, what was that like and how did it influence you in your musical ambitions (would you say)? How did the area help point you towards this path?
SBTG: When I was young, it was hard to find likeminded people with the same passion for music, so I looked online at a really early stage. I was into underground hip hop and oldschool hip hop and other kids that liked rapping were into mainstream hip hop (which wasn't my thing back in the 2010's) I think that's why I am more into worldwide collabs than into local collabs. My crew Voodoo Docterz is also worldwide. I started it with one of my best friends in my hometown, but we reached out for international artists at an early stage. I work with local artists LDB & Brother Lynx. They are good friends of mine and together we formed LCOB Netherlands. I met some other dope local artists just yesterday! So, the future can bring more local collabs for sure. The lack of local collabs did help me get into international collabs at a very early stage.
What was your first project that you ever did? Who was involved and what was it like for you? What sort of challenges did you run into? What about it made you want to keep making more music with other individuals?
SBTG: My debut project was 'Stories From The Underground' with ILLtemper (from Pennsylvania). Before that I released a lot of single tracks on YouTube. 'Stories From The Underground' was the first full project though. It was a 5 track EP. I am grateful that this project was the first, because I still work with ILLtemper. We dropped 2 EPs in 2021 and are always working on stuff. He is a very important key player in my crew Voodoo Docterz. He also formed the duo Even Heathens with horrorcore legend King Gordy. I have the honor to have a beat on their upcoming release!
Most people that listen to Hip-Hop want to be an MC, what was it that made you want to create beats? The MC usually gets most of the credit for an album (typically), does that bother you at all? Or perhaps, do you feel that the Underground shows more love for the wholeness of who was involved in a project and not just the MC?
SBTG: When I heard beats from especially The Alchemist, I knew that's what I wanted to do. I was into a rapping as well, but due to growing up with a stutter, I wasn't confident enough about that to rap. Rapping definitely helped me overcome my stutter, but I just kept it to myself. I think I liked beatmaking and scratching more. When I dropped EPs, albums or even singles. I make sure that the MC credits me. Most of the time I even don't have to ask. I do think that the underground is better with that than mainstream music.
When was it that you thought, ok I can do this, I am actually pretty good at making music? Was it something you were natural at or you really had to work on it?
SBTG: I had to put in the work. I played guitar as a kid, but quit lessons after a year (if I remember it correct). Music was always in my life, but during my childhood I was also into basketball. At the age of 15 I slowly got back into music and started experimenting with digital audio workstations. My parents both made music and when I was young there was always music from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors etc. playing in the house or in the car. Both sides of my family are into music and into creating music. I don't think I got natural talent. I had to put in the work and in the beginning I honestly was insecure. When I dropped my first singles and projects I released that people saw something in me and that I just had to keep going!
I see you mix and master most of your projects, how long did it take you to learn that skill? When was it that you started to fully take control of the whole soundscape?
SBTG: At the age of 20 I started mixing/mastering. I have always mixed my own beats, but at that time I was completely new to vocal mixing. I had books about it, which friends gave me. This provided me with the right information, since the internet and YouTube tutorials can be really overwhelming. You gotta have a basic point to start with. The books gave me the basics and after that I could proceed to tutorials to learn more about specific tools and plugins. After that it was just practise, practise, practise. Practise simply makes perfect! At that time (age 20) I had an intership as cameraman. The internship also had a studio and helped me learn the craft. I was just at the right place, at the right time! Now, 7 years later, I am still learning and still improving with every mix. That's what keeps it fun for me!
You just came out with a project with A-God the Old Soul and Gamblez; they are completely different styles. Do you have a favorite style or you just like to do it all? The A-God the Old Soul project "Labor and Tribute" was so earthy, what does it take to keep the focus in making such a project? Same goes for the Gamblez one, "The Evil Returns", it sounds so sinister what do you do to stay on that sort of tip?
SBTG: My style mainly is boom bap, but I like both soulful and grimy beats... and everything in between. I appreciate a lot of genres from jazz to punkrock. My versatile music taste can be heard in the melodies in my music. Some producers stick to own sound or one genre to sample and make it their own! I am not a producer that sticks to one vibe. I like duality. I think you named the two perfect most recent projects for that: the one with A-God The Old Soul is earthy and reflective. The one with Gamblez is something for the hardcore hip hop lovers! It's just a rugged and raw project.
The duality in my beats fuels projects like this to be born. When I mix it down I try to do everything in one mindstate. For example: one week I only mix grimy tracks. The other week I mix the more soulful tracks. I try to commit myself to the mixing of one track or project at the time. When that's finished, I move on to the next one. With the beats it's different. I could make 4 beats in a day for example. Starting the day with a grimy one, moving on to a mellow one, making a hardcore one and ending the day with a soulful beat with a lot of energy in it.
What makes each project different when you look back at them? How do they make you feel when you go back and listen to them again? Is there any major influences that your ears have listened to that helped formulate the style of each project?
SBTG: Each MC has a personal style and even the instrumental project that I make have their own concept or vibe going on. Helladian Oracles (February 2022) was Greek themed. Globe Healer (June 2022) was mellow vibes. As the title says that last one mentioned was made to offer the world some healing in these dark times with war going on and a lot of people struggling with illness. I wanted to spread some love and light with that one. Every project has a different concept and every MC brings something unique to the table.
If I check my oldest work, there are a lot of things that can be improved. It shows growth. If I check 'Globe Healer' in 5 years I most likely can point out stuff that I could have done differently.
When it comes to influences; influences are everywhere. Beauty is everywhere, but a lot of sadness and darkness is going on in the world as well. I simply observe and turn that into music. That almost sounds poetic, but sometimes it's way easier. Sometimes I just hear a new project from an artist that I like and get inspired by it. Inspiration really is everywhere!
Has making music always been a passion of yours? Was there ever a time that you thought big dreams about where music can take you or was it always a mindset to where you just do it for the love and any money and personal gain didn't really matter as much to you?
SBTG: As mentioned earlier in this interview. I left music alone for a while after I quit playing guitar as a kid. I do think that break was needed to find my love for music again and also to see if I might've had different interests. I always knew it would be really hard to get a decent payment out of music. The love for music is more important to me. I am getting a lot of personal gain by connecting with people. I have tracks with people like 40 Cal. (former Dipset), K-Rino, Lex Starwind, Jazz Fresh, DJ Flipcyide, Fes Taylor, Banish Habitual, Skrewtape and many more (underground) legends and respected names. Progress like that and getting love from the legends always fuels my passion to put in the work!
Now that you have finished school and are going to begin working full time, where does that leave music for you in the future? What type of mindset will you have when it comes to making music? Will it still be a big part of your life or do you ever envision a time when you will move off of it?
SBTG: Never say never, but I won't be getting rich off music. That was never my vision. I make music because it's a passion. It was always my vision to have a job besides music in the creative field, since I graduated in media design. At some stage in my studies, I had to put in a lot of work for it, but I always found time for music and my social life. It will always be a big part of my life. If I move away from it, I will most likely be less happy. I simply love being creative and making music.
What kind of projects can we look forward to in the future? I know you got one from Bleach coming up. Who else are you slated to work with and what sort of styles of Hip-Hop do you have coming out? Do you ever feel like you will tackle a trap-style beat in the future?
SBTG: Bleach and I have something coming really soon indeed! He mentioned it already, the project is very close to being finished. JFliz and I announced our EP as well (release date TBA). I got tons of music coming. Currently Marz One and I are also working on something. I am not the type to announce music unless it's close to being finished but I am always working with dope artists, so just keep your eyes and ears open.
I would like to work with artists like Skyzoo, Flee Lord, Vinnie Paz, anyone from the Wu-Tang Clan would be dope.. just to name a few dope MCs. I could go on for hours about this. It would also be dope to collab with instrumentalists like Alfa Mist! I am blessed to be working with a lot of amazing artists already!
I gave my heart and soul to boom bap, but I been messing with double-time beats as well. I still use boom bap style drums for that. I just like gritty drums. I am not into the snappy style drums that you hear in trap. My brothers in LCOB Netherlands (LDB & Brother Lynx) helped me with becoming more versatile and digging into that double-time beatmaking. I think my first double-time beat was for LDB on the track 'Baron (Fuck Mumble Rap)'. LDB is a big fan of Run The Jewels and challenged me to create something in their style. I think they are a perfect example of keeping it raw with double-time beats.
Besides that, I combine hip hop with neo-soul and jazz in my self-composed beats. So I am always learning from other genres. What I love about hip hop is that you can combine it with a lot of other genres. I sampled from metal to children's music. The sky is the limit and you can be as creative as you wanna be!
Any ambitions to be a part of any live performances or music videos in the future? Or have you ever done any of these types of live productions? When an artist makes a music video like A-God in "Kintsugi", what type of input do you have or do you place all your trust in the artist to make a good music video?
SBTG: I am more of the man behind the camera instead of in front of the camera. A lot of videos and visuals for LCOB Netherlands are filmed / animated by me. As a producer it's a bit easier to not be in the video. I am a jack of all trades I guess. I make beats, cuts/scratches, mixes, album art and visuals. Sometimes at live performance it would be good to have a cameraman. Obviously I am the DJ there and I can't spin records and make video's at the same time.
For the video of ''Kintsugi'' A-God The Old Soul reached out to Burn Herm. Burn Herm is a mutual friend of ours and both of us make music with him. Burn Herm runs a video company called 'Activated'. I fully trust in the skill of that man! A-God and I discussed some ideas for the video. A-God made sure to get my input as well. Burn Herm did an excellent job creating the video.
What made you make the instrumental EP, "Globe Healer"? What did that project mean to you and why did you feel you wanted to do it? It has super chill vibes, where do you think you drew those vibes from? What did you want to accomplish with this piece and do you feel you accomplished that goal?
SBTG: As mentioned before I created the project 'Globe Healer' because the globe needs some healing in these dark times. I can't cure illness, I can't go to regions of war and tell people to stop fighting. What I can do is use my music to create some good vibes. I try to be grateful for what I have in life and that's where the vibes came from. I make sure no sad or negative vibes where on this project, since this project didn't have that concept it. The project also means full creative freedom for me, since it's a solo project. I could do whatever I wanted to do and make it as abstract as I wanted. That's what I love about making instrumental projects! I know a lot of my projects with MC's are doing better. I haven't found my place with the instrumental works yet. I know some producers who do instrumental work get more love on Spotify for example. I try to get my music into playlists. Thankfully alot of people that are into hip hop with MCs on beats are also into my instrumental works.
I think you have to make music for yourself, especially in the underground. Just make music that you like and you will get a fanbase of likeminded people. That's also a goal: creating music for people that are like the same sort of music that I like. I got love from a lot of hip hop heads because of Globe Healer and my instrumental projects like Globe Healer and Nostalgic Chemistry 1 & 2 even reach more people. People who are not specifically into rap or hip hop like it as well! I think that's a good accomplished, since my background is hip hop!
Thanks for the interview Skinny Bonez Tha Godfatha, it was dope!
Bandcamp: Skinny Bonez Tha Godfatha (bandcamp.com)
Facebook: Leon Adrian | Facebook
Check the new project: "The Evil Returns"
Project with A-God the Old Soul: