Whether you’ve been paying attention to contemporary reggae music and the New Sounds of Jamaica, or are an avid historian of dub culture, the name Yared “BoomDraw” Lee may have crossed your radar. The son of the Gabre Sellassie, fore founder of Jamaica’s legendary Kingston Dub Club, BoomDraw has been making a name for himself in music and its evergrowing culture.
A year ago, he produced a notable beat tape via SoundCloud titled “Juss Beats”, which he recently released to all streaming platforms. The producer, DJ and A&R linked up for an insightful conversation on music and all things creative.
How did you get into music & producing?
I got into music/producing because of my parents, my mom worked in the media and listened to a lot of Hip-hop and my father worked in the music industry in a variety of roles. So I grew up with music influences constantly around me. I had played around with the popular music program FL Studio when I was a kid but it didn’t quite fit me at the time. Fast forward ten years into the future, I had developed an interest in DJing because of my father’s influence as well as my love for electronic music. Once I was DJing for a while, getting into production felt like a natural step forward.
What inspired the concept for the ‘Juss Beats’ project?
The concept for the project developed through conversations with my close friend and fellow producer Karlon (@KoneLives). We were in a phase where we had a lot of instrumentals that we hadn’t released or sent to anyone, so in the interest of putting out a body of work without overthinking, we decided to release a beat-tape at the same time in order to hold each other accountable. My project became Juss Beats and his was Konellection Vol. 1. We even had the artworks be done by the same artist (Abigail Titus) using variations of the same visual concept.
My creative process for this project centered around examining my catalogue of beats and utilizing mainly relaxing/ambient sounds. I wanted to make something people listened to while they’re going about their daily lives, or doing something leisurely like reading or studying. I feel like the tracks I chose achieved that, and the sequencing of the project helps to take the listeners on a sonic journey of sorts.
My sound is heavily inspired by 90s hip-hop as I use a lot of samples and similar drum patterns from that Era. I also imagine each of my tracks as taking place in a physical environment from my imagination, so the sounds I use, as well as how I tune my reverb and delay, should all sum up to create a unique space to pair with the music. I don’t limit myself to these soundscapes though. Making music involves a lot of experimentation so I like to challenge myself by exploring different styles. Above everything, I prioritize making music that pleases me and that is a genuine reflection of my Self.
What impact has SoundCloud has on your music career, and what motivated you to release the album on streaming?
SoundCloud, specifically in their golden Era, has had a significant impact on my Music career. It was THE place you could go and discover an exhausting collection of incredible music that had no barriers to entry. It wasn’t anything you’d hear on the radio, there was something in there for everyone. SoundCloud changed the face of music permanently. Many of the producer friends I have now like KingBNJMN and Tessellated I discovered them on SoundCloud first even though we’re from the same country. SoundCloud also provides a platform. For young producers to post their music for listening and feedback from an anonymous population, which is massively important in the early years.
I decided to put the album on streaming services mainly for posterity. I want my music in as many places as possible so that whoever is meant to find it will find it. I imagine that in the future when my music has taken off, that my fans will be able to go back and listen to my old catalogue the same way you’d open a time capsule. Secondly, it’s a way to generate money, maybe not a lot of money right now, but every penny counts. You never know when your music might randomly land in the hands of someone that can take your music to the next level, it’s happened to me before and will continue to happen so I felt it important to prepare for my blessings.
Having the music on streaming services also makes it easier to submit the music to blogs and playlisters.
Lastly, streaming services are just a better storage location for music than your hard drive. It’s like having a savings account, if the money is going to sit their anyways, it might as well generate interest. Likewise, with the music, it can sit there in a streaming service generating attention/money until an artist decides they want to purchase the beat for recording purposes.
What do you hope people experience when listening to the project & your music overall?
Above everything, I hope that my music inspires people to go out and create. Whether it’s the music itself that achieves this, or maybe it’s me as a person and my journey.
I want people to be able to close their eyes when listening to the music and experience an emotion, any emotion, good or bad it doesn’t matter. I don’t necesarily want them to see what I saw, or feel what I felt, I want the music to be the catalyst for something that’s completely personal to whoever is consuming it.