Nanosaur is a Bay Area electronic musician who also has produced beats for some of my favorite rappers including the infinitely awesome Based God. For a while I thought of Nanosaur as just a hip hop producer, and didn’t know he made his own solo music until I saw the video for his really great song “T33N Dayze.” Then, a few weeks later I learned he was producing a whole album Twerk-rapper extraordinaire Chippy Nonstop. Nano is a really versatile producer who can make lo fi, chillwave beats and also huge club anthem beats almost effortlessly. He’s also named after a crazy game that used to come with old Macs. He’s also a very cool guy.
I talked with Nanosaur about the early social networking days of Myspace, Playstation games, starting a band and more…
How did you get started making music?
Nanosaur: I started in High School out of boredom. It was an MTV game for Playstation and then I moved to Fruity Loops because someone told me you could do it on there. I just really did it out of boredom.
Do you still use Fruity Loops now?
Nanosaur: As soon as I found out about Reason I went to that. It was just so much better. Fruity Loops reminds me of like a videogame or something because I was just drawing patterns on a grid basically.
Was the MTV game you’d play like that?
Nanosaur: Yeah. It’s a lot like Fruity Loops except You couldn’t export it out from the game.
I think I heard that Lex Luger started out making beats from a videogame, too. I’m not sure if it was the same one you had or not. And I think a couple other producers, too. It’s cool that you can go from playing a game to where you’re at now. Were you making the Chillwave stuff you do now at first? Actually, would you describe your sound as “Chillwave?” For me, that seems like a good description, but maybe you think of your stuff as something else?
Nanosaur: Yeah I guess it’s kind of a mix of that and more New Wave. It kind of has an experimental vibe to it. Some is more trippy and some is more straightforward dance music. And when I first started to make music it was really inspired by The Postal Service. And Ratatat. Stuff like that.
How did you get into producing rap? Was the Lil B song you did the first rapper you worked with?
Nanosaur: It was actually my brother and his group Connected. They found out that I had basically a studio since I was doing recordings in my room. I offered to make beats for them and record them. We started doing that and I’d say that six months after that I made this remix of a Lil B song. I forget which song it was. I ended up putting it on Myspace. Probably like two minutes later I got a message from Lil B asking for beats and we ended up recording “I Got Bitches,” the “XXX” version.
How did you start working with Dev?
Nanosaur: We met off Myspace also. She was from the town that’s probably like 15 minutes away from my house. So, we kind of had a few mutual friends. I found out she was doing music and I sent her a couple tracks. We ended up recording this song called “Everything I Do.” After that it was “Maria,” which was me and her both on the track. It was pretty cool because it was the first time I put my vocals on a song. The beat Lil B used for “I Got Bitches” is actually the beat we were originally gonna use for “Maria,” but then we ended up using a different beat.
Are there other people you’re gonna be working with in the future?
Nanosaur: Yeah. I have a couple tracks on the new Shadowrunners. I have one with Antwon. I’m gonna be on the new Dark Sister album that’s coming out in October. Just one song on there I produced. I should be working with Jay Ant pretty soon. He’s a Bay Area rapper from Richmond or Oakland. That’s pretty much what it is right now.
Do you feel like doing the Global School Of Twerk album with Chippy helped get your name out there as a producer?
Nanosaur: Oh yeah. Once Global School Of Twerk dropped it definitely opened doors.
The beats on Global School have kind of a different feel than some of your other production. Would you call that more like a “party” vibe than your other stuff?
Nanosaur: Yeah I had heard a lot of stuff that Chippy had done before. And I knew that I had something really dope we could do. And most of those songs were made on the fly when we were together.
It’s cool you got to make the album in person with Chippy since so many collabs now happen via internet. Internet collabs are awesome, but working in person is definitely something special.
Nanosaur: Yeah, it was the best studio session I’ve had. We got to really work off of each other.
Are you doing any more stuff with Chippy?
Nanosaur: Yeah. I think she’s dropping something new. It might be an EP. And I’ve got one song on that. It’s gonna be kind of like a compilation of her working with other people.
What about your solo music? Your last album came out in the winter, right?
Nanosaur: Yeah, Afterglow came out pretty early in the year. I’m working on all new tracks. It’s gonna be a lot of real instrument stuff. Real guitar, real bass. I’m still using synthesizers, but it’ll be analog synthesizers, not just like Soft Synths.
Do you think analog synths have a different sound than doing it digitally?
Nanosaur: It creates a really fat tone. It sounds like a band versus sounding like something I just programmed on my laptop.
Are you gonna have a Nanosaur band? Like a band you could tour with?
Nanosaur: Yeah, I think I’m about to do that in August of this year. I have two people lined up for this. I’m gonna get started on it ASAP.
That would be cool.
Nanosaur: The live shows would just be crazy.
You’ve worked with a lot of Bay Area artists. Do you think there’s a real scene out there in music?
Nanosaur: I feel like The Bay is finally getting the attention they need. It’s been so long. The last thing that got big was the whole Hyphy movement. It’s weird because I feel like that lasted so long and then just went away. Now other parts of the country are starting to pick up on that, though. I think because it’s very close to southern music like Crunk and stuff. It’s slower tempos, but it’s similar.
I feel like a lot of stuff that used to be just regional has spread out everywhere now. There’s definitely a huge Southern Rap influence on all of hip hop now no matter where you are. And probably a Hyphy one, too.
Nanosaur: Yeah. It’s really dope actually. Everyone in The South seems really networked together. And it’s the same thing in The Bay, too.
And the Internet and social networking has brought people together, too.
Nanosaur: Yeah that’s probably like 50% of how everyone knows each other and how they all wanna work together. You get to see how everyone else is working and it kind of pushes you to be more productive.
I’ve been on Twitter for a while, and when I first got on I thought it was a dumb thing, but my whole opinion has changed because I’ve made some really cool connections with people.
Nanosaur: It’s really crazy. You can see that people are working and also socializing. It’s a unique way to meet someone. Off the internet.
And you were on Social media before Twitter. You were on Myspace. And I know Lil B was heavy into myspace. That’s how he linked with Clams Casino. Probably Keyboard Kid, too…
Nanosaur: Oh yeah. Keyboard Kid and I were on Myspace around the same time. I remember doing a collab with him. It was on my first laptop that I had. It completely crashed and I lost it…But, we’ll probably do something new sometime.
It’s crazy how hard Keyboard Kid works. He’s got so many beat tapes out.
Nanosaur: Yeah. He’s a cool guy.
That’s about all the questions I have for you. Is there anything else you want to say?
Nanosaur: All of this is really dope. It’s crazy to get love from an East Coast blog when I’m all the way across the country.- Nick Vogt