“Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” ~Andrew Carnegie~
When forces combine, some pretty kick-ass things happen. Such is the case with the music production team Clique Tracks. Looking at the duo today, it is hard to believe that once upon a time they weren’t a team but instead were opponents often facing each other off in competitions. It was in these competitions, as one or the other would often come off on top, where something awesome took root. Whereas for many, these competitions would breed animosity and a need to outdo the other in future events, in their case it instead created a deep respect for eachothers talents and abilities that they have somehow harnessed in order to create their music production brand, Clique Tracks. Lucky for us because, together, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Recently TonboMai had the honor of running some questions by the talented duo and we found their backstory is just as interesting as the talent they bring to the table.
1. Could you give everyone a little background?
Phil: We are Clique Tracks, a music production team. The first time we (Jerome and I) met was in competition against one another in a Beat Battle. We both used to compete and win individually; we used to trade 1st and 2nd place finishes all the time. We decided to start working together after a while and we clicked perfectly (no pun intended).
2. Tell everyone what you do?
Jerome: We compose and arrange music for singers, rap artists, film, and television scores.
Phil: We also create original samples for producers to use, and replay samples for other producers.
3. What brought you to this field? How did you guys get started?
Phil: I have always loved music. I’m a classically trained pianist and Alto Saxophone player. I was pretty much a typical band geek so the progression into music production just made sense. I was always more interested in the sounds I heard in the background of everybody’s favorite songs.
Jerome: I have always been drawn to Hip Hop and am a student of the game. I had a bad break up and music pretty much got me through it.
4. Name some people you have worked with?
Jerome: We have had music placed on MTVu and Revolt TV. We have worked with Joel Faviere, an incredibly talented singer/songwriter.
5. Who is someone you haven’t yet but would like to work with?
Phil: I would love to work with Stalley. The way he tells stories and puts his words together is pretty incredible. I can hear him over our style of production. The intelligence he brings to lyricism would mesh with the intelligence we bring to music production. That would make for some very dope music!
6. So far, what has been that moment that stands out as the best?
Jerome: We competed in the iStandard “Beast of the Beats” which is pretty much the Olympics of music production. They tour all year hosting competitions in every major city in the United States and a few abroad. They invite all the winners for a mega competition which is Beast of the Beats. We won in Washington DC which got us an invitation. Out of the 100 plus producers that were competing, we made it to the final top 10.
7.What stands out as the worst moment or struggle you have faced?
Phil: For me that moment would be right now. Right before we moved to Atlanta (5 months ago) I got myself into some trouble. I had to come back to Maryland for court. It was nothing extremely bad, but bad enough that I didn’t know if I’d be allowed to leave. I got very lucky; it is definitely a low point that I am digging myself out of. It slowed down our process, but we are still able to work on music.
8.Is there anyone who has been an inspiration to you?
Jerome: So many people are inspirations both in and outside of music. When you hear stories of people who persevere no matter what and come out on top. Those are the stories that help keep us going. We want to be one of those stories one day.
9. How do you think your creativeness has evolved since the beginning?
Phil: We have a kind of synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are at a point where we are pushing creative boundaries consistently. We have a mutual trust where we know that we hold ourselves and each other to a higher creative standard. That is really important. We have been working together for almost 5 and it shows.
10. In the creative business, what is the key to success?
Phil: Ridiculous work ethic, almost to the point of insanity. I don’t let a day go by without feeling I was productive. This goes beyond creating music into the management and development of our business and our brand. I’m always learning something new that will help our team.
11. For those out there just starting, how do you get your name out there?
Jerome: Study the greats, study the craft, find an open mic that will let you play your music, find some local beat battles.
12. Everybody has low days; how do you keep focus during those times?
Phil: Push through it, find new ways to get inspired and re-ignite that spark of magic that helps us do what we do best. Understanding that sometimes creativity can be cyclical helps me appreciate those low moments. It helps me to truly appreciate and stay present in the great creative days and prolong them.
13. What are you guys currently working on?
Jerome: We will be putting out more remixes/ Videos this year and possibly an instrumental project
14. Where can people go to get in touch with you guys or find out more?
Phil: Our website is cliquetracks.org you can listen to our music, see some really cool remix videos that we put together, and you can sign up for our email list to keep in contact with us going forward. We are also on Instagram as CliqueTracks.
15. Any last advice or words of wisdom?
Phil: In starting anything new, whether it’s making music for the first time, or writing, or painting, etc. There is a good chance that you will suck at it in the beginning. If you persevere, keep at it, keep learning, keep trying, you WILL get better. So many of the biggest success stories in any field are people who pushed through that period of sucking at what they wanted to do. Give yourself a chance and keep at it!
Find out more about Clique Tracks and see their talented work by following the links below.
You can also email them at CliqueTracks@gmail.com
All images are the property of Clique Tracks, you must have their permission to use them.