I was honoured to speak with Canuck rap legend Moka Only about his studio setup and recording process for Exclaim! He's an intensely creative, curious guy and made for a great conversation. Hit the excerpt below for the whole thing.
Moka is entirely self-taught and prefers to play his instruments live, with the exception of the sampler. "I usually start with the sampler, because I like to establish drums first," he clarifies. When starting a beat, he usually brainstorms a lyrical idea or theme and works from there. Ideas typically arrive while skateboarding, and Moka dashes home to record the keyboard or guitar figure, possibly even sampling his initial recording to create a beat. He often writes on a keyboard, seeking a main melody and a bridge piece that deviates from the main groove for variation. Rather than waiting for inspiration, Moka quickly decides whether a song will be an instrumental or have lyrics. The average song takes him an hour to record, from making the beat to mixing the vocals.