Interviewed by David Drake (@somanyshrimp)
Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything" became one of the unexpected buzz-singles of the year, thanks to a viral video and some tremendously catchy lyrics. Equally important to the track's sudden rise, though, was the beat: a syrupy, thumping, undeniable track. For most of the year, the beat's producer remained a mystery (even to Trinidad himself, who culled some of his production from various online instrumentals CDs).
As we announced late last year, the producer behind the track was a 28-year-old married father of three, Devon Gallaspy, who works in construction in Jackson, Mississippi. He uploaded a tape of his instrumentals to DatPiff, and now finds himself in the surprising position of having produced one of the year's biggest tracks. We spoke with him yesterday about how this situation came about, his favorite producers, and where he was when he first heard "All Gold Everything."
Where'd you grow up? And where are you right now?
Mississippi. Jackson, Mississippi. Grew up in Canton, Mississippi, which is about thirty minutes away. I’m twenty-eight. Moved from out my grandma’s house and moved to Jackson. I was making beats there in my grandma’s house. That’s where I started, at my Auntie’s house. Moved on from there. Did the job thing, keeping that moving because you know bills got to get paid. On the side of that, still did my beats. Just kept at it, man. Just teamed up with a lot of people that would understand the way I was trying to make beats, and they comprehend the way I was going with them.
Who have you produced for previously?
In the past, just locally. Guys haven’t really gotten nowhere yet and they’re in the process of doing things. [People from] my city in Jackson. And a couple guys from New Orleans.
How old were you when you started producing?
[laughs] All I know is it’s been eight years, I ain’t too hot with numbers but I know it’s been eight years. That’s how long I’ve been doing it. At the time, I was going through a situation at school so I just remember which year it was.
What do you do for a day job right now?
Construction, industrial work, stuff like that. Driving forklifts, things of that nature. Right now I’m doing construction.
What kind of production equipment do you use, what software?
Software. Fruity Loops. From time to time I use a G6 pad. My partner owns that, I don’t own it. But I use software mainly. I would go to his studio or whatever and use his equipment to hear my stuff. But I just use software.
Can you tell me about making the “All Gold Everything” beat? How long did that take you, what was the process like?
The process was, family-wise, I was around my family at the time. I would work on it on and off, I would have to deal with my kids and go back to it, and deal with family and go back to it, in and out. Work on it, stop for a minute, then work on it. If I had stayed concentrated on it one day it would have taken me two hours or an hour or something. But on and off, that’s mostly how my life works.
I was in the car with my wife, on my way to my brother-in-law’s house. I caught the end of it. When I was hearing it, I was like: “I wonder who that is on that old song,” because it [sounded] familiar to me.
How did Trinidad come across it?
His family—his cousin, I think he said—got a hold to it off of DatPiff. One of my guys let me hear a mixtape that was on there [DatPiff]. He downloaded a song, I was like, “what website that is?” He told me what it was, he was like, “Man, you can put your stuff on there.” And it was easy for me. I understood how to do it on there, compared to other sites. I put ‘em on there, I mostly put ‘em on there for my family to hear, because I was far away from them and everybody wanted beats and I was like, well, I’ll put something on there, I’m not driving every day to come see y’all just so y’all can—so I put it on the internet. It was quicker.
What was the name of the tape?
It said “Beats” and had a lot of single letters [on the cover]. I designed it like that just to get attention to it. I don’t know, when I make covers like that, I just keep “what would somebody else be looking" in mind, to grab their eye or ear, of the mixtape on the page. So I had a model, a bikini model, and turned the picture upside-down in black and white, and just put it in there. Because you know somebody’s always gonna look at a woman. I had my mind set on more than just my family listening to it. You know, once it hit the internet, anybody can get it. I understood it was going to be more than just people I knew hearing it. I started getting comments from time to time, and views started off from two, and then it grew a little while, and then I got off of it because I got to go to work so I don’t be on the internet every day. And then I came back, got a little bit more, got a couple more comments. As it gradually went on, I’d pay attention for a little while, then handle the stuff I had to do. But I knew people were listening to it. I just felt good that I had more than 200 views and five downloads. So that made me feel good! I was just putting it on there for what I was putting it on there for.
How did you first hear “All Gold Everything”?
I was in the car with my wife. I was in the car, on my way to my brother-in-law’s house. I caught the end of it. When I was hearing it, I was like, “I wonder who that is on that old song,” because it [sounded] familiar to me. I just didn’t know where I knew the beat from. Then I turned it up, started listening to the sound of it, I said, “aww naw, this can’t be, this my beat!” My wife looked at me like I was crazy, like, “OK, there you go.” I was like, “alright then, fine, that’s my beat now!” Like “Alright, we’ll find out.” That’s how it happened, man.
What did you do when you found out? How did you find out who Trinidad James was?
It took me a minute, because I was still trying to comprehend everything going on. Mostly just sit back, because I didn’t really keep up with it until I started constantly hearing it around me. People were coming around me with it, and I was like, Okay: Now I need to check on it. It’s all on the radio. People asking for it. When the song went up, when I first heard it, they was doing requests and somebody asked for it to come on again. They was like, “Can we hear “All Gold Everything”?” They was like, “you know we can’t play it back to back like that.” Down here in Mississippi it’s booming bro. It’s booming.
How did you get attention for it? How did you get in touch with Trinidad?
Family. My family, man. Once I got serious about it, well it’s time to investigate who the dude is and get with somebody who know him, my family provided me with everything. I’m blessed to have a family like that.
How are you feeling now, what’s your reaction to all this?
Right now, I’ve got a worker-mind right now. I just take it day-by-day. I’m excited. As far as the outcome of it, the status of the song and how people are reacting. I’m more proud of [Trinidad James]. I’m proud of him to take that beat and do what I wanted to be done with it anyway. Somebody to get on it and go hard. The song is made exactly how I made it. Quick fast, say what you’re going to say and get off of it. That’s what he did, struck hard and got off of it. Also, with his style, and the way he presented himself. They respected the beat more because of that. Like, this dude is killing them with one verse, who does that? I made the song on purpose to go like that, because that’s how I felt about the sounds and the instruments I was using. They’re strong enough that it shouldn't take much for you to get the concept of what’s going on.
Who are some of your favorite producers, who influenced you, who made your favorite beats?
If I were to tell you that it would blow your top off bro. To be honest with you, local people. My local people that I know. This has been my lifestyle since fifteen, man. I just work hard. I’m into music, I love it to death, but when it comes down to it, my family and the people I be around keep my mental functioning. I might hear a song produced by a guy I don’t even know. I don’t go investigate; I just listen to the music in itself and develop like that, man. I’m one of those country people.
What is your plan right now? Do you have a lot of beats in the can that you’re hoping to sell?
I got a lot of things in progress, man. If you go on DatPiff, you’ll get some of the insight on how my mind works as far as beats go. It’s going to develop from what you hear on there to different things, man. So if you get the chance, or anybody you know in your camp man, go to datpiff.com. Leave a comment, don’t just get on there! I’m still on it like I was, know what I mean? Big up to DatPiff, bro. Leave a comment.
Are there any artists that you want to produce for?
Maaan. Everybody famous. [laughs]. Everybody famous, my man. I don’t discriminate against any artist. All I know is if you know what you’re doing, that’s all I need to know. If you know what you want to hear, and you know the things you trying to create, I’m going to try to help you get there. Much as I can, because that’s how I am. There are things I create and want to hear too. Everybody, man, nobody in particular. Everybody, everybody.