Erik Lopez is an american producer, beatmaker and just a cool guy. Erik started to make his own beats in the middle of 2000 under the name Depakote. In the present he has released 4 albums, which are spread throughout the Internet and you can download them absolutely free. Depakote mixes instrumental hip-hop, jazz samples and oldschool tunes. He is going to release his 5th album “Suicide Watch”, which will be published on the label “Fly definition music”.
What did you like in your childhood?
I was just a regular child I guess. Both of parents were good to me. I was into basketball and collecting basketball cards.
Were you always interested in music or it began in certain period of time?
I think all of us as human beings are into music. I remember my parents had a big vinyl collection. We had a room behind out house that was just full of stuff we didn't need. I use to go in there as a kid and just play my parents records.
Were you always interested in music or it began in certain period of time?
My mom was a big 70's Mexican romantic music fan so we had a bunch of those vinyls and My mom had a lot of disco records. I would just listen and dance to them and act out movies scene's. ah man that was embarrassing. When I was in 6th grade it was 92 to 93. The chronic from Dr.Dre came out so that was big for me. In 7th and 8th grade Snoop was big so was biggie, and anything coming out of Long Beach. A friend of mine got me into pop locking in 7th grade. He let me borrow a movie called beat street and every since then Hip Hop was in my heart. In 9th grade I got into Eazy E and Bone Thug. Then in 10th grade I meet a homie name Mike and he shared the same taste in Hip Hop as me. I stayed up late one night and tuned into this show called The Wake Up show with Sway and Tech. I would tune in religiously after that. I then got into So with homies I have meet in the scene and working hard I got to this point. My influences are probably the people that are around me doing it now.what I still listening to. I got into Wu-tang, Nas, Outkast, Gangstarr, Kool Keith, The Roots. I got into anything underground.
I started writing rhymes at that age. In my high school people would give me shit cause I was into East Coast music. They would say why are you disrespecting the west coast and why you disrespecting Tupac. I loved West Coast shit too.lol I was steady writing rhymes after high school. Then at 18 I got sick and went to the mental hospital. I came back out reconnecting with a homie named Pat that was into the same stuff I was into. My homie Rick "Ratio" was doing his music thing too. So Pat, a Friend named Paul and I started a crew called the Welfare recipients. We would rap about sci-fI Kool keith style shit. We got into the 2000 La project blowed and Shapeshifters movement. I was coming straight outta the mental hospital so the rhymes were bugged out. My homie Paul is a fucking genius at making beats. His name is Kid headphones. I would sit back and study how he would use fruity loops. I really deep inside wanted to make beats. So one day I got my own copy of reason and fruity loops and went to work. it was a long process of learning and a bunch of crappy beats were made because I don't have nature talent like my homie kid headphones. I stuck it out. Then I started putting my music on myspace and I promoted like crazy. I meet a lot of people in the music scene that way. I was going to shows and meeting people. I started giving free beat tapes away. I started promo and lastfm where I meet a guy that was running a label from London and he signed me and he got me pretty far til this day. Thank's Thor from Highpoint Lowlife records. he got me play on Mary Anne Hobbs and that got me more known. So with homies I have meet in the scene and working hard I got to this point. My influences are probably the people that are around me doing it now. MHD, The Neckbreakers, The green llamas, the backpack superheros and some of the dudes on Huh what and where.
What music inspires you nowadays?
The music that inspires me is all the music I go dig for. I run across so much music from the past and I admire it so much. I sit in wonder what was going on in their lives when they made it. What were their dreams etc... The era I’m really into is the 70's. Just the feel of the music takes me to a certain place. I can't explain it.
What is your opinion about modern mainstream and underground artists?
My opinion of modern mainstream music is that some of the modern mainstream musicians don't make the music from the heart. The musicians get caught up in what's gonna sell more and take their advice from labels and slowly they lose their artistic freedom. I may be wrong maybe they do love making music like that, but when I hear it for myself it just lacks what I have heard in past music.
Don't get me wrong I do love party music and music for fun. It's just that there is no balance in what gets exposure. The music companies focus on what is hot and trendy. They focus on what's hot at the moment. Once they have sucked you dry and it's not the trend. Good luck on getting back on that label.lol
My opinion on underground artist well it's actually the same as the mainstream artist. it could go both ways. You can be a underground artist trying to make it big and you can do some snake things to reach the top.
I love both mainstream and underground artist trying to do the music that they love. It's a hard business. You have to sacrifice so much for this. The struggle is harsh. You spend so much time on your music and give it out for free and sometimes people talk bad about you. The homies around me that make music know how I feel. That's why we should stick together as artist and help each other out cause the major labels don't give a shit about us there want their fucking money. Don't get caught up too indie labels can’t fuck u up as well.lol
Do you have any favorite artists who produces music right now?
My favorite producers right now in the music that I’m in. Man that is hard.
I’m gonna go with the homie Dibiase. The music he makes is crazy. Him and Samiyam got that swing synth bash you're skull music. I was following his music since 06. I would hit him up on myspace and tell him his beats were dope. I would tell him to check out mine. He would tell me they were dope even though I look back on my beats and they were Horrible as hell. Dibiase is one of the most humblest dudes I meet. He works hard on his music and anything No person is better than the other. This music thing has so much ego in it.he does he deserves everything. I meet some dude in this beat game that are assholes. In anything you do in life you have to show respect to your fellow man I believe. No person is better than the other. This music thing has so much ego in it. With everyone I meet I treat them with respect because I don't want to be treated like shit so why would I treat someone like that.
Another Fav producer is Co.fee from My Hollow Drums crew his beats are insane you need to peep them. Again another humble person. I honestly want to say that if Co.fee was not around during this music thing I would have lost my mind in all this madness
So how did the «Depakote» appear? Have you always perform with this name?
Well my name Depakote started because it's a medication I take for the Bi-polar disorder I have. This was my first name as a beatmaker. My early emcee name was Lardslowalker.lol
When did you start to make music professionally? Was it difficult for the first?
I started making beats around 2004. It was so difficult for me to make beats. I have no talent what so ever. I would sit and study my homie Kid headphones and ask him questions on how to make beats. I would watch study the Reason tutorials on how to make beats. My earlier stuff was Horrible! I still have some and my friends would laugh at my shit. it would kinda hurt my feelings back then but now I don't give a shit. I swear I would sit for hours trying to figure out how to do certain things. I would go on the internet and search ways in how to make music. Slowly I started getting the hang of things. I would watch youtube videos on how to use the certain software I’m using.
What can you tell about the process of making music?
I can just tell you that for me it was and still is a hard process. If you want to make music always know that you will always learn new things. Become a sponge in this. Study other peoples music. Listen to every kinds of music. If you can afford it take some music classes or just take some music appreciation classes. Always remember that it's gonna take time to make music. What's that saying "Rome was not built in a day". It's gonna take many hours and years to make the music that you love. It's a sacrifice but if you really love doing this you know what it's worth it.
This is the rundown in what I do. I go and listen and find a sample. Once I find it. I chop certain parts of the song that I want. I time everything and make loops. I take it to my music program and I try to time it so I can add drums on top off it. I make a chorus first. I like to add things on top of the sample so it doesn't become boring. After I’m done with the chorus I make the verse. I like to use a different part for the verse so I bring the sample in and throughout the verse I like to add certain elements so it doesn't become repetitive. This goes on then sometimes I add change ups etc..
I can also take a whole song into my program and chop it into pieces. I make drum patterns and I try to find pieces of the song and make sort of like a musical puzzle. I also like to make live production with my keyboard and all that.
And the classical question, what tools do you use to make your songs?
I use the cybernet T-1000 built by Skynet. .lololololololo Just kidding.
Fl studio 9xxl, Cool edit, Reason 3.0 Recycle. For live beat sets abelton 7 and O2 midI controller.
Have you ever tried to collaborate with other musicians? Don’t you want to make some beats for MCs? Or maybe you already have had such experience?
Yeah man. I collabed with a bunch of emcees and producers. Emcees ah man trying to remember. Meatman, Tone liv, Ratio, Prosthetik Intelligence, Gavlyn, Destruct, Zenaloa, Verb from AZ, Ryan Mohs, Ceej, I’m sorry if I forgot anyone I have a bad memory.
I want to work with more but the time for me sucks. too much school lol
Is music just a hobby for you?
This is more than a hobby for me. Music is my life. I would love to do it for a career but, I have a plan b. lol
If we talk about spreading the music, what is your opinion about the phenomenon of 'pay what you want'?
I feel for a person just starting out if they want to make a name for themselves it's a no brainier that you gotta give out you're music for free and build a fanbase. I love the internet. If it wasn't for the internet none off this would of happen for me. I gave my music for free so people can get to know my music everywhere. It's up to me to keep making the music and try my best to get new listeners. The people that are just in it for the money will not have patience or ambition to keep giving out free music and work relentlessly to do this as a living.The sacrifice and time that I have taking to give free music is hard. The people that are just in it for the money will not have patience or ambition to keep giving out free music and work relentlessly to do this as a living. There is gonna be a point where in time where people are gonna be willing to pay for the music. That's why I want to build a relationship with the people that download my music. For the years I have giving it for free on my future albums my listeners will be willing to pay for it and if not then I gotta keep giving my music for free until they do. I been seeing it with people that are getting a name for themselves around me. There albums are now being bought by their fans and there getting shows worldwide. I have to be patient and make my music better and let fate and time take it's course
With the development of Internet and wide availability of various social networks, everyone can now feel closer to their idol. In some sense, you can watch every step and action of your favorite musicians. What do you think, what are the pros and cons in this for the artist?
Well the pros are that you can thank the person for buying your music and keep in contact. You can sell them you're stuff right to them. The cons are that if you get big enough you cannot get to every fan and you would feel bad. You would feel overwhelmed with e-mails.
As I know, you are going to release your new album this spring.
Yes I’m going to release my new Album Suicide Watch on Fly defination music or Flydefination.com around spring.
What can you tell us about the working on it? How long did it take? Was it difficult or you just enjoyed the process?
We when I was working on this I just got done with my album The Gummo Album so it's kinda on the same feel.
It took me about 6 months to make. I make beats all the time. I just made this one for this specific feel. The feel of the album is mostly well a bi-polar feel ahahaha. It has its ups and it has it's downs. It was difficult then it wasn't because I would like the beats I made first then I didn't like them I’m very self conscious when it comes to my music. I have a problem of wanting to please everyone in my music. I figured out the hard way and a friend Co.fee told me. Just do what you want man. Do what you like. you can please everyone. That helped me out so much. So now I love my album.lol
So, what next? What plans do you have for 2011?
I’m working on a album with a dope Emcee named Tone liv trying to see if it's gonna come out on Domination Rec. Working on emcee albums with Prosthetik Intelligence, Aliso Black. Gonna Work on a Ep with my homie Co.fee. Also an Ep with the homie Phaiz Rock from Wasted Talient. I also working on a rap album I’m doing. I’m a better rapper then producer. My homie is gonna produce it. His name is Machine Wallace.
And the last question. Do you want to say anything to your Russian listeners?
I love you guys. I go on my lastfm and see who listens to my music and most of my listeners are from Russia. It means a lot to me. I do my music for you guys. I hope one day I can do a show out there. Thank you Russia from the bottom of my heart.
text — Sergey Kaplichniy