Callum Ball is an up and coming young Tasmanian music producer specializing in Hip Hop production. He has been busy working on a range of album recording projects including works from Tasmanian rappers “Dunn D” and “Promise”. Callum describes his journey from starting out as a young beat maker with friends making a mix of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and Hip Hop beats to taking the plunge and becoming a full time producer. Joel and Callum talk all things music, hip hop and what to expect from an emerging young music scene…
What sort of things do you get up to with your music?
I mainly work as a music producer, working from home doing mixing, mastering and I make hip-hop beats and EDM beats. I try to dabble in a large range of genres. I really enjoy mixing heavy metal but the majority of what I do is hip-hop.
Let’s look at the first time you thought, “okay this music thing isn’t just about listening to music, there’s a lot more in it”. Assuming it went something like that! So where did it all start for you?
I was about 20 years old. So that was about three years ago when I picked up logic and started producing. I just started doing it for fun. I was making music with my mate Huon and we were just bouncing back and forth. He’s a rapper so I was making hip-hop beats and started to realize I was doing it for like six hours a day or more! Just for fun, just ‘cos I love doing it. At that point, after a month of doing that I thought “hang on…if I’m doing this like a full-time job just ‘cos I love it, I should actually try to make it a full-time job!” haha. So I un-enrolled from what I was doing in uni and went straight to the ‘Con’.
How did that go for you? Did you meet people straight away or have people around you that you would consider as mentors?
Oh yeah definitely! Tons of people played a huge role in me being able to do what I do. I wouldn’t have been able to do it as easily as I have been able to without the help of those people. When I first went to the Con, the music tech class just brought me in and showed me stuff. They all knew way more than I did ‘cos I’d only been doing it for a month. We just became a tight group! It was literally like being at high school with that group of friends. We all had the same classes and the same lunch breaks, it was a great time. After that, my mate Will Joseph who was in the previous podcast, taught me some stuff and Logic. My mate Promise, who I met through Will, showed me tons of stuff and gave me a lot of opportunities. Through Promise, I met Dunn D. Dunn D built a big name and following for himself and it’s just been an amazing opportunity to work with him. Yeah, all these people have just been a huge part and huge helping hand in me being able to do what I do!
The last few year’s sounds like where your music journey has taken place, prior to that did you do any sort of music? Like in high school, did you ever pick up any instruments?
Yeah in high school I played in heavy metal bands and stuff like that. I played keys, drums and guitar. I kind of became a jack-of-all-trades when it came to instruments; I was just learning them left right and center! But between high school and when I started producing, I kind of had a big break from doing any music stuff. I didn’t play for years, which is a shame but I guess is what needed to happen.
Would you say that you had your passion and you were really feeling like this was something that you wanted to take on as a career path while you wee there making beats with Huon?
Oh totally man! Yeah even before I started producing I was listening to producers and I was into Trap music. I was into Flume and stuff like that. I thought they were so cool, but I had never started producing. But I always thought being a producer would be so cool.
From an instrumental side of things if you’re making beats, what’s the recipe? What’s the thing that’s really going to make it stand out?
I’m not sure! To be real, even the terrible beats I made when I started producing, which I look back on now and think “wow they were so bad” haha, at the time I was like, “yeah these are pretty good! I’m onto something here!”, hahah. I don’t know, I think when you make something yourself, you get a bit of a personal bias. So it’s hard to really pinpoint exactly where I noticed that I was onto something, I guess.
Let’s talk about the Project with Dunn D, which was fairly recent. Can you explain a bit about that journey and tell us about who Dunn D is?
Dunn D is a local Hip-Hop artist. He’s been a rapper for a number of years now. He’s a battle rapper and he’s had a lot of success in the battle rap scene. He’s toured all around the world and built a name for himself doing a really great job. I met him through Promise. Promise brought him ‘round to work on some tunes and he kind of liked what was going on. So him and I started working on some tunes together. Then I ended up producing his album really recently. That was an amazing opportunity! He’s such a talented dude, it was so easy working with him and bouncing ideas off him. Every beat just came together so quick, and every song came together so easily. It was a great opportunity to be able to work with him.
How have things changed for you during the Covid situation? You mentioned that you work from home, but do you still feel on track doing your own thing?
Yeah I’ve been really lucky to not have been too negatively affected by Covid. I know some people are really going through it at the moment and their businesses are kind of put on pause right now for an unknown amount which is really unfortunate for those people. I’ve been really lucky to have a completely digital service. So I’m not too negatively impacted. I’ve had to postpone recording and those sorts of jobs but mixing, mastering and beats – I love doing all of those things and I can still do all of them which I’m really grateful for.
What advice would you give to anyone else in the creative arena thinking about chasing similar goals?
From my experience, it’s entirely possible to do. You just need to pursue it. I thin k it’s entirely worth it! I’ve seen all these cliché self help quotes and stuff like that, the ones that are like, “you know you can fail at what you hate doing, so you might as well do what you love”, but it’s actually so true. I think you should definitely try to pursue what you love. I know not everyone can, I guess of course there’s like luck factors, but the more you do it, the more likely you will be to succeed at it.
For more info about Callum Ball and his music, look up him up on Facebook and Instagram!