It’s been over a year since Jeremy Harding called the one they call Di Genius to set up an interview for me. Stephen McGregor is, of course, the son of famed artiste Freddy McGregor, but he built his own lane producing some of the most innovative dancehall of this millennium, taking over his fathers Big Ship studio and turning it into a hit factory. His style melded perfectly with upandcomer Mavado – whose “Weh Dem A Do“- made me start checking compulsively for Stephen’s productions around 05/06. I have great video of him and his crew going off to unreleased Shadetek riddims and talking about why he keeps an open bible on his mixing desk- but until I get around to editing that shit- enjoy the interview tracked out by question below and stay locked for interviews with Ward21, Natalie Storm + more.
When your working on new projects – do you distinguish between what will be big in the Jamaican market vs the foreign market?
Wa Dem A Do- which is the first riddim you built that I heard in NY- has this crazy cinematic density- but since then it seems like you have been hitting on all bases- why move away from the sound you built?
Who are contemporary producers that you look up to? I hear neptunes and early timbaland, but who else are you checking for?
Are there young producers or other producers that you work with, or is it just vocalists that you keep in your camp?
What do you think about the fact that anyone with a computer can download a cracked copy of Fruity Loops and start building riddims ?
How much do you think radio payolla affects what tunes get big or make it onto rotation?
You’ve pretty consistently had your riddims on the charts for the last couple years- how many riddims are you building a week, and how many of those ever get voiced?
Can you describe the process from building a riddim to finishing a riddim pack goes?
Is there anything outside of hip-hop and dancehall that you check for? Are you listening to trance and house directly or just hearing their influence through rap?
Do you think your work ethic seperates you from other producers, or young musicians?
Some artists claim not to listen to the radio or other media- but you say you like to keep up with whatevers new?
What’s your process when you start to build a new riddim?
Besides Jeremy (who manages Stephen)- whose the team at bigship and Di Genuis recordings?
Given your success as a producer- why push to voice more of your own riddims?