Da Vinci had The Sistine Chapel. Dostoevsky had The Brothers Karamazov. Einstein had revolutionary theory. The success of such ingenious creators of intelligent masterpieces are sometimes gauged upon that one particular piece or creation. As for producer/sound engineer, DJ Tengiz, his take on matching interesting sound bites from Russia to the masses of hip-hop and beyond are as revolutionary as Tsereteli himself.
On the surface, De La Soulviet itself can come across as just another remix refreshing the hits of the hip-hop pioneer group De La Soul by some self-proclaimed producer who sits at home with their digital audio workstation. But what you might not know is that DJ Tengiz brings to the plate an opportunity to hear how incorporating Soviet jazz and soul music to a hip-hop sound sees no borders . The M Report got to know more about the mastermind and his latest release De La Soulviet.
I sort of have this Wizard of Oz -type perception about you. Like the mind behind the magic of the production that goes on at Tengiz Recordz is this mysterious force without a trace: not many personal pictures or blasting of information on Twitter, etc. So tell us about yourself.
Thank you! Originally I'm from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. In the '90s I produced a huge hip-hop hit for the artist Mister Maloy. It was something like the "Nuthin' but a G Thang" joint for Russia. The project sold over 1 million copies. It was the first Russian rap song which got airtime on TV and FM stations. After that, I worked as a producer and sound engineer for hip-hop artists that have won top awards at Russian MTV Music Awards. Altogether I've produced hundreds of beats and mixed several thousand songs. In the beginning of 2010, I moved to Miami and launched my own record company.
How does your studio impact Miami’s music scene?
When it comes to music from Miami, the big names are Rick Ross, Pitbull and Flo Rida. But there is much more to the South Florida scene than the trap-rap bangers or dance hip-hop. These days, there have been a lot of new artists that represent "The New Miami movement". The sound those musicians provide to the people is different from Miami mainstream hip-hop. They are known for their smooth stylings and soulful beats.
During the last year, I recorded and mixed about 10 albums for the artists who represent the New Miami movement such as Vurn, YNG, Streets Buchanon, Shanetane to name a few.
Let’s talk about your roster of clientele. You have artists who have done shows with mainstream artists like Wiz Khalifa to artists who are more on an international platform. They seem to make waves in their own respected industries. Is there a pre-requisite in order to get your attention or studio time?
I have a great deal of experience with many music genres. I've made music for video games, TV commercials, etc. I'm happy to work with new artists because everyone is unique and I learn something new every time. Also I've been looking for that artist with whom I can build a full project with. I've been searching through Miami music blogs and twitters for interesting MCs and groups.
Your first produced album was entitled “Soulviet Beats.” What was the inspiration behind this mix and was it after your first production that you decided “De La Soulviet” would be born?
De La Soul is the group that inspired me to become a hip-hop producer. I used to listen to "3 Feet High and Rising" and "De La Soul is Dead" and dug through soviet vinyl for the similar grooves. Since then I've been collecting USSR music soul/jazz/funk samples. When I moved to Miami, I got an idea to combine American hip-hop and Soviet soul. I began to work on the project about half a year ago. During this process I've created around 30 beats. I've chosen only 12 for the De La Soulviet mashup. So I decided to drop an instrumental album called Soulviet Beats."
Once I heard the album, my neck muscles were probably strained from how much I was nodding my head in appreciation for the sound. It was definitely in tune with the essence of hip-hop. Tell folks out there why Soviet Union soul and jazz were incorporated into this production.Thanks! I’m happy you like the album. Actually, I love to create music that people have never heard before. I have a large collection of soviet vinyl and rare tunes from USSR movies. Most of my beats are composed from samples that many people are not familiar with.
With all the feedback you’re getting from this release, what do you want listeners to take from it?
Well, the main stereotypes of the Soviet Union are snow and cold. Not many people know that musicians from the USSR could play warm jazz and soul music. So I want to share those good vibrations with listeners.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
On 10/20/2011 I'm going to drop TenDJiz 2010GIZ (New Miami Mixtape). It will be 20 tracks I recorded and mixed at TenDJiz Miami Studio during 2010-2011. Tracklisting consists of the artists who represent the New Miami Movement. Also I’m planning on starting a few new projects in the near future and look forward to sharing it with you shortly.
Get your own free "De La Soulviet" mashup album here: