Butterzone Music: Producers Extraordinaire

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Recently the Black Star News had the opportunity to sit down with Floyd Fisher and Kiev “XL� Campbell of The Butterzone Music Group. Inside their nice and cozy studio-office on Stanton street in downtown Manhattan, we got to know what makes this talented pair so good.

BSN: How’s it going guys?
FF: Pretty good, just trying to keep it moving forward.

BSN: How long have you been partners?
FF: We met five yeas ago and have been doing the production thing for two years. I had a recording studio in Times Square and was looking for a new partner. XL walks in, but I basically ignored him.  After he left I thought about it and called him up. We sat down, talked, played beats together and vibed well. We stayed in touch, eventually hooked up and progressed to this point.
XL: I was doing my own thing (Butterzone) and I thought this could be the the perfect partner. A friend told me everything I did was like butter, you are in the zone…the butterzone. I met up with Floyd and here we are now.

BSN: Talk about your backgrounds.
FF: My father was a jazz musician. He worked with Lionel Hampton, Harry Belafonte, and The Ink Spots. I was always around music. I worked with Tommy Boy Records, Sleeping Bag Records and did production work for the rap group Public Enemy. I also worked for Brenda K-Starr, KRS-One and co-wrote the song “Don’t Be Afraid� with Aaron Hall of the R+B group “Guy�. I love hip hop and being around it!!
XL: My mom was an aspiring singer in the 70’s and 80’s. After I was born she had to stop singing in order to take care of me. Growing up I fell in love with jazz soul music (at a very young age). I also played piano. I did internships but always wanted to do my own thing which led me into producing.

BSN: How do you compare producing to performing?
FF: My experience was as a keyboard player. I worked on the road with Thelonius Monk, but I got tired of the road. To me producing is performing.
XL: At the Butterzone, we have our own style. I’ve been performing  for years. You feel the energy of the crowd and you go with it. We produce tracks that “feel good musicâ€?, music that makes you want to jump up and move. Our shows are formatted to get a reaction. It’s all about creating something positive.

BSN: Who have you worked with? And which artists have had an influence on you?
FF: Everything I hear influences me. Miles Davis is sort of like a hero to me, but every
thing is an inspiration.
XL: I’ve worked with Rob Bass, Nice and Smooth, Whodini. Those who have influenced me, Slick Rick, Herbie Hancock, DXT (a neighborhood friend in The Bronx), my partner Floyd, the music of the 70’s and 80’s.

BSN: What are some of your upcoming projects?
FF/XL: We are working with Thelonius Monk Jr. on a remake of “Bon Bon Vie�
with the original flavor and something new. Some other things are in place with a few big artists (one on the Def Jam label) and a couple of other labels that like our beats….but we have to keep that quiet for now.

BSN: What is your opinion about the music biz?
FF: It’s a tough game. If you focus on the music it will lead you to the bigger prize. Just don’t be greedy.
XL: We want to be true to the music. We work well together. We are music lovers.  We want to work with our artists and build them up. We want our artists to feel at home with us. We play our own music, no samples hear. We want to
create music that people will be sampling in the future.

BSN: What message do you have for young people looking to get into the music biz? What type of example do you want to set?
XL: We want to show the world that a Black man and a white man can work together. We are all from different cultures and we should be able to talk and work together more often. I’m starting to work with young people, showing them how to write and produce. We want to show young people that you can make good music without it relating to violence. The Butterzone Music Group is trying to show the youth that you don’t have to go to jail to get a record deal. Stay positive, don’t focus on the negative. Be real and have fun. We like to keep it that way. That’s why me and Floyd are known as “The Odd Couple� in the music biz.
FF: We try to let young artists know “to don’t chase the money, focus on the music.� Think long term not short term. If the door opens for you think about holding it open for the next five years, not five minutes. Keep it simple, don’t showboat, and let the music speak for itself.

Floyd Fisher and Kiev “XL� Campbell of The Butterzone Music group can be reached at (212)477-1242 and on the web at www.bzmusicgroup.com

Speaking Truth To Empower.� To contact The Black Star News write editor@blackstarnews.com or call (212) 481-7745. Subscribe to this newspaper and advertise to build power.

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