Considered one of the most underrated producers in Chicago, Marco Jacobo aka Maker has seamlessly blended the grit of underground hip-hop with a soulful library of funk breaks. He originally started producing in the mid-'90s, and since then he's been a fixture on the Galapagos4 label, boasting production work on Qwel's The Harvest, Offwhyte's Mainstay and Denizen Kane's Tree City Legends Vol. 2: My Bootleg Life. His solo album, Shooting The Breeze, also released by G4, was a testament to how an instrumental album can be engaging on a contemplative level without the services of an MC. Last year, Maker extended even further into the hip-hop community with production credits on Doomtree Records and Gravel Records. As of late he's been an in-demand DJ for the Come-Ups crew (DJs Intel and Pickel), but this year fans will likely see his triumphant return to the studio. Centerstage sat down with Maker to get an in-depth look at how it all started and what's in store for 2009.
When did you first start spinning? I started spinning in high school around '93-'94 I would say. I stopped for a while when I got into production and picked it back up years later. I never lost love for it, I was just way more focused on the production aspect. I never stopped collecting records so when I got back into it...it was good to be back!
Do you remember what your first record was? Yes, like a true OG. It was given to me by my neighbor Randy. He told me everything sounded better on vinyl and gave me his copy of Kiss' Destroyer after he failed to sell it at his family's garage sale. I was young, wide eyed and couldn't stop looking at the cover! Even to this day I can still recite most of record. My pops had a lot of records and eventually I had a lot of records, but that was the first record that was officially "mine."
How did you start getting into production? It was around '95. I would go to my friend's house and we would DJ together and he had a sampler hooked up to his mixer and we started messing around. After a while it was all I could think about. That's all I did, and all I wanted to do after that. I would listen to albums differently after that. I am still a student every time I hear something new.
How did your relationship with G4 come about? I met a bunch of the G4s at the radio station in the late '90s - Kevin Beecham's famous "Time Travel Show" at WNUR. I met so many people there, I would just go there to kick it and he introduced me to so much new music. Anyway I met a bunch of them dudes there and clicked with them. I started seeing them around more often, and started kicking it with them. The rest is history.
Of the various artists you've produced for, which has been your favorite? I don't have favorites, I enjoy working with everyone; the challenge and the love for it and the reward of the end result. Everyone is different to work with and I just try to do my best on every song I produce.
As of late it seems like you’ve been spinning a lot. Do you plan on producing more this year? Yeah I have been spinning a lot lately. I think I would've been spinning a lot more before, but I was touring a lot with Glue and since we have not been on the road for a while it's left me with more time to get out and play different nights. I never stopped working though. I have many new projects coming out this year including a new album with Qwel and also an album with Grayskul. I'm also working on a couple of limited 7-inches, a Glue album and a solo record. I'm staying busy!