Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Producer Runkus proud of his ‘Note To Self’

Published:Monday | March 30, 2020 | 12:00 AMKimberly Small/Staff Reporter

Young producer and musician Runkus has a lot to be proud of these days. While known to boast his blessing as “Paula and Determine son”, he’s begun shedding previous shame to take up his position as one of Jamaica’s paradigmatic producers in the new school of reggae music. Runkus was happy to share that he has not one, but two producer credits on Jah9’s recently released album, Note To Self.

“I’m really grateful and honoured to have the opportunity, and also, to produce the title track means a lot to me and Iotosh. Much love to Jah9 and the people who trust us,” he told The Gleaner.

Runkus was touched, too, by the organic, natural flow through the musicians in the studio as they recorded. “It was a beautiful experience. The bridge part of the song was a collaborative effort. We a seh maybe the tune should go there, and we all took up instruments and just start play. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of as a musician,” he shared.

Runkus also produced the track Highly, with a serendipitous backstory, to boot. The story goes: “‘Highly’ was a riddim that I had a tune for, and I had it sitting on the hard drive just chilling. Me and 9 were working on stuff for myself, then 9 asked for some riddims, and I send her that. She said the tune fit the riddim precisely. She didn’t have to shift anything. It was the same bar count, everything. That to me, is destiny.”

Though Note To Self and Highly are the first credits Runkus has taken time to speak on, they aren’t his first. In fact, Runkus’ studio work began years ago, checking the levels and all other knobs and levers for his deejay father, Determine.

Shedding shyness

“I used to record my father, as an engineer, and I used to build riddims in high school. But I was ashamed of it, so I didn’t really tell nobody,” he said with a laugh.

The shyness was eventually shed, perhaps after he started to collaborate with fellow member of the new school Iotosh. Runkus has since released his own productions on his own label, Runkus Music.

One such is jusschool. (2018) alongside Royal Blu. “That was built by me and Iotosh. I played the bass in that, and guitars. Iotosh programmed the drums,” Runkus shared.

He also produced Pirates (2019) by Leno Banton. “That’s actually the riddim jusschool. was on! And we built a new riddim for jusschool. and kept that one.” Runkus also laid the bass guitar lines for that track.

As evidenced by these new, impressive works, Runkus may be well on his way to producing complete projects, for himself and others, with both music and vocal production by Runkus Music. “I was always producing my own vocals. A lot of people don’t know that production has to do with everything. You need to tell somebody how to sound, how their cadence should be on the riddim. You don’t actually have to be putting an instrument in the beat. That job is for the beatmakers, or the instrumentalists. A producer is the person who orchestrates, a conductor,” he explained.

He has experience vocally producing other acts, too, like Lutan Fyah, I-Wayne, Ky-Mani Marley, and Jah9.

“I helped with arranging the background vocals on Highly,” he added.

Proud of himself, his parents, and his new production credits, Runkus is also pleased to be involved in a project that includes contributions from the legendary Clive Hunt.

“We give thanks because is dem man deh we a listen to fi get inspiration. When him do The Abyssinians, Satta Massagana and dem album deh, him teach. So, we trying,” Runkus said.