The Process, Episode 4: Powers Pleasant (Joey Bada$$) Live Remixing with the Roland DJ-505

For last week's episode of The Process, we welcomed Chicago house producer "Fast" Eddie Smith into the Reverb studio to talk about the piece of gear at the center of his studio, the Roland DJ-808. This week, we're talking to a producer with another Roland DJ controller—the DJ-505—at the center of his rig: Powers Pleasant.

Powers Pleasant is a platinum producer and DJ for Joey Bada$$, as well as the co-founder of Pro Era collective. Powers cites the 505 as his go-to controller for its large effects suite and because it lets him blur the line between producer and DJ during his live performances. "You can remix live and add different effects and drums and make your own music from other songs and samples. It's pretty dope—bridging the gap."

As a producer/DJ who has always felt like that line has been blurred for him personally, being able to have a piece of gear that can translate that on stage is essential. Powers also appreciates the 505 for its relatively small size—it's easy to take along to clubs and venues, and being able to use the same setup consistently only improves performances and makes them more fluid.

Alongside the 505, Powers' live rig features a Roland SPD-SX percussion sampling pad, which he uses on stage to play live drums, and the robust, 49-key Roland System-8 synthesizer, which he loves for its customizability when it comes to samples and sounds.

"Besides being a MIDI controller and a synthesizer, you can download your favorite synthesizers in there, so you pretty much have everything. It's like a plugin, but it's an actual keyboard. If you're playing live, you can have your plugin sounds without needing a laptop.

Lastly, Powers passed along his most sage advice to fellow producers and musicians: never stop. "Just do what you love. Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop. It might take you a year, it might take you 10 years, but I promise you'll get to where you want to be. Stay focused."

Be sure to check out the full episode above to see Powers Pleasant demonstrating his process, and stay tuned for another episode of The Process soon. And you can listen to Powers' debut single “Pull Up” feat. Joey Bada$$ & A$AP Ferg out now:

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