The producer talks about his newest release, 19 Days and 500 Nights, and finding his way to future funk.
One of the hallmarks of the YouTube music community is the “Producer type beat.” As music has digitally evolved over the last decade and award-winning producers spring up seemingly overnight, a mad rush to emulate their sounds and styles have flooded YouTube’s music collection.
Some of these “type beats” are blatant imitations of major artists. The second and third most listened beats emulate the sounds that frequently accompany Young Thug and J. Cole, respectively. Others draw from the well of pop culture that fuels nights of YouTube binges. The intersection of Japan (read: anime) and lofi hip-hop provide the backdrop for the most viewed search result in YouTube’s “type beat” anthology, a “Samurai Trap & Bass Japanese Type Beat Lofi Hiphop Mix” that currently boasts more than 32 million spins.
Despite flooding YouTube with a deluge of often royalty-free beats for rappers to use, many “type beat” producers and uploaders are anonymous entities, existing as mere animated profile pictures and nonsensical pen names. Some don’t even exist beyond their YouTube accounts, trading in a wider audience on Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud in favor of crafting a music experience tailored for YouTube and its ever-changing algorithm.
For a time, Windmill was one such producer. Under his channel name STCK, he produced beats that drew influence from a hodgepodge of reference material — Drake, Merengue, Super Mario 64 — which culminated into collections of beats primed for the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, Juice Wrld and Denzel Curry.
Now, Windmill, also known as Carlos, has added vaporwave and future funk to his repertoire of musical inspiration. Over the last month, Windmill has dropped four projects that hear the producer reimagine classic tracks into funked out grooves and create his own samples from which he builds new cuts.
I spoke to Windmill about his newest release, 19 Days and 500 Nights, and how he found his way to future funk.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Where did the title 19 Days and 500 Nights come from?
The title 19 Days and 500 Nights came from a song by a famous Spanish singer named Joaquín Sabina. The song is called “19 Dias y 500 Noches.” It’s one of my favorite songs.
How do you find your samples?
I find my samples in all types of ways. Sometimes it’s a song I already know and like. I go on playlists like “Future Funk Samples” and then go to those songs and go to the recommended bar and find another song. I have a bunch of disco and funk CDs.
When did you start making music? And how did you decide on producing future funk?
I can’t pinpoint when exactly started making music, but started uploading my music in October 2018 to my YouTube channel at the time called “Bluberry Productions” now called “STCK BEATS.” I repurposed the ‘STCK’ YouTube channel to upload Trap style “type beats,” and when I made WINDMILL” it was originally for Vaporwave and now it’s just to be creative, experimental and upload my own music that I wanna make.
Future Funk came with vaporwave. I stumbled across the ‘Lisa Frank 420’ meme with the Vine that goes “Hey I’m lesbian, I thought you were American *music plays*.” Its a dumb meme but if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have made any of this.
At first when I started making vaporwave I hated future funk, but then I gave it a chance and now I love it. Strawberry Station and Super High Titan are my two favorite future funk producers. Tupperwave is great too, he makes good music and has really helped me in the music scene.
How did you learn to produce?
My cousin Ana Rodríguez. She is a popular singer in Nicaragua. There are a lot of Ana Rodríguezs out there so she has a song called “Nicaragua Libre” and you should find her. Anyway, she’s the reason I started making music in the first place. I knew how to play piano prior to this. She taught me how to use GarageBand and everything. And from GarageBand I upgraded to Logic Pro X and now I consider myself a serious musician because of her.
I noticed you are from Atlanta — does the city influence your music at all?
Atlanta has influenced my beats more than my actual music projects. Timbaland is my favorite beat maker and he’s from Atlanta. He worked with Aaliyah who — rest in peace — is my favorite female singer.
You’ve dropped a lot of projects this month. How does 19 Days differ from your other work?
19 Days and 500 Nights is my first ever Future Funk album. And, honestly, I don’t really like it anymore. It has some good songs but the production quality isn’t great, it just doesn’t sound good to me. I am definitely improving from this album, I have three albums in the works; Future Funk, Vaporwave, and Vaportrap. I’m really excited for my future releases.
I noticed you make a point of noting tracks where you didn’t sample any other songs as a basis. Do you have a preference for producing with or without samples?
I’ve been steering away from sampling, I have a new future funk album in the works that is fully non-sample. Already in 19 Days and 500 Nights “I wanna keep you” is non-sampled and the entire Essentials Vol. 1 EP is non-sampled. I don’t really prefer sampling vs. non-sampling. But one of the reasons I’m more inclined to make non-sampled vaporwave is that it sets me apart from most artists.
I want to know more about your Persona 5 sample. How did you decide on using that? (It’s actually my favorite track on the Persona 5 OST).
I actually, don’t listen to a lot of J-Pop, I was watching an Adam Neely Video called “Mixing Jazz and J-Pop” And the J-Music Ensemble was playing that song live in that video and it sounded really cool, so I YouTube to mp3’d that and I looked for what the song was called.
I take it you’re a big gamer? What else do you play?
I am not a gamer at all. I play a little bit of video games on my computer. but I suck at them. The only game I really play decently is Super Mario 64. I love that game. I have a lot of gamer friends and they beat me at everything haha.
Lastly, what are your musical goals for the rest of 2020?
My musical goals for the rest of 2020 are to turn my room into a music studio, get hella midi controllers, release hella music, projects and albums, and collect vintage synths. Also, my non-music goal is to start making youtube videos. Like music related videos.