Eli – Alkatraxx Records
The obsession began back in the late 80s when E found himself behind 2 turntables for the first time. After hearing and seeing what could be done to manipulate the music, along with all the bouncing LED’s, he was hooked. He bought himself DJ equipment and teamed up with his cousin Rich (Guter) to form their first company, TNT Productions, at the early age of 14.
After graduating high school in 91, Eli attended RETS Institute of Electronics in Nutley, New Jersey for a year and earned a diploma for Computer Electronics.
In March of 97 he started attending The Institute of Audio Research in New York City, NY. Eli stayed in school for only 6 months due to classes being over crowded and not getting the hands on experience he was looking for.
In ’99 he landed employment with Guitar Center in Springfield New Jersey as a sales associate in the Pro Audio department. It was there where most of the questions he had were answered (Thanks Victor Rios, Jamal Coltrane, Wade Lance aka Suede and Manny Testman for putting up with my shit). He began producing more tracks and Alkatraxx Studio was born. In the summer of 2000 he along with Von P, his partner at the time, pushed out their first solo artist Mr. Rich.
After the album dropped he made a move to a bigger location occupied by Fonz (550 North Ave, Above Pizza Villa, for those who remember!). Taking on all sorts of recording and mixing projects, he was on his way on becoming a respectful engineer in the industry.
In 2007 DJ Puerto Roc (Canibus DJ and Producer) introduced Doitall of Lords Of The Underground to E @ Alkatraxx Studios. Together Lord Gang Worldwide and Alkatraxx Records released “The Me You Never Knew” (Doitall Mixtape 2009) , “Platanos & Collard Greens” (Doitall All beats produced by DJ Puerto Roc Mixtape 2009), “Dilla Gorillas” (A Tribute to J.Dilla Mixtape 2008) , “Ebok Presents Don’t Open Till Christmas 2009 Edition” (Alkatraxx Release – Artist Doitall and The Phenom Cartel 2009) , “American DU” (CO-Executive Producer, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered, Doitall Album 2010) and 2 yet to be released projects.
Late 2008 The Birth Of ALKATRAXX TV (ATV)! Season 1, hosted by Doitall of Lords of the Underground, filmed and edited by Alkatraxx Films, consists of 20 Episodes. ATV catches up with hip hop legends from Busta Rhymes to DJ Kool Herc.
The main question of Season 1 was, “What is Life Like After the Hit Record”, although there were many topics covered. In early 2009 Eli went on tour with Michael Bivins to film the Mike Biv‘s Talent Search.
In 2009 E also began work on Doitall’s album, “American Du”. He has worked with such notable names as: Masta Ace, Mr. Cheeks, Twizz, Voltar the Master (Japan), Ras Kass, Treach of Naughty By Nature, Pete Rock, Young Guru, Craig G, DJ Puerto Roc, Scott Storch, V-12, Lexzyne Productions, Grandaddy IU, Shyhiem, Lords of the Underground, El de Sensei, Mr. Len, Los Toxicos, The Phenom Cartel , Michael Bivins just to name a few…
At the present time he is the C.E.O, Operations Director of Alkatraxx LLC. He also assists Producers, Singers and Songwriters with demoing their records to Major Distibutors. He is also putting together the DVD for ATV Season 1. ATV Season 2 is in the works and will be coming soon.
HipHopLEAD: Wow that is a bulky bio, Eli. Seems like you are a seasoned vet in the music field. Is it harder to juggle all these different tasks then just focusing on one?
Eli: No, not really. I think if you manage yourself correctly and have a good team pushing with you, you’ll have the time to do different things. If I stay in one job and everything is the same all the time, after a while I get bored, so I like to tackle new projects and love to learn new things. I learned everything because I am a do it yourself kind of person.(self taught with a lot of the programs I use) I’d rather pay for all of my equipment then pay someone else to do it. I don’t like to depend on others…
HipHopLEAD: Out of Recording, Production, Mixing, Filming and Editing. Which is your favorite to do and why?
Eli: Mixing and Editing because I enjoy watching the project take form and come to life. You dig through the recipes in your head and start cooking. It lets you be creative in adding your own, what I like to call “Salzon” to the project. The ultimate to me is when I help them achieve the vision they have for their record or video.
HipHopLEAD: Doitall has made quite a come back and a splash on the internet as of lately. How does it feel to be the Executive producer on the new retail album, American Du?
Eli: You mean Co-Executive? lol. It’s always good when you’re involved with a project that has purpose and you know it isn’t going to just sit in the computer or just be a local buzz. I’m involved in a lot of Executive moves these days. It’s better to be your own boss..
HipHopLEAD: R.I.P. to Guru. Can you tell us something about your experience recording him that most people may not know?
Eli: Actually, I would have loved to record the god. Truth is, I was asked if Guru could use the studio for an interview for a magazine. How could I refuse? The same day we were shooting a TV Pilot and there were 5 artists and 5 producers in the studio. When I told them I had to put off the show for an hour because there was a Hip Hop legend coming through, eyes opened! We got to chop it up with him for a bit afterwards, then the god departed. I am honored to have had him step into Alkatraxx Studio. Rest In Peace to one of the GREATS.
HipHopLEAD: On Alkatraxx TV you interview alot of established emcees. Are there any plans to branch out and cover more then music related topics?
Eli: I would love to get into it, but I don’t really like putting my ideas out there as there are a lot of scavengers that WILL take YOUR IDEAS, but keep a look out for new and different things coming from ATV.
HipHopLEAD: Out of all the episodes which was the best? and why?
Eli: All of them are special to me for different reasons, but I would have to say DJ Kool Herc, because it was an honor to interview one of the founding fathers of Hip Hop. (He doesn’t Interview with many) I also have an EXCLUSIVE that no one else has, which is the Knighting of Lord Finesse by DJ Kool Herc. That was an incredible and historic moment.
HipHopLEAD: It is apparent after hearing your work that you are a real engineer. How does it feel when everyone with a computer with Pro-Tools on facebook and myspace claim to be an engineer?
Eli: Thanks, I appreciate that Advo. As for people claiming to be engineers, it’s whatever, I’m not mad at them. What gets me a little aggravated is when people go out, buy a recording program and charge $20 an hour, which makes some people jump because the prices are so low. Give me an artist that wants quality as opposed to cutting corners to save money any day. These are the people I like to work with. FREE doesn’t pay my bills or feed my family. So if you’re looking for FREE, don’t holla at me, holla at the guys that just bought a program and think they are engineers. I’ve paid enough dues for all that!
HipHopLEAD: That is real talk!! You offer a unique service for all recording artists all over the world. You do email mixes. How can an artist get those done from you if they want one and what is the typical process like?
Eli: All they have to do for the email mix is send the 2 track stereo with stemmed vocals to email@example.com. I charge $50 for the mix. Once the payment clears through Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org), I do the mix and send it back.
HipHopLEAD: We often hear about the guys behind the scenes in the music bussiness not getting proper royalties or credits. Has anything like that ever happened to you?
Eli: This goes on in the industry all day. As a favor for Doitall, I recorded his vocals and the hook on Pete Rock’s latest album, “NY’s Finest”, number 10. My name was not in the credits. I am not blaming anyone, but I didn’t receive my credit.
HipHopLEAD: What advice can you give to younger engineers/ producers to make sure it doesn’t happen to them?
Eli: Make sure you are protected, put everything on paper and seek a good lawyer!! Don’t believe in all the hype of, “I got you when this drops”, “I’m gonna bring you here and there”, and talk like that. Write out what it is you intend to do and what exactly you’re getting before you even turn on your equipment. Don’t give out any masters until you’ve been paid in full!
HipHopLEAD: What was it like working with Tha Advocate and Ballerstatus.com recording and editing that controversial interview with Big Lou?
Eli: Big Lou’s a cool cat as well as a dope emcee. It was interesting listening to him speak his mind about how some people do others in this industry. (I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong in that interview, for there are 2 sides to every story) It’s just to bad they just couldn’t sit down and speak about their differences before it hit the net. The crazy part was when Blu and I were doing the editing I had the flu and bronchitis, as did Advo, but he still came in and we knocked it out. Like soldiers, we kept it moving.
HipHopLEAD: In that very interview he spoke on being black balled….. are you worried something like that might happen to you?
Eli: Why would I get blackballed in the game? I’m a straight up character and I stay in my own lane. If I were to ever get blackballed, I’d push through it. If someone has to do that to you, it is only a sign of fear and hatred.
HipHopLEAD: When can we expect the first release from The Phenom Cartel?
Eli: Alkatraxx has already put out two mixtapes for The Phenom Cartel, “Growing Pains” and “Making of a Monsta”. Right now, we are working on his third mixtape, “Show Growth” and then his album, “Stroke of Genius”. Producers, GET AT ME, we are currently taking beat submissions for his album.
HipHopLEAD: Last but not least…. what is next for you?
Eli: The Phenom Cartel’s mixtape and album, ATV Season 1 DVD, started ATV Season 2, two videos coming up: N1S “You Do” and City and N1S “Sex, Money, Weed” , managing artists & producers “Los Toxicos” (Latin & Hip Hop Producers), “The Phenom Cartel” (Alkatraxx Artist), a DJ service and many studio sessions.
HipHopLEAD: Thanks for chopping it up with HipHopLead.com … give us any plugs .. shouts outs … Fu’s ..whatevers clever!!
Eli: I would like to give a big thank you to Tha Advocate and Hiphoplead.com for taking the time out to interview me. Shouts to my team: Blu, The Phenom Cartel, Geo, Charlie Aquilles, Lexzyne Productions, DJ Puerto Roc, Full Deck, N1S, Krillz Ready Rock, Rob Jersey, Fatal, Los Toxicos and DJ Gojabean. Thank you to everyone who has ever shown me love and support, big things for the traxx coming. If I forgot anyone, my bad. A BIG shout out to my son Jacob! Dad Loves you! THANKS ADVO AND HIPHOPLEAD.COM!!!!