Producer, Engineer, Entrepreneur; We Speak To Promise

Been a while since we’ve last made a post but that’s because we look to update with artists/topics that hold value. Let Complex tell you about this artist being in the studio with that artist or that artist following this artist on IG. That said, since we wrote on Promise in 2019, he’s had credits on numerous records, gained traction with his label, owns a pressure washing company, and his people are selling soul food in Atlanta, Auntie Connie’s, MAJOR! With a few projects on the way I wanted to have a conversation about his background, some insight on him + the things he’s been doing before those projects released;

I started following you when you released ‘clipse.tape’ in 2019, and at the time you were going by Promise with Satchmo in parenthesis, now I only see Promise?

From ’12-’17, I was going by Satchmothius, later shortened to Satchmo, which came from an 8th grade mythology project. My favorite jazz musician, Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, was a Greek suffix that just stuck. I was also using Jazzmo as an alias from time-to-time depending on the style I was going for. As far as Promise, that’s my middle name, and I eventually moved to that because I wanted to centralize my identity as a producer. There were too many aliases and I needed to sharpen my identity. My first project as Promise was the ‘clipse.tape‘.

So I caught you right at the transition. I agree with one alias. Was there a person or moment that influenced you to do what you do? Music production, I saw you started DJing at a local skate park… and your label, Swiss Army Records?

My family was huge on music, everyone had their own collection, and we were known to throw the block parties / cookouts so music stayed blasting. I was born in the Bronx and moved to Philly around ’99 (Ruff Ryder’s Era), Atlanta in ’12. My time in Philly was probably the factor. Growing up seeing so much unsigned talent freestyling on corners / school halls, and the passion they had, plus love/respect they showed to their peers and their freestyles, was something I picked up early on.

Outside of that, there was a lot of culture to pick up on living in the Northeast. The music scene (NY was killing), skate scene, AND1 streetball was big, some of my favorite producers were Hi-Tek, Neptunes, Timbaland, Trackmasters, and before I understood regional differences, I remember my parents had a bunch of No Limit tapes. Seeing how different Master P’s covers were, and how different his production sounded compared to everything else I was listening to, it was refreshing. Cam’ron’s Come Home With Me was one of the first CDs I learned top to bottom!

When I came to Atlanta, I pretty much took everything I learned from Philly with me. Swiss Army happened when a business savvy friend of mine liked the way I moved with music, and wanted to start an indie label. For promotion, I did something called Swiss Army Radio which was hosted by me and some guest DJs occasionally. We would sometimes take the music to the streets and that’s how spinning at the skate park became a thing.

Makes sense now. One of the things I was going to mention is how your production stands out compared to what Atlanta is usually known for. How would you describe the music scene in Atlanta? It’s been a hit factory for quite some time.

Atlanta is vast and filled with a lot of different backgrounds. A noticeable amount of young artists weren’t born here so when you mesh that with the natives? Sounds are being experimented with and birthed here. Leem Lizzy (former Philly native like myself) is one of my favorite producers here, The Brothers Committee, Allen Thomas, Nic Porter, Horus Ra… could really go on and on about the talent.

Aside from your business partner, is Swiss Army Records just you?

It’s three of us. My homie Franco is the investor, he mainly sets the business plays like studio sessions, etc, and my man Earle Simmons is another in-house producer.

And the new projects you have coming up, are those falling under the label?

Through executive production, yes. PRAASIR, which is the collaborative effort from Aasir and I, an EP for Koncept Jackson titled RVADALE, and a couple beat tapes in the winter.

What’s your process like when working on projects? How do you attack when producing vs executive producing. Also, how’d you link with Aasir and Koncept? They’re both dope.

When I’m executive producing, I’ll jot up some solid themes to build the sound around. Like for Horus’ FREE LUNCH PROGRAM, I built the idea of the EP around ‘food for thought’, a metaphor for the programs The Black Panther Party offered to the youth in the 60’s. So the sounds came from that, then the titles. That project was made in a day, and wasn’t even planned, but worked out by the end of the session.

As far as Aasir and Koncept, I linked with them both, on separate occasions, in Brookyln, on Jah-Monte‘s Infinite Wisdom tour. I was already hip to Koncept before the tour, and we met at a day show. He and Jah-Monte were performing for Half Moon, and I was filming clips for the tour. After the performance, I asked if Koncept wanted to match up on some weed (whatever he had had me too smacked LOL), and we also ending up linking at Top Shelf in Jersey that same night. I kept in contact with him after tour, ran the idea of doing a whole tape for him and he was down.

Aasir, I peeped on Twitter through scouting names I wasn’t hip to that was performing the incoming tour dates. Kept in contact with him and linked with him by the time the BK show came around. He was residing in Queens but moved to Cali the day after we linked. That’s the homie forreal, we chop it up about music every other day, put each onto artists we know, long-term goals, etc.

FREE LUNCH was nice, loved the promo y’all did for it. Top Shelf was a good look too. I actually thought Horus and Aasir would be Swiss as well but from what you told me there’s no rappers or singers, will that change? Vision typically alters over time but what’s your current vision for Swiss?

Horus and I have a ton more work coming, we really only stay down the street from each other, and self-correction (lol), another ATL artist I’ve been working close with is Casual. He’s an R&B artist on SAR (Swiss Army Records). Very driven and talented musician, I’ve produced a few records for him this year and last. We also have Devine Abstract as a producer/artist. He’s played trumpet on a few of my records and we’re gearing up for a production duo we call, ‘Riverdale Saints‘.

My current vision for SAR is more programs running under the label full-time, Swiss Army Radio, Swiss Army TV, a series of videos, archived footage, interviews, and ATL indie produced to run off the site 24/7. Not too far from it but I’m taking my time. Being independent, most things take time, and SAR isn’t going away.

Anything you want to reveal on that Koncept tape to close? What about PRAASIR? Anything else you want to touch?

RVADALE is 90% done. I’m arranging and mixing all the tracks myself, recording process is done. Similar to FREE LUNCH, I want the project pretty feature-less. Minus the Wink feature on the ending track, which doesn’t count considering that was me. With projects I produce I like to let the artist get their shine and not dilute it with features.

PRAASIR is on the way! We still making changes and additions, new records being made to this day, but believe some ill records will be here soon!

Promise will be a household producer name in the future, and I’m taking all the homies with me! Horus Ra, Devine Abstract, Earle Simmons, etc… more videos directed by me on the way, I shot Stone Cold Move for Horus and Rihanna for Allen Thomas so far this year. Jah invited me back on tour so I’m going to see a bunch of folks soon! And of course, thank you for the interview!

Check Promise (& co) out and make sure to show some love if you’re feeling the work.

@wemajorwemajor

@_jackietran

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