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Audeze speaks with producer and musician Rafael "Anthem" Brown

Rafael "Anthem" Brown is a Grammy Award-winning, Multi-Billboard Top Charting Producer/Musician. He creates original soul sample packs for his sound design company called "The Crate League” which have been featured on songs for numerous record companies, including Universal, Def Jam, and Atlantic among others.
 
"Audeze headphones have given me another reliable way to mix and produce. Just being able to use them as a substitute for my main monitors late at night and still having my mixes translate is amazing!" - Rafael "Anthem" Brown
Here's our chat with Anthem:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I would say co-producing Nas - “Ultra Black”! Nas is one of my favorite artists and for the album to be nominated and win his first Grammy is amazing to me, I’m very proud to be a part of that.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

I’m kind of plug and play, I do a lot of sound design and sample work for other producers with my sound design company “The Crate League.”

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?  

I actually started music in church, I played the drums at my church growing up. Some of the older kids had a gospel rap group so I stepped into production by following my peers and friends at the church.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

Really the musicians in church growing up were my role models. When I started getting heavy into sampling and record digging I found myself finding samples to my favorite songs, so I started to become more a fan of producers like the RZA, J Dilla, Pete Rock, etc.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

I guess for me, feeling like I should have been further along in my career when I was younger. It taught me patience and timing, as well as you can control your own outcome or destiny. I wouldn't really change the approach I have because it helped me grow a lot.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

I would say my Audeze headphones, Mellotron, and Echo Fix tape space echo, they are go-to pieces.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Just ask the “why” and follow your own path that is unique for you. Find your purpose and drive.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I especially wear headphones a lot more now that I have a few-months-old baby that wakes up when she hears ANY noise lol. It's tough to crank my Barefoot monitors. So it’s probably one of the most important things in my studio.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

Audeze headphones have given me another reliable way to mix and produce. Just being able to use them as a substitute for my main monitors late at night and still having my mixes translate is amazing!