Andrew ďMeaty OgreĒ Brearley is a Rockford born, Chicago raised, DJ/Producer/record label exec who has built a loyal following with his refined taste in music and stellar production resume, one that reaches across a decade and under prominent local imprints Galapagos4 and Fieldwerk Recordings. His return to Chicago, after a brief hiatus in Arizona, has proven to be a sound choice for him as heís already forged bonds with Chicagoís elite class of music aficionados. Currently Meaty can be found spinning at places like the Whistler and Double Door, and his newest venture, Cherries Records, a label specializing in modern R&Bóand in collaboration with his fiance DJ Shred One of the Sweater Funk crewóis looking to build upon an already vibrant list of local labels. Centerstage caught up with Meaty to discuss everything from his early days as a budding producer to his future with Cherries Records.
To start from the beginning how did you get interested in making music?
When I was 3 years old, I used to tell my parents I wanted to be a drummer. From the time I was 5 or 6 I remember walking around with rhythms and beats in my head, which I still do today. Iím always beatboxing or tapping on tables and annoying the people around me. Iíve been doing it since I can remember.
While you were developing your style did you have any local artists who helped your progression?
The first dude in Chi who showed me the ropes was my buddy Act Fact, who used to go by ďIlluminating ProphetĒ. We went to UIC together, and he introduced me to a lot of the local scene; Nacrobats, Molemen, All Natural, etc. Pugslee Atomz was the first dude to put me on a tape, and he definitely inspired me to make better music.
When you sit down to hammer out a beat, whatís your process like?
In general, I always do my drums first. I have been playing drums since I was a kid, and itís actually the reason I got into making beats in the first place, since I could never have my drums in my apartment. Iíll usually just lay a drum track I like, then mess around with records I have lying around and drop them over the drums until I hear something that catches my ear. Lately though, Iíve been using mostly soft synths and instruments, and I have a few vintage keyboards lying around that I mess with. But the drums have always been the first thing I focus on.
What sort of equipment do you use?
I have been using the program Acid since 1998 to do all my sequencing. I started messing around with FL Studio recently though, and Iíve fallen in love with it. I have a vintage Korg vocoder, an Oberheim TVS-1, SP1200, EMU Emax and some other things in the arsenal. But with my limited time, I generally just jump on the computer and try to bang everything out in Acid or FL Studio.
You built a loyal following with G4, how did you initially link with the label?
I had met Offwhyte through a mutual friend early on, but we never linked musically. I became friends with Qwel through my friend DYMZ who is a writer that used to be in Qwelís graf crew. DYMZ would always tell me how Qwel was a dope MC and that I should work with him, and when I met him and saw this grunge rock looking dude, I knew we would be a good fit. Eventually we started working on a lot of tunes, and G4 wanted to release it, and we all sort of formed a family from there on.
Youíve also done some work with David Humphries (Crushcon7) for the Fieldwerk label, how did you guys come together, and do you plan on working with them again?
I met Dave through Zavala and Void Pedal, all three who were dudes I had never even heard any music from until maybe 3 years ago, and they all blew my mind. We used to all hang out and play records and kick it, but I hadnít heard of what they were doing until I was living in Arizona 3 years ago. I took a pretty long hiatus from going hard on music for a good 3 years when my son was born, but when Dave hit me up to do the Fieldwerk EP, I had a good amount of newer material I was working on, so the EP fell into place nicely. I definitely plan on working with Fieldwerk more, and have some stuff Iím putting together for them in the works.
In regards to collaborations, when youíre working with another producer, what steps do you take to ensure an even exchange of ideas?
Honestly, Iíve never worked with another producer. The Fieldwerk thing was not a collab, just a split EP where each of us got our own sides. Itís just too hard for me. I guess Iím somewhat of a control freak about how I want my stuff to sound. On the engineering side of things though, I like having other producerís ears in the room, to give me an outside perspective on how I might fine tune certain things in the mix better.
Youíve been a big part of the Chicago hip-hop scene. Whatís your take on it currently?
Hip Hop in general is constantly evolving and changing. I was really into the scene 1998-2005, and it seemed like back then there were just more outlets for us to congregate and just ďbeĒ a hip-hop head. The days of hitting the record store every Tuesday to buy a new 12Ē or mixtape are gone. There arenít many venues for cats to do shows, and the feeling that was in the air back then just doesnít seem like itís around anymore. There used to be rap ciphers everywhere you went, b-boys opening circles at every show, graf in the CTA tunnels, DJ battles, etcÖand now that whole era seems to have ended and moved to the internet. Having limited resources back then meant you had to go out in the world and seek it out. Nowadays you can hop online and feel like youíre a part of the scene. I donít think itís a Chicago thing either itís just the climate of everything has changed.
What are some of the things within the city that inspire you to make music?
I buy and sell used records for a living, and my daily travels out looking for records all over the city brings me to a lot of places the average Chicagoan might not get to see. I run around to all sides of the city, and I love the people here, and the sense of tradition that us Midwesterners have. My music is really influenced by the city, and what Iím listening to and collecting at the time. And having such an ocean of music to swim in like Chicago keeps me inspired.
Itís clear that you have a passion for vinyl. At this moment, as lists like this seem to fluctuate, what are your top five records?
1. Clear - Equal Love Opportunity
2. Carly Simon - Why
3. Midnight Express Show Band Ė Tri Fire Vol. 1
4. Peaking Lights Ė 936
5. PJ City Ė Straight Forward
Just wanted to mention that Iíve started an R&B label called ďCherriesĒ. We will be releasing mainly 45s. Already got 3 releases ready to go, and it will be all modern R&B, steppers, ballads, funk, and adult contemporary. Iíll be releasing stuff under an alias, along with releasing stuff from friends around the globe. Iím really excited about it, so please stay tuned.
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