Talking Smashin’ Buttons and Making an Eclectic Beat Tape: A conversation with Chicago MC Substance and producer Brainfood

By Francisca Corona

Twenty-three year-old music producer Brainfood focuses not only on creating eclectic hip hop tracks, but also on producing songs that are native to a gamer’s heart. Smashin’ Buttons, an instrumental tape made by independent music producers MO, Substance and Brainfood, features tracks inspired by the very video games that their generation grew up with.

Smashin’ Buttons was released in September of last year. From the tracks on the beat tape to the actual cover, this committed music production trio falls nothing short of inventive.

smashin buttons album

Fans of The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy can definitely pinpoint that inspiration. Tracks like “Potion Shop” and “Fountain” sound like a  tribute to the Zelda video game that was released in 1998 for Nintendo 64.

Brainfood, the music producer who drew inspiration from Zelda for four of his five tracks on the collaborative instrumental, commented on his contribution to the tape, stating, “Zelda was one of my favorite games growing up as a kid so it was easy for me to sample songs that I already liked.”

The concept of the beat tape started with each of the music producers picking five songs from their favorite video games and sampling them. When asked how the collaboration of all three producers was in the process of creating the beat tape, Brainfood said, “ We really fed off of each other’s creativity. Sharing tracks that we were working on individually with one another kept us motivated to see what we could bring to the table.”

The project totals 15 tracks, produced individually but all mixed and mastered by Brainfood and Substance.

The polished sound of the beat tape shows Brainfood’s talent at work, transforming video game background noise into an imaginative and hypnotic listening experience, this way people love even more.

Their vision to make a strictly instrumental tape was successfully accomplished, but their upcoming project seems to have bigger plans for all three artists.

The collaborative team expects release a Volume II that Brainfood says will have, “new beats and featured artists. It might even have one or two familiar names on it.”

Brainfood regularly uploads individually produced beats on his Soundcloud and MC Substance has several songs on his own site, all of which you can listen to below. Listen to the entire beat tape on the official site for “Smashin’ Buttons.”

Hear more from MC Substance:

Hear more from Brainfood:

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