I came across Chad Roto’s song “Flexing” and thought, ‘this song is a hit’. I immediately needed to know more about him so I went to Twitter and asked him for an interview which he gladly agreed to. Chad Roto is a Producer, Engineer, Artist, DJand Entrepreneur based in Detroit who is making huge waves right now. Listen to the song below and get familiar with him. He’s going all the way up.
How did you get into music in the first place?
Growing up in Highland Park MI, I’ve always had a deep passion for music. I simply enjoyed listening to music even before I ever thought of creating music myself. Most memories from being younger than five years old are a blur but one memory has remained clear. I was four years old in 1996 when Tupac released “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.” I remember laying down on the top level of the bunk bed I shared with my brother listening to “Hail Mary” from our Nickelodeon alarm clock.
Nostalgia consumes me just thinking about it. I was open to all kinds of music. The song “One Last Breath,” by Creed became the first song that I ever called my favorite in 2001. I was nine years old. By the time I was about 13 I had started experimenting with recording my vocals over instrumentals and getting into engineering. Though at that time I had no idea what engineering was; I was just having fun and trying to create something new. I began purchasing audio equipment with absolutely no knowledge of how things worked. From this point on I began dedicating most of my free time to experimenting with creating music, constantly becoming better at both my skills as an artist and engineer. I released my first music project/mixtape early 2010 as a Senior at Renaissance High School. In 2012 I dropped out of Eastern Michigan University where I was studying Psychology and by 2013 I was enrolling back into school at Washtenaw Community College to pursue my true passion of music. I graduated that program a year later and received a certificate in Audio Engineering & Music Production. All along I’ve been steadily sharpening my skills as a creator. Late 2014 I moved back to Detroit and since then have become a hub for Detroit artists and musicians to create. My passion will always be to create music, whether it’s my music or someone else’s.
So, in 2012, you were signed with Protekted Records, which started as Brick Squad member Frenchie’s label, how was that experience for you?
Around the end of 2011 I was still enrolled at Eastern. I was dating this girl who happened to be studying to be a PR/Public Relations agent for artists. She liked what me and my group of friends were doing as far as music and so she sent our song, “Bad Advice,” out to a few different A&Rs that she had come across. Jon Gornbein, former drummer for Kid Rock & current owner of Protekted Records, started hitting us up soon after that. He was interested in working with us through an artist development deal which I can’t go much into for legal reasons. I think we (me and my friends/ other musicians) were just excited to think that we could be “signed” artists. Things didn’t work out like I thought they would, mainly due to our lack of music business knowledge at the time and not fully understanding how we would benefit from the deal. It was definitely a learning experience and probably the main reason I got into researching and studying music business and business in general.
“Flexing” is the track that really caught my ear and made me fuck with you.. you produced that 100% by yourself and the beat is fire. How long have you been producing?
Thank you. Yeah so I wrote that entire song myself, music and lyrics, as well as the mixing, recording, etc. I’ve been producing since about 2011ish. It definitely took some time to get my craft from where it was then to where it is now. I credit where I am now, as far as producing music, to nothing but hard-work and dedication; literally going at it day after day after day. Like Kanye said, “Lock yourself in a room doin’ five beats a day for three summers.” That’s the type of shit I was on and you can ask people who have been around. Since back when I was 13 I haven’t gone more than 1-2 days without working on progressing as a artist/producer/engineer.
Something I noticed about you is that you’re more than just an artist, you’re also an entrepreneur and I think that is really setting you up for long term success. Can you tell me more about SNDWV DETROT?
SNDWV DETROIT in its physical form is a project recording studio and collaborative incubator which was created by myself. It is also a lifestyle brand hosting a platform advocating unique music, style, and culture. The SNDWV team can be described as young, art-loving trail blazers who come together to spread their talents as one, and “delivering a level of product to humanity that is of high quality.” – Kanye West. “It’s all about having fun, art appreciation, listening and making good music, and celebrating authenticity.
You’ve done some work with the Assemble Sound crew, how did you link up with them?
My brother Myles is one of the greatest inspirations/motivators in my life and my music. In 2015 shortly after I moved he pushed me to take a business class called “Build Institute,” which was a crash course for small businesses and startups. After attending maybe one or two classes I was able to speak with the instructor and tell them about my goals and passions for music and creating a hub for Detroit artists. That’s when I first heard of Assemble Sound. Around that time they were getting ready to do a documentary about music stemming from Detroit and were looking for songs to be played as background music for event. My instructor informed me of this and asked if I wanted her to forward my music to them. I sent over what I considered my best work at the time and I believe they played a few tracks of mine for the event. I think after that I received a email from Drew (from Assemble) and he talked about how he heard my song “Heatwave” and wanted to hear more. So we started sending songs back and forth and what not. We ended up meeting at their HQ a couple weeks after that and have been close ever since. We all have the same vision for Detroit and I think that’s where we click. I’ve been working closely with Assemble from day one, they’re family to me.
What do you feel your biggest accomplishment thus far as been?
I’ve always been one who lives in the moment so right now is the biggest accomplishment. Everything that I’ve done, my whole life, has led me to this very moment. From the recording studio that I run daily to having financial backing to fund my next move. Working with artists of all styles and genres and being able to make more than a living from making music. Being featured on mixtapes with Industry artists such as Chrisette Michele. Having finished more than 30 of my own music projects. The endless hours that I’ve dedicated to being coming a master of my craft. All the places where I failed and continued to go harder. Seeing where I started and where I am now is, by far, the biggest accomplishment, and it’s still only the beginning.
What’s next for you? Any big moves planned?
I’m working closely with a manager/career adviser who is helping me to further push the “Chad Roto” brand. I’m also working with some production studios to get some visual projects off the planning board and onto the screens. I’m always working on my next music project and trying to do something on a bigger platform than I’ve done before. Constant upgrades for SNDWV Studios. Working with more and more artists not just in Detroit but around the world. I’m always on some level up shit, and never becoming stagnant.