Chin Injeti may work behind the scenes, but he’s leading Vancouver’s musical community into a global phenomenon. He’s got multiple Grammy wins for production, plus a couple recent Juno nominations for International album of the year – Eminem and P!nk, to be precise. Currently working with the Boom Booms, Sophia Danai and Omar Khan in Vancouver, and everyone from Emeli Sande, Aloe Blacc and a mysterious Marley brother globally, Chin’s getting it in.
Blueprint: You’re known as a hip-hop producer, but we’re in the studio surrounded by the Boom Booms, who are a rock band.
Chin: I’m doing the Boom Boom’s record and its really fun because they’re making a record with me that’s kind of like 90’s soul music…we’re listening to The Pharcyde.
Blueprint: So no matter what genre you switch to, is the production always hip-hop based?
Chin: Honestly, I do work in all genres but for the last year it’s all the same genre, it’s all hip-hop. When I did Sophia Danai’s record it was hip-hop but it was her, when it’s these guys [The Boom Booms] it’s soulful hip-hop, when I do the New Royales it’s all grounded in hip-hop. Even when I do rock…I just worked with Gin Wigmore. She’s straight rock but she wants to do a record that’s more hip-hop. And then I just worked with Emile Sande and she’s more a balladier. But she wants to do something with this backdrop. It’s so good on the soul. I would say I work in all genres but the foundation is this place.
Blueprint: What do you visualize when you make music?
Chin: It’s like a boom bap, it’s b-boy culture. I see kids wilin’ out. That’s how I think. No matter what genre. If you can do this [dances] then it’s a good song.
Blueprint: You work worldwide but unlike many other artists who leave this town, you remain based in Vancouver. Why is that?
Chin: It’s because my family and my friends are here, it’s that simple. I just wanna come back every time I go away, and that’s what grounds me. Work is always lovely and I always work with people around town when I can, and even the people I work with are like family, so that’s what keeps me coming back.
Blueprint: Do you feel that the music industry here is able to support you?
Chin: Honest answer? No. I have to go elsewhere. As much as I love the artists here and the culture here, the infrastructure here is non-existent. People blame it on money, I blame it on mindset. People don’t wanna build. People don’t have the two-year plan. I have to go elsewhere to make a living and once in a while I stumble on a jewel here and there.
Blueprint: What’s really exciting you these days?
Chin: Right now…this week has been crazy. Two Juno nominations for international record of the year. Grammys for P!nk and Eminem…again. Thank you Eminem. Aloe Blacc is killing with [mine and Khalil’s] “Can You Do This” right now. Ellen Degeneres did a commercial with it for Beats and he also has a song “The Man,” and the Boom Booms are on it, Tonye Aganaba’s on it, I picked a few friends and now its on 4 or 5 Beats commercials all around the world. I have a record coming out in May, I have a single out right now. I’m trying to keep it local and have my friends work on it, Dirty Radio did a remix. People are listening to it. And more music coming out from great artists around the world that I can’t say.
Blueprint: Who have you been working with that you feel great about?
Chin: Aloe Blacc, Eminem, P!nk, recently one of the Marleys – I’m not allowed to say which one – it was a good experience. Emeli Sande.
Blueprint: Working at such a high level in the industry, how do you avoid getting caught up in it all?
Chin: For me to get caught up, I’d just be corny. I can’t embody that, at least I hope I don’t. I know if I did my friends and my family would call me on it. I’m just kinda shy. I’m a social person and I like to base that on me as a person rather than what I’ve done. It irks me, I know people like that, and I feel embarrassed for people like that. At the end of the day the artists I work with aren’t like that and some of them are huge. I’m just behind the scenes, why would I be like that?
Blueprint: Which artists have you clicked with best in your career?
Chin: Omar and Sophia are family. Omar Khan and Sophia Danai, I’m very close with them and the Boom Booms. We’re family, and I would call that clicking. Sophia’s doing what an artist should do, she’s recording. And there’s a crazy remix coming for “Wishing Well.” Omar’s killing it right now – he’s Miguel, Frank Ocean, he’s Prince, he’s all those things. He’s gonna have his first release, I can’t wait. Once in a while you meet great artists and you become friends with them. But Sophia and Omi are the reasons I come back. I don’t have to be at my best all the time, I can just be me.
– Amalia Judith Nickel