Interrupting Reggie Volume: Finding an Up-and-Coming Producer in Full Creation Mode
After knocking on the door like a TMZ reporter, the front door opens to House Studio, in Hyatsville, Maryland, the home base of local producer Reggie Volume. It’s probably the most popular studio in the DMV area, and I’m greeted by the studio’s creative director, a photographer-filmmaker called Kimshimwon. He tells me that Reggie’s in the back working on some new stuff and to just go on in.
Reggie is sitting in front of the soundboard with his headphones plugged into his MacBook, his keyboard resting on his lap. I can’t hear what he’s making, but his hands are pounding away at the keys as if he’s hitting an actual drum machine. After going through that process for another minute or so, his hand switches as if he were playing the piano. Though he’s no longer banging on the keys as ferociously, the intensity on his face never changes; he’s intensely concentrated on what he’s creating.
He finally realizes that I’m in the room and gets up to greet me. He starts to apologize. I tell him that everything’s cool and that I didn’t want to interrupt his creative process. Without any hesitation, he asks, “Yo, can I just go ahead and start playing my single?” I don’t know why he asked that—it’s not like I was going to say no. But he had a sense of urgency—either because he was excited about the write-up or he wanted to get it over with.
At 23-years-old, Reggie Volume has produced for a number of local and independent acts in the DMV area, including rapper RA The MC, and soul singer Ari Lennox. But recently he clocked up two high-profile credits: “Sacrifices,” for Fabolous, and “Narciss-her,” for Wale, which put him on the national map. Now he’s working on his first full-length project, The Sleeping Cities, which he’ll release for free via his Soundcloud and Bandcamp later this year.
“I just kind of had a really good, positive feeling about it,” Volume says of the Wale joint. “Dave [Knocks] had hit me about the track outs, and once a label or engineer starts asking about track outs for certain songs, that means they’re gearing up to use it for something. I was at my job and Dave texted me to say he had finished “Narciss-her” and it was going to be on Festivus. That was kind of when I knew. But even before then, in conjunction with the law of attraction, I kind of could feel it.”
The first release from Volume’s EP begins pumping through the subwoofers. It’s a jazz-inspired hip-hop dance track built around an Isaiah Rashad verse. Technically, it’s a remix of the TDE rapper’s cut “Banana,” from his early 2014 release Cilvia Demo EP, but Volume’s version of the song feels like something different entirely.
“It was something about the way he rode the beat,” Volume says. “I kind of just wanted to put a bounce behind it, you know, see what it would sound like in my realm.”
Volume began his journey in music playing the saxophone in middle school. He was also extremely sporty. But in his senior year of high school, he told his father he didn’t want to play anymore.
“I cut off basketball, football, and I was just so focused on passing my audition for college. I didn’t want anything to take away from that,” he says.
In college, he and his cousin put together what he describes as a hip-hop/jazz/rock fusion band called TiME Moves, inspired by their admiration for bands such as N*E*R*D and Rage Against The Machine. Reggie was the sole producer, singlehandedly arranging everything the band members played while his cousin rapped over the instrumentation. They played shows along the East Coast and released three independent projects over three years.
Today, along with working a full-time job, he works with the House Studios team as an in-house producer, and gigging with their in-house band Thee H Collective.
“I actually think it sets me apart,” Volume says. “Especially in this day and age where you just have, you know, a MIDI keyboard and you have a laptop and you have a software like Logic or Protools and you’re just clicking for beats… it’s pretty much a fast process but sometimes the music can get lost with the way we do things today, as far as creating. Being in a band helped me to use all aspects of my music as far as, you know, reading music and listening and studying different kinds of music and actually analyzing why certain chords set certain moods. So it definitely put me in a lane of my own and set me apart from the crowd.”