Between producing, performing, writing, and being the heart of Five30 Music, artist Charlie Beans can do it all. Creating music and performing for over a decade, Charlie Beans is a name that’s familiar to those in tune with Detroit’s hip-hop scene. For those new to Charlie Beans, Detroit Proud wanted to show off the hard work and creativity that goes into being a performer – and building the music label Five30 Music. Charlie Beans is a prime example of the perseverance and dedication that is required when trying make it in a musically-wealthy city like Detroit.
Charlie Beans got his start producing four albums and performing with Abrasive Method. Armed with his passion and work ethic, he kept grinding and making music. He’s gone on to release his first solo album howdareyou, finalized a multi-city tour, and produced a library of material with a handful of talented and up-and-coming artists for Five30 Music.
CW50 caught up with Charlie Beans to discuss his music, his label, and his passion for Detroit. Check it out!
Tell me about yourself – and about Five30 Music!
My name is Charlie Beans. I’m an engineer/producer/artist from Metro Detroit. Five30 Music was started with a small collective of people who have similar ideals both musically, and personally.
When & how did your passion for hip-hop start?
My passion for hip-hop started almost because of necessity. When I was a teenager, I used to make demos on four-track recorders, and didn’t play with any other people. I played guitar, so picking up the bass was relatively easy. I bought a drum machine to help keep time, and started sequencing crappy loops to help get thru songs I wrote. It just became a natural progression to start programming and sampling over time, and my music just evolved because I never really put an effort into making a band to reproduce my young recordings.
Tell me about Abrasive Method.
Abrasive Method (A.M.) was formed organically with my best friend, Tony Barone. We recorded our first demos at my house, and continued to work and grow together. We started out as 18 year-old guys making records about being from the suburbs. Our work evolved as we were growing into men with real problems and our relationships with others. Abrasive Method really helped develop my character as a person. Four albums, some recognition through press, mini-touring, a video, and decade later; we’ve put our efforts into solo projects.
Was there a moment in your early days when you started to feel you could really achieve your goals as an artist?
A couple of people who I really respected in the music community started to acknowledge my talents, and it really motivated me. I went to Full Sail, a recording school in Winter Park, Florida; I left there with confidence in my ability to master the technical material that was required to create quality music. Working with other artists and developing relationships is completely different. People thought I was doing a good job and wanted to continue working with me. I take a lot of pride in that and want to keep it going.
How did you start working with the other artists on Five30 Music?
Working with the artists from Five30 was just a natural evolution of my journey in music. The first project we released in 2010 was from S.Kaiser. Drawing from his early success as a member of The L.Y.N.X., S.Kaiser was a huge impact on my music in the beginning, he became my life coach. Five30 was a new platform, we wanted to use it to introduce quality music. We were always working on music, but Five30 established a collective of sorts.
What is your future vision for Five30 Music?
I just want more people to hear our music. My vision is that people, who are just like us, listen to the music because it’s made for them.
Tell me about the other artists on Five30 & what it’s like to create music with them?
Our roster at Five30 Music includes: S.Kaiser, Madio, Tony Franks, Of Mice & Musicians, Matt Schwartz, Benjamin Miles, D.Allie, and myself. These artists are all very talented and have a clear vision of their creative goals. Since we’re all like-minded, as an artist and producer, it’s usually something I just help facilitate.
How did you decide to create a solo album…and what was that journey was like?
Creating my solo album, howdareyou, was one of the most cathartic things I’ve ever done. It’s very personal; essentially being a break-up record. It was my first time going out on a limb for my own solo work, and I’m very proud of how it turned out. It felt great to have a creative license to tell my story.
What has performing as a solo artist been like? What was the highlight of your spring tour?
I was used to performing as a group with Abrasive Method, performing solo made me a little nervous at first. Now, I love it. When I’m on stage, I just want people to see who I am. I don’t stress about performing anymore, I’ve learned if I’m natural, it’s easier to captivate the crowd and the songs just fall into place. Touring is about getting my music heard; the highlight of my tour was the validation that people do appreciate my music. Playing on the road, the crowds are completely unbiased, and it shows who really enjoys my work.
What are the biggest challenges & rewards to being a producer?
The biggest challenge of being a producer is the amount of time that it occupies. You’re primarily focused on someone else’s work, so I just want them to be on the ball and respect the craft as much as I do. Show up on time, by yourself, and be ready to record. The most rewarding thing would be hearing the finished product, and allowing others to enjoy it (and hopefully continue to listen).
What makes you proud being a musician in Detroit?
Detroit’s music scene is incredibly talented and diverse. I’m proud to be a musician in Detroit because it’s harder to get love here than any other place I’ve ever played, and I’m respected around here. When I go somewhere else to perform, I’m confident that they’ll like me because my home town likes me. The talent pool is very heavy here. A mediocre artist from Detroit, in my opinion, can go to a different city and be a top tier artist somewhere else.
What do you like to do in the city when you’re not performing?
I love going downtown to Comerica Park, or catching a drink around town. Maybe hit southwest Detroit for some amazing tacos.
How does Detroit compare to other cities you’ve performed?
Detroit is my favorite city no matter where I’ve been because it’s home. I love my home. It’s what made me, me.
Is there a Detroit artist that has been an inspiration for you in your music?
Paradime has been an inspiration to me because he’s been such a humble, hardworking guy living off music for years. I respect the grind. His music being so great is just a bonus. Some of my other influences and favorite Detroit artists are Dilla, Slum Village, Twiztid, and SKRAPZ.
What are your favorite places in and around Detroit to perform?
Favorite places to play are The Berkley Front, The Loving Touch, The Magic Stick, The Magic Bag, and although I’ve never played there, I’d love to play at St. Andrew’s Hall/The Shelter.
Are there upcoming Five30 projects Detroit Proud readers can look forward to?
We have a couple upcoming works to be released on Five30 Music. August 26th will be the release of D.Allie’s Something, Somewhere, by Somebody. I’m also working on music with Matt Schwartz, S.Kaiser, Tony Franks, and SKRAPZ while taking on smaller one-off production opportunities as well. I’ll also be releasing an EP over the next year of some music I’m just getting started on.
That’s a wrap! We’d to thank Charlie Beans for taking time to chat with Detroit Proud and hope our readers enjoy his music and efforts as much as we have.
For more information on Charlie Beans and Five30 Music, please visit Five30Music.com, and to listen to all of the Five30 artists for free, click HERE. Listen to howdareyou by Charlie Beans HERE! If you haven’t seen it, check out Charlie’s music video for “Stage Five Clinger” from howdareyou.