A&R SUNDAYS had an opportunity to interview Keith Clizark, CEO of Team Mashn Ent. Keith Clizark’s credits include: Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Def Jam, Too Short, Master P, Kurupt, Mystical, Tha Eastsidaz. T.R.U. and more. His music has been featured in motion pictures and television networks such as; BET, MTV, VH1, BRAVO, E!, CARTOON NETWORK, HGTV.
Keith Clizark, RIAA Certified Diamond Producer.
Read the interview below:
A&R SUNDAYS: Thank you for doing this interview. How are you today?
KEITH CLIZARK: Another day in paradise, life is great! Thanks for having me.
A&R SUNDAYS: Can you tell us about your record label Team Mashn Ent.?
KEITH CLIZARK: Team Mashn actually started off as a production company established in 1999. It was After acquiring Major Distribution with INgrooves in 2011, I realized it was now time to officially launch TEAM MASHN Entertainment’s Record Division The new label is focused on giving selected artists and labels the unique opportunity to form a joint venture with TEAM MASHN Entertainment allowing access not only access to a Major Distribution platform, we also provide label Services to ensure maximum impact in the market. Our business model is not to sign Artists instead, we partner with them, giving them the blueprint to empower themselves as Bosses.
A&R SUNDAYS: Is your company more than just a record label? What other music related businesses are you involved in? Distribution, Publishing, Licensing, Film, TV, Gaming, etc.
KEITH CLIZARK: Yes indeed, I recently started an (Artist,Producer and labels) consulting division. My intent is to provide the missing pieces to the puzzle many independent artists lack. I see lots of drive but, without the proper information they’re running on a treadmill going nowhere fast. We also have a Film division which we are producing a few indie movies. stay tuned for that. We also have a Sound Designing division which creates drum samples and loops. You can check some of the projects big www.bigfishaudio.com. As I mentioned before, we also have a partnership with INgrooves for distribution. My hard work caught the attention if Greg, an executive at INgrooves. He understood my vision, respected my business sense and my numbers made since. The deal was Inked, the rest is history. The landscape has drastically shifted, no longer do Indie Artist have to compromise their intellectual property to the Majors.
A&R SUNDAYS: Where are you from, what city do you represent, and when did you start producing?
KEITH CLIZARK: I was born in Greenville Mississippi. At the age of 4 moms transplant to the West Coast, East Side Long Beach to be exact. Long Beach is a vortex for great talent: Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg, Daz, Ricky Harris, Moe Z, The Eastsidaz, RBX, The Twinz, The Dove Shack many others. At 6 years old my life changed, I was at my aunts house for a family gathering and someone put “Flashlight” on by Parliament Funkadelic. It was then I knew music is what I was Born to do. I saw the birth of Hip Hop and rode that wave. I started off as a Rapper witch ultimately lead me to becoming a DJ/ Producer. I was about 17 when I started producing Records.
A&R SUNDAYS: Did you start out using a drum machine, keyboard workstation, computer, or all the above?
KEITH CLIZARK: LOL… Okay now you got me putting my age out there. I’ve owned just about every drum machine made from the Linndrum to the DMX to the Sp12, Sp1200, Tr808 all of the MPC s but I stopped on the MPC 4000, nothing out there can match it still to this day.
A&R SUNDAYS: Do you prefer hardware or software when producing music? Fruity Loops, Reason, Garageband? Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase? MPC, Miko, Maschine? Motif, Fantom, Kronos, Neko?
KEITH CLIZARK: When I’m producing music I use a combination of hardware and software. In terms of the different plugins, it’s so much good stuff out there it’s truly on the individual’s Sonic preference. I personally like to blend the analog with the digital. As a trained Alto saxophone player I learned earlier on what real instruments sound like. I’ve never used anything other than Pro Tools in regards to recording software.
A&R SUNDAYS: How did you get started in the music business, and who gave you your first break?
KEITH CLIZARK: Hip Hop gave me a space to exist. I was in high school getting paid for beats I made on a Dr rhythm drum machine. I was obsessed with mastering my craft. I got my first major placement at age 20 with Capitol Records, the group was called 3d the song was “You ain’t all that” which reached the top 10 dance spot on Billboard. To bring it back around to the question, “who gave me my first break” the truth of the matter is I created my first break, no sensational fairytale stories of how someone saw the potential in me and gave me a chance. You have to stay ready for the moment.
A&R SUNDAYS: Who would you say your music is most influenced by?
KEITH CLIZARK: I’m heavily influenced by the FUNK: George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic. There were few phenomenal rap producer pioneers that I was influenced by as well: Mantronix, Marley Marl, Larry Smith and Teddy Riley.
A&R SUNDAYS: You have worked with legendary artist such as Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Too Short, Master P, Kurupt, Mystical, and more. Who was your favorite artist or company to work with, and why?
KEITH CLIZARK: All those people were great to work with and I gained so much from each one individually but, the artist I had the most fun with is really not even on the radar, my homeboy B-legit from Oakland, you guys may know him from E40 and the Click. We recorded two songs with him for his Hempi Aint Easy” project. One song Feat. Kurupt and Mack 10 called ” Where the Gangstas At” the second record was just him Feat. Snoop called “The Game be Cold”.
A&R SUNDAYS: What does it take to become a platinum producer? Is it more of who you know, or more of what you?
KEITH CLIZARK: Being a Platinum Producer is just a by-product of doing what you love to do! Without any of the accolades I would still be producing D.O.P.E. music.
A&R SUNDAYS: Our platform is based on giving tips, advice, and opportunities to indie/unsigned artist. What advice would you give to up and coming artist/producers.
KEITH CLIZARK: When you’re (talented) and (original) there is no competition. Study the game and master your craft. If you stay consistent everything else will fall into place.
A&R SUNDAYS: What is the best way for up and coming artist/producers to send music to you.
KEITH CLIZARK: The best way to get my constructive critiques of your Music is to book a Producer or Artist consultation with me.
A&R SUNDAYS: What would you say is the biggest misconception about Keith Clizark?
KEITH CLIZARK: To be honest with you, I don’t know what any misconceptions about me nor do I care, I just stay focus and grind it out for my family and my Team.
A&R SUNDAYS: What is the name of the most popular song you produced?
KEITH CLIZARK: I would say “Go away” it was on Snoops “The Last Meal” album. The beat was so HOT, Dr Dre used the instrumental for his stage intro for the “Up in Smoke tour” and DVD, But if you’re from the South you would say it’s a song I produced for Def Jam/Gfunk recording artist the Dove Shack called “Smoke Out” featuring Montell Jordan.
A&R SUNDAYS: What are you working on right now, and what projects, or artist should we be on the look out for?
KEITH CLIZARK: Wow so many things we got in the mix over here. You can look out for Choc Mic (Hip Soul) artist, the first artist off (TMR) the song is called “Angel in A Blue Dress”. We’re also in pre-production on a few indie films, the one to look out for is called Operation: Green Day.