How Grammynominated Reggaetón Producer Tainy Found His Own Rhythm

How Grammynominated Reggaetón Producer Tainy Found His Own Rhythm

Puerto Rican-Dominican producer Marco "Tiny" Masis, 33, has been around since people were making reggaeton. Not only did he grow up on the beloved Caribbean genre, which is loved by listeners outside of the Hispanic world, but the award-winning mixmaster uses elements of pop, alternative rock and EDM to transform him into a bold pop musician. .

From his debut fronting legendary Looney Tunes duo Un Verano Sin T to his 2022 Grammy Award-winning LP with longtime collaborator Bad Bunny, Tiny's fingerprints are all over reggaeton history. Therefore, he decided to direct his debut album "Tarikh", which was released on June 29.

"It's been inspiring to see our genre not only grow, but explode," Tiny said during a video call from his studio in Miami. But from the beginning I wanted to change my way of working.

From her hometown of Puerto Rico to the mountains of Japan - mixing unique boutique beats inspired by her travels - Tiny created her global dream with Data. He also mentioned many of his former collaborators who covered it, including Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, Raw Alejandro and Julita Venegas, as well as newcomers to Latin music. (EDM artists Skrillex and Four Tet also appear.)

At first glance, it seemed ambitious: reggaeton itself was a buzzing ecosystem full of big sounds and big personalities, and its development created a competitive playing field for artists and producers. As the genre's most prolific ambassador, Bad Bunny made history by becoming Spotify's Most Popular Artist of the Year in 2020, and then the following year - the charismatic superstar did it like a no-brainer.

However, the sonic aspects of "Data" alone suggest that reggaeto's crossover moment was not a triumph for the genre . In this interview, Tiny talks about his journey in the music industry, how his passion for Japanese anime influenced Information, and what it means to lead a community of artists to break new ground for reggaeton.

You've been producing professionally since you were 15 - your first single was "Mas Flow 2" from the classic Luny Tunes compilation in 2005. What motivated you to continue your business after all these years?
Ever since I had the opportunity to work with Lanny Tunis in Puerto Rico, it has always been a dream come true. This is what I saw as my childhood idols. And I've become a better producer since then. My job is better. At the same time, I have the right team behind me and I have such a relationship with the artist. I can't do it alone. I felt it was time for a record like this.

You put a lot of trap and reggaeton legends on this album! There's Daddy Yankee - apparently retired, but not really - and then Bad Bunny, Chencho Corlin, Archangel, J Balvin and Ozuna. These are all big names, but how do you choose the new talent to focus on for this album?
I'm afraid I'm missing someone! But I want to repeat the new generation. Arka is a producer I really respect, his approach to creating a unique sound was just what I needed [on "Passimpre". Omar Cortes is one of the young artists from Puerto Rico. It has a beautiful style, great tone. I've always loved alternative music, so it was important for me to include Maria - and the contrast between Maria [Zardoja] and young Miko ['Magna') really made it stand out.

The inclusion of gender in this report is interesting; In reggaeton, until recently, men slept with women! But don't forget to single out Puerto Rican women like Maria Zardoya, Young Miko, Kanye Garcia.
He received the female power, but also their extraordinary abilities. I must give them light to come where I come.

They've been working with Bad Bunny since 2018's "I Like It" and recently helped him record Boricua's masterpiece "Un Verano Sin Ti . " How did your relationship with him develop after you started working together?
Beyond numbers and status, Benito is the one who gives me the opportunity to create and be myself. I think that's the most unique thing you can do as a producer, because at certain points in my career I feel pressure to repeat the pressure to make everything work, but I do very little. We're from the same generation, although I'm a bit older than him, and our generation listens to a lot of music. We are interested in different types of art. So I think it helps us understand each other.

You all always take risks - and together you won a Grammy for it. Worried about making a very experimental reggaeton record?
Nope. For most of my career, I've found that 99% of what people hear from me is reggaeton music, maybe with a different twist or something, but that's my foundation. I wanted to do something progressive and fresh that would make me happy, something that would show more of who I am and where I'm going. We hope it will inspire a new idea or a new subgenre in modern music!

Speaking of subgenres... let's talk about reggaeto's relationship with EDM. I think of how DJ Nelson was inspired by Chicago house and how stars like Don Omar and Tony Deese experimented with elements of electro-R&B in the 2000s.In "Data" you add disco, house and fun. What made you want to start working in the ADM industry?
When I was growing up, dance and techno played a big role in my life: I heard it in movies or on the radio in Puerto Rico. I knew that if I wanted to be a producer, I had to explore different genres and different music scenes: Germany, Detroit, all the cool Latin American houses in Miami. Seeing Daft Punk DJ live was really inspiring...seeing Skrillex step in and embrace dubstep...and seeing Aphex Twin and deadmau5 come in and adapt their sound to different venues made me wonder what reggaeton would be like. It is used in different styles and sounds.

A good example of this is your collaborations with Volver, Rav Alejandro and legendary producers Skrillex and Four Tet. How did it happen?
I was outside when I heard "Lush" by Four Tet. Randomly, I post music and allow forums to make recommendations. I don't know the discography. But as soon as I found out about it, I immediately went home and started taking samples. It has a fast BPM - I thought maybe it would be a great mix with reggaeton, which has a slower BPM. Then I went into the studio with Sonny [Skrillex] to demo that song and we crescendoed it towards the end. Little did I know that Four was one of Tet's best friends! So we FaceTimed Four Tet and got their permission to record a song. We finally met in person during the second [week] of Coachella. I appreciate that music brings us together.

On the album cover and in the video for "Lo Siento Bb:/" we find a pink-haired cyborg named "Cena" who composed a song on "Data" downloaded to her hard drive. On the last track of the album, the download ends and we hear it come to life. What inspired this concept?
I was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Ghost in the Shell [1995]. I want to have a [cyborg] version whose music brings it to life. Music can make people laugh or cry. Music sometimes shapes who we are. So by giving Cyborg his music, maybe he'll help them feel what we're feeling. I am currently trying to do a live show with Sena and allow the audience to follow his journey.

You can tell if I'm off topic, but I wonder why Latinos love Japanese animation...especially the post-apocalyptic stories we grew up with like Akira or Neon Genesis Evangelion. After a nuclear disaster or war, we see characters pick up the pieces and rebuild themselves. Many of us have grown up with a survival instinct that kicks in after a disaster and leads to creativity and innovation. What inspired you to use anime in your work?
True, I didn't think about it at the time, but there were topics that I understand only with age. Shows like Evangelion still have a very strong impact on me because the story of a little kid facing a big problem is so powerful. But even before I started making music, I liked drawing. I am inspired by the imagination, attention to detail and precision of Japanese artists. It's a different kind of art for me, but this approach inspired me. So I asked Hiromasa Oguru, the art director of Ghost in the Shell, to design my album cover. I feel honored to be respected in the industry and to be able to do what feels right.

Japan is a great source of inspiration for this. How do you spend your time there?
my The original idea was to do all the recordings there! But it's difficult because not everyone flies to Japan to sit in the studio and write songs. While I was in Tokyo, some came to Miami to record, and some sent me digital music. We had to do a landscape shot using the cityscape and all the lights. Then I went to Kyoto because I wanted to experience the contrast of gardening and staying in a quiet house overlooking the mountains for two days. To complete this project, I want to turn to my source of inspiration.

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to become a producer and doesn't know where to start?
You know, I never studied music, but I started with my family. I learned to tune in and appreciate what my family was playing and what my friends were playing at school. It is important to be open to learning new things. Now there's a lot of software to download - I started with Fruy Loops, then moved on to Ableton Live and Logic. I still come back to useful loops from time to time, you know…. I'm a geek producer and I have a voice that I love! Anything that helps you spread your ideas quickly is your go-to. This is a special time for the producer.

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