From his days at Clarke Studio where he mixed the songs of virtually every successful artiste in Nigeria, he had a dream to build a music entertainment empire. Having paid his dues in an industry that is no doubt booming, Mix-Master, Zeeno Foster in this chat with AHAOMA KANU, exposed another dreams that one day the music entertainment industry will be a leading sector in the Nigerian economy. He talks about his world-class studio, Zane Pro Entertainment, what should be expected from the industry next year and other issues.
From Clarke Studio to Zane Pro Entertainment, what made you think it was time to move on?
I think that the time for me to move on came; I waited for the right time to move up to another level. I waited for the right time and I believe that the right time came. I have paid my dues and maybe I needed a break from the status quo you know.
You have cool equipments here; can you give us a roll call of the gadgets that makes here tick?
I’ve got the right equipments to run a musical studio; I have got a 46 channel digital mixer, I have JBL monitors, Adams monitors, M-Audio monitors, Foxters monitors; I will say that I have a necessary hardware and software to run this studio. I even have a proto Digi-O3. I have all the gadgets needed to run a 21st century sound studio and is artistes in the industry are saying that my studio is the most recent and equipped studio right now in town which I take as a compliment.
How much did it cost to have all these technology installed?
I go for the best and that is not kidding and I don’t think I need to tell the world how much I put in here but I will give you an idea by saying that I spent a few millions to get this place all fixed up. We are talking in the region of N8-10m.
With so much investment running into millions, how affordable is Zane Pro Entertainment Studio to an average artiste on the street that wants to turn an album out?
As a music producer, mix- master and sound engineer, I have got love for the industry. Apart from the coins we make from the industry and the need to invest much to keep the industry going, I don’t expect to break even immediately because of the love I have for game, my studio is affordable for every class of artiste.
When you were in Clarke Studio, you worked virtually with every artiste that matters in the game, which famous acts have come here since you opened shop?
We are five months old now and for this few months we have worked with quite an impressive number of A-list artistes; as I am talking with you, Weird MC is doing her thing in the studio. We have worked with P-Square, they were supposed to come out with a single with Busta Rhymes but it was postponed but we have done the beats and the vocals and are waiting for Busta to come drop his vocals. We have worked with artistes and movie stars alike; Jim Iyke recorded here, Ruggedman’s work is here; I just collected his data, Kaha has been here, DJ Tee, 9ice, Kabasa, Puffy T, the list keeps increasing and we are moving on.
How would you assess the music industry for the past 11 months?
The music business is growing everyday but on one part I must confess; the artistes, promoters and marketers are the ones really reaping and smiling to the banks. But I will boldly say that the industry is growing everyday and getting interesting and a lot of people are coming in to invest into entertainment.
Do you believe that artistes in Nigeria pay more attention to their music videos than the songs, as a practitioner, do you think this approach will this help the industry?
I have raised this issue before with some group of artistes that came to the studio and spend some few thousands of Naira but got out there to raise millions to shoot a video. I don’t think I can answer the question objectively but if you ask the likes of Clarence Peters, DJ Tee and others, they can throw more like. I liken it to paying more attention to the plate with which a meal is served than the actual food. That is why you see a lot of whack songs coming with a percentage of good picture on TV; artistes think that the picture will sell the song but they are wrong; if your song is not good, no matter how much you spend on the picture it will not be appreciated for long. I will like to use this medium to advice artistes to pay more attention, time and money on your songs; look for a songwriter if you are a good singer, look for a good producer and a good song arranger to work on your song. But you see that they will want to cut it short and start looking for a good picture to help them out. It doesn’t work that way.
Some old school musicians are staging a comeback; Majek Fashek just came back, do you think his return will spice up the entertainment scene?
I don’t think so men, in this business there is always time for everybody; if you are on top of your game at that moment, utilize it positively to invest back into the business and people around you. I don’t have much to say about people like Majek Fashek but I believe their time has come and gone. They were the big fishes back then that we looked up to then and we still look up to them but if you as a father don’t set a good standard for your children to follow then you have all the blame. I will leave the question for the public to answer but I believe everybody has his 15 minutes.
Can you forecast how the entertainment industry will be next year?
I believe that very soon the entertainment industry will overtake the Oil and gas business in a way that when someone introduces himself as the CEO of a recording studio, he will be looked on with respect. The Music industry will get bigger very soon because the oil wells will dry up one day; we see oil prices dropping at an alarming rate now but music is life, it cannot get finished.
What should your fans expect from you next year?
They should expect the best because that is what we strive to give them. We try to give the people the best and at the same time look forward to their criticism which helps us serve them better. They should expect a new year that will never have a dull moment and that is a promise.
When will you grab the microphone and do a song?
Very soon because I am working on that; I am working on collaboration with Kabasa. We want to get a single out. I can say I am not a singer but I can sing. Music production is what I do for a living but I know the secrets to good music, it’s just requires me to write a song that suits my voice texture and that’s it.