Tape Mastah Steph – producer and collaborator for Dave Dub's The Treatment – On Collaboration And Transplanting From The Bay Area To Dallas. By Christopher Mosley for D Magazine's Front Row, published July 2012.

Tape Mastah Steph has been creating beats and producing hip hop since the early 1990s, when he was a teenager living in San Jose. Since then, his work has taken him from the Bay Area to Dallas, where he has collaborated with a number of local artists while still maintaining ties to the West Coast, including Stones Throw Records, arguably one of the most influential and active hip hop-focused labels. Christopher Mosley spoke with Tape Mastah Steph about his Bay Area roots, the difference between the Texas and the West Coast scenes, and how his approach, which still includes digging for floppy disks in his collection, has changed over the years.

FrontRow: What was it like producing the Dave Dub record? What does your process entail? How much back-and-forth is there between you and the MC when it comes to the production itself, or do you like to turn in a complete product?

Tape Mastah Steph: Unlike today where everyone predominantly uses the internet to transfer recorded files, Dave hand picked every beat I produced before he’d mastermind his lyrical concepts. Many hours were spent in my garage studio. So there was plenty of back and forth between us. I dug into my vast collection of beats on floppy disks and dusted off my battle station. Originally, we went under the group name E.I.M (Endlessness in Machinery). The idea was to have a post-apocalyptic environment where only scattered technology remained. The Treatment consisted of two events. The first movement, “94th apocalypse of lips” which included the treatment and later the second, “Experiment in Herb, Word, and Sound” delivered with a punk rock hip hop grassroots approach. I used my 32/8 Mackie straight to ADAT tapes recording beats entirely produced on the Ensoniq EPS along with minor drum programming by SP-1200 to add a little more grit. Fast forwarding to 2012, recreating The Treatment was finalized along with an instrumental mix companion piece to the EP entitled “Courtesy Flush.” Art designs by both Gustavo Eandi and Paolo Parisi became the icing on a cake.