Not too long ago, I received an e-mail about a Philadelphia-based producer by the name of Philth Spector. While Philly’s Phinest typically revolves around Philly artists that I’ve personally encountered in real life, artists like Philth are exactly why I love this city so much. I didn’t want to give away too many details about his newest project, The Sounds of Philthadelphia, Volume 2, just because I don’t think it would do the idea justice, so I figured I would sit him down for a conversation to explain his newest compilation. You can continue reading below to find a conversation with the beat-maker and how he came up with this extremely dope concept. Additionally, you can check out his latest project, The Sounds of Philthadelphia, Volume 2, here!
Philadelphia producer Philth Spector grew up with a variety of interests in music, teaching himself anything ranging from Iggy to Dr. Dre on the bass guitar. After befriending a classmate who taught him how to make beats off a bootleg copy of Fl Studio, he incorporated these sounds into his production, showcasing his different interests. Unfortunately, he put a pause on his beat-making, continuing his love of music with live bands until the pandemic, when he invested in Ableton and started producing again. Since then, he’s released a couple of projects, including Paul’s Boutique Revisited, a remix of Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, and his first installment of The Sounds of Philthadelphia.
Hi Dan! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today about your newest project. When I heard the tracks AND discovered you were from the Philly area, I was far too excited! Can you explain to the readers the premise behind your newest project, The Sounds of Philthadelphia, Volume 2?
PS: “I grew up in Philadelphia, and both of my parents are fans of Philadelphia International Records, so growing up hearing all those great Gamble and Huff songs, I was always a fan. When I first started making beats in college, I had the idea to eventually do a project using samples from that label. After college, I started working more and stopped making beats for a while, unfortunately, but during the pandemic, I got a copy of Ableton and really started back up again to stay busy while being stuck at home.
After getting the hang of how to make beats in Ableton, I showed a few to a friend, and he told me they reminded him of Beastie Boy’s classic Paul’s Boutique album, which sparked the idea to remix the entire album. Almost 300 samples later, that project was complete, and I started thinking of what my next beat tape could be. I came back to the Philadelphia International Records idea and started going through the label’s discography from the beginning, making at least one beat per album. I put out volume 1 back in March and worked on Volume 2 shortly after, which came out on June 3. Volume 3 is in progress.”
The love and history behind this project really shine through and I think the family connection is beautiful! I am so excited to see what you have in store for Volume 3! When creating the concept for this project, what was the main inspiration to structure it how you did? How does it differ from Volume I?
PS: “I was inspired by growing up in Philadelphia and hearing these songs, and just being a fan of the label. I thought it would be a cool tribute in a way. Vol. 1 was created all using Ableton and Vol. 2 was made using a combination of Koala Sampler and SP-404sx. I’d like to think the difference is that I’ve gotten better at making beats, but that is up to the listener.”
I think hearing an artist’s progression and growth is so rewarding when you’ve been following their journey. I’m really looking forward to keeping up with yours and getting to experience that. When you worked on the project, which album proved to be the most challenging to tackle? What measures did you take to overcome that?
PS: “For the most part, I was pretty familiar with the albums I was trying to sample from but there were a few I was unfamiliar with or the obvious sample has already been done to death. The one record that really stuck out for the Vol. 2 batch was a rock record on the label by a band called Spiritual Concept that I never heard of before. The record was really cool to listen to, but difficult to sample since I rarely sample rock records. I just listened to it a bunch of times and eventually got some inspiration from J Dilla’s Motown Beat Tape.”
It’s so funny that you say that because the Dilla influence shines through so prominently! Now with a title like the Sounds of Philthadelphia, do you draw any other Philly attributes into your music? Maybe certain musical influences or landmarks or sounds specific to the city?
PS: “The title of the series is a play on Philadelphia International Records tag “The Sound of Philadelphia” mixed with my beat maker name, Philth Spector (which itself is a play on infamous producer Phil Spector). I think just growing up in Philadelphia and hearing this music all the time, plus the great hip hop acts The Roots and the State Property era. Learning how to make beats at college in Philadelphia, seeing Soul Train reruns on TV as a kid, etc. Even though I’m right over the Tacony Bridge in NJ now, Philadelphia will always have an influence on the music I make.”
Just the creativity behind the wordplay is exhilarating! Artists like you are why I feel like I never want to leave the Philly music scene. The talent goes beyond just the beats and truly manifests itself into a whole vision. Truly amazing. What one song off the project would you say is the most quintessential Philadelphia in that it embodies the city the most?
PS: “That is really hard to say, I can’t pick. I hope there is something on the project for everyone to get into.”
I know that’s always a difficult question to answer! But I definitely think you’re right. There’s a little bit of Philly for everybody. Speaking of, if you could get any Philly rappers to hop on the project, who would it be and on what songs?
PS: “I really made the tape as an instrumental project so I wasn’t thinking of any rappers when I made it. But I would love to hear some vocals now that it is out there. If any rappers are interested in working on tracks together, hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @Philth_Spector.”
Say no more, I would be honored to help facilitate this! I already have quite the list in my head. And to headstart those introductions, I would love to dive into your career and background a bit more. As a producer in Philly, what would you say is one word that encapsulates the Philly sound?
PS: “I think the music of Philadelphia is very soulful, but still has a bit of grit to it, a rawness.”
Well said! When working in this industry in this particular city, what would you say has been your biggest struggle as a producer? And in contrast, what is the strongest benefit that Philly has to offer artists?
PS: “I wouldn’t say I’m working in the music industry at all. I made this tape and all the music on my Bandcamp page in my bedroom hahaha. I just make beats because I like making music and if other people listen to it that is great, and if they enjoy the beats that is even better.
I think Philadelphia has a lot to offer musicians, places to play, studios, etc. Any beat makers or rappers should definitely stay tuned to the Flip a Beat Club movement. It started out in Sacramento, CA but starting on August 8th there is going to be the inaugural monthly event for the Philadelphia chapter at CrateDiggaz Records at 711 4th St. hosted by Q Rap No Name (@qnorapname on Instagram).
Oh wow! I never knew that! I still haven’t visited CrateDiggaz but I know a lot of those guys, and I’m still waiting to get them to a Cadence in the Clouds event *ahem*. I’ll have to have you as well, but if not before then, then maybe we’ll meet over at the shop! What do you hope to see come out of the Philly music scene and where do you hope to find yourself?
PS: “I’d love to see the Philadelphia chapter of the Flip a Beat Club take off. The Sacramento chapter is really thriving with monthly events, beat showcases and more. I think there is great potential with the Philadelphia Chapter to do similar things across the city and I hope to be right there in the mix.”
I’m hoping it does too. I’m extremely curious about this and I would love to learn more. I’m sure my readers would as well! With that being said, what do you have coming up next and where can listeners find you to stay up to date with Flip a Beat Club and new releases?
PS: “I’m actively working on The Sounds of Philthadelphia Vol. 3 to drop sometime later this summer. In the meantime, I participate in various online beat challenge such as Flip a Beat Club, Serato Kitchen, The Beatcast and Koala Beat Challenge and always post my beats on social media. If anyone is interested in hearing more check out my Twitter and Instagram pages @ and follow on Bandcamp: https://philthspectorxphilly.bandcamp.com/.
Thanks again for the opportunity and thanks to anyone who checked out my beats, hope you enjoyed!”
If you enjoyed this interview and would like to connect with Philth Spector, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter below:
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