Meet the Music Producers Behind `Get On Up'

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Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Music producers Harvey Mason Jr. and Damon Thomas discuss the story behind the film "Get On Up" and comment on today's changing music industry. They speak with Cory Johnson on "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)


You can only say get on up.

James brown made that in everything.

Doing music for james brown.

How did they do that?

It was amazing.

We had the multi tracks.

We had the vocals which we use.

Wade, you have the multi tracks from the original james brown recording?

Yes, it is incredible.

Does that include the live stuff?


We have the live recordings.

Take some stuff out, put some stuff back in.

A race player friend of mine played gigs with james brown in the 60's and 70's and he would talk about playing in the pit.

Somebody was on stage with the dance moves.

Could you hear that?

Once we heard all about.

There are so many great musicians that came and had a chance to play with james.

We could hear all of the different elements.

Your father was a drummer on some of my favorite stuff coming up like george benson, who i'm still trying to be when i grew up.

What stood out to you when you pulled apart the music?

How amazing james was, really genius at directing and producing his band.

Being the concertmaster in addition to being admin amazing vocalist.

His drummer was maybe one of the greatest ever.

"the funky drummer" was one of the most sampled things in hip-hop.

I hear the drummer am a james telling them what to do, but the drummer setting up the tunes, setting up the sections, it will be the a, the the.

James did not let anyone call much of anything.

In making the music, we really wanted to be authentic.

Often times, it would be two sets of drums.

He had control of every part of the band.

The evolution of musical skill continues.

There are things that chalmers can do today that they could not do when some of the stuff was recorded.

When you were doing new music, would you try to get guys to stay with the style to avoid the trip it based kick?

-- the triple based kick?


What the drummer did was certainly unique.

That guy was special.

They had actually learn that stuff and to get that drum sound.

We had to take the time out and do that.

What did you have to do to mike the drums to get that, did you do weird stuff to the drums?

We did everything, we use all of the microphones they would have use.

The used drums and drum says they would have played on.

We use all of the studio techniques.

We ran the digital information through analog assessing that was comparable to the music of the time.

We took a lot of pride making sure that stuff was right on cue.

We worked with mick jagger who was one of the producers.

He is a stickler.

That was a great opportunity to be able to provide him a stuff, he knows the music, he knows the quality, what is supposed to sound like.

What about the horns?

We love the horns.

The horns are incredible.

We worked with jerry hey on the horns.

He is our engineering -- didn't he play on the great quincy jones stuff?


He has been working with us since "dream girls," so we are locked in with jerry.

James had crazy horn section and an amazing arrangement and energy.

Really trying to get the energy that he had which was tough for us to capture.

I'm talking about the music because i love the music.

The star of the film, music rate music writer, now he is a producer.

He might get mad that i am reading.

Chadwick is as good as james brown.

What was it like working not just on this music and getting it authentic but working with the movie and the actor?

We had a private screening the other day and watching him, you thought it was james brown.

He absolutely killed the part.

I was so happy with his performance and i think harvey was as well.

It will great for everyone.

He talks like him, he moves like him.

He dances like him.

Nobody dances like james brown.

This guy pulled it off.

The music industry, it has changed so much in the last 20 years, really in the last 10 years.

You guys have a music company.

Is this what you have to do?

Is this what the future of music is, doing this kind of thing because the other opportunities are not what they would have been 20 years ago?

The future is to diversify and make sure you were involved in a lot of things.

We have taken a lot of care to make sure we are involved in quality things.

We continue to make records.

With britney spears, with jennifer lopez.

Chris brown.

We are working with great artists.

The cream is really rising to the top.

A lot of producers are trying to figure out how to make money, we are trying to be involved in film and television, continuing to make great records for the radio.

People are consuming more music than ever.

Think of all of the movies that are being made about music.

For us, it is a really exciting time and we are pleased.

How has the time you spent working infected the other work, the contemporary music you're working on as you get back to some of the roots?

We have been part of this for 14 years.

I will do contemporary stuff half of the time and he will do the movie stuff.

Then he will do the contemporary stuff and i will do the movie stuff so both of us get a chance to work on both things.

When you go back and do in 1965, you have to have the right sound.

It can be confusing sometimes.

I think it is valuable but listening and studying great music from any.

As a lesson.

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