"We locked down the studio for months. Never left. Literally sleeping bags in the studio."
Sounwave, who appears on 8 out of 14 tracks on DAMN., is both Kendrick Lamar's oldest production collaborator and his most consistent. Therefore, he has a lot to reveal in terms of the TDE rapper's creative process, as he proves in his new GQ interview. In a Q&A with the magazine, the beatmaker reveals just how seriously he and K-Dot took their sessions, which involved a lot of camping in the studio.
"Once he got his whole brainstorming thing down and we knew the direction we were going we locked down the studio for months," he said. "Never left. Literally sleeping bags in the studio."
This approach wasn't limited to just Kendrick and Sounwave either. "Every producer who was on this project literally had to sleep in the studio. We were not leaving until this was a perfect sound to us," he revealed. "If you had a girlfriend, she had to come visit you at the studio. It was that environment."
So that means Mike WiLL Made-It, DJ Dahi, Alchemist, 9th Wonder, and Steve Lacy, were all in sleeping bags on the floor of Kendrick's studio at some point? If a sleepover is what it took to make DAMN., we're all for it.
Later on in the conversation, Sounwave dished on U2's involvement in the album. "Kendrick and Bono always talk back and forth through text and they always wanted to work with each other," he said. "It just never lined up. Whenever we'd be working on a project it just wouldn't feel right. Until this came along. It's like "Yo, this is perfect timing." So Kendrick reached out to Bono and the rest is history. It was just like magic. Literally we had the first two parts of the song done and we needed that last piece to be perfect. So we reached out to U2 and they just came with it. It was the perfect set up."
We also learned that Kendrick is very hands on with the sound of his records, to the point he's just an Ableton tutorial away from being a producer himself. "I just don't think he has the patience to learn a program—and if he did, I would not have a job [laughs]," said Sounwave. "I would just be there for personal support or something. Because he would definitely be an amazing producer."
Though Kendrick has made it clear that he doesn't have any new music officially on the way, Sounwave did suggest that he was in the studio with the rapper the night before the interview took place. "You have no idea," he said of K-Dot's work ethic. "Literally was in there until, like, four in the morning."
Read the full interview at GQ.