The Secrets To Making a Successful Beat Tape - Part 4: Spectacular Diagnostics

Making a beat tape is every producer's dream; but navigating this territory can be tricky, and knowing how to give it the momentum it deserves can make all the difference. In this series of articles, we speak to producers who have had incredible success with their beat tapes and ask them to share their insights into the process, from concept realization, visual worlds, right down to promotion.

In this part of the series, we spoke with Spectacular Diagnostics

By Eimear O SullivanMusicngear Editor

Article photo - The Secrets To Making a Successful Beat Tape - Part 4: Spectacular Diagnostics


Beat tape definition: Instrumental productions created by a producer/beat maker, which are compiled into an album.


Musicngear: What are some important things to keep in mind when creating a beat-tape? 

For me, it's deciding upfront if I'm going to put MCs on the project or have it be purely instrumental. If you have rappers on a project you need to be a bit more selective with vocal samples you're using to make sure they make sense with what the guests are talking about. A completely instrumental project on the other hand gives you complete control of the story you want to tell by what vocal samples you drop in.


Musicngear: What does your overall creative process look like for creating a beat tape?  

I pick a basic "theme" in my head, everything usually leads to "space" or psychedelia. Then I start looking at recent beats I've made and I pick my 3-4 favorites to start building around. I pretty much sample solely from vinyl straight into my laptop and work in Logic, so the most recent records I've bought start to be the cornerstone of the new batch. Then it's just trial and error. Some beats are good enough, and some get scrapped.


For producers who are interested in creating a beat tape, what are some strong beat tapes you recommend they listen to? 

People always say Dilla's 'Donuts' for a good reason. It feels seamless, and that's what sets certain beat tapes apart. I'd say look at any rap records that Madlib produced, almost every song has a transition in or out, or an interlude segway to the next track. Any Alchemist release from the last couple of years fits in that mold too.


Do you create a beat-tape around a certain theme/concept, and if so, how do you execute this concept so it translates to the listener? 

Using the same vocal source a few times on a project helps connect disparate sounds together. That narration keeps the story going. Familiarity. Melvin Van Peeble's voice on Quasimoto records is a good example.


What is your process for promoting a beat-tape once completed?

I break it into 1) Social media promotion of the physical release (Bandcamp focused usually) 2) Submitting to Spotify, Apple Music 3) Sharing the project with writers / editors / curators 4) Video promotion (if in the budget.) ...After that you then hope for the best. Over time you'll build more contacts and people willing to help you support your art.

Connect with Spectacular Diagnostics
Bandcamp / Spotify / Instagram / Twitter


In this series: Part 1: The Secrets To Making a Successful Beat Tape: City Girl, Part 2: The Secrets To Making a Successful Beat Tape: chordandjocks& Part 3: The Secrets To Making a Successful Beat Tape: Ol’ Burger Beats​

About Eimear O Sullivan

Eimear Ann O Sullivan is a multi-genre music producer, audio engineer and vocalist. After receiving a Masters in Music Technology from the CIT Cork School of Music, she went on to operate as a producer under the name Blakkheart. Her releases have received critical acclaim from Ireland's biggest music publications, such as District Magazine and Nialler9, alongside receiving heavy commercial radio airplay. She currently works in Cork recording studio Flashpoint CC. Previous clients of hers include the likes of Comedy Central’s Dragony Aunt star Candy Warhol, rapper Darce and Outsider YP. (Photo credit @Fabian Boros)

Contact Eimear O Sullivan at eimear.o.sullivan@musicngear.com