Dancehall / Feature

Alkaline Producer SartOut Records Talks ‘Top Prize’ Production & Influences

Producing twins, Darren and Dane Sortie of SartOut Records, managed to nab several production credits on Alkaline’s new album, Top Prize.

Alkaline’s sophomore album Top Prize has been living up to its title by holding down the number one spot on a plethora of major streaming platforms. The 14-track project has found favor among the masses, resulting in a number 2 debut on Billboard’s coveted Reggae Albums chart. Just days after its release, the project also doubled the number of pure sales made by the lanky entertainer’s first album New Level Unlocked.

Alkaline is widely known for his silky smooth lyrical approach to just about any track. However, the star-studded producers who construct, engineer, and mastermind the melodic rifts simply cannot be left out. One production house that has benefitted greatly from the recent release is the Westmoreland-based outfit SartOut Records.

The production duo of Darren and Dane managed to snag 3 spots on the project with songs “Nuh Trust Mankind,” “Magic,” and “Payroll.” Urban Islandz caught up with Dane, who gave us a rundown on how they got started in the business and what it was like working with the musical maestro from the start of his career to this day.

In a nutshell, tell us what/who is SartOut Records.

SartOut is a record label/audio production company based in Westmoreland, Jamaica, founded and operated by identical twin brothers Dane and Darren Sortie.

How did you get started in production?

We developed an interest in music back in high school (Manning’s School – Westmoreland). Darren played the guitar; however, the production aspect was started by Dane who found a love for the engineering/recording side of the music. Dane being limited by mild cerebral palsy from birth is more sensitive to sounds and is naturally more versed in electronic musical compositions, arrangements; making beats, mixing, and mastering.

Do you have any influences? Who/What are they and why?

Music from all genres on a whole influences us, as we are inspired by works from various producers over the years and their sounds. “Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor” & “Timbaland” are two of our influences.

Why?

We can appreciate the sound, style, arrangements, and unique quality their music has.

How would you describe is your production style?

Our music/production varies and can be heard on Alkaline’s Top Prize album, from aggressive hardcore authentic dancehall to more laid back r&b/hip hop-influenced sounds. We try not to ‘Trap’ or ‘Limit’ our sound to one specific vibe while still keeping the authentic modern dancehall grooves. It really depends on the mood or what we/the artist is trying to accomplish with a project.

There have been numerous talks about dancehall music straying from its authentic sound, which previously led to numerous international hits in the 90s and early 2000s. What is your view on this?

Music is always evolving, and sounds/styles that were popular then won’t necessarily be popular now. Producers now have more access to newer technology and more modern sounds; however, we still believe in and try to keep the authentic dancehall groove, as it is and will always be the foundation. Music has no limits, and hits are still being found to this day.

Do you believe something needs to be set up where young producers such as yourself can be educated on the authentic sounds of the genre? Or do you believe the new trap dancehall sound is the future, and there is no need to reuse elements from the past?

We believe it should be a choice for producers to make whatever music inspires or influences them and their audience. Music should not be limited. Elements from the past are still being used if that is what influences you as a producer, and yes, there need to be more resources so younger producers can educate themselves and appreciate the history of the music and the business aspects of the industry.

Who are the members of the SartOut Records family? Is it a solo move or do you have other persons working with you?

Currently, it is just Dane and Darren Sortie, however, we are open to working with other producers and artists.

Dane Sortie of SartOut Records

How did the link-up with the Vendetta boss happen?

We heard Alkaline’s music on Facebook back in 2011 when he started his career, and we reached out after recognizing the talent. He was the first artist to record for us professionally back then on our first official project, “Breakaway Riddim,” we also had two tracks on his first official EP (Youngest and the Baddest – “Nuttin But Badmind” and “Ugly Truth”) Over the years we have developed a friendship and a working relationship. (‘A we bredda that’)

What was it like working with Alkaline for the recent album?

It was a great experience, felt similar to working with him in the past. The vibe and energy is always positive and encouraging. The respect and appreciation for each other’s work is mutual, and him being the caliber artist he is made it exciting and motivated us to challenge ourselves throughout the process. Alkaline knows what he wants to hear yet still was open to our own creative ideas, and we believe we executed and delivered well.

You are the producer with the most tracks on Alkaline’s most recent album. How did you feel when you saw the final tracklist?

It was an overwhelming and exciting feeling seeing the tracklist and getting the call. This, by far, is the biggest project we have ever worked on and is the most successful so far. Words cannot explain how grateful we are. We must give a shoutout and highlight to Alkaline, his sister/manager “Kereena Beckford” who kept us informed and aware of the details of the project while we worked. Shoutout to everyone else who was involved in making this game-changing project possible.

Do you have any favorites from the album? Whether it was from SartOut or another production house.

It is difficult to choose a favorite track, it really depends on the mood, energy, or vibe on a specific day. All the tracks on the project were excellent and we must give appreciation to Alkaline, all the producers and engineers who played their part- the entire team. Big up everybody!

Do you believe the album has the potential to secure a Grammy?

We believe this project is an amazing body of work and the possibilities for it are endless.

Apart from Alkaline, who are some of the prominent entertainers who you have worked with?

Over the years, we have composed/ghost produced for various prominent artists, entertainers, and producers in the dancehall space, however, the majority of these songs are not owned or credited to us. We rather not highlight or comment on those projects at this time. Top Prize the thing deh!

Who would you like to work with in the future?

We are open to working with any talented individual, whether artiste, musician, or producer, who shares our love and respect for the music and will not be limiting our work to just dancehall. ‘Just a gwaan work and see’

What other projects do you have in the pipeline at the moment?

Currently, we continue to work with Alkaline and other artistes both established and upcoming. We are featured on Deeclef’s upcoming EP ‘Agape’ with our track titled “Represent” from our “Control Riddim” compilation. “Control Riddim” is a give-back project from us for young and talented upcoming artistes that needs an opportunity. Songs will be released throughout the year on this project.

What else would you like for the people to know about SartOut Records?

We are always defying the odds. Making great music and are grateful to everyone who supports us. Do lookout for more great music from us soon.

Fans and artists can find SartOut Records on Instagram:

IG: @DaneMadeTheBeat
@DarrenSortie
@SartOut.Records