Sonic architect on the Future Frequency
Hank Shocklee is a 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a 2018 GRAMMY Hall of Fame inductee as a founder & producer of seminal hip hop group Public Enemy and the Bomb Squad. A sonic architect who has worn many hats in the music business throughout the years including as a DJ, music producer, sound designer and scorer for film and TV as well as serving as a senior level music executive at Universal Records.
Artistic and commercial success at the level of the groundbreaking Public Enemy records of the 1980s and 1990s would be a capstone of accomplishment for most producers, but Shocklee has also been a force behind many cult classic and breakthrough music and film projects during the last two decades plus, including artists Mary J. Blige, Anthony Hamilton, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Slick Rick and films such as Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, Ernest Dickerson’s Juice and countless others.
Sampling in music is now a part of the mainstream culture, and Hank Shocklee is one of the culture leaders who helped bring the art of sampling to the forefront by creating techniques such as filtering, multiband micro-loop sampling, introducing the use of sine waves to create kick drums and bass lines, truncating and mapping samples on keyboards and drum machines, and using tuning to create warping in his productions in the late 80s-early 90s. With his production outfit the BOMB SQUAD these techniques were cemented via his landmark albums with Public Enemy such as “It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back: and “Fear Of A Black Planet,” two albums which consistently rank high amongst most of the “greatest albums of all time” lists.
After establishing his successful run as a music producer, Shocklee ventured into his executive side, first with his S.O.U.L. label (an acronym for Sound of Urban Listeners) joint venture and then in a role as Senior Vice President of the Black Music Division for MCA/Universal Records during the period of 1990-1999.
Shocklee’s name became synonymous with sampling shortly after creating the BOMB SQUAD style. Since his landmark albums he has been constantly at the centerpoint of debates on copyright laws, and studied by pop culture historians and academics alike. As a constant student and developer of numerous audio production and sampling techniques, he has been both an inspiring force for music producers and a disruptor of music industry politics.
Always seeking new and innovative ways to transform the audio arts, most recently Shocklee has launched his NYC based company Shocklee Entertainment, to develop a new variety of projects and various new music releases that will explore electronic, techno and hip hop vibrations which he calls the Future Frequency. Most recently he has produced and executive produced music for Ninja Tune Recording artist Emika and post punk legends The Pop Group and has been featured in music documentaries “808″ produced by Atlantic Records and “SoundBreaking,” a decade long series started by the late Sir George Martin and completed by his son Giles Martin.
Ever continuing to expand his reach in many facets of entertainment and culture, he also works with audio and consumer tech startups as a consultant and enjoys coaching and mentoring music students as a visiting artist at some of the leading music schools in the U.S. including Berklee College of Music, The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU, The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music and the Boston Academy of Arts.