A Conversation With Kaelin Ellis: On The House EP, Soulection, Influences, Career Goals, & More
“I hope that what I’ve done has not only changed the landscape of music, but to become respected and bring back music –  to not only blend the old, but the new, and to inspire the next wave of musicians/producers years from now.”
Kaelin Ellis

Kaellin Ellis is a multi-platinum music producer that has established himself among the top class of producers in the modern electronic / hip-hop beat scene. Formerly known as Mr. Mockwell, Kaelin was originally part of an online crew dubbed “Loaflab,” where he came in contact with fellow talented musicians and later Soulection connects Kaytranada, Sango, and Waldo. Ellis also has many production credits with other artists such as Deffie and K-Pop super-group “EXO.” Kaelin’s work ethic led to him earning a spot in having one of the top 10 songs of the week featured on USA Today. This year alone, Kaelin has netted a collaborative EP titled House with hip-hop legend Lupe Fiasco, and a solo project titled MOMENTS.

We had the chance to talk with Ellis about his creative process, influences, work with Lupe Fiasco and so much more. Be sure to read the full conversation below!

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How long have you been producing & how many instruments do you play? How do these instruments impact or dictate your production style? 

I’ve been producing officially for about ten years now. I play drums, keys, bass, synths, percussion, and my laptop if that counts.

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Would you consider yourself a jack of all trades or specialist artist? 

I’d like to think i’m a jack of all trades, but in all honesty my specialty is creating a space for others to stand out.

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It is known that the drum set is your favorite & most relied upon instrument. How did you originally become acquainted with the drums, and how has your craft evolved since?

I grew up playing drums in church. My grandparents are pastors and my dad led worship playing piano. It’s evolved little by little since I started, but what’s stayed the same is the love I have for creating.

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Did you always envision yourself being an artist? If so, what about your friends & family members?

I never did envision me being involved in this space. I always thought Id be strictly playing drums or something technical.

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Who are your greatest inspirations as an artist? What style(s) of music inspire you?

Besides OG’s like George Duke, Parliament, and Allan Holdsworth, my dad inspires me a lot. I listen to anything with soul or intentional musicianship, like prog rock from the 70’s, jazz, soul, gospel and funk music too.

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Of your six official project releases, which one is your favorite & why?

Right now would have to be between House & Moments. Both were fun and off the cuff. No plan behind them, just freely creating.

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Describe the creative process of your latest House EP with Lupe Fiasco. What were your expectations? Did anything about Lupe or the project itself surprise you?

My expectations were that he’d possibly want beats from me. I sent him a pack and it turned into an EP, in little under a week which was my biggest surprise. It was the shortest and best thought out project I’ve ever created.

Would you consider Lupe to be the biggest artist you’ve worked with so far?

Aside from my K-pop placement, Yes he is.

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You stated that “SLEDOM” is your favorite track. What aspects of the record make it your favorite off the EP?

SLEDOM was a beat I created with Sw8vy (keys) and Paul (bass) nearly two years ago when I got off from work.

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You traveled to Korea in January. What was the trip like, and how many places have you visited?  Sticking to the subject of houses, do you have a dream home or location you’d like to live someday?

That trip was incredible. It was the precursor to what this year was gonna be like for me. My dream home is somewhere in the coasts of Florida, with a nice view and a safe area. But it may be/might be on the west coast.

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Describe MOMENTS, a project with sounds entirely crafted from packs. Is the release titled as such because you created & finished them in their own respective moments?

Yes! Also it was too short to be an album, so each record was a moment I experienced.

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What’s your favorite track off MOMENTS and why?

My favorite track off Moments was “Joy.” All tracks were made off the cuff, but that one felt like I was connecting with my ancestors, because the progression stayed with me for an entire day. I grew after recording that song.

You’ve worked with or performed alongside a few Soulection members, such as Sango & Waldo. What is your relationship with the record label & artists on it? 

Me and Soulection go way back to 2013. Joe Kay actually predicted everything going on now once I hit my mid-twenties. It started from the connection I had with Kaytranada in 2010 and went from there.

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You’ve stated that you’d love to work with Danny Brown, Freddie Gibbs & Smino. Outside of hip-hop, what other artists would you like to add to your portfolio? Would you collaborate with other producers?

Id love to collaborate with guys like James Blake, Mount Kimbie, and even OG’s like Luke Vibert, Aphex Twin, and Moses Sumney.

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Favorite tour or live show that you’ve performed?

The Sango Tour hands down. Santa Fe/ New York/ Denver were my favorite shows that I’ve ever played.

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Any advice to aspiring musicians; particularly producers & instrumentalists? 

Keep Pushing. If what you’re doing is moving people to inspiration and becoming better, you’re doing something right.

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Beyond music, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? How have these activities as well as your life experiences shaped your artistic identity?

I love learning about things, like the origins of this & how the Universe works – I’m a huge sports guy, and I’ve filled most of my time working out.

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You’ve been quite busy in 2020. What’s next on your radar?

Next up is finalizing this new Drum Sculptr (Ableton Rack) that drops on August 7th, and my album that was supposed to come out in June for maybe a future release.

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A ways from now, when it’s all said & done, what level of career success and reputation will you have hoped to achieve?

I hope that what I’ve done has not only changed the landscape of music, but to become respected and bring back music –  to not only blend the old, but the new, and to inspire the next wave of musicians/producers years from now.