In the engineering space, Teezio is highly respected for how he helps make Chris Brown’s gargantuan albums feel cohesive and sound beautiful. While he loved working on those projects, Teezio feels like Brown’s upcoming 11:11 will be his best LP ever.
“What I can say is it won’t be 100 songs. It won’t be that f**king long. This is his best album yet. And it might be because it’s shorter than the others that have been 40 and 50 songs long,” Teezio told REVOLT.
In this “Studio Sessions” installment, the Grammy Award-winning engineer explained the unique way he and Brown used Anderson .Paak’s voice on Breezy, what to expect from 11:11, and what makes Chlöe Bailey’s recording process special. Read the exclusive chat below.
The last time you spoke with REVOLT was about 2 ½ years ago, right before Breezy came out. That album was packed with features — who did Chris Brown actually lock in the studio with?
Fivio Foreign came, and we recorded him. That was on a late-night tip. He was about to leave for a flight, so he cut the verse and then dipped. Fivio’s such a nice guy, too. I thought he would have that New York attitude, but the guy was so nice. He and Chris were vibing. Wizkid came in to cut “Call Me Every Day.” He’s a super-talented, quiet guy. Bryson [Tiller] came, but I don’t think that’s when he cut the “Need You Right Here” record, but he did come during the process and recorded it later.
It was surprising to see Anderson .Paak on a Chris Brown record — he had a writing credit on “Pitch Black.” Did you both work on that with .Paak?
We did two records that night — “Inner Peace” and “Pitch Black.” For the latter, the idea was to treat Anderson’s voice like a sample because Anderson has this voice that if you run it through a bunch of s**t, and put some crackles and pops on it, that starts to sound like an old sample. If you listen to the record, there are only two or three parts where Anderson’s in it with a sort of radio-sounding voice. Anderson is a nice guy, and he’s so f**king talented, man.
When you record artists for the first time, how long does it take you to understand their techniques?
Say they’re jumping in the booth and they’re about to do a verse; by the third or fourth line, I’ve understood what they want, whether they want to hear just one line back or do a line and then play from the top, do the next line, play it from the top… It depends. By the third line, you start to understand they only want to hear two lines back and then go into the new line. You have to grasp this all quickly and in your head. Anderson also records line by line. That’s the best part. I think everyone does that now. It’s the easiest thing to do because when you’re writing a verse or recording a verse, if you have to focus on a lot of different things at once, it makes the job harder. I feel like CB is the hardest to record — not in the sense that he’s a pain in the a** to record, but more because he moves so fast. Then, he’s like, “Boom, stack, stack, stack.” I think [Young] Thug probably works at the same speed as Chris, but there are not any artists that work at that speed. So when I get in with other artists, it’s almost easier than recording CB.
You previously told REVOLT about Chris’ spaceship-like home studio. What’s the food situation while working?
We just order food. In his house, he has all the snacks that you like. Anytime we want actual food, we just order it. Sometimes, if it’s just me and him, I’ll just order it. But, sometimes, there are 10 people there, and they’re asking for f**king Larsen’s Steakhouse and s**t. I eat more for pleasure. I like to go out and find fire food spots. He’s not into the food like that. He’ll eat, but he’s not going to be going out. But, if he were out with me trying to find food, he would never be left alone. Some of our favorites to order to the studio are The Boiling Crab and steak, for sure. There’s a place called Joey’s that’s out here on my side of town; that’s good. It’s not steakhouse food, but it’s really good. We just don’t eat s**tty food. Occasionally, when it’s 11 [p.m.] or midnight, all you can order are cheeseburgers. But, for the most part, we eat good.
Chris has this 11:11 album coming up. Did you record any of it?
I didn’t, actually. I have a new engineer; my boy JP, who used to be Sevyn Streeter’s engineer, came in for this album.
What can fans expect from this LP?
I like this album the most. What I can say is it won’t be 100 songs. It won’t be that f**king long. This is his best album yet. And it might be because it’s shorter than the others that have been 40 and 50 songs long. Don’t get me wrong; those are fine with me and his fans. There are one or two moments on the album where I think people are really going to be surprised. But, again, that’s super top secret.
You’ve also done some recording work for Chlöe Bailey on her song “Surprise.” How did you two link up?
I recorded Chlöe on that song way before I left Chris. We recorded that about two years ago. I did it with Scott Storch. He hit me saying, “I got Chlöe coming over, and I don’t have an engineer to cut her. Will you do it?” I wanted to work with Chlöe anyway, so I agreed. I get there, and Chlöe’s the nicest. She’s asking me about my wife. She’s like, “Do you guys have any kids? Do you have any pets? What area did you grow up in?” When you make timeless music, it doesn’t matter if it’s been a year or two; it still feels the same.
What’s her recording process like?
With her, we weren’t doing line by line; we were doing longer pieces because she’s very emotional when she sings. She has a lot of interesting things to say, so I feel a lot of those things have to be done together so the emotion can carry from one line into the next line. We were recording sections. We’d do three or four lines here, and then there’s a break where we can then come and do the next section. It was a little bit different than the line-by-line process we’ve spoken about before. But, it was still something that was easy to grasp because as soon as she was like, “Oh no, let me do the next line,” I wouldn’t stop the recording until she told me to.
What did you mean by saying she was very emotional?
She has a lot of emotion in her singing, [so] things have to be sung together instead of just trying to jam in lines and hope the emotion between the lines flows. Some people cannot create that emotion to connect the lines when punching in two different things.
Recording can take away from your everyday life. What personal moments have you sacrificed to work with people like Chris Brown?
I remember all the times I was about to go to dinner or was already at dinner, and I got a message saying, “Yo, you got to come now. We got to record right now.” Then I just have to get the food to go. I got the hard drive on me already. My wife will drop me off at Chris’ house, and I’ll Uber back home later. But, if I tell CB, “I’m dealing with this very important situation in my life,” he’d be completely understanding.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
I just finished Usher’s album, which comes out next year. I did Coi Leray’s album. I’m finishing Chris’ album. I mixed Offset’s album with Bainz. I did this Janelle Monáe record with Quavo. I also finished Tee Grizzley’s album.