'Unforgettable' Producers 1Mind Talk Mega-Success of French Montana's Hit
Production group 1Mind are the brains behind one of the hottest songs of the summer, French Montana and Swae Lee's "Unforgettable." Sitting at a new high of No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, the hit record has gained steam through a dance challenge that spread around the internet earlier this year.
Getting together around 2012, the 22-year-old Sebastian, 23-year-old Mac and 23-year-old Michael steadily built relationships in the industry by assembling in Indianapolis around 2013 before making their way to Atlanta and finally all settling this year in Los Angeles.
Since the explosion of "Unforgettable," the trio has garnered more attention for their production skills. Mac notes: "We're trying to work with whoever we can. We have some projects that we can't really talk about, but we definitely have been working with a lot of artists. We definitely have some stuff with an artist named SAFE from Toronto. His project is going to come out."
Billboard hopped on the phone with 1Mind to discuss their music production, who they hope to work with, and the recent French Montana flub on the Breakfast Club radio show.
How did you get into music growing up in Indianapolis?
Sebastian: I actually had piano lessons growing up, and then I played the cello from 10 to 16. Then, right when I ended the cello, I started working on stuff on the computer. Then, when I was 17, I met Mac. Mac had some pretty cool shit going on as far as music and beats. So then we worked on some stuff. Pretty much a week later we started doing shit collectively and came up with a name.
Mac: I have an older brother who was always playing in bands, so I was just exposed to that growing up. I played the drums a lot. I took a few piano lessons, and I just started producing when I was 17, mainly because one of my friends had the software. So I watched him do it and started doing it. I've known Michael since fourth grade. So it just made sense for us to do stuff together.
Michael: I was always obsessed with hip-hop beats, rap beats, Ludacris, Nelly, etc. So I started taking drum lessons to get my rhythm game stronger. Took some piano lessons. Always played in bands and stuff throughout middle school and high school. I did jazz bands. I was always into all kinds of music and playing different instruments. When I was 16, I got into the studio and wanted to be my own band electronically. I got Mac into it and he took off super quick.
What type of music were you into, and was dancehall a part of that?
Mac: I started out listening to a lot of rock. That was the first thing I really listened to. AC/DC was the first artist I listened to. My brother listened to it, so I got a lot stuff from him. And my brother actually put me on Outkast, so that was my first and favorite hip-hop group, still to this day. That was kind of what inspired me to start doing hip-hop. I guess dancehall, I didn't really start listening to until later, more recently, like the past four years.
Sebastian: I came up off of hip-hop mainly. I have super Colombian parents. So that's the closest thing I can think of to dancehall, because Colombia is very diverse. There's all sorts of different music. I got involved with some artists from Toronto who were making that [dancehall] and it came out of a request. We were interested in that sound, and then it kind of started from there.
In another interview with Genius, one of you mentioned your friends played the "Unforgettable" beat for Swae Lee. Talk about your early placements and connections that led up to that pivotal moment?
Sebastian: Our first two somewhat relevant relationships was this guy named Ramriddlz. In Toronto at the time, he had this record that was remixed by Drake. And so he was bubbling up in the summer. He was in L.A., and we were just running around making stuff all day. After him, it was Lil Yachty. We were working with him really early, and then we just kind of built a relationship with him. We had two cuts on his first two projects. Those were our first two where people actually started noticing that we had some records. But as far as Billboard, "Unforgettable" is the first single. I think the Lil Bo project got into the [Billboard] 200, but this was the highest-charting single. We met Jaegan and also CP. Dubb, who played the beat for Swae through Ramriddlz. So a lot of it was through Ramriddlz.
The inspiration for the song came from a request to send beats for Drake's Views album. Did you have an inkling the day you went and made the beat that it would be one of the biggest songs of the year?
Mac: I kind of felt that at the time because that's what I always feel when I make a beat: "Yo, this is going to be huge!" [Laughs] I guess I knew that the beat was really good. We all knew. We wasn't sure what was going to happen to it. [OVO] messaged us back and said, "Keep this beat. It's great." So we were all optimistic about it, even though they didn't use it. Then, once we heard the Swae reference, we were like, "Yo, this is going to be a huge song."
Talk about any "Mama, I made it" moments you've had since this record blew up.
Mac: Our elementary school that Mac and I went to did an article on us in their newsletter. Our third grade Spanish teachers were calling us being like, "I can't believe you guys are doing this," because I used to be a misfit in class. So who knew?
Sebastian: Which is ironically our first bit of press in Indianapolis. Our elementary school. [Laughs] I've had a bit of everything. I've had a couple of ex-girlfriends hit me up. But honestly, I said it to Mac and Michael yesterday: We lived in Atlanta for a while, definitely chasing the dream, and nothing happened. But then we met this one guy out there who is actually Childish Major's manager. He just called us and was like, "Wait. Did you all produce this?! Look at us!" That's all he said. I was thinking like, "Damn. What the f---. Look at us!" [Laughs]
Are there any songwriters or producers that you're beginning to have a closer relationship with or consider frequently collaborating with?
Sebastian: Yeah. We worked with Jaegan a lot. We were with CP on this other record called "Time" by PnB Rock. Then, there's a bunch of guys in L.A. There's this guy named Jordan I really like. But yeah, we're just running around L.A., doing a lot of sessions with a lot of people. So sometimes we will be with someone new. Sometimes, we will be with someone we regularly work with. But right now, we are kind of exploring and seeing where the sound can go.
Do you have any dream collaborators?
Mac: Definitely. In terms of producers, we really like Frank Dukes a lot. We spent a lot of time in the studio with him. We definitely have a relationship with him. He's a good guy. Obviously, we would love to get songs with somebody like Drake or Rihanna. We would love to work with their producers. 40 is a legend to us.
Sebastian: We're also trying to work with Kanye and Beyoncé! [Laughs]
Recently, French Montana forgot the producers of the "Unforgettable" record during a Breakfast Club interview, but then tweeted acknowledging everyone. Any thoughts on that?
The producer isn't always in the studio with the artist when the song is being made. So it's pretty understandable, especially when the beat is being passed around and a lot of people are working on it. The person they get the beat from might not even be the producer. It's pretty understandable how that can happen. I don't have a problem with how the process works these days, because I think it makes the music happen faster.