GRAMMY-Winning Producer Kevin "Capi" Carbo Breaks Down Dominic Fike's "3 Nights" [ANATOMY OF A SONG]
Something in the air down in Naples, Florida, is breeding incredible musicians. Kevin Carbo, better known as Capi, is among the tight knit community of mysteriously buzzy up and comers from the city. Despite only being 24, his youth is masked by his expert touch in the studio. Influenced by Latin and hip-hop, Capi went headfirst into producing after finding an old keyboard in his attic and quickly established a name for himself. He has co-produced tracks for J Balvin, which earned a Latin Grammy, and worked with Lele Pons and Matt Hunter on "Dicen," which later went double platinum in Latin America. Most recently, Capi co-wrote and produced Dominic Fike's breakout hit "3 Nights," a track which opened doors for Fike to sign with Columbia Records.
We sat down with Capi to talk listening to his gut, graduating from Fruityloops and linking with fellow Naples-native Dominic Fike.
BRAIN: The Thought Process
OTW: How did you connect with Dominic Fike?
Capi: I met Dom in 2013. I had a studio in Naples, Florida where a lot of locals were coming through to record and he came along for a friend's session. Soon after he started coming by to record often.
OTW: Tell us about the writing session for “3 Nights.” Who was in the room and how did the concept come to be?
Capi: It was just a regular day. I had a session scheduled with Dom and he didn’t really have anything to work on, so we did something from scratch. A couple friends were there hanging out with us–some were artists as well. I knew I wanted to make something a little more upbeat, and went in that direction immediately. I always try to give the artist I'm working with something that can show them in a new light but still be them as well. I ran through some samples and started to re-arrange, pitch, and chop a guitar loop I came across. From there, I added in drums and did a quick arrangement. Dom was writing to it as I went. It was very organic and we had the idea going within 20 minutes. From there Dom got in the booth and starting laying vocals. I think the most time we spent was probably on trying different harmonies and playing with melodies.
OTW: You’re credited as a co-writer and a producer on the song, does songwriting or producing come more naturally to you?
Capi: I’ve been at it for a while, and as I’m still learning new things every day, I try to just do what feels natural to me. Although I don’t write lyrics, I have a good idea of how a record should sound. Sometimes it's not so much about what you’re saying, it's more how you say it and the emotion it gives off. Production wise, I can come up with ideas quickly but I'm picky. I might switch through five different ideas within the moment. It just has to give off the right feeling at that time.
OTW: Which DAW do you use to produce and why is it your favorite?
Capi: Ableton. After being a Fruityloops baby for 10 years, I felt it was time for something new and more with the times. Ableton is very flexible with audio and sampling, and keeps the song-making process simple. I can creatively come up with so many ideas within minutes and then turn those ideas in a whole other direction if I want to. A lot of people in my corner were switching too and now we speak the same language. It's much easier to work together on projects and bounce ideas back and forth.
HEART: The Core Emotion
OTW: What emotion were you hoping to convey with "3 Nights?"
Capi: I don’t even know honestly. Sometimes there’s no crazy thought process when you're going at it. Like I mentioned earlier, I knew I wanted something upbeat–who knows if Dom was on the same page or not. But after the initial vibe got going, I just went forward with it. I felt good that day, and everybody in the room felt good. Positivity.
LEGS: The Means To Take Off
OTW: Dominic Fike is blowing up right now. What about his music do you think people resonate with?
Capi: He’s just fire, both musically and as a person. He carries a vibrant energy that speaks for itself, and reflects in his music. You get something relatable, fun, unpredictable, and timeless out of it. Most importantly, it's raw and uncut. What you get in his music is himself, what he’s gone through and what he feels.
OTW: What projects are you currently working on? Any plans to work with Dominic Fike again?
Capi: I've just been getting into a lot of writing sessions with really dope people. I'm focused on working with new, upcoming artists and building them. They are the future. I don’t like to name drop too much, but still working in the Latin space while branching out on the American side as well. And yes, we’ve been at a distance due to traveling and schedules but it's in the plans to get in again soon.
HANDS: Advice for Producers Who Need A Lift
OTW: What advice would you give to up and coming producers?
Capi: Listen to your gut. It's usually right. Don’t work expecting the results, just enjoy the journey and everything that comes with it. If you work hard and stay consistent, good things will line up for you. Focus on connecting the dots.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
Capi: Ya’ll need to check out Dominic Fike, Brendan Bennett, Fuego, C. Tangana, Matt Hunter, Jake Herring, Wxnder Y, Chris Catlin, Alx Soon, ripmattblack…the list goes on.