For Columbia, Missouri-based music producer Tim “Heez On Fire” Hanson, 2012 was a year to remember. From the studio to the stage, it was a non-stop ride for the 30-year-old industry entrepreneur. Hanson, who has been an active music producer going on 11 years, has operated Heezers Palace Studios and Syndicate Artist Management from his two-story home in Columbia since 2008. In that time he has emerged as a go-to figure in the music industry both nationally and internationally in recording, mixing, mastering, producing and managing artists from all genres, walks of life and geographic location. 2012 was by far the most monumental year for him yet and when reviewing the year, it’s easy to see why.
Heezers Palace Studios
Hanson’s itinerary in 2012 primarily consisted of hours upon hours at Heezers Palace Studios; a production, recording, mixing and mastering facility that he has operated in Columbia going on 5 years. January kicked off with a bang as the studio released projects with Hanson’s longtime friends and management clients The Cold Cuts and Omega. For The Cold Cuts it was the Pop It 4 A Dollar Mixtape, the groups first offering in over a year since releasing 3 projects with Hanson as an Executive Producer in 2010. “Tetrahydrocannabinol,” the video single from the mixtape caught a blaze of blog coverage, including attention from The Smokers Club website. Omega’s Furious Styles was a long-anticipated project that was years in the making, dating back to the artist’s days on Carl Edwards’ Back40 Records label. It featured producers such as Nitti, Dexter Beats, Wally of Basement Beats and artist features from Strange Music’s Stevie Stone, WWE’s John Cena and Teeper T of The Cold Cuts amongst others.
Going into February, Hanson began working with reemerging Hip Hop group Tripl3 Crown on an anthem themed towards the University of Missouri titled “Tru3 Sons.” The group worked with Hanson, who crafted the beat from scratch with guitarist Ryan Kirchoff. The group worked for 6 meticulous months, with the song being released as a digital single in August on iTunes. The accompanying music video, shot by Saint Louis-based producer Matthew Sawicki, caught major attention in Big 12 and SEC websites, grossing over 10,000 views in it’s first week on YouTube. It was then that he also recorded Mista Parle’s single “The New Cool” which gained a decent level of popularity in Southern United States markets. February also saw the beginning on Hanson’s work with recently signed Syndicate Management client Blake Gardner on an EP titled Summer Mix which he executive produced with Blake on vocals and guitars and Hanson playing all drum tracks from his MPC 1000.
As spring approached, Hanson caught the attention of the local Jazz scene for his mastering work on composer Gabriel Watkins’ Notes for Life album. In March, he wrapped up recording on Niño Blaze’s A Hundred And 1 album, a project which he also executive produced. The album would head into mixing and mastering for an eventual release later in the summer months. It was after the completion of those projects that he began working with a slew of up and coming Hip Hop acts that included Jesse James, High Yello, A Ross, Bryan B, BA, EMP, E-Wat, BC but not Ancient Times, ShottyRaw, and D Polite. He produced, recorded, mixed and mastered a single for Bree entitled “Gladiator” which was released as a video single shot and directed by Steddy P.
In April, Hanson was working in-studio with Syndicate Management producer Cutler Jones and Hip Hop artist TG. The session was covered by Columbia Missourian journalists Nina Pantic and ANNA Boiko-Weyrauch. Their coverage of the session and accompanying interview lead to a front page story released by the newspaper on April 24, which showcased Hanson as the go-to producer and sound engineer in the Mid-Missouri area. The story was also documented in a digital video by the newspaper and released on YouTube.
The same month, he began contributing to sound design for the Berlin Theatre, a black-box theatre that is operated by Hanson’s father’s Talking Horse Productions company and picked up a large amount of editing for dance choreographer Jacqueline Sutton. As spring began to transition to summer, Hanson began working with The Kushins, a collective of MC’s headed by front-man Tevin Kushin. Hanson finished recording, mixing and mastering Tevin’s The Man on Mars Mixtape which released in May. The two went on to complete The Man on Mars Volume 2 and are currently working on two other projects. He also worked heavily with Brunswick, New Jersey native Prince Sterling during the late spring.
When June came, Hanson was given the opportunity to work with Melbourne, Australia group Bastian Killjoy. Hanson and Killjoy front-man Jamie Coleman worked out specifics on having their new album No Country For Bastian mastered in America at Heezers Palace. After crunching numbers and exchange rates, the parties came to an agreement and Hanson instantly became an international music producer. He is currently mixing and mastering the groups next project as well as solo releases from individual members of the group with other prospective international clients putting in bids for future work.
As summer continued, Hanson got back to work with Teeper T of The Cold Cuts on his Vote YES Volume 2 Mixtape. The project is the sequel to Teeper’s first mixtape and Hanson’s first executive produced work which released in early 2009. The two would collaborate over the following months and VY2 released digitally on election day, November 6 to happy fans all over the US. The Cold Cuts also released a digital single in September which was produced and recorded in 2011 titled “Moonwalkin” which hyped Teeper’s release and reassured fans that the duo was still busy after moving from Missouri to Northern California’s Bay Area in August. Hanson would begin work with the groups Kaper Lucero on his solo album towards the end of the year.
As summer came to an end, the height of the summer concert season had Hanson out of the studio more than any other time of the year. That didn’t stop him from working on projects with pop artist Amanda Mae and rappers such as Monnie Man, Jhonnie Lama and June Bug. He got back to work with SPOC’s J-Fowl and began recording the sequel to Fowler’s I’m From Birdland Volume 1 Mixtape. He also got the opportunity to work with Prophet, the younger brother of Hanson’s long-time friend Rickey Bifford, who was the first artist Hanson ever produced and tragically died as the victim of a brutal murder in Tampa, Florida in 2009.
As the fall and winter months came several artists Hanson worked with throughout the year released projects. Some of these included Steddy P & DJ Mahf’s While You Were Sleeping 2: End of the World Party, Teeper T’s The Vote YES Mixtape Volume 2, BA’s The Best Unheard and Tevin Kushin’s The Man on Mars Volume 2. The Cold Cuts also released a digital single produced by Cutler Jones titles “Moonwalkin.” Their first non-mixtape release since 2010’s Absolute Zero album.
All in all, it was a record-setting year in the studio for Tim “Heez On Fire” Hanson in terms of hours logged, projects released, new clients and industry success. He became accepted into the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), was published throughout the print and internet media both local and nationally and continues to gain notoriety for his work going into the 2013 year.
SYNDICATE ARTIST MANAGEMENT
Hanson’s other business, Syndicate Artist Management, continued to solidify it’s place in the national music scene in 2012. The year kicked off promptly with Hanson adding Blues/Jam artist Blake Gardner to the roster, along with Pop duo 3oNe3. They would join current clients The Cold Cuts and Omega, along with Producers Dexter Beats and Cutler Jones.
Omega started his year off proper, releasing his long anticipated Furious Styles project in early January. Bookings came in quick as he would be on shows with recent Warner Bros signee XV and Mega Ran. Hanson would DJ all of Omega’s 2012 shows as well as handle his bookings and other management affairs. As the year progressed the two shared stages with the likes of Strange Music’s Kutt Calhoun and brought the house down during his performance at the 2012 Big Rick Benefit Concert. Omega would do a short-run tour for Furious Styles which coincided with Syndicate’s Syndicated Broadcast Tour, which featured all of the company’s artists sharing various dates throughout the Midwest Omega would kick his tour off in Columbia, Missouri and do shows in Lincoln, Nebraska as well.
The Cold Cuts kicked 2012 off with a project release as well, their first release since 2010’s Dollar Tree Mixtape. Pop It For A Dollar (the third saga of the dollar series mixtapes) would eventually push through and set new download and streaming listens records for the duo. The runaway single from the mixtape was “Tetrahydrocannabinol” which had an accompanying video shot and directed by Steddy P. The video would eventually make it’s way to blog coverage, and was featured on The Smokers Club Tour blog as a part of their 420scmarathon.
Bookings would take The Cold Cuts on various headliners from Columbia, Missouri to Lawrence, Kansas. They also did a mini-tour with Saint Louis-based Hip Hop band The Midwest Avengers and Springfield, Missouri’s Lucid that would hit all the groups hometown’s and pulled great crowds. Kaper Lucero would also do solo performances with the likes of Mickey Avalon and The Coup. As summer came, the duo decided to move themselves and their 9to5 Records label from Missouri to the Northern California area. They continued to work on projects, releasing a digital single “Moonwalkin,” and eventually Teeper T’s Vote YES Mixtape Volume 2 on election day. Plans for 2013 look strong for the group with Hanson, as touring, new music, licensing and endorsement deals are all in the works.
The Syndicate producers had a productive year as well. Dexter Beats spent his year working at Nelly’s Extreme Institute in Saint Louis alongside multi-platinum producer Wyshmaster and multi-platinum and Grammy nominated Engineer and producer Carl Nappa. He got placement on Stevie Stone’s debut album with Strange Music, producing “Raw Talk” which featured Hopsin and was critically acclaimed by many as one of the best songs on the album.
Cutler Jones stayed busy as well with productions being featured on releases from The Cold Cuts, TG, E-Wat and others. His graphics skills we’re vast as well as he did cover and tracklist graphics for The Cold Cuts, Teeper T, TG and several other freelance jobs.
The company’s newcomers Blake Gardner and 3oNe3 also saw success in their tenures with Syndicate. 3oNe3 would do a short-term deal, but landed gigs performing with the likes of Timeflies, Mike Stud, Huey Mack, Hoodie Allen and G-Eazy. Blake Gardner would be the most-booked artist on the Syndicate roster in 2012, performing dozens of times throughout the Midwest in cities like Columbia, MO, Quincy, IL, Chicago, Lake of the Ozarks and others. His debut EP which was produced by Hanson caught positive vibes and put him on the map in the national jam scene. 2013 looks to be even bigger for the 21-year-old upstart.
Retrospectively, 2012 was so monumental for Hanson it would be hard to top it in 2013. Don’t count on it not happening though. The ball continues to roll into the new year for the producer, with Heezers Palace Studios schedule at twice the booking rate of last years and the artists of Syndicate Management making even bigger moves. In 2013, Hanson plans to take on more major-industry work and reach out to more artists of all levels of experience in order to make his future brighter while continuing to grow and boom with the core group of artists that he has reached his current achievements with. Always looking forward while appreciating the past is how he’s put himself in position to be successful and that is one thing that certainly won’t change for him in 2013.