AFTER a successful 2023 season with songs like Nailah Blackman and Skinny Fabulous' Come Home, and Machel Montano's Like Yuh Self, music producer Mevon "XplicitMevon" Soodeen has unleashed six riddims and a host of other tunes for the Carnival 2024 season.
He recalled deejaying during his days as a St James Secondary School student, and that a friend gave him the digital audio workstation software Fruity Loops. He then started to explore production.
"I have always been a fan of music," he told Sunday Newsday.
The 37-year-old Diego Martin native collaborated with fellow producer Nikholai "NMG Music" Greene on the Resurgence and Rusty Riddims.
The former riddim includes Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez (So What), Lyrikal (Fetin' Mayor), the late Ricardo Drue (Good Girls) and Preedy (Action).
Soodeen said the beat for the riddim was actually completed during the height of the covid19 pandemic in 2020.
"We try and we try and it was one of those riddims we sent around (to several artistes) and nobody was really taking it on.
"The riddim itself has a road vibe and people weren't putting themselves in that space at the time."
But, as fate would have it, Lyons-Alvarez hopped on it, creating So What, which speaks of women who have a problem with others taking a wine on their man for the Carnival season.
"Then Lyrikal had an idea, and Drue was always interested in it, Preedy wrote his song and Drue's song as well..."
The riddim was originally called the Gulag Riddim, which he explained was owing to he and Greene regularly playing Call of Duty: Warzone and wanting to make a reference to it.
"In Warzone, when you die, you go into the Gulag in order to come back to the game."
But after deciding it was probably a bit too morbid, they decided to let the name reflect the journey of the riddim.
"It was one of those riddims that died in our eyes and suddenly it had this resurgence of interest, and before you know it, we had a three-man riddim."
This, he said, "just shows that nothing happens before its time.
"We thought all hope was lost and it feels really good that four years later, we can still reap the benefits of something we had created then."
When it comes to the Rusty Riddim, he said this was another "pandemic riddim."
This has Aaron "Voice" St Louis and Boyzie (Shakedown), Lyrikal (Memory), Sackie (Boldface) and Problem Child (New World Order).
He also produced the Majesty Riddim with Stemz, another producer, which features the 2024 hit Everytime by Nadia Batson and Life After Fete by Kerwin Du Bois.
"Stemz reached out to work with me in 2023 and he sent me some shells of beats. Majesty was one of them."
Admittedly, there was a time he "was not feeling" Everytime.
"I felt like I did so many rum songs for this Carnival season already," he said laughing, "So I wasn't rally feeling a next drinking song."
But he still went with his gut and opted to release the song. The riddim's name, he said, was chosen because he felt like both artistes are soca royalty.
The Titivay Riddim journey was the opposite of Resurgence's as it "caught on fast." So much so that some artistes were cut off it.
The beat was a result of him challenging himself to create a beat a day with no samples or loops. This riddim was originally called No Loops Friday.
Songs on this riddim include Meet We Down Dey by Patrice Roberts, Livin' Meh Life by Farmer Nappy, Rum, Gyal and Money by Rome and Hymc by Sekon Sta.
Similarly, the Ice Cream Truck Riddim was the beat made on No Loops Tuesday.
"The tones felt like the sound of those old ice-cream truck jingles and nursery rhyme sound, and it also has a truck or road Carnival vibes."
This one has Whatever Yuh Want by Nadia Batson, Out ah Order by Lyrikal and Pretty Gyal by Adam O.
Finally, he teamed up with fellow producer Advokit Productions – who started the project – on the Rum Shop Riddim which has Responding Well by Wadicks, Like Dat by Sackie and Numb by Kernal Roberts.
Typically, Soodeen also releases the instrumentals for riddims he worked on, which is not something all producers do.
Asked about this, he said, "You never know who might want to use your instrumentals for ads, movies, etc. A lot of people have reached out to use instrumentals because they see and hear it online.
He added, "And with me growing up as a DJ and as a fan of music in my teens, the instrumental was always there when I bought riddims. It's a way to give DJs ammo to play the riddim too."
When it comes to artwork for these riddims, he said he tries his best for the mood of both factors to match.
"Resurgence (cover art) has a military vibe because of how it started, Rusty has a very rustic tone, Majesty is pink and purple with castles...I am naturally an artistic person when I'm creating."
Gone are the days when he worried greatly about his music "failing" or songs not getting as popular as he had hoped. In fact, he has now given those fears a grade F.
"The feeling I get when I'm creating music and in the studio is worth more than somebody's opinion.
"Not to sound corny, but soca is my therapy. It is literally what brings me joy."
The reason he realised he may sound corny is because he also produced Patrice Roberts' 2024 hit Anxiety, in which one of the lines is, "Soca is my therapy."
He also co-produced Today by Bunji with Kyle "Badjohn Republic" Phillips, and did Soca Eden by Destra and Carnival Day by Voice and Patrice Roberts.
Other than soca, he has produced pop, hip-hop and R&B. He said he is open to exploring both reggae and chutney.