Midi Mafia Recall Working On Frank Ocean’s 'Nostalgia, Ultra'
Production duo Midi Mafia, comprised of Bruce Waynne and Dirty Swift (Waynne Nugent and Kevin Risto, respectively), have been working with Frank Ocean longer than almost anyone. In addition to hanging out with him and Alycia Bellamy, they also worked with him to write a number of songs for other artists.
Some of these became hit records for artists like XXX. Many more because part of the Lonny Breaux Collection, an unofficial mixtape of reference tracks Frank recorded before his Def Jam contract.
DX: Do you find yourselves just conversing with artists, and those conversations subsequently becoming tracks?
Dirty Swift: I think that happens the longer you work with an artist. Take Frank Ocean, for example. We would have long, long conversations just about music. Bruce would say, “Hey, you need to go listen to the Beatles.” Then he would go listen to the Beatles, come back, and we’d have more conversations. We’d end up doing a track, and that influence would kind of pop up out of it. You just keep experimenting. When you have that longer-term relationship with an artist you’re vibing with, those things happen all the time.
DX: The partnership with Frank Ocean seemed to be a really organic one that worked out well for everybody…
Bruce Waynne: We were working with Brandy and James Fauntleroy, who we’re huge fans of. And we met Frank Ocean, because he was one of the writers. We just kind of kicked it and realized that our musical tastes aligned. He was like, “Yo, I’d like to come to the studio.” And in the process of coming to the studio and working on his craft, we placed a lot of records. The next thing you know, we did a mixtape, he got a deal and got a publishing deal. Everything that we did together built that up. But it was just genuinely from being fans, liking what each other was doing and then making good music.