Victor Tareware popularly known as V-tek was is a songwriter and music producer who was the unseen hand behind some of the popular hit-tracks of P-Square. After almost four years working with the celebrated music twins, V-tek took The Premier’s Bolatito Adebola on a journey into the odyssey that snowballed into the crisis that tore the twin brothers apart. Excerpts…
Actually Vtek is a Bayelsa/Edo boy, a music producer, a song writer and upcoming artiste and I am also into sound engineering, basically I am an art inclined person because I was born and brought up with art. I did a bit of drama because as you know most of us do drama in school.
What is the meaning of the name Vtek?
Actually, the name Vtek is an abbreviation of my name which is Victor and my Bayelsa name which is Tareware, though my mum is from Edo State and my dad is from Bayelsa State.
How long have you been into studio duty?
I started in school but it was around 2007 that I really started as a studio engineer
Who did you grow up with in this job of studio engineering?
I will say I am like an outlawed person because I didn’t start in the church as a member of the choir but in 2007 I ran into K-Solo; he is like a brother and a friend. With him I did some jobs in the studio for some months. But I was very ambitious, I didn’t want to be a sound engineer alone, I wanted to be a producer. That was when it became an issue because people started saying that I have to wait behind the line. I was thinking inside me that who created this line. Though there was no beef between us but we had an issue later which was later settled.
What have been your challenges?
There are many challenges because there are factions in the industry. I am not the type of guy that is attached to factions. I am from a background where good music and art is valued and we are in an industry where it depends on who you know. There are so many musicians who are getting free publicity because of who they know. Those things really hit me hard especially after the 2014 P-Square project. After that project I became Vtek, the producer.
Which project was that?
The ‘Double Trouble’ album
Are you part of the album?
Actually, I did the bulk of the work. I got credit for five productions in the album. I was like the supervising producer. Right from there, I started having challenges because we are in an industry where people look at you and say that let us look at what he can do. I have no chairman or godfather. It was just me and I was a little bit attached to P-square, so every bad judgment they heard about P-square was attributed to me as well and every good qualities come with it also because I was working with Africa’s number one artistes.
Were you well paid?
I was sorted out. It was good enough to rent me an apartment. I set up my studio and I have some family issues to settle at that point in time, so it was enough to do all that.
How long did you spend with them?
In September 2012, I met P-square working with one of their friends who was actually a good friend of mine too. Later they said let us try this guy too, especially Peter who said they should try me. There was a song I produced then which was titled ‘Magical Healing’ that was my trial, later ‘Unlimited’ which they did with Lagbaja. After that I did ‘Personally’ and it was sealed.
Did you really produce ‘Personally’?
I was the producer on deck but the idea was from Paul. I cautioned myself because there are bigger thing ahead. I was very careful about the whole thing because I know then that there are lots to do together.
What is your relationship with Peter?
My relationship with Peter was from the beginning very good because he is always looking out for me. There was a time a family member of mine needed to do surgery, I explained it to all of them including Jude, but it was actually Peter who helped out. I am not saying that he is perfect but my relationship with him is perfect. He always tells me ‘Vtek produce and brings it to me and let us see and discuss.’ The song titled ‘Eje-Ajo’, it was Peter telling me that let us do something outside the box, different from the usual P-square sound, some days later I sent him ‘Eje Ajo’ and it was a hit which really made our relationship to be stronger.
People say you are the genesis of their current break-up?
To be completely honest, there is a way you can say that it is true. From the beginning, the P-Square is like Paul singing and Peter dancing. Along the line, I showed up and then Peter started singing, there were sessions where Paul wasn’t around and Peter was around and I tell Peter that we should do it and he says we should wait for Paul but I would insist we can do it and we recorded and they were great sounds. Later, when he took it to the others, Paul wasn’t comfortable with it because he believes he is the singer and should be him who sings. But I didn’t see it that way.
That means Peter is limited to dancing and Paul is a better singer?
I think they just created it out of their own mind that way. For me I don’t think it should be like that because it was Peter who did ‘Eje Ajo’ and it was okay. I did the writing and it was Peter who did the lead in it. Though, Paul didn’t want it.
Simply because ‘Eje Ajo’ was out of the box, Paul believes in African sound which he justified but Peter wanted something out of that; he wanted us to do the Verse 2, we were talking, waiting and nothing much happened. There were so many details to it which I don’t want to analyze. If you want to resist something, resist it on business line and not on family line. Though they are all great guys, infact Jude is a great guy. Peter has been able to merge his greatness with his work and Paul is a very good guy especially when you want to chat with him. But when it comes to the way they are doing business, there are a lot of holes. I am speaking for myself because I am an independent person. The speculation that Vtek is the genesis of the problem, I can’t deny because Peter became bolder when he started recording with Vtek. There was an interview Peter did not quite long where he said Vtek composes and produces. That made Peter to want to be singing too and that caused a lot of rift which sparked old animosities.
What do you think of the P-Square brand now and can they still come back together?
The truth is that I am a total fan of both of them and based on that I came to realize that what happened to them is fate. A revolution is always preceded by anarchy, though a lot of people will not like the sentence but it is the best way to describe it. Now, they are both independent, they can now look at life and tell themselves that they need to protect the name P-Square. That P-Square means more than Peter and Paul. If they will come back together, I can’t say anything about that and I don’t know. For me, I am a fan of growth and people want to see them together but I totally support what needs to be done properly.
You’ve known them for how long now?
2012 is when I met them and that means for about 4years. Though they are a group but they are powerful individuals and I believe their fame should mean something. Like Peter with his dancing competition now is empowering people.
But they both empowered May-D and Elvino?
Melvin artistically known Elvino is their long-time friend; May-D is like that long dark thing in a white cloth. May- D is like a comment, it never happens every day. After May-D it never happened again. There was a time it was reported that Peter wanted to sign Awilo and V-tek but it never happened. It was to be done on P-Classic.
That means they always have their label separately even when they were together as P-Square?
Yes, but it was an unwelcome idea. But I told them even as they are my bosses that their top priority is you as a group. Another angle to it is that anything that is threatening P-Square is also threatening Peter and Paul. That means it is hard to grow when you are not in peace.
So what you are now saying is that the cause of the fight is somebody doing what he has not been doing before at the initial stage.
The basic truth is that P-Square didn’t have an amazing album invasion which made Peter to say that they need to change their style. Peter is like saying they should try Vtek because he knows this craft and they should deviate from the old style. He said it is because they have stuck with the old stereotyped style, that is the reason invasion did not blow. An ideal P-Square wouldn’t have gotten a young 20year-old guy to do their stuff for them even then I was 22years but Peter insisted that Vtek knows his craft and he should be given a trial.
For how long did the disagreement last between them?
It has been there for long but it just took a whole year when I came in. It has been personal but it has now entered the music. They will always say it is not the music, but I know it is. But let’s face the fact, they have always been able to cover it but when it now got to the musical side, it now spread like a cancer and it poisoned all the old wounds.
A lot of people even have another version that Jude contributed to their break-up?
What they said about Jude being overbearing. Peter has been the person saying that. He said when he brings ideas, Jude always water it down and he said naturally Jude is a manager while they are the artistes. He said normally the artistes employ the manager and gives him a certain percentage but in their own way they share equally. He said when he complained to Paul, he too said he shouldn’t say that because he’s their senior brother. Music shouldn’t be run like a family business. For example, my own brother is an amazing music video director called Mike the Mix, he works with Capital Hills, now he tries to set up his own but I know that we have our own differences. Even the Bible says we should go out and multiply. Some people say that unity is strength but I believe we can combine forces as individuals sometimes. Jude is not a perfect guy, Jude is a strong personality. I have worked with Jude, when I give him advice he is not stone; he accepts but when it now comes to P-Square, he now becomes stone. He believes he has the power to call the shots. P-Square is not two people but three. I happen to go to their website but it was a little inactive and instead of seeing Peter and Paul, I saw the picture of three of them.
The group is two but to them they are three. Paul is always biased when it comes to Jude because he believes he is their brother. Peter loves Jude as a brother because he always says great things about him, but the problem he is having with them is that there should be a difference between brothers and business. To some people it is as if he is not respecting Jude, but it is more than that. I had the privilege of being around when Jermaine Jackson came for a project. The song called Zombie in the album which I feel should be promoted but there is disunity and it was not promoted. Jude is a business guy; he does not like to play safe. He does not like to upset the balance and Paul and Peter too have their own ideas too. Peter would always want to go to the moon and the others see him as the problem. All of them have their own egos and agendas. Jude signs Cynthia Morgan even when managing the P-Square brand, though people say Jude is the problem but I don’t think so.
I have not been the closest person with Jude but I have never had any problem with him. But from my own point of view P-Square can achieve lots financially because they have lots of unclaimed funds in terms of royalty from their albums. If they have an effective manager, the first thing is to get that money out for the group. He is not the P.A or the PR but the manager of the group and the duty is to get the money out for them. He will not lose anything if he does that. I am talking about the royalty inside and outside Nigeria.
Working with P-square what has it been for you?
It is the best internship for me because they don’t joke with their craft and they are serious-minded people. If you spend time with them, you will learn a thing or two. It is the best understudy that I ever had.
What is the particular thing you saw in Peter that made you believe he could do what he is doing now?
What I saw in Peter is that he does not believe in being stereotype, Peter wants to achieve a lot; he wants to go to the moon and see what is happening there. That is one thing that makes me to admire him. If I bring different types of music, he will tell me to let us try it.
What are you into now and your plans for this year?
For this year, I am planning an album of mine and I am featuring some good artistes from here and internationally. I am working with Cynthia Morgan, Chindima, Illbliss. I am working with an artiste from Sweden called Sabina Dumba and also working with Warner Music Group in Sweden, they are globally recognized.
Is there any label you can compare them with in Nigeria?
No I don’t think so because we are still in the ice-age here in Nigeria. We are still in an industry where people respect what you have and who you have as godfather. Marketers are like pirates, we are still growing, record labels should be PR, management and etc, but it is not like that here.
How are you managing as Vtek, the artiste and producer?
For real, 2016 will be my year because I will be performing as an artiste, shooting the video and etc...
Lots of people are better off as a producer than as artiste but it seems you are good in both. What can you tell about this?
I told you that I am an art person and I live art when growing up. My dad draws lots and wrote poems, my mum is a chorister in the church. I have not even show 30% of what I know how to do, and some are saying it is too much, we are like that in my family. My brother is into videos and short films. There are so many aspects you have not seen in me.
How do you think the music industry here can grow?
We should be able to encourage merits. It surprised me that after producing one of the best artistes coming out of Africa I have not even gotten a nomination and people will be telling you that you need to know the rules and know people. We also need to encourage young talents. I have been producing since 2006 after secondary school.
Did you go to higher institution?
I dropped out of UNILAG twice. Firstly, I was doing Mass Communication and later Creative Art
Do you share the opinion that female artistes need to work harder than the male artistes before they can be known?
Women have been restricted to the kitchen for so long and they feel that by working harder in anything they are doing now they will excel. They are coming out and they believe they will be at the top of the industry.
What are your life long dreams?
Vtek is not just a flash. I am establishing businesses. Right now, I am into music and making consultations but when the money comes, I will invest. It is not going to be music alone.
How do you keep yourself humbled?
I grew up in a place where people feel that you are free to be what you want to be. If Michael Jackson with all his fame can die and people cannot authoritatively say that he is making heaven that means he is still human. I don’t joke with God because I am a testimony.
Tell about your family background and position in the family?
I am the second born of the family. We are just three
Working with Darey Art Alade, what was the experience like and what did you actually do together?
I produced ‘Naked’ and ‘Asiko Laye’ featuring Olamide and I did the few mix with ‘Olaitan’ and I did the mastering entirely. It was nice working with Darey and he is one of the coolest artistes I have ever worked with.
With your busy schedule, how you find time to unwind.
I unwind by playing games. I love movies. Sometimes in a while I go clubbing and sometimes I spend time with my girl.
How can you define yourself in three words?
Three things people don’t know about me is I am actually a Nigerian. Then I love to joke a lot, forget about my face and thirdly I love my family.