In the control center of their Sherman Oaks, CA studio, the songwriting and production duo known as Da Internz reveals a study in contrasts. Marcos “Kosine On Da Beat” Palacios is animated and verbal, while Ernest “Tuo” Clark is observant and reflective.
With the success of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” the pair (who have both co-writing and production credits on the song) are on a hot streak, having written and/or produced hits for Nas, Big Sean, Ludacris featuring Miguel, Game, Plies, and Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, John Legend, Rihanna, Kat Graham and Melanie Fiona.
It was not always this way. A decade ago the two Chicagoans were creating homemade mix tapes, but they envisioned writing and producing on a larger scale. “We were flying between Chicago and L.A. and sleeping on floors. Trying to get into any studio we could get into, cultivating the sound of what was going around sonically in California,” says Kosine.
Encouraged by Tuo, Kosine graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, and then taught producing and recording music plus hip-hop beat making at his alma mater. “Everything that Tuo and I were doing in L.A. I put into my class,” Kosine remembers. “The Chicago Sun-Times did a full page write-up on it.”
Mastering the sounds as producers was crucial, but Kosine believes that understanding the craft of songwriting was key. It was at a writing retreat in Holland that Kosine came under the influence of ASCAP’s Ralph Murphy. “He talked about ‘Don’t ever say it’s a dress, say it’s a yellow dress. Don’t say it’s a tree, it’s an oak tree.’ He broke down how to make songs come to life and to make them visual. It just clicked in,” Kosine remembers. “Instrumentals don’t go Number One on the charts,” he continues. “And when you hear something like John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ or Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’––records that are just voice and piano—it lets you know the power of the song.”
With multiple writers now divvying up songwriting credits on pop hits, Kosine is philosophical about this complexity of contributions. “We’re so generous. We sow so many seeds, and it’s always better to have a piece of something huge than to have a whole stake in something that ain’t doing shit.” His partner applies his knowledge to the business side of their enterprises. “I learned from years of studying different people and being in rooms I never thought that I’d be in,” Tuo says.
A publishing deal with Sony/ATV has provided Da Internz with major opportunities such as Netflix promotional campaigns that included the song they co-wrote and produced for Youngblood Hawk, “Stars (Hold On)” and “Made to Love,” by John Legend featuring Kimbra. The later was utilized in a Chevy commercial in which they are credited as writers and they also have co-production credits with Kanye West.
Da Internz now have signed writers and producers to what they call “Internz University,” a specific songwriting and production system to help their novices come up with hits. “I’m a firm believer that when people come to you, you actually pay attention to what they have to say,” says Tuo. “A lot of people can’t listen. We weren’t the shit––we had to go through it. ‘It’s not quite there, but I know where we can take that.’ There’s a whole study standpoint when you are in the driver’s seat and want people to get in the car with you.”
Additionally, the two are also readying an artist project dubbed Affordable Healthcare. “To do what we do you have the desire in your soul to be Robin, not Batman,” says Kosine, “because the artist is Batman. That's why our Affordable Healthcare music is so different––it’s not us standing behind anyone. This is what we feel in our souls.”
Ultimately, these partners share a mission. Says Kosine, “We’re not the gangsters. We’re the guys who have the most fun making music. We won’t get in front of you; we’ll let you shine. That’s Da Internz brand.”
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