Production Process

Process is Slam Academy’s own interview-based Production series showcasing upcoming artists and talking about their creative process.

Continuing our feature series “Process” a spotlight on producers, and look into their creative approach. Our seventh edition features Producer Stone. We had the opportunity to ask Michael a few questions about his work.
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Continuing our feature series “Process” a spotlight on producers, and look into their creative approach. Our sixth edition features local Minneapolis artist Dreamcasts. After premiering his latest single on Nest HQ with Noxinbox, we caught up with the producer.
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Continuing our feature series “Process” a spotlight on producers, and look into their creative approach. Our fifth edition features Producer Now You Must Climb Alone. From Antigua Guatemala, we had the opportunity to ask Alex a few questions about his work.
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Continuing our feature series “Process” a spotlight on producers, and look into their creative approach. Our fourth edition features local Minneapolis Producer Diatonic. We had the opportunity to ask Matt a few questions about his work.
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Continuing our feature series “Process” a spotlight on producers, and look into their creative approach. Our third edition features Tennessee Producer Patchley. We had the opportunity to ask Patrick a few questions about his work.
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Continuing our feature series “Process” a spotlight on producers, and look into their creative approach. Our second edition features German Producer Swimming TV. We had the opportunity to ask Cyrila few questions about his work.
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Introducing our new feature series “Process” a spotlight on producers, and look into their creative approach. Our first edition features Michigan Producer Timid Soul. We had the opportunity to ask Joey a few questions about his work.
(expand interview below)

Process, Issue 07: Stone

Slam Academy: Could you introduce yourself?

Michael Stone: my name is Michael Stone (stone)

SA: How did you start making music?

MS: I started making music by making mashups of EDM songs with my friends! eventually we found out about ableton started messing around with it, and made some reaaaaaally bad music for a while. hopefully i have gotten better since then lol

SA: Who were some of your major influences growing up? Who are they now?

MS: My all time biggest influence would probably be skrillex. i have had lots of smaller soundcloud based producer influences, but for the most part skrillex has been and still is my biggest influence.

SA: What does your creative process look like?

MS: My creative process takes a really long time which is very obnoxious. im always trying to find little things to do or songs to listen to that will give me a little boost of creative energy. sometimes i have a really hard time focusing, so i am very off and on with making music.

SA: Do you change your approach to writing music as you progress?

MS: I try to keep music as fun as possible, and I try to approach it as naturally as possible. whatever i am inspired by, or whatever i am into at the moment really changes the way I look at music. I also love making ALL kinds of music, except for country and hardstyle.

SA: Do you ever feel inhibited or empowered by creating music electronically?

MS: There has always been a little bit of self doubt with my music. for a while i kept it a secret that i made music, and i only told a few of my really good friends. i have gotten much better, and realized that i make music for myself, and i make music because its fun! once i embraced this concept i feel like it was very empowering, and boosted my confidence in music.

SA: Where do you like to create?

MS: I like to create literally anywhere. i like to switch it up as well, so one day i might go to a coffee shop or a restaurant and try to get something cool down.

SA: What are you working on currently?

MS: I have not posted music in a while due to a really big project i am working on with 4 really talented producers. the project is called Destiny Bond, and we are releasing our first album with 3 tracks from myself, chinamo, buji, yoshi, and good intent! we have worked hard on this project, and we have some cool stuff planned for it 😉

SA: Where do you release your music? What do you feel is the ideal platform to release music in todays industry?

MS: I mainly release my music on soundcloud, just cause its the easiest way to get your music out there. soundcloud is definitely the ideal platform to release music, but i feel like they aren’t doing a very good job running the company. as many people would agree with me, there are too many issues with soundcloud at the moment, and i’m excited to see what the next big music social media platform will look like!

SA: Anything we should be on the look out for?

MS: Definitely be on the look for Destiny Bond. that will be huge. after we are done with destiny bond, i will be making and releasing a LOT more music, and hopefully be playing some shows 🙂

Process, Issue 06: Dreamcasts

Slam Academy: Could you introduce yourself?

Dreamcasts: Hi! My Name is Dreamcasts.

SA: Where are you from?

DC: I am from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

SA: How did you start making music?

DC: I’ve been playing guitar for around 6 years and I always liked using different pedals to make my guitar sound electronic and abnormal. So one day I bought a midi controller and started making weird sounds with different synths and drums and found I had a lot more control over what everything sounded like. I was always very interested in making songs with full instrumentation and found I could do that with producing electronic music.

SA: Who were some of your major influences growing up? Who are they now?

DC: I have always been heavily influenced by R&B and Pop music growing up. People like Craig David, Usher, and Justin Timberlake. Now I am still influenced by R&B, but I find a lot more inspiration in electronic music artists such as Cashmere Cat, Lido, and Wave Racer.

SA: What does your creative process look like?

DC: Usually I find a sound that I want to use and figure out how I’m going to incorporate it. It could be a drum sample or a synth, but usually it just takes one thing to inspire me to make a song. After I figure out how to use my main sound I will build the song around that.

SA: Have you changed your approach to writing music as you’ve progressed?

DC: Definitely. I used to focus on tweaking one sound until it was perfect and would forget what I was going to do with the rest of the song. Now, I focus more on getting the whole song roughly laid out in front of me with all of the sounds I want to use. Once I get the basic feel and structure of the song, then I will go in and tweak sounds making them sound better all together.

SA: Do you ever feel inhibited by creating music electronically?

DC: Not at all. When I was mainly playing guitar I felt that I could only really make guitar related things. With electronic music, I feel that I can really do anything. Electronic music really allows you to re-create any instrument or sound you can think of. I think it is more freeing than making music with traditional instruments. But, that being said, incorporating traditional instruments into electronic music is pretty cool.

SA: Where do you like to create?

DC: I mostly create in my room. I pretty much have to sit in a quiet room with no distractions so I can really think through my ideas and translate them into Ableton.

SA: What are you working on currently?

DC: I am currently working on mostly original songs right now, and also few official remixes for some of my favorite producers.

SA: Anything we should be on the look out for?

DC: I have an official remix for a very talented producer named Airwav coming out soon and a few original tracks that are in the works to be released soon!

Process, Issue 05: Now You Must Climb Alone

Slam Academy: Could you introduce yourself?

Now You Must Climb Alone: Hi, I’m Alex Hentze.

SA: Where are you from?

NYMCA: I’m from Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez, Guatemala.

SA: How did you start making music?

NYMCA: I was in to music since I was very young, not formally or in any school, wen I was 14 years old I found the software where it changed my life.

SA: What does your creative process look like?

NYMCA: I try not to have a creative process, I just like to have the most tools i could have and then just let them work like they want to work, so i can’t have a specific line of work.

SA: Where do you like to create?

NYMCA: Anywhere, but mostly In the woods or where its cold.

SA: How do you feel your space influences your work?

NYMCA: It does a lot, like the pillow let you sleep better, the space let you create in different ways, but even with the best pillow you can’t get no sleep.

SA: How long have you been in this space?

NYMCA: I have been traveling the past 3 years in Argentina, (Im back to Guatemala) had my studio in Buenos Aires, some times we rented a cabin in the woods in the north of Argentina and take all the gear and make music with a friend, I have a mini studio here in Antigua Guatemala, but I don´t have a based studio where I can spend a lot of time, we opened a family restaurant and it takes too much time, and I’m making music in the bar, making music in the plaza, making music in my beaks.

SA: Do you compare your music to other compositions while working on it?

NYMCA: Just when mastering.

SA: What is your most essential piece of gear?

NYMCA: Any keyboard controller.

SA: Do you enjoy working with software?

NYMCA: Yeah, a lot.

SA: What percentage of your work is done in software?

NYMCA: 50%.

SA: Do you feel that working on hardware gear provides a benefit to the modern producer?

NYMCA: Of course, I think, like a photographer should have the experience to work with analog films to see how the texture can be in their work, same with music, It can give you another world in your music.

SA: What are you working on currently?

NYMCA: I’m making with some friends a project fused with retro-projectors using water and oil natural dyes to make analog visuals and the same with music, a journey and a story which the audience can build them selves.

SA: Where do you release your music? What do you feel is the ideal platform to release music in todays industry?

NYMCA: I think the definition of an “ideal platform” varies between artists. For me, Soundcloud is the way to go, I release a lot of my music through a collective in LA called Modern Filth. Between their page and my page, I can reach the proper demographic. I just hope that Soundcloud can endure the rapidly changing industry.

SA: Anything we should be on the look out for?

NYMCA: I’m working a lot of music, I hope you like them when they are released. 🙂

Process, Issue 04: Diatonic

Slam Academy: Could you introduce yourself?

Diatonic: My name is Matt Mulheran but I go by Diatonic.

SA: Where are you from?

D: Originally from northern California but I now reside in Minneapolis.

SA: How did you start making music?

D: I started by deejaying on virtual DJ when I was 18, I was so obsessed with it that I got Reason and started dabbling from there.

SA: Who were some of your major influences growing up? Who are they now?

D: Growing up it was always classic Boom-Bap producers like 9th Wonder, DJ Premier, J Dilla, Pete Rock, Alchemist, etc. Now I really look up to people like Sango, Gravez, PYRMDPLAZA, Geotheory, and a bunch of other fresh new producers.

SA: What does your creative process look like?

D: Usually i find some vocals (typically acapella), chop them to hell, and sequence some loops from the samples. After that I start making patches and throwing melodies over it. I normally save the drums for last.

SA: Do you change your approach to writing music as you progress?

D: My general approach has been pretty constant throughout the years, although I do try new methods all the time.

SA: Do you ever feel inhibited or empowered by creating music electronically?

D: Empowered beyond belief, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

SA: Where do you like to create?

D: 95% of the time it’s in my home studio in my bedroom. Go figure huh?

SA: How do you feel your space influences your work?

D: Well, I spent a considerable amount of time and money to address the feng shui of my desk. It’s simplistic, it’s clean, has very moody lighting options and it’s all accompanied by a couple fake plants. I believe your work space is a critical component to your creativity.

SA: What are you working on currently?

D: Tracks on Tracks. From remixes to singles. Just trying to build my online presence with the help of some great people.

SA: Where do you release your music? What do you feel is the ideal platform to release music in todays industry?

D: I think the definition of an “ideal platform” varies between artists. For me, Soundcloud is the way to go, I release a lot of my music through a collective in LA called Modern Filth. Between their page and my page, I can reach the proper demographic. I just hope that Soundcloud can endure the rapidly changing industry.

SA: Anything we should be on the look out for?

D: Just follow me on Soundcloud and look for my new releases!
https://soundcloud.com/diatonicproductions

Process, Issue 03: Patchley

Slam Academy: Could you introduce yourself?

Patrick Atchley: My name is Patrick Atchley, I live in East Tennessee, and i’v been making music for about 4 years.

SA: How did you start making music?

PA: When I found this underground (then) electronic music scene of chill vibes with 808s and vocal samples I became extremely interested. After I found a few artists that i really enjoyed and inspired me i purchased Native Instruments’ Maschine and started there.

SA: Who were some of your major influences growing up? Who are they now?

PA: I didn’t grow up in the hiphop/electronic scene. I didn’t really even get into music until middle school. I was listening to a ton of progressive metal, Buckethead, and other instrumental guitarists/bands along with playing guitar myself for about 6 years. That’s what inspired me then. Then once I found said electronic scene it kind of took me over. Now I’m really inspired by artists like Lido, Lindsay Lowend, and Arnold because im into nice chord progressions and they hit the nail on the head.

SA: What does your creative process look like?

PA: My creative process isn’t too complex. It either starts with me hearing a song and thinking that it’d be great to sample or messing around with synths and keys until something starts to sound nice.

SA: Do you change your approach to writing music as you progress?

PA: Yeah. I’m trying to focus more on music theory rather than just making stuff that is catchy.

SA: Do you ever feel inhibited or empowered by creating music electronically?

PA: I think electronic music gets a bad wrap because everyone thinks it’s easy. I mean anyone can download music production software and make music, but if you dont have any sense of music it’s not going to be easy. It’s not any easier to make hits electronically than if you were in a band.

SA: Where do you like to create?

PA: Usually at home in bed when I have free time. I’ve made music at school but if i’m anywhere else im probably busy doing something with friends or busy with school or work.

SA: What are you working on currently?

PA: I working with a singer for the first time which is really cool. My second EP is also in the works.

SA: Where do you release your music? What do you feel is the ideal platform to release music in todays industry?

PA: I release everything on Soundcloud and i think it’s the ideal place for independent artists because there is a large and growing community of people that are interested in this entire genre. People are finally getting into music that is different from what you here on the radio and i love it.

SA: Anything we should be on the look out for?

PA: Like I said, my EP and a few collabs are in the works. The collective im in, 95 sound, is releasing it’s first mixtape the 31st March so that should be out by the time this releases. A lot of nice tracks on there.

Process, Issue 02: Swimming TV

Slam Academy: Could you introduce yourself?

Cyril Buchart: I’m Cyril Buchart // Swimming Tv from Dortmund, Germany. I make something that I would call Psychedelic or Ambient beats.

SA: How did you start making music?

CB: My father was a musician when he was younger too and luckily he kept all his instruments from his younger years. So if you have all these Instruments around you, you almost automatically start playing around with all this stuff when youre bored. Basically this is how I started getting into making music, just playing around with and teaching myself stuff.

SA: Who were some of your major influences growing up? Who are they now?

CB: When I was younger, I listened to alot of math rock, post rock and such things. Someday, not being into electronic music at all I discovered Four Tet and I was just blown away by how organic his sound is. It sounded really “handmade” to me. I started digging more into this direction and someday I began to fiddle around with more electronic sounds myself. Nowadays I can’t really name my influences, I get influenced by almost everything, a lot of movies and their soundtracks. The soundtracks of Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind or The Jacket are fantastic examples, I just love their soundtracks. In music I find the releases of _flau, ghostly international or brainfeeder very inspiring and forward thinking.

SA: What does your creative process look like?

CB: Most of times I start by making myself a cup of coffee and putting some field recording on that I made that I find interesting. This normally gives me already a certain direction, a certain mood of in which direction the track will go ( at least I think this at the beginning, usually it will turn into something different ). Then I start like painting sounds in this field recording, kind of strange to describe but thats how it looks in my head. Also its important for me to arrange quickly and not mess around with stuff too much, I get lost in messing around with stuff way too fast.

SA: Do you ever feel inhibited or empowered by creating music electronically?

CB: I feel really empowered by working on music in a DAW, but I try to not create everything electronically. It’s cool that nowadays everyone can create music with just a laptop, but coming from a band background I really like playing Instruments and making noises with my hands.

SA: Where do you like to create?

CB: I have to create in my bedroom, I just need some level of coziness and chill to create. I worked on tracks in a studio for the last half year or so and of around 30 Tracks there is nothing that i really liked. At home you’re able to get out of bed and just start playing around in your underpants, when you have a studio you have to go there and when youre there you sometimes just force yourself to create just because you’re there.

SA: What are you working on currently?

CB: Im working on some concept EPs with certain themes and some little remixes but I think it will take some time for them to come out, I don’t like to rush things.

SA: Anything we should be on the look out for?

CB: Just keep your eyes open.

Process, Issue 01: Timid Soul

Slam Academy: Could you introduce yourself?

Joey Ginther: I’m Joey Ginther and I make music as Timid Soul.

SA: Where are you from?

JG: I’m from Michigan, currently reside in Lansing.

SA: How did you start making music?

JG: Music has always had a special presence in my family when growing up. My father sings and plays guitar for fun and my mother plays the drums. She’s the reason why I wanted to start drumming back in like 6th grade. I played percussion in high school band class for two years, but then I found myself interested in writing my own music with freeware guitar tablature programs. Eventually I got more interested in recording and computer music production. I went out and bought an interface that came with Ableton Live Lite 8. Ableton is super intuitive so I learned how to use it rather quickly, and at first I was using it to record 60’s inspired pop/rock tunes that I wrote. But as my tastes grew increasingly more electronic I began using it to make all sorts of electronic music — disco house, synthpop, hip-hop beats, etc.

SA: What does your creative process look like?

JG: I have a couple of different ways I begin making a tune. Sometimes it’s finding a cool sample in my record collection, other times it’s coming up with a drum pattern out of one shot samples that really holds interest on its own. But most of the time I like to come up with a chord progression and melody on a simple piano or rhodes patch. I used to write down the chords on a ton of index cards, but now I just play the idea into my iPhone. From there I try to flesh out the song in Ableton and at that point anything can happen. Sometimes happy accidents and using unorthodox techniques can really make the track take a life of its own. And I love that.

SA: How do you feel your space influences your work?

JG: I have a little studio set-up space with an iMac running Ableton and Logic, KRK monitors, Focusrite interface, old mics, 2 midi controllers, hardware sampler, record player, cassette deck, vinyl collection, guitars and basses. I feel the most important thing about a music-making space is that everything is in within reach and easy to set-up when that inspiration strikes you. Also it really helps to have your various audio cables organized, from xlr cables to rca cables. Bottom line, your space should be user-friendly, allowing you to express your musical ideas with ease.

SA: Do you compare your music to other compositions while working on it?

JG: I do compare my tracks to other compositions. It’s often after I come up with that initial idea, loop, or section. I’ll listen to a track for it’s song structure, arrangement, all kinds of things. In fact I think the best thing you can do to improve your music is to critically listen to music that you admire and really try to extract why that track works so well musically, technically and emotionally.

SA: What is your most essential piece of gear?

JG: My most essential pieces of gear are my computer, Ableton Live, and a midi controller. Disregard people on the internet that are all like “you can’t make music unless you have this $2000 analog synth or this super expensive hardware compressor.” You can create amazing, artistically valid, and superb sounding music with just a computer, your fave daw, monitors/headphones and your ears.

SA: Anything we should be on the look out for?

JG: I have an new EP called the “Bubblefunk EP” out via the netlabel KEATS//COLLECTIVE (love them dudes s/o to them). I’m looking forward to working on some music with my brother Lucas who makes music as Vice Point. My brother and I released an album called “Paradise,” also through the KEATS//COLLECTIVE. That came out earlier this year, so peep that if you dig lo-fi 80’s inspired tunes!

Tracklist:
Timid Soul – Yankee Rose
Lone – Karen Loves Kate
MEG – Girly Step
Scu – Aurelion
Avec Avec – Kuzuha No Sunday
DâM FunK – Mirrors
Neon Bunny – Bubbles
Timid Soul – Neptune Drips
Timid Soul – Nobody Since You