Loops? Or programming your beats from single hits?
A bit of both…I usually start out programming everything, then if i’m not happy i like to go through loops and get some sonic and groove inspiration, then i can go back to programming based on that, or even take the loops and tweak them to adapt to whatever it is I’m doing.
What is the key ingredient in a track? Breakdown? Style of production? Bassline?
Feeling. Some tracks barely need a breakdown, same goes for the bassline, the track must be a translation of your feeling while making it, and if that will work on the dancefloor, or on sales, it’s a whole other story. i think if you follow your own developed feeling for production, the style comes naturally, and eventually that can make you and your work stand out
When building a track how do you normally work? Do you start with the drums and build from that?
Sometimes, yes, but usually that’s harder for me. I like to play around with my synths and vsts, most of the time I get inspiration to build a track from that, sometimes even the silliest effect session could inspire a whole track. Using the Maschine to program my beats made my production workflow much faster though.
Do you mainly use analogue or digital soft synth sources? Do you think analogue makes a difference?
I like to use both. It does make a difference, a big one…but you have to pick right. Some analogue gear have a very distinct and special sound, which most soft synths don’t. I like to use the vst version of some of the classics, I can get pretty close to their sound without having to invest my whole income on those.
Any advice on monitoring? Quiet? Loud? Do you prefer flat and boring speakers, headphones or big, phat and chunky monitors?
It all depends on your studio. If it’s a home studio, I’d go for a small, faithful system, that’s what I have at home, and that’s where most of my music has been coming from in 2012, and I’m very happy with my sound this year. I like to work with near field monitors for the most part, but when it comes to post-production in a proper studio, i believe mid-range is a no brainer. I also don’t really agree with a fixed level for working, I like to switch between quiet and loud, and work most of the time on an average level…it’s good to check for balance on various levels to make sure you got it right.
What are the biggest barriers that new producers face?
I believe the pressure of “making it”, and “chart topping” nowadays has put originality on the side for most new producers. There are still plenty of cool stuff coming around, but the excess of access to labels, artists and information in general makes me feel like people is getting dumber and more accommodated.
How important do you think it is to have your music mastered commercially? Can you do it yourself as effectively and what tools would you recommend?
I think it’s of the highest importance, as long as the mastering company or person in charge is commercially ready. I used to work with mastering for electronic music myself, but have been off the game for about 2 years now, and most of my stuff has been mastered by someone else. I like to have control over my mixdowns, but when it comes to mastering, it’s cool having a second pair of ears to take care of stuff I might have “overlooked” or haven’t thought of.
What’s your opinion on processing the mix bus? Leave it clean or drive it to the extreme?
It depends on how you want your sound. Most mastering engineers ask for an uncompressed mix, so they can work their magic. There is such a thing though as artistic compression, which is art of the production process, and usually that goes for the mixbus (or sub-mix busses). I compress a lot my sub mix busses, and use a light compression on the mixbus to make it sound like, well, me.
What do you believe is the secret to your success as a producer?
Hard work, manageable ego, open mind, versatile skills.
Any advice for aspiring producers out there?
Find your style and stick to it. It doesn’t mean you have to stick to any specific music style, just your own, within whatever it is you are doing. Do it hard and do it for the love, the money might come slower, and might not come at all, you can always get a second job to support your love, ain’t that what we all do one way or another?
Pick up the eleventh installment of the Riemann Kollektion series featuring Wehbba here.