These days, being a music producer or dj is the most normal thing in the world. Back in 2000 – 2005 you had to be a nerd or a geek to be a dj, lately, since the rise of EDM and social media, being a DJ is cool and more and more teenagers start dreaming about performing on the mainstage of Tomorrowland themselves. However, because there is a major supply of producers and DJ’s you have to ask yourself: ‘how am I going to make sure that I don’t become yet another one of the millions of mediocre artists who throw their tunes up on SoundCloud for everyone to hear and never make a dime?
I mainly write this blogpost to prevent starters from making the mistakes I did in the past so you can start your career as efficient as possible.
1. Decide on the genre
Many starting producers answer me that they are an ‘EDM’ artist. However, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is a term which is used to describe every type of music which has electronic influences such as:
- Progressive house
- Deep house
- Drum and bass
The list is endless. It’s important for you as an artist or producer to segment and differentiate yourself within one or a few (max) genre(s). For example progressive house. By differentiating you within one subgenre (as we call it) you have a higher chance to be noticed within the large amounts of young ‘bedroom producers’ out there.
2. Put in the effort
We have to be clear from the start. Becoming a successful music producer is a struggle. You will have to spend tons of hours working on:
- thinking of a unique producer/dj name which actually tells a story (your story)
- that one technique that is so important to take your track to the next level,
- that specific sound which you have in your head but can’t manage to create yet,
- mastering your tracks to make them sound perfect on whatever system you play it on,
You will endure disappointment, criticism, haters, and so much more. Every producer gets producer blocks where they actually ‘wish’ they had chosen another hobby. It’s because of these reasons that not everyone becomes successful as a producer and DJ.
BUT, if you have the motivation to learn a lot, grow as a person, grow as an artist, and if you are confident that one day you will make it. Then you might as well be the next big thing on the mainstage of Ultra Music festival or Tomorrowland.
So, if you are not serious about this and you just do it at side to spend some spare hour you have during the day, I suggest you go do something else. If however you are confident that this is the hobby you want to do for a living? Then I’m sure I can help you kickstarting your career.
3. Choose the DAW which suits you most
Which DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) works best for me? Probably the most frequent question I receive. For starters, this seems to be an extremely difficult question. From my point of view, the DAW you use doesn’t refer to the quality of music you bring. Each DAW has its advantages and disadvantages.
What I would suggest is to first of all watch a few youtube introductions to the different software programs and then downloading a trial for the DAW which appeals you the most. Try it out, feel like it’s not your cup of tea? Just download the trial of another DAW and repeat the process until you find something which you feel comfortable with.
4. Build your sample library
For every track and every genre you decide to make you’re going to need at least a few samples:
- Fx (Effects)
Creating and managing a customized music production library which fits your specific style is the best ways to step up your game as a music producer. Your tracks will start sounding more professional and qualitative with low effort. It’s suggested to keep your database clean and make different submaps with sounds. You can collect samples by:
- Downloading free sample packs
- Buying packs on sites such as loopmasters.com
- Paying for a membership on Splice sounds where you get monthly credits to buy specific sounds (highly suggested)
A final tip regarding sample library’s is making a map for samples created by yourself. Over the next months, years you will create a personal library with your own signature sounds which you can use in your different tracks to make them ‘your’s.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Once you know the genre you’re going to make, the DAW you will be using and your artist name, you’re ready to go.
What’s up next?
Hours, hours, hours and hours of practicing. Search for youtube tutorials on specific techniques such as:
- Track arrangement
You’ll never know everything about music production. But at the same time, this is what makes it fun. You learn more and more every day, every hour and every minute you spend producing your specific genre.
Other than practicing and watching Youtube tutorials you can read specific literature regarding music production to learn about different techniques on music production such as: The mixing engineer’s handbook & The art of mastering audio.
Personally I think that these tips should help you to start out in a good way. Want to know more about a specific producing technique or specific topic? Feel free to comment below which topic you would like to be handled next.