How to become a music producer
We Like It Edgy is a music producer. It’s a competitive industry but there are ways to survive and flourish, especially if you go above and beyond your training, buy cheap kit off eBay and know your remixes and mashups. Find out more about being a music producer.
How did you get into becoming a music producer? Drum roll… your life story, please!
We Like It Edgy: www.myspace.com/welikeitedgy
I’ve always been a massive music lover and started playing guitar when I was 13. After that I started writing my own stuff and wanted to put a band together but none of my girly friends were really into the idea. I left school at 15 and after a few years of working decided I should go to college, I ended up choosing hairdressing at my local college as there really wasn’t much choice… I stuck it out for a year but didn’t really like the rules of having to wear a full face of make up everyday and never having a hair out of place so I never got round to doing the second year. I went back to work for another year or two, but by this time I’d really gotten into making music and had started setting up drum patterns on my computer and the like to go along with my guitar.
I wanted to do a music course and had seen one for Music Production Technology. After reading it I got the impression that you needed more experience and knowledge than I had, but applied anyway. I got an interview and was sent a sheet of the questions I would be asked… but I didn’t know the answer to most of them so I googled them! I read up a bit and turned up for my interview, where I was told that over 200 people had applied for the course and only 50 would be accepted. I thought I had no chance. I blagged my way through the interview, which wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be, then a few weeks later found out I’d been accepted! I turned up on my first day at college to find I was the only girl in a group of 50 guys 🙂
Since then I’ve finished college and now I spend all my spare time producing.
What’s worked better for you? Official qualifications or sheer man-hours of practice?
Definitely practice! I think that most of what I learnt from college I could have easily taught myself, and most of what I know I have actually taught myself.
Having some sort of musical ability helps. I’d been playing guitar for years when I started this, so I know about chords and scales and music theory, but to be honest I think all you need is a passion for doing it and determination.
Is it expensive to get yourself set up and start producing music? What do you need?
It depends on how far you want to take it, I think the main things you need are a good computer with a lot of memory, a midi keyboard, some good music programming software and some recording equipment. At the moment I use Reason and Audacity (music programming software), an old casio keyboard, and a Korg 8 Track Digital Recorder that I picked up on eBay!
What sort of stuff is actually involved in music production?
When I do a remix I usually just take the acapella of the song and make my own background music, pull out certain parts of the song or lyrics and just go crazy.
With an “X vs. Y” track you can either find two songs with the same tempo and lay the vocals of one over the background of the other – and throw in whatever you like. Or you can just take two songs and mash them together. It’s up to you really! It’s all about being creative and doing what you want. The most recent track I did like this was Depeche Mode vs. The Killers.
Do you worry about legal repercussions when you’re doing mashups and remixes?
Not really, because a lot of the acapellas and things I use come from remix competitions etc. that have been freely given away for the public to use. I also don’t make any commercial gain from anything that isn’t all my own work – I just do my remixes and things for fun and always credit the artist when doing so.
Do you mainly do remixes?
No, I do a lot of things – I just like remixes because I like songs with words and I can’t sing 🙂 I’m actually currently looking for someone to do vocals on some of my tracks so if anyone out there is interested get in contact with me at www.myspace.com/welikeitedgy!
What are your musical influences?
My music doesn’t really fit into one genre… since I was young I’ve been into so many genres of music from pop to dance, punk, indie, hip hop, UK garage, electro, breakcore… and I think that reflects in my music. At the moment my favourites are Crystal Castles I( think they’re excellent), The Count and Sinden, Dan la Sac Vs Sroobius Pip… but my favourite band will always be the Libertines 🙂
Is it a lonely job or do you get loadsa networking and feedback and suchy-like?
I get a lot of bands and artists contacting me wanting me to remix their songs etc which is always a compliment, I’m currently working on a remix for Radio Nerds that they asked me to do for them… Radio Nerds contaced me through myspace and I’m working on a few different tracks for them. I get good feedback on my music. Some of my current favourites are: “There is something brilliant (…) stupidly intoxicating in your music, we like it (edgy) a lot”, “Here’s my proposal… we have an egg and spoon race into tomorrow and the first one to make it to yesterday wins”, and “Oi your Mia remix Shaaaaabanging! rudeboy. Interested in a good spooning?” 🙂
Are there obvious perks/downsides to being a music producer?
There aren’t many perks yet as I’ve still not really achieved what I want to achieve, but it’s something I really enjoy doing which is the main thing. An obvious downside is that there are so many other great producers and musicians out there that getting any kind of recognition is difficult – which means I also have to have another job.
Does being a music producer and having another job to make ends meet affect your social life?
I really enjoy doing what I do, so spending a lot of time doing it doesn’t really seem like a bad thing. Working an ordinary job takes time away from me producing which I find more annoying, but I still find time to party 🙂
Has music production got a danger factor?
Electrocuting myself on all these wires 🙂
And a sexy uniform?
I can wear what I like… but I’m usually sat around in jeans and a hoody, haha!
And is there a touch of gender prejudice in da music industry from your personal experience?
A little… I think most people who hear my music automatically presume I must be a guy.
Do you meet fit, clever, solvent blokes as a music producer?
At college I was the only girl in the whole class, so there are some advantages! But a lot of guys I meet are a little bit intimidated, especially the musical types – I still think a lot of guys don’t like the fact that girls can do things just as well/better than them.
Can you still see yourself doing this in 20 years’ time?
Definitely – no doubt about it.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in doing what you do?
Just go for it, really. What have you got to lose?