“It would take far more than a human lifetime.” Thanks to Skrillex, I now know how long it would take for a rocket for travel 1000 miles from the earth. Luckily for me, it hasn’t taken a human lifetime to post my first DJ mix! Just 23 years and a few months… BUT IT IS HERE and ready to be listened to on your ride to the distant reaches of space. Each of my mixes in the future will have a theme and I’m very excited about the list of themes that I’ve got planned out ;) If you like this one, you should follow me on Soundcloud so you can be there when the next ones drop! If you’re curious about any of the song names, just check out the track list below! Track List:
- Scheme Reprise
- Scheme (Original Mix)
- Try It Out Mashup*** –> Try It Out (Neon Mix) – Skrillex –> Try It Out (Put It Up Mix) – Skrillex
- Paradise (KenNYMusix Trap Remix) – Coldplay (covered)
- Tundra (Original Mix) – Paris & Simo, Merk & Kremont
- Silence in the Control Room (Tommy Maverick Mashup)*** –> Control Room – Fedde Le Grand –> Silence (Acoustic Mix) – Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan
- Here & Now – Ummet Ozcan
- Kangaroo – Sander Van Doorn
- My Feelings – Jorge Montia
- Star Guitar – The Chemical Brothers
- Untrue – Tchami
- Stranger – Skrillex
- FTW – Lets Be Friends
- Ten Feet Tall (David Guetta Remix) – Afrojack, Wrabel
- Right Now (Sick Individuals Remix) – David Guetta, Rihanna
- Rising Like the Sun – Qulinez, Cara Salimando
- All Star – Smash Mouth
- Save My Night (Blasterjaxx Remix) – Armin Van Buuren
- City 2 City – Zomboy
- All Is Fair In Love And Brostep – Skrillex
- Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston
Also, if you haven’t heard the Mayday mix check it out as well! It’s got a lot of trap and dubstep as well as air raid sirens… hahaha It’s pretty fun :) Track List:
- Falling Down – Sub Focus
- Tsunami – DVBBS & BORGEOUS (LOOKAS x HLTR$KLTR Trap Remix)
- Exogenesis – Rogue
- Booty Drop – LUZCID
- Crime in the City – Griz
- Run This – Thugli
- Sabotage – Cyberoptics
- Gettin Down – Kayzo & Slander
- Air Raid – Original Sin (Official Fan Page)
- Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – Daft Punk (Dillon Francis Remix)
- Recess – Skrillex Feat. Kill The Noise & Fatman Scoop
I need help getting my mixes into the ears of people who would enjoy it! If you know someone who would, please send them a link to this blog post or either of the mixes! If you use Twitter, please share this post to twitter with the blog title intact :) The hashtag can really help more than you know!
I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve grown as a producer and came up with some tips that I would have loved to know when I first started out producing. I’ll be using a lot of music jargon/technobabble, but if you don’t know what it means, it’s time to google some key words. You’ll need their definitions on your journey.
TOO MUCH REVERB MAKES YOUR MIX MUDDY – Reverb has always been one of my favorite effects to use and you’ll hear it in every single one of my tracks. Every DAW I’ve ever used has native reverb plugins… A few of them have something called convolution reverbs, which allow you to put your audio in a real or simulated acoustical space. I highly recommend using these, as they give your tracks a better sense of location. Yes, reverb is a powerful tool… but you must remember that with great power comes great responsibility. You MUST NOT abuse your power to use reverb! I habitually committed reverb abuse on my older tracks, and as a fellow producer once put it, they sounded as if they were “produced behind a bar in Tijuana.” No matter what kind of reverb you’re using, it generally shouldn’t be affecting 100% the audio from the channel strip you’ve placed it on. It should be more around 15% to 20%. This gives it the presence that it needs without the mud. This is a general rule for other effects such as phaser, flanger, or chorus. I usually have an EQ before my reverb to do what I speak of in Tip #2 and a second EQ to manage any noise that is created by the application of the reverb.
CUT UNNECESSARY FREQUENCIES - Just about every sample or instrument has useless frequencies that can make your mix sound like shit. In order to keep your mix clean, you should get in the habit of cutting out those frequencies… Basically, you’re photoshopping your audio! haha Well…audioshopping, but you get what I mean! You should always use a Parametric EQ. It gives you the most flexibility and control over the way you are shaping your sound. Based on the genres that you produce in, you’ll end up learning specific techniques that help you produce something that fans of the genre will recognize as legitimate. If you’re curious about techniques for your genre, just go onYoutube and search “[genre] production techniques”. Your sounds will not always sound as full as they did before you started cutting out frequencies, but that’s okay. This might even be ideal in most circumstances. The way that I approach mixing is to turn my instruments and samples into “puzzle-pieces” that fit into each other. Another way to look at it is that you’re making room for the more dominant instruments or sounds. There are many creative techniques to achieve this that are much more advanced than EQing and you’ll learn those in time as well.
KEY YOUR DRUM SAMPLES – A song can sound good without this, but I believe they can sound amazing with it. You might even already be doing it without realizing by choosing samples that sound better in the key your song is in. If you know your samples well and pitch them so that they don’t clash with your key, your entire track will benefit. You should be doing this if you want to produce good Trap or Trance. There are some genres where this doesn’t matter so much, but try it out and see if it helps your productions out. Be aware that the note on your keyboard might not correspond to the key on your sample. Use a tuner or some other method to figure out what note your sample is playing it, and then pitch it until it’s playing the right note.
AVOID MIXING WHILE YOU’RE COMPOSING – It’s tempting as hell to start making everything sound nice while you’re sketching out ideas for a new track, but let me just say this; it’s better to have a well-composed track that needs some mixing than a mixed idea that’s lost its inspiration. You need to work quickly to put your idea in front of you. As a writer, I’ve learned that this is the best way to write… Write everything first, then start looking for things to remove or change. Mixing should always be done with fresh ears. Come back to a track after a couple days of not hearing it and then attempt to start adding effects,automations, and mixing.
LEARN THE KEYBOARD - Learning how to play piano or keyboard is going to help you out a lot. One major way is that it will help you understand some music theory, which is not essential, but makes things easier. You can easily throw together some chords and a melody if you understand how music works. I don’t mean that you need a classical understanding or a fancy music teacher… You just need to immerse yourself in the sound at some kind of bare form. Any instrument will benefit you really. I actually write a lot of my tracks on guitar just playing around in my room. Then, when I have something good going, I’ll take that to the DAW and convert it into a song. The reason why I say you should learn keyboard is because just about EVERY DAW supports MIDI Instruments. MIDI, which is short for Music Instrument Digital Interface, is a technology that allows you to control your DAW (and the synthesizers that lay within) directly with a physical instrument, as opposed to clicking and drawing notes with a mouse. This also allows someone who can play even simple things to record MIDI data live, which means you can hit record and just play, saving plenty of time. Once you’ve recorded a chord progression, you can easily play a lead over that, creating your awesome melody.
LEARN MORE THAN ONE DAW - My interest in audio engineering was first developed as I learned to manipulate audio clips in Sony Vegas (I was unaware of Sony ACID at the time). Eventually, that hobby turned into recording my own music in my bedroom under a project called Safe Sacrifice. Before taking on a second DAW, I recommend learning your first one thoroughly as doing so gives you the ability to “translate” what you know from the first DAW to the second. My first DAW was FL Studio, way back when it was Fruity Loops. I learned Logic when I started taking classes at San Diego Miramar College’s recording studio, years later. Learning how Logic worked unlocked entire new perspectives on how to use FL Studio. It influenced the way that I set up my mixer channels and arrange my playlist, and also made me much more comfortable to use MIDI instruments to control parameters.
I’m back and trying to put this blog to use again :) So, I’ve been producing music on the computer for about four years now, but I honestly don’t believe that I knew what I was doing until I started taking music courses at Miramar. Back in 2010, when I first started attending classes there after graduating high school, the majority of classes took place in bungalows (which are definitely my least favorite structure of all time) and their music program was seriously lacking. Because of that, I attended the school hoping to go into business, believing that knowing more about money would help me be more successful. I found the courses required for that major depressing and soulless, a discovery which led to me dropping out of college and taking a two year break from it. I dropped out in early 2011, a couple months before the Party Rock Anthem gave birth to my generation’s immense obsession with shuffling, bright colors, and raving.
In the two years that I was on break, I started going to raves thanks to an invitation to Audiotistic Festival 2011, which exposed me to experimental and developing genres of EDM. These new genres provided me with exciting new sources to draw inspiration from for my own productions. In February of 2012, I turned 21 and experienced the craziest parties and events of my life. With barely any responsibilities, I danced and partied through the first 9 months of that year, talking with people who were involved with the club scene, and learning about how DJs make their money, how these amazing events are promoted, and how MY musical style fit into all of that. I decided that being a part of this industry was something that I really wanted to do, but I wanted to find a way to do it MY WAY.
Here’s a summary of the past year:
I started working full-time in a warehouse, and while it kept me away from making as much music as I did before, being at this job has given me the money to purchase equipment and put me in the company of people who would help me and inspire me. I worked my ass off through the holiday season, working 60+ hour weeks on average. I was able to save up for the most recent 2012 iMac by January. The iMac needed an audio interface to record audio from microphones and instruments, so I bought the Alesis iO2. Then, a coworker gave me a keyboard that happened to have MIDI capabilities. I realized that my audio interface was also a MIDI interface and that I could play FL Studio’s synths on that keyboard. I finally went back to school in the spring semester of 2013. I took two music classes with professors who greatly shaped my understanding of what music IS and learned about scales, chords, keys, reading sheet music, and how to use Apple’s Logic. These new skills helped me become a better producer. During that summer, I experimented with the new techniques that I learned until the Fall Semester started. In Fall, I enrolled in a course on MIDI and a portfolio course in the recording studio. Early in the semester, I heard about FL Studio’s Performance Mode, a new feature that allows you to use FL Studio to perform live in a way that’s kind of like Ableton. It is way better for me though because I love FL Studio’s workflow and I absolutely HATE Ableton. You could put every other DAW in existence above Ableton and I’d have no problems with that ranking. haha Ironically, I chose a controller designed to be used with Ableton as my primary controller for FL Studio’s Performance Mode. Performing music live was something that became interesting to me when I discovered producers like Madeon and Bass Kleph, who perform some really cool live remixes using controllers such as the Launchpad and Maschine. I experimented with FL Studio’s Performance Mode but realized that I wanted to achieve a more live performance style where I could literally do whatever I wanted. This is where the style that I’m currently working on came from. I’ve never maxed out the CPU on the iMac, but a goal of mine is to do that by the end of the summer and hopefully put up some performances on Soundcloud and YouTube :) I’m going to find ways to incorporate DJing and Performance Mode into my sets as well. I’ve been learning how to DJ using Traktor, so I’d really love to use that, but I’ll probably use Deckadance 2 so I can keep everything inside of FL Studio audio wise :)
I guess that what I want to do could be called “Live Production” even though my ideas and goals for it are much bigger than anyone doing live production (fuck Ableton). I don’t want to be just another fist-pumping DJ and I know that electronic music is going to follow this trend when it comes to performance. People will say that I could just use Ableton, but I’m pushing the limits of this style way beyond what an Ableton user could comprehend. I’m gonna show people that FL Studio isn’t “toy software” >:)
- Tommy Maverick
A poem that I wrote during my breaks at work today.
Break time. I hear the whistle blow.
A time to rest, a time to let go.
These men kick a hacky sack in May’s gorgeous sun…
I type away to WordPress as I hear a dorito chip crunch.
On these first fifteen minutes I pretend I’m at the beach,
Drinking margaritas in cool chalices of conquest and calm.
Condensation dripping to my fingertips,
Cool submersion in the vivid creations of my mind.
As I thrust my toes into the sand,
I am shook.
A song blares above the calmness of my imagination’s beachy shores…
It reminds me that there’s always more.
More work to do.
More days like this.
More hours desired in a day,
I wish I could spend a day like this the right way.
There are many drugs in this world, natural & synthetic, with many effects. They can embody the perfection of an emotion. They can distort your reality. They can sedate you or empower you… but in each of these substances is a lesson to be learned by those willing to discover them.
Do you do drugs?
You should learn from what you do. If you do drugs, learn to become like the perfection you feel. See beyond reality and read between the lines. Question authority. Discover the lessons and learn them; then YOU can be the drug. You can contain their strengths in sobriety and shed their weaknesses from your mind. And maybe someone will become addicted to you.
Last night was the first time I saw my Cardboard Cuts
Scarred scabs sat upon skin scathed by Papered Rub
I paused for a moment and processed the fact
That I’m now working full-time, trading free-time for greenbacks.
For a moment I was sad, then in the next one, impressed.
“Have I now become a man?” I felt a need to beat my chest.
And in that moment, I presented myself with an inquest:
“Could that clamoring of skin on skin link me to my cave-dwelled kin
And cause my work-numbed human brain and heart to burn like Promethean Flame?”
Which led me to the realization that the only way to really tell
Would be to construct a vehicle like the one ‘scribed out by H.G. Wells
And so I took my mind away from that and turned back toward the Face of Apathy.
Took only moments to be reminded of why I view that Mirrored Surface as a tragedy…
At times I really wish I could care more,
And, with the passion of a Berserker brightly burning,
Blast through the Divide between ground and sky
And reach for aspirations orbiting distantly around my insides,
Kind of like a child climbing cupboards to get what he’s been barred from,
No longer will my stature or age determine if I can get some.
I’m going to go from where I am to where I ought to be
From nominal to normative, have you ever taken Philosophy?
I haven’t yet, but next year, I likely will
Since my girlfriend has the book and FREE is the very best deal
‘Cept for one step further known as FREEDOM, which escapes me.
When I arrive home from work, I collapse into my bed sheets from fatigue.
And while these sheep bounce around on my eyelids and I count them,
My heart keeps beating to pump blood to my passions,
But my passions only breathe in my dreams
Because in the daytime, the “real world” drives nails and sacrificial themes
DEEP into my palms as if the world’s completing a mission.
Sadly, I’m the world’s favorite victim of the newly concocted Cardboard Crucifixion.