As we come to the end of the basics in becoming a Dj, music, production etc… The rest will be up to you. I could go on forever about what I have learned but then you would be left with very few surprises and how boring would that be? Today I want to talk about legacy, what you do is what you leave behind. I mean what do you want to be remembered for musically? This means you have to think about the genre of music you choose that best represents you and your expression. I am an odd case when it comes to this, most people do one thing and stick to it, if you’re a drum and bass producer, then that’s what you are, same goes for house breaks etc. Back in the day it was unheard of to do what I did, step outside the box, in fact run from that damn box and laugh at it. I did the unthinkable, shock horror gasp and made a “pop” record. Learning Curve.
“Learning Curve” was a very successful record (2 million sales) though I never viewed it as “pop”. To me it was an experiment fusing all genres, Dubstep (fuck with your head) all emotions into a deeply electronic adventure. I had always wanted to write songs and that is what I am at heart, a songwriter, playing the piano from an early age, I always incorporated melodies into all my productions, that is what made me stand out I guess you could say from the get go. However, I was so drawn to the technical aspect of production that when drum and bass first appeared on the scene I was instantly hooked being the geek I am. So, as you may know, tracks like ” Spiritual Aura” though drum and bass had these lush strings and a strong sense of emotion in it, very different to what was out there. I disliked the ugly harsh side of drum and bass but that does not mean I didn’t like my drum and bass TOUGH like the heroes Dillinja, Pendulum, RonnieSize, Groovrerider produced.
Still, I liked to keep things fresh and moving, so though drum and bass got very modern, it also got so technical that I felt the emotion was missing somewhat. So I went in a different direction, and the rest is history. You probably know I leapfrog through genres, I like the flexibility of producing whatever I want, though no doubt this has caused more confusion and certainly made it hard for me. The problem is I get bored and I have always been that way. The only way to survive this head twist is to do what I do, multitask your music. How has this hurt me and how has it benefited me is the question, and this is what I want you to understand when choosing this path. For example,It really helped me when ESPN asked me to produce all their music for all the sports stuff you men are watching now…I collaborated with Static Revenger on that,so much fun…(he is a huge talent)
When I used to watch some of my fellow artistes who have stuck to one thing become successful and really cracking it, managers moaning at me to stick to one thing.. I used to question whether I messed up by producing on many levels. Now In hindsight I am happy I was right. I AM A BRAND Look how all the DJ’s mix and match their sets fuzed with different styles now,make dubstep and house.That’s Right, you get no thanks for being first and you may not get the same pay cheques, but at least you were first a trailblazer.
As you get older those other skills like songwriting- Acting-being able to produce any genre really pay the bills when you are sick and tired of getting on a plane. to play a gig, and you might be-one day. Point is try to be a Brand rather than a one dimensional character…you will find yourself with a 3o year career instead of a 5 year one.
At the end of the day all I can advise you is this: be passionate about the music you're making and it will show in that music. That’s what I did, and I hope that it showed, in every note and lyric, every bass line. I have been lucky to have had many ups and downs but generally a very successful career, mainly because I do it all myself. though I have lost so called “fans” because I didn’t stick to one thing, I wasn’t a “purist”. which is insane to me anyway, music is music and I don’t apologize for loving it all.
You may want to ask yourself that question early on in the game, I never did, all I wanted was to produce music, but I did think about it a little at least. This job comes with no pension, so plan ahead it’s a rough sea you have chosen to sail on with a little boat. It’s gonna get choppy as well as beautiful calm.
I hope you pick a genre that has commercial appeal and a chance to make a living, by that I mean you don’t want to be a bedroom DJ all your life do you? you need a crowd, so take a little time to envisage your future, visualize it and plan a little.