We launch the first of our online sessions with industrious producer and label head Desert Sound Colony aka Liam Wachs this Thursday. Ahead of the main event, we fired over some customary questions for a little background on his journey to date.
How has your music production process evolved over time? Were you a musician or producer first?
It’s been a very slow process! I took piano lessons for a few years when I was very little and then a couple years of guitar lessons in my teens. I started writing dubstep on Garageband when I was 17 and then moved to Logic a couple years later. I’ve never owned a piece of hardware other than a couple of midi keyboards and controllers so I’ve just slowly increased my knowledge of software over the last 13 years. I made the switch to Ableton around four years ago and that was easily the biggest game-changer for me. It massively increased my speed of production and I became much more proficient at finishing tracks because of it. I guess the evolution has just been extremely incremental. Tiny bit of knowledge by tiny bit of knowledge.
What key changes have you seen in the music industry/bidness during your time making records? Is independent the only way to go?
I’ve only ever worked on the outer reaches of the industry so I can’t really comment on major vs indie dynamics. It’s always seemed like independent was the only way to go when it comes to underground dance music. I am always trying to convince people to start their own label and put their music out themselves.
What would you say is the biggest effect the pandemic has had on your creative process?
It forced me to pivot my entire career as my income basically went from something to almost zero overnight. I started a Patreon page for music production tutorials early on in the lockdown and so have been mainly working on getting that up and running. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a ton! I never would have considered it if it hadn’t been for the pandemic so I’m glad something positive came out of it for me.
Talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users)
I’m working on a tutorial for the Patreon on creating warping neuro bass sounds. Think lots of distortion and filters. Fun times!
What piece of studio equipment (or live) would you NOT part with – Ever!!
My computer. I don’t really use anything else haha. I have a Push 2 which is great and does get a lot of use but it’s definitely not essential. Maybe a better question for me would be what plugin could I not live without? For me that would be Soundtoys – Decapitator. The valve distortion emulation machine is a total winner. I have it as a standard on every single channel of my mix down projects.
Could you name three things that have been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?
Raffi – Baby Beluga (To be honest it’s mainly Raffi I’ve been listening to. My daughter loves him)
What can the CDR audiences expect from your time with us?
An in-depth look at a recently finished track of mine. How I used Sting by Max 4 Live to create the bass line and then used the Shaper plugin (Max as well) to create dynamic automation throughout the track
Have you any advice for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?