Ahead of our session with vocalist and producer Emmavie at Corsica Studios this week, we caught up to talk, hard drives, social media and sound design.
How has your music production process evolved over time? Were you a musician or producer first?
In the beginning, I had no real knowledge of music production tools and vocabulary. I knew what I wanted my music to sound like and my lack of technical knowledge never stopped me from creating but slowed down the process of me getting the real results I dreamt of. I now have quite a much more developed knowledge of mixing processes and sound design so making music is just so much less frustrating but I do feel it’s slowed down my experimental brain, knowing there’s “a proper way” to do things. I used to stumble across certain sounds from fiddling with buttons, not knowing exactly what they were supposed to do and that created more excitement in the process. I’m still learning every day though. I wouldn’t describe myself as a musician in the slightest. I play wholly by ear with very little theoretical knowledge.
What key changes have you seen in the music industry/bidness during your time making records? Is independent the only way to go?
This will show my age but I started releasing music online when Myspace was the only place you could independently release your music and garner an online following. A tangible music career happened in real life, at the BBC, on MTV, in the raves and via majors like Sony or UMG back then. I was lucky to catch a bit of the Soundcloud wave that made independent artists and indie labels popular/accessible online but didn’t make many people a lot of money. In those days, to release a project independently wasn’t common or advised. PR and blogs were such big talks, you spent so much energy trying to connect with PR agents and pluggers to get radio play and magazine coverage. Now, no one shoots for radio as part of their campaign and so many of those blogs have turned to meme pages. It’s all Spotify playlists, Colors and NPR Tiny Desk now. These didn’t exist for the MAJORITY of the time I’ve been in the game. Only in the last few years has it been so possible to do music independently. The stuff you need to connect with a huge audience is at your fingertips. Social media is the number one marketing tool and it’s free but that’s not to say labels aren’t in the shadows, moulding and marketing our next big social media breakout stars..
Talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users)
I’m very rarely working on one song at a time because I have a short attention span but the last song I finished was a song called “Best Day of My Life”. I wanted to make a beat that was slightly less sexy R&B than usual because sometimes I get tired of talking about love – especially when I’m not in love. I’ve been needing to write a song about real-life things but I also wanted it to be quite anthemic. A big drop, fat drums and a grooving bassline. I chose less digital sounding drum samples to give the song a live feel which I feel just compliments a song when you’re talking about real-life things. I also had just been introduced to a bunch of plugins by Goodhertz that add a lot of character to sounds so I went ham with the effects and textures.
What piece of studio equipment (or live) would you NOT part with – Ever!!
My hard drive. I’ve made a collection of sounds and samples I absolutely adore. The best of me needs to be able to come out when my equipment is out of reach so I’m trying to learn not to need anything else. I watched Monte Booker make a beat from recording sounds on his iPhone and I’ve watched Romderful make a beat literally only clicking notes on his laptop trackpad. These are two of the best producers we’ve ever had.
Could you name three things that have been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?
Have you any advice for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
Get into sessions with other producers, musicians and artists as much as you can. Listen to a variety of music and learn how people do what they do. I’ve never learnt more than when I’ve watched other people start and finish songs. Seeing and hearing sounds going from ideas into the mixing and mastering stage and just observing. I know there is a privilege that comes with being invited into people’s creative processes but you’d be surprised how many people don’t mind having you in a session as long as you don’t get in the way.
If you haven’t already, grab one of the last remaining tickets for this event here!