subduxtion is a trailblazer DJ and music producer that continues to explore with sound as he innovates with every release. Lately, he’s been splitting his time between producing and creating fresh mixes for his popular weekly radio show ‘Dark Signals’ which is currently being broadcasted worldwide, picking up new listeners every episode.
His signature style and sound undoubtedly make his name one of the most sought-after for the lovers of a more dark and minimal sound, while his creative genius seems to reach a new height with each release; it’s no surprise he’s one of those artists to definitely keep a close eye on.
We sat down with him to ask some music production tips, as well as some studio ‘must-haves’, and personal gear favorites, among other music production related recommendations.
This is what he said.
Hi subduxtion, how are things going?
Hello, things are going well. Busy as usual. Curating my weekly radio show, ‘Dark Signals’ means that there’s very little downtime.
Which gear would you say is a must have in a home studio?
That’s a tough question to answer as there are so many options for what “must haves”. You really need to determine whether you’re going to go with a setup based around a DAW (Live, Bitwig, etc.) or you’re going to do it with a DAW-less setup? Once you make that determination then you kinda figure what your “must haves” are. There are two “must haves” that aren’t affected by your choice of a DAW based setup or a DAW-less setup and they are headphones and monitors. Invest as much as you can in headphones and monitors! As you’ll do all of your listening and decision making based around what you’re hearing either in your headphones or monitors it is in your best interest to invest as much as possible in these two.
What’s a thing to keep in mind when producing music?
Listen to what the track is telling you. As you begin to build the track it will by its nature begin to dictate a direction. Keep yourself open to that direction and try not to force it to go somewhere it really isn’t going. That goes from sounds to use, to arrangement to final mixdown.
Which part of a track do you think it’s the best one to start with?
I myself tend to start with some sort of melodic component. That can be a chord progression or a lead line or a sample that has a melodic or a musically pitched element to it. It’s very subjective about what is the best way to start a track. Plenty of producers start with the drums first and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that approach.
How do you know a song is ready?
When I know a track is ready, is when I continue to add to the track and then remove what I just added. There comes a point were adding more and more to the track does nothing for it, that is when I start to think a track is done. At this point I’ll take a day or two away from the track, so I can listen with fresh ears and if I can’t “hear” anything more to add, then it’s done.
Do you use any particular plugins? Which ones are your favorites?
I use Arturia Analog Lab 5, Air Hybrid 3, Native Instruments Maschine 3 and Battery 4, Valhalla VintageVerb, Newfangled Audio Generate, Devious Machines Texture, Serato Sample, Lunacy Audio CUBE, Minimal Audio Rift, Cableguys ShaperBox, Waves HDelay and Output Movement. My favorite plugins are all the UA plugins I can access from my UA audio interface. No matter how good the sound of all those VSTs, they get exponentially better when I record them via my UA Apollo Twin. My UA plugins include the 1176LN and SE, the Neve 1073 EQ and channel strip, the Pultec EQ Collection, the Studer A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder and the LA 3A and 2A plugins.
Which DAW do you use and why?
I use Ableton LIve. The big reason I use it is it allows me to go from studio to stage in a more efficient way. I used to use Cubase in the studio and Live when performing, but that got to be really cumbersome and so I eventually made the switch to utilizing Ableton Live both in the studio and live.
How do you keep yourself inspired?
I’m always listening to music whether new or old. Hearing what other producers and artists are doing is always inspirational. There’s always something I hear that makes me sit-up and take notice, whether it’s a particular sound, how the song is mixed or the arrangement, there is no shortage of inspiration.
Are there any books, blogs or videos that you would recommend to someone that produces music?
YouTube is a great place to start! There are a number of really good music production creators. Some of my favorites are Venus Theory, Andrew Masters, Colt Capperune, Accurate Beats, Ricky Tinez and Bo Beats.
What advice would you give to someone starting their music production journey?
My advice to anyone starting out is don’t worry about what gear you don’t have, use what you have and get to know it inside and out. You can start producing with just an iPhone or an iPad. There are a number of high-quality music-making apps that are relatively inexpensive available for both of those. You don’t need big budget gear to get started. The point is to get started, learn the tools of the trade and develop your skills and your ears.