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Cal Lawrence

Cal Lawrence

Production Masterclass

Tell us about your production journey so far – how long have you been producing? What drew you to it in the first place? 

Prior to the Masterclass course, I’d been producing around a year and a half. I’ve been writing in bands for years and playing music since I was very young but going down the route of music production was something that I’d always been drawn to. When the worldwide Covid lockdown hit it thought this was a prime opportunity to hone in my skills and work on something I’d always wanted to do. I took part in the Toolroom Production certificate course, which was unbelievable, it helped me narrow down my vision has an artist and nail down a process for frequently banging out tracks, but I was so hungry to learn more I decided to follow it up with the Masterclass course.

Before the course started, I was in my 4th and final year of university studying Commercial Music. I knew for my degree project that I wanted to create something that had all my previous influences combined, so I created a piece of work that chronologically travelled through my musical journey so far, from blues, to metal, and then electronic music. After starting this, I knew production was something I had to pursue. As time went on over lockdown, I fell deeper into the world of house music and couldn’t stop writing it, I was properly obsessed with it! Already loving artists like Eli Brown, Siwell and KC Lights, I came across the Toolroom Production Certificate course and knew I had to jump at the chance take part and start moving on with my journey as an artist.

Week 1 of the course focuses on artist identity and positioning. Did this make you analyse your sound in any way? 

Absolutely, I have such a wide range of influences as I have a general love for music and don’t really shoehorn myself into loving and hating certain genres / artists, if it sounds good, I’ll probably enjoy it! This always gave me a bit of a dilemma when choosing my artistic route, but we narrowed down my main influences and the reasoning behind me loving these artists which gave me so much clarity on the direction I wanted to head towards, week 1 changed everything for me.

How bespoke was the course for you? Was it tailored towards your needs? 

Right at the start you have a session with BK and Pete where they go through your vision and where you are in terms of production, and right from there it’s tailored towards you as an artist. It’s tailored not only in your level of production, but towards the things you want to learn.

What modules really stood out to you throughout the 20 weeks? 

Every week had a lightbulb moment to be honest, so I’ll narrow it down! Week 1 was magic. The laser focused clarity it gave me on my musical direction has changed everything. I think when you know what you’re aiming for, the whole process becomes a lot easier.

The week for vocal hooks was great too. Something we all struggle on is finding good vocal hooks, but BK opened me up to a whole new world of searching for ideas for vocal hooks. Ever since the course had finished, I’ve been finding it much easier to find a vocal for my track. 


Cal has since had tracks signed to the likes of :  Toolroom Trax, Tropica Records

The A&R Feedback is another game changer. I don’t think I realised how much it would help until the masterclass actually started.

How did you find the A&R Feedback throughout the course? Was it as detailed and granular as you imagined? 

The A&R Feedback is another game changer. I don’t think I realised how much it would help until the masterclass actually started. Getting an outside ear on your music from a source that isn’t just your family or a friend pushes your tracks so much further. Pete’s A&R ear is incredible, right from you making the first drum grooves up until the last parts of ear candy, he always has an idea that you can try. When it came to the latter stages of the course, he really helps you fine tune your tracks to get that last 10% out of them.

How happy were you with the track(s) you made throughout the duration of the course? 

I’m really happy with my tracks, can’t be much happier when they are both getting released on Trax! The guys helped me move towards my exact vision from the start and now I’m comfortable to keep moving in this direction.

What do you think was unique or different about the Masterclass compared to other programmes/schools out there? 

Something that felt unique was that it feels like the guys are breaking down that barrier between label and artist. I mean, how often do you get to be mentored and have weekly communication with two guys right at the top of the game? The fact that the Masterclass is catered exactly to your needs is ideal too. Talk to the guys about your vision and they help you move towards it, it’s amazing.

I think another great thing about this Masterclass is that each week it gives you something to work towards. If you’re working by yourself, you can sometimes find yourself slacking on your goals but having someone to check in on your work each week gives you even more of an incentive to keep on pushing, it’s like having a personal trainer at the gym!

You also get a great insight into this sector of the industry, and I found out so much that I didn’t even find out on my university degree! One of the things I loved about the course was that it didn’t have to be production and music all the time, you can chat to Pete and BK about anything, it’s such a bespoke, personal experience.

I’m gutted it’s over because of how brilliant the whole experience was!

How would you compare your production ability/knowledge now, compared to when you started the course? 

My production has gone up tenfold. Without giving too much away, something I was never too picky on prior to this course was my sound selection. I would tend to use a nice sounding clap, kick, hat etc, but wouldn’t be thinking about how these sounds all need to work in unison to carry the vibe of your track. Simply nailing sound selection boosted by production massively. With that on top of the methods on arrangement and mixing, I feel like I’ve jumped years ahead of where I’d be if I was working by myself.

Has your ability on Logic/Ableton improved since you’ve taken the course? 

My workflow has improved dramatically, not only that, but my sessions are so much tidier too. BK shows you so many different tips and tricks that get you flying on Logic, from quicker ways of automating, to easier access of your samples. In week 2 when we properly set up logic and shortcuts, it had me darting around logic, I can end up writing a full track in less than a day now. There are so many little tips you learn that accumulatively speed you up.

How would you rate your tutors? 

They’re both absolute whizzes in their field and it shows throughout the whole course. Not only that but Ben and Pete are both such genuine guys. The pair work so well together, with BK having years of production knowledge which helps you hone in on your technical ability, whilst Pete’s got that special ear for a hook and knows exactly what labels are looking for.  They really want to get the best out of you and your tracks across the 20 weeks. I couldn’t rate them highly enough, in fact I’m gutted that it’s over now, I miss the catch ups!  

What was the single best experience you had on the programme? 

There can’t be much better of an experience than finding out both your tracks are getting released on the legendary Toolroom Trax. When you’ve worked so hard over the past year or so to get towards this goal and it finally happens, it’s so surreal.

But the whole personal connection of the programme makes the whole thing such an incredible experience. Like I said, I’m gutted it’s over because of how brilliant the whole experience was!  

On a scale of 1-10, how likely would you be to recommend this course to other producers? 

It would have to be a 10, I’ve already told so many people how far it’s pushed me and if you’re serious about moving down this route as an artist then it’s a no brainer. My career as an artist is starting now, and it wouldn’t have happened like this without the Masterclass course. 

As a graduate, what are your thoughts on the Toolroom Academy overall? 

 The experience was incredible. Toolroom Academy not only gets you thinking creatively as a producer, but how to present yourself as an artist, I wish I could do it all again. The knowledge the guys give you is invaluable, and I cannot thank them enough.

Production Masterclass
The Masterclass is our 1:1 programme, aimed at more experienced producers who are looking for individual mentorship. The programme entails a mixture of curriculum-based learning alongside more bespoke tuition based around your needs as an artist.
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