Tell us about your production journey so far – how long have you been producing? And what drew you to it in the first place?
I have always been passionate about music. I have always been dancing and even have practiced it for over 10 years when I was a kid. I started to go out in clubs when I was 16. When I was 20 I left to travel to Australia. I discovered the local electronic music scene, clubs and festivals there. Mark Knight and the sound of Toolroom was being played a lot there at this time. I fell in love with this record label, music culture, I bought a pair of CDJ and started to play in bars and clubs. At this point, I started to dream of creating my own music, sharing it, and playing it to the crowd. It is only 5 years later, when I went back to France, after many travels and DJ experiences, that I have started to watch videos on Youtube to learn more about Ableton and music production. I learnt quickly how to use the software but had a lot of struggles with making music. I literally started from 0 and had no idea on how to make a proper club track. I have been following Maxinne for few years now and have been very impressed by her career and her work. I found out that she studied at the Toolroom Academy and knew instantly I would study there too.
Week 1 of the course focuses on artist identity and positioning. Did this make you analyse your sound in any way?
The week 1 of the course is about discussing and thinking about music influences, which music has inspired you throughout your life, and how does it impact you and you musical tastes nowadays. This has been very important to me because from when I was 7 I grew up listening to only one local radio called Black Box Radio. They used to play mostly funk, hip hop and R&B, and I was completely obsessed the music and the culture. I used to watch MTV a lot too and remember trying to copy the dance moves in the hip-hop video clips. From my early 20’s, during my travels I discovered the festivals and the electronic music scene and fell completely in love with it. Years passed and now I am developing a sound that would mix my influences and make me feel what I used to feel in the clubs or in front of my TV screen.
What other modules really stood out to you throughout the 12 weeks?
Creating the first musical loop was great and so much fun. But when we started doing the arrangement, I understood many things regarding the energy and the story of a track. It has also helped me as a DJ, to analyse the different aspects more and the general vibe of a track. I Dj in a different way now that I am producing.
How important was the A&R feedback throughout your journey?
The A&R feedback has been essential to my improvement and development during the course. The fact that it is given by 2 professional is of great importance. At the beginning you might just follow their advice in term of technics and arrangements but after few weeks, I’ve started to understand some essentials points and why especially they would have come here. This is the key to autonomy and emancipation in term of music production. They are very precise on their advice, they explain very clearly what was good or wrong and how to improve to get the best out of your track.
How happy were you with the track you made over the course of the 3 months?
I was very very happy with what the track I have made. I finally felt I managed to create a track with the exact vibe I was looking for. And for the first time, I felt I could express myself though music. It brought me so much joy and happiness, it has always been a dream and a goal in my life. Since I have been practicing a lot, the Creativity Unlocked Course that I am doing now is complementing perfectly with the production Course. Once you have understood the technical aspects of music production, the Toolroom Academy helps you to define your sound and express your creativity.
What do you think was unique or different about the Production Certificate compared to other programmes/schools out there?
The Production Course has been designed by professionals of the electronic music industry for more than a decade and professional music producers of Tech-House music. Their reputation and the success of the label speaks for itself and they have become subject experts, and sets some very high standards in term of music production. They teach to their student what they would expect to listen from a professional producer. In the end of the course, you would be able to make music and send it to labels. They biggest strength is their know-how and the fact that their advice and teaching program are constantly upgraded regarding the current musical trends. Other programmes would teach you general and basic stuff, more Ableton learning oriented, where Toolroom really leads you toward becoming a strong Tech-House music producer.
How would you compare your production ability/knowledge now, compared to when you started the course?
Compared to when I have started to produce – I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing. I was just mixing up sounds and thinking it was OK and it was sounding good. I didn’t know about all the technical points, the specific arrangements, how to build a proper track or how to create a hook. The course has definitely been a clinking-point in my production journey.
Has your ability on Logic/Ableton improved since you’ve taken the course?
Before starting the course, I had a good general understanding of the use of Ableton but didn’t know how to use the Audio and MIDI effects properly or even create a bassline. Basically, I didn’t know how to get the best out of the software to create music. I didn’t understand about the structure and the arrangement of a track, I didn’t have any knowledge about the different elements of it and how to put them together. The Production Course has helped me so much regarding the use of Ableton but also the technical aspects of electronic music production.
Did you manage to connect and built relationships with other students on the course?
Yes I have contacted the artist who produced the reference track that I chose. He has studied himself at the Toolroom Academy, I ended up signing his track and he has given me some amazing advice regarding the course. I have also stayed in touch with few other students and we share our tracks, our advice and feedback. I have spoken to another French student and we are now connected and I have invited him to few events in Paris, happening next week.
How would you rate your tutors?
I Would rate my tutors 10/10 as they are very nice, professional, responsive, and give the best advice!
What was the single best experience you had on the programme?
I remember a very important moment, something just clicked in my production journey. I remember struggling a lot with finding the right vocals. I even brought a singer, friend of mine, to help me on this. The vocals were too different from the vibe of my reference track. After days and days of research, I was emotionally drained and 20 minutes before sending the track I was so panicked that I picked few samples and put them together. It created something very interesting that I kept until the end of the track. I felt like something finally just happened and as if I just understood something very important at this exact moment.
Would you recommend the Production Certificate to other producers?
I would recommend the Production Certificate Course 100% to anyone who wants to learn music production but also understand technical skills they would learn over 10 years in studio.
As a graduate, what are your thoughts on the Toolroom Academy overall?
If Toolroom is known as one of the best electronic music labels it is because they have built they expertise and the quality of their work over multiple years. This gives them a huge advantage compared to other music labels and the Toolroom Academy is just at the start of their success. Something high standard and high quality.