Tell us about your production journey so far – how long have you been producing? And what drew you to it in the first place?
Since 2013 I’ve been in touring bands and did the preproduction for those bands before entering the studio with the producer. Pre productions should/can sound badly produced because it’s just a process to get the composition together before getting it professionally produced. That’s why I’ve never really tried to make it sound good but just to get the ideas together, so my producing/ mixing skills back then were pretty bad.
I’ve taken music production more seriously in the year of 2017, been producing pop and rap for other artists from 2017 til 2019 and some of those songs ended up being played on national radio stations. My skills were better but still not fully professional. Until that point I’ve learned most of it by doing and watching tutorials. 2019 was the year when I discovered house music for myself and Toolroom with its academy. Since house was totally new for me I started my new journey with the academy late 2019.
Week 1 of the course focuses on artist identity and positioning. Did this make you analyse your sound in anyway?
I loved those sessions but to be honest house was so new to me that I didn’t really have a sound yet but it made me analyse lots of songs and sounds and helped me go into a direction. To this day though I still struggle to define my sound because I am too open to too many different genres and sounds. I am still in my build up years as an artist and am still defining my sound. I think that finding your sound is a long journey that you can’t and shouldn’t rush. I like retro old school vibes, second hand clothes, funky groovy bass lines, catchy vocals, a nice piano riff and some fresh guitars. But yeah like I said I’m gonna give myself some more years until I can say I’ve found my sound.
What other modules really stood out to you throughout the 12 weeks?
Definitely the AR sessions with Pete. Don’t get me wrong I loved the production courses with Dean but getting feedback from Pete and learning all his knowledge about the industry was gold.
How important was the A&R feedback throughout your journey?
The one on one AR sessions with Pete were the most important. Group sessions are also great but having someone like Pete give you in depth feedback for only you specifically is very valuable. It’s where I’ve learned the most.
How happy were you with the track you made over the course of the 3 months?
I made 5 tracks during the class and when I listen back to them now I think they are pretty bad. It’s not really about the song you produce during the course but most importantly about your own learning journey and your own progress. I did 5 songs during the course, Pete, Dean and even Mark Knight liked them but still none of them got signed by TR. I did ‘Feeling Alive’ all by myself after the course without AR feedback and that one got signed and ended up being my debut. It’s important to not stress yourself during the course to get that one song signed that you’re working on during the course. Try to see the big picture and the long run, focus on your own progress, listen close to your tutors and apply what you’re being taught.
What do you think was unique or different about the Production Certificate compared to other programmes/schools out there?
Pete and Dean know what they’re talking about, they’ve been working for a long time in the industry and are artists themselves. They know how hard it is because they’ve been there themselves. On top of that they are so passionate about the music and the teaching that they want to help and see you succeed. It’s definitely not only about the money and that’s what you just feel when talking and listening to them.
How would you compare your production ability/knowledge now, compared to when you started the course?
I started the course with quite a good foundation, I’d say I was a 4 before the class and am now a 8 out of 10. 8 is the ability to have a professionally sounding track that’s ready to be signed and released. The other 2 will come over the years by experience. The learning curve of producing is a long process and can’t be fully taught in 3 months because I’m pretty sure you’re still learning when you’re sixty years old. The course definitely pushes you to create a professional product and helps you immensely to improve and progress as a producer and artist.
Has your ability on Logic/Ableton improved since you’ve taken the course?
Yes my overall workflow has also improved.
Did you manage to connect and built relationships with other students on the course?
Yeah I’m still in contact with other students, showing each other demos asking for feedback and just supporting each other on our socials, it’s amazing.
How would you rate your tutors?
What was the single best experience you had on the programme?
Having a 1 hour zoom call with Mark Knight where he listened to 4 of my demos.
Would you recommend the Production Certificate to other producers?
100 %. If you want to invest into yourself as a producer, do the course! I am so happy that I even found out about it and I would do it another 50 times. I miss the sessions. If you want to learn then you have to surround yourself with people that know more than you, Pete and Dean are the best to have around you. I’ve actually some friends that are gonna start the course soon because I told them to take it.
As a graduate, what are your thoughts on the Toolroom Academy overall?
It’s amazing, it’s an easy way for starting producers to make the next step into the professional world. It’s all about connections and networking and getting AR’s from labels to listen to your demos can be a pain in the bum. That’s why it’s so great to get feedback from professionals because that really is what make you progress a lot. Like I said I would do it again, loved it!