Tell us about your production journey so far – how long have you been producing? What drew you to it in the first place?
Ive been in and out of production now for around 3 years with the last 12 months being a lot more intense. I have many residencies in my home town of Liverpool and getting big reaction from a crowd is always a great feeling. However i’ve always wanted to have that feeling playing one of my own tracks!
What made you decide to enrol on the Production Certificate programme?
I’ve always been self-taught right from the very start of my production career. Sometimes, there’s only so far you can go without the correct guidance. I always knew about the Toolroom Academy so I thought now was the best time.
Week 1 of the course focuses on artist identity and positioning. Did this make you analyse your sound in any way? How would you describe your sound?
When starting out on the course I had a sound in mind that I always wanted to make, funky basslines and lively vocals. However, I always felt myself coming back to the same types of kicks, claps, hats and synths. The course really helped me find my true “sound”, which funnily enough was way away from what I thought it was going to be. I now like more heavy hitting rumbling basslines with sharper synths.
What other modules really stood out to you throughout the 12 weeks?
The two mixing down modules were great. They helped my understanding of how other tracks and stems gel together and sit them correctly in the mix.
How did you find the weekly assignment work? Did you find them challenging? Did the structure help? Was it an intense amount of work?
I was quite blasé at first thinking because I knew my way around Ableton, i’d finish the assignments in a few hours or less. I found myself really wanting to make sure every sound choice was correct to the style I was making. Thinking back to it I was probably over analysing, but I was trying to impress too!
How important was the A&R feedback throughout your journey?
For me, this was the most valuable part of the course. Whether it as criticism or praise, I couldn’t wait to hear back from Ben and Pete and get their thoughts and ideas on what i’d done each week and what they had in mind to add. They always had ways of freshening up the track, instilling inspiration.
How happy were you with the track you made over the course of the 3 months?
I was proud of my final outcome. Although its not exactly what I would like to make now, it’s still a great sounding track. I had been making my own tracks alongside the track I was making throughout this course, and I had slowly been finding what really suited me best. I didn’t want to change the direction of my course track as it was interesting learning a new style.
What do you think was unique or different about the Production Certificate compared to other programmes/schools out there?
I think the fact I was taught by Ben Remember was amazing! A producer I’d been a fan of for a long time and had been playing his tracks for a good few years. To get his insight on how to build tracks was fantastic. The remix week was like watching a mad scientist at work!
How would you compare your production ability/knowledge now, compared to when you started the course?
My knowledge is much better. Most important being my ‘sound choice’. A phrase which didn’t make much sense at first but my its an important one.
Has your ability on your DAW improved since you’ve taken the course?
Tenfold. Especially my workflow, which is huge when you want you creativity to run smoothly. Simple things like a template set out for me help me approach to track quickly instead of looking at a blank project for 20 minutes!
Did you manage to connect and built relationships with other students on the course?
Absolutely, Pete set up a facebook group for us to all interact and support each others music careers. Even during the sessions the vibe between everyone was great with loads of banter constantly flowing.
How would you rate your tutors?
Ben and Pete were unbelievable. Their professionalism and patience with us all in the group was second to none, especially as some of the gang hadn’t ever worked on a DAW before never-mind Ableton! Always there at hand if any additional help was required even outside of the lessons.
What was the single best experience you had on the programme?
As mentioned previous, definitely the feedback videos each and every week. You can’t put a price on those for me.
Would you recommend the Production Certificate to other producers?
As a matter of fact, I already have and is currently doing the Ableton course with Ben!
As a graduate, what are your thoughts on the Toolroom Academy overall?
I just wish I did it earlier, really gave me a kick start in my production career. My tracks have clarity and a recognisable sound now, exactly what I wanted it to do for me.
What is next for you in your creative career?
In the process of building a large back catalogue of originals with hopefully some big label signings in 2020.