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 got back into production the last couple of years after a long hiatus – I guess like a lot of people who get involved in music or creative journeys early on, but then find that work/life steers them in other directions. I gradually lost touch with producing and got rid of all my old gear, but the itch was always there.
What made you decide to enrol on the Creativity Unlocked programme?
I came to Creativity Unlocked after completing the Toolroom Foundation – which is essentially what got me back into producing at the start of 2020. I knew I wanted to push myself further, to where I felt confident finishing tracks in my own style and getting some releases out that I can feel proud of. And that’s exactly what Creativity Unlocked has allowed me to do.
What modules really stood out to you throughout the course?
Pretty much all of Dean’s lessons were super clear and useful – but the ones that really felt like new tools in my armoury were his approach to bass sound design and processing, and also vocal recording/production, which was completely new to me and is something I’ve been exploring more since finishing the course – especially on the collaborations I’ve been doing with vocal groups from Mali and Colombia.
What do you think was unique or different about the Creativity Unlocked programme compared to other programmes/schools out there?
There are lots of places to learn techniques and follow templates, but Creativity Unlocked is more than that – it’s about gaining the confidence to take the fundamentals, experiment with them, and shape them in a way that suits your own creative intent. It’s an intense but very rewarding process.
How would you compare your production ability/knowledge now, compared to when you started the course?
It’s a big leap. I’ve learnt a huge amount about finishing productions in a more professional, label-ready way. And that’s already begun to pay off with signings in the months following the course.
How would you rate your tutors?
10 out of 10. The enthusiasm of both Dean and Pete is infectious, and their knowledge is immense. And at times the feedback on tracks was so detailed, it felt more like 1-2-1 mentoring than a group course.
How happy were you with the track you made over the course of the 3 months?
This was my first attempt at raw techno in the Toolroom Trax style (in the spirit of the course, I thought I’d try something new!) – but I was really happy with where it ended up. I learnt a lot of new techniques on the way – especially as Pete and Dean persuaded me to record my own vocals, so I was well and truly out of my comfort zone. The feedback was really positive too – and it led to me working with another student from the course (Trish O) on what I think will be a really nice techno-focused collaboration – more on that soon!
Would you recommend the Creativity Unlocked course to other producers?
Without a doubt, for anyone who wants to take their production skills to the next level and develop their own distinct style in the fastest, most enjoyable way possible.
As a graduate, what are your thoughts on the Toolroom Academy overall?
Toolroom Academy is more than just focused, professional learning – it’s also a really supportive community, with access to some very inspiring people who will absolutely help steer you towards your goals – and perhaps most importantly, if you have aspirations to actually release music, give you those hard-to-get insights about the industry. I have to say also that post-course, the Toolroom Academy support for alumni is a really nice touch – Pete, Megan and the team really do look out for their students long after the lessons finish.