Tell us about your production journey so far – how long have you been producing? What drew you to it in the first place?
I’ve been making tracks for a couple of years, I was drawn to it as a kind of logical next step after just DJ’ing, also because it had become more accessible over the years as technology improved. I have been around some very successful DJ’s that had started producing and that gave me an insight into it all. So far, I have had a couple of good releases out myself, but I felt I needed to level up.
What modules really stood out to you throughout the 12 weeks?
For me it was a combination of a few, but what helped me was getting the most out of my sounds, making each step meaningful and getting the best out of compression, saturation, grouping and so on. What stood out was that all the finer details add up to making big a difference. I feel I’ve ended up filling a lot of knowledge and skill gaps along the way.
How important was the A&R feedback throughout your journey?
This was really important, it’s a yard stick as to where you are in the mixing and mastering process. The feedback kept everything on course and helped me to recognise when I’d gone too far, and more importantly when I could afford to push the boundaries a bit more.
What do you think was unique or different about the Club Ready course compared to other programmes/schools out there?
I would say that there is a minefield of information out there in the world. This course basically says ‘stop’, ‘step back’ and then start again with the basics so that you organise yourself into some really good practices and habits. After this, the course fairly quickly catches up with your current level of knowledge, which it then overtakes, giving you the details that you really want to know. There is a lot packed into each lesson!
How would you compare your production ability/knowledge now, compared to when you started the course?
I think the mixing down and mastering skills covered in this course have really helped me take a look at raw production again. An example being that ‘less is more’ for content, basically demonstrating that you can make so much more out of fewer elements in a track if it’s all mixed down really well. As the mixdowns improved on the track parts that the course supplied, we found ourselves stripping it right back.
Has your ability on Ableton improved since you’ve taken the course?
I am a recent convert from Cubase so yes, I picked up all sorts of short cuts and processes. My work flow is definitely faster.
Did you manage to connect and built relationships with other students on the course?
This has been really positive, already we have a class discord group with sections for following each other, supporting releases, a collab and feedback section, a place for hints and tips and then just a general chat. The students were from all around the world, everyone was very much tuned in which was great.
How would you rate your tutor?
The greatest of respect goes to Ben, the pace of the course kept you focused and eager the move onto the next stage, then when it got really technical, it was always kept interesting and straight forward to follow. I found that Ben kept things very down to earth but extremely in depth at the same time. During the course there was a lot of live experimenting rather than just listening to pre-prepared content, this fully explained what we were doing.
What was the single best experience you had on the programme?
I have to admit that during the programme, as a test, I had been applying each of the lessons to other tracks I’m working on alongside the course. So, a good experience for me was playing one of these tracks out, which stood up really well in a DJ set, and I remember thinking to myself – ‘yep, all this stuff is working!’
Would you recommend Club Ready to other producers?
Yes definitely, I just see it as investing in yourself at the end of the day. People tend to try and read up or watch vast amounts of information for themselves online or whatever, but I do feel a lot of music production is inherent knowledge and so the course answers questions and sets a lot of things straight, saving time. At the end of the day, I wanted to make house and tech house music sound good, the course gives you exactly that.
As a graduate, what are your thoughts on the Toolroom Academy overall?
The Academy is a really good platform, I can see there are a range of courses for different abilities and experience levels. As I said, there seems to be courses out there everywhere you look these days, but the Toolroom Academy is what you would expect it to be. Don’t get me wrong, Toolroom itself is a broad church, but overall, it’s dedicated to house music and the Academy reflects that. In that respect it was exactly what I was looking for, so highly recommended!