Fred Symonds

Tell us about your production journey so far – how long have you been producing? What drew you to it in the first place?

Its been about a year since I have started taking my production seriously. Before that, I was just mucking about on Ableton not really having a clue on what I was doing. A few mates were just teaching me the basics. Now all I do is sit in front of my computer, constantly trying to think of new ideas. I have always been into the house scene. I have parents who also love the music, which I feel has influenced me massively. Growing up around house/tech music made me want to produce and have my dream job of performing and doing what I love.

What made you decide to enrol on the Production Certificate programme?

Being self-taught and having a bit of help from friends, there’s only so much you can teach yourself. I had downloaded a few online courses where you follow other producers techniques on how they make a track which got the ball rolling when getting to grips with the music software. I have been following Toolroom for a long time. As soon as I saw they were doing a production course I was straight on to it. I wanted to be taught by the professionals!

What modules really stood out to you throughout the 12 weeks?

Week 9 was “In-depth mix down”. Over the time of me producing, there has always been times when I tell myself “How do these producers make their tracks sound so beefy and full?”. Even though your sample choice is most key, when we got taught how to bring our tracks to life and make certain parts stand out, thats when I said to myself “Oh that’s how you do it!” That was a real eye opener for me.

How did you find the weekly assignment work? Did you find them challenging? Did the structure help? Was it an intense amount of work?

To be honest, it was very manageable. It was a little easier for me as I knew my way round Ableton a bit but if I hadn’t used the software before, it all might of been quite daunting. Certain weeks were intense. Some weeks I really struggled. As other producers know, sometimes you have complete mind blanks and you really can’t get any ideas down. Plus when your under a deadline to get the assignment in sometimes it got quite stressful. In the end everything worked out.

The structure of the course was brilliant. Over the 12 weeks you saw your track slowly coming together and before you knew it you had a complete track. The work load was intense but it was manageable; it was worth it.

How important was the A&R feedback throughout your journey?

The A&R feedback each week was what really motivated me. Pete & Ben were so encouraging and positive. The main part for me was their honesty, telling me what I did wrong and what I needed to improve. Each week I received an in depth feedback video, telling me what I did well and what could be improved. The A&R feedback was key for me!

What do you think was unique or different about the Production Certificate compared to other programmes/schools out there?

The unique thing for me was the A&R videos I received each week. I was able to watch the videos in my own time, over and over again till I got my track right!

How would you compare your production ability/knowledge now, compared to when you started the course?

Since I started the course I can see a real improvement in my production. I know so much more than what I did before. For example, learning things on Ableton which I didn’t even know existed! I picked up so many little tricks over the 12 weeks. Since the course has finished, I have been non-stop working on tracks and using the techniques I learnt from the course. All of this has been an amazing thing for my music!

Would you recommend the Production Certificate to other producers?

Definitely. The whole course was very organised and professional. I would say to any producer, if you want to better yourself and push yourself then do this course! Without doubt, you will learn so much. I promise you that!

As a graduate, what are your thoughts on the Toolroom Academy overall?

Overall, I think the Toolroom Academy is wicked! It’s run by people who have a real passion for music, very knowledgeable and have lots of experience. I am very happy to have built up a good relationship with them. The Academy is a place where everyone has the same passion and can really help each other! That’s why it’s called the Toolroom Family!

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Learn how to make cutting-edge House and Tech House with our 3 month online Production Certificate taught by Ben Remember.

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