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7O PRO TIPS

Over recent years, we’ve spoken to all manner of pro and semi-pro music makers: from producers and artists through to composers and pro-studio owners. In this special feature, we present their most inspiring and useful studio wisdom…

COVER FEATURE

I f you’re reading this magazine, then at the very least, it’s clear you have a keen interest in making music – and in 2018, composing and production often go hand-in-hand. Despite our focus on tech and the more intricate details of the production process, what we always strive to do in these pages is focus on the joy of music making itself – and share our collective wisdom, pointers and general best-practice ideas to make the technicalities of expressing yourself through sound that bit easier. However, we’re in no way saying that these tips will work for everyone, or that these people are necessarily, undeniably ‘right’ – instead, we’re offering a platform for a multitude of creatives to share what works for them and to hopefully trigger some new approaches in your own productions. So, without further ado, we’ll turn it over to the experts – from a variety of fields – to provide their pro advice, as well as a wide selection of tips courtesy of our pro and amateur studio-owning audience.

COMPOSING PRO TIPS

HANNAH PEEL

Hannah Peel is a solo artist and member of The Magnetic North, (featuring Gawain Erland Cooper and Simon Tong, formerly of The Verve and tour musician with Blur and Gorillaz). Her debut solo album Awake But Always Dreaming was a critics’ favourite, and Hannah is also currently performing as her space-age alter ego, Mary Casio

Top Tip “Be positive and follow the best route and ‘flow’ for you. When you enjoy making a certain piece of music, it’s usually the track that others will also enjoy listening to, too. When problems arise, find solutions together… it’s a small industry and you will meet people again along the way.

“Treat every day as open-eyed as if it is the first time you walked into the studio. Pick up instruments, explore, find new sounds, and keep learning for fun. It’s okay to be militant with your time, too, when making time to create.”

GARY NUMAN

Gary Numan is one of the most important artists in the synth-pop world. We chatted to him a couple of years ago and he offered insight into how he typically manages his time in order to create a finished song demo

Top Tip “In a week, while working on a new track… Monday, by the end of the day, I’d like to have a basic song structure, melody, chords, piano, maybe some drum loops in the background.

“On Tuesday and Wednesday, I’d flesh that out and start adding production layers to it, and by Thursday morning, I’d have a working song under way. Then I’d do rough or guide vocals.

“I’d write the melody for them on the piano and then start singing it – you adapt once you get your voice in and add things to it. So Thursday would be doing that – not singing any words, just singing any old nonsense that comes to mind, just to do the phrasing, where it should be. And from that, you can begin to get an idea of which points of the song will need certain words. I know, for example, that if I’m going to be singing at the top of my range or where it needs any kind of power, because I don’t have a powerful voice that there are certain words that work better than others. So anything that has an ‘aw’ sound at the end of it is great for singing really loud or really high, because it is easy. Anything with an ‘ee’ or an ‘ind’ or ‘find’, ‘kind’ or ‘mind’, I can’t sing them loud or high – they sound a bit feeble. But ‘or’, ‘war’ or ‘law’ are easier, so you work out what it’s going to need and that helps you with the lyric a bit. The mood of the song and certain phrases come out naturally when you do the gobbledy gook, certain phrases come out and form the lyric. On Friday, I do the proper lyric, hopefully sing the proper finished vocal and that is my demo done with a finished vocal.”

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About MusicTech

In this issue, we’ve amassed the ultimate collection of professional advice on all things music; whether that's creating, recording, mixing, mastering or everything in between. Compiled from our interviews with such luminaries as John Leckie, Tony Visconti and Gary Numan, we’ve also got tips and alternative approaches from our (both pro and amateur) music-making audience. We hope this feature provides some inspiration for your creative studio endeavours. Also this issue, we chat to Catherine J Marks, a producer with some seriously impressive credits to her name and a nominee for this year’s MPG Producer Of The Year. We also spend some time with The Flashbulb, whose beautiful studio in the natural tranquility of Georgia is a thing to behold. We wrap up our A-Z series with Gear4Music, which is chock full of all the key terms and techniques that you need to know. We’ve also got our usual vast array of reviews and hands-on tutorial content, as well as an extensive guide to creating music on the move with an iPhone or iPad. We hope you enjoy the issue…