Fresh off a tour in Germany, Mark Roberts of the electronic-goth project We Are Temporary, chatted with us about his new record deal with Trisol, the equipment he can’t live without, sound-pairing, and more.
How did you first get involved as a producer and what elements drew you in? My mom was an opera singer and my dad a classically trained organist, so I fell into music pretty early. My first attempts at production probably occurred around the time I was 14. By then, I had been playing guitar for a few years, got my first synth around 12, and had fallen head over heals in love with computers—Amiga 500, early 386 PCs, amber screens, MS DOS, etc.
Around 1992, my world was turned upside down when Steinberg’s Cubase came out on Windows 3.0 and I discovered the world of MIDI. Computers, of course, still couldn’t record audio back then, and so, after pestering my Mom for months on end, she finally got me a 4-track Tascam Portastudio for Christmas, with me combining elementary midi-programed drums and synths with some very rudimentary guitar power chords and pubescent vocals. The results were almost certainly awful, haha, but the damage was done and I was having the time of my life! 23 years and a handful of technology innovations later, I’m basically still doing the same thing, still having the time of my life 🙂
Performing over 300 shows a year, Chicago-based DJ Avi Sic has shared the stage with the likes of Calvin Harris, Icona Pop, and works with top brands including AllSaints and Nike. With residencies in Chicago, NYC, and Miami, Avi Sic is a driving force in today’s club scene. Read on to learn about her go-to gear, how she approaches music production, and more.
Hey Avi Sic, thanks for chatting with us! Introduce yourself. You were a radio DJ at KISS FM, mentored by DJWS (Lady Gaga’s Grammy-nominated producer), and have shared the stage with the likes of Calvin Harris, Diplo, and more. (Such a rad background!). How did you get started in music? As a kid i was obsessed with space and music – my parents wouldn’t send me to space camp so i concentrated on the music . I took up instruments at an early age and by high school I was Djing and playing college parties. I wasn’t certain as to what i wanted to do as an adult – DJing professionally kinda fell into my lap. I took sound engineering classes in college and messed around with the basics of the the early 2000’s. Pro tools, fruityloops, garageband… After a few years I was supporting myself solely off gigs and basically continue to network my way up and up.
As a talented DJ, songwriter, and producer Lauren Flax has worked with the likes of Sia, Le Tigre, Fischerspooner, and is part of the Brooklyn trip-hop duo, CREEP. With a single coming out with Fritz Pop Tv with remixes from The Carry Nation and Hannah Holland, an EP due out this summer, and a European summer tour, we chatted with Lauren about the equipment she takes on the road, what advice she’d give someone who wants to get into music production, and more.
Hey Lauren, stoked to have you be part of our series! Give us a little intro to Lauren Flax. How has being a Detroit native and growing up in the Chicago house scene influenced your style? Everything. It’s a pretty special thing to be surrounded by the best of the best in terms of house and techno. I grew up knowing the biggest influencers, and that definitely put a spark in my belly. I wanted to be a part of it.
Brooklyn-based producer/engineer Carlson has worked with dozens of popular artists including Cat Stevens, Autre Ne Veut, Tim Hecker, and Ariel Pink, and has been featured on NPR, Gorilla vs. Bear, and FACT. With his new LP Going South dropping on June 10, we chatted with him about about how he approaches producing, the piece of gear he can’t live without, and more.
How do you approach producing music?
For me the primary goal with all production is to take an artist’s vision and fuse it with the song at hand to create a story. Producing can mean so many different things these days. It can be an integral part of the songwriting process (as in making a beat, track or bed). It can involve a more traditional approach, with the producer playing the musical mentor (choosing instrumentation and arrangements, choosing the right takes and giving musical direction.) Sometimes it’s more of an anchor role; With large groups or even smaller groups of people, it’s not uncommon to need a studio time/space manager, making sure everyone is focused on the task at hand and aware of the common goal. Other times it can be the opposite; A very hands off job. Perhaps the artist(s) are too organized and too inside their own heads to let loose and let the emotion of the music take over.
There’s so many different roles to take on it can be hard to peg down till you’re actually in the studio making music, but once i’m in the process of making a record it becomes clear what’s needed.