subduxtion is a pioneering DJ and music producer who continues to explore sound while innovating with every release. Lately, he’s been dividing his time between producing and creating new mixes for his popular weekly radio show “Dark Signals” which currently airs worldwide, attracting new listeners with every episode.
His style and signature no doubt make his name one of the most sought after for lovers of a darker, minimal sound, while his creative genius seems to reach a new height with each release; it’s no surprise that he’s one of those artists to watch closely.
We sat down with him to ask for his advice on music production, as well as studio “must-haves” and favorite personal gear, among other music production-related recommendations.
That’s what he said.
Hi subduxtion, how are you?
Hello, things are going well. Busy as usual. Hosting my weekly radio show, “Dark Signals,” means there’s very little downtime.
In your opinion, what equipment is essential in a home studio?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many options for what to have. Do you really have to decide if you’re going to go with a DAW-based setup (Live, Bitwig, etc.) or if you’re going to go with a non-DAW setup? Once you’ve made that decision, you sort of figure out what your “must haves” are. There are two “must haves” that are unaffected by your choice of a DAW-based setup or a non-DAW setup and these are headphones and monitors. Invest as much as you can in headphones and monitors! As you will be doing all of your listening and decision making based on what you hear in your headphones or monitors, it is in your best interest to invest in both of these as much as possible.
What is one thing to keep in mind when producing music?
Listen to what the track is telling you. As you begin to build the track, it will by its nature begin to dictate direction. Stay open to that direction and try not to force it to go where it really isn’t going. This ranges from the sounds to be used, from the arrangement to the final mix.
Which part of a song do you think is the best to start with?
I myself tend to start with some sort of melodic component. It can be a chord progression or a main line or a sample that has a melodic or musical element. It’s very subjective what is the best way to start a track. A lot of producers start with the drums first and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that approach.
How do you know a song is ready?
When I know a track is ready is when I keep adding to the track and then deleting what I just added. There comes a point where adding more and more to the track doesn’t do anything for it, that’s when I start to think a track is done. At this point, I’m going to take a day or two away from the track, so I can listen with fresh ears and if I can’t “hear” anything more to add, then that’s it.
Do you use any particular plugins? Which are your favourites?
I use Arturia Analog Lab 5, Air Hybrid 3, Native Instruments Maschine 3 and Battery 4, Valhalla VintageVerb, Newfangled Audio Generate, Devious Machines Texture, Serato Sample, Lunacy Audio CUBE, Minimal Audio Rift, Cableguys ShaperBox, Waves HDelay and Output Movement . My favorite plugins are all the UA plugins I have access to from my UA audio interface. No matter how good all these VSTs sound, they improve exponentially when I record them through my UA Apollo Twin. My UA plugins include the 1176LN and SE, Neve 1073 EQ and channel strip, Pultec EQ collection, Studer A800 multichannel tape recorder, and LA 3A and 2A plugins.
What DAW do you use and why?
I use Ableton Live. The big reason I use it is because it allows me to go from studio to stage more efficiently. I used to use Cubase in the studio and live during my performances, but it was getting really tedious so I finally decided to use Ableton Live both in the studio and live.
How do you stay inspired?
I always listen to music, whether new or old. Hearing what other producers and artists are doing is always inspiring. There’s always something I hear that makes me sit up and take notice, whether it’s a particular sound, the way the song is mixed, or the arrangement, the inspiration not miss.
Are there any books, blogs or videos you would recommend to someone making music?
YouTube is a great place to start! There are a number of very good music production creators out there. Some of my favorites are Venus Theory, Andrew Masters, Colt Capperune, Accurate Beats, Ricky Tinez and Bo Beats.
What advice would you give to someone getting into music production?
My advice to anyone starting out is don’t worry about the gear you don’t have, use what you have and get to know it inside and out. You can start producing with just an iPhone or iPad. There are a number of high-quality music-making apps that are relatively inexpensive for both. You don’t need big budget gear to get started. It’s about getting started, learning the tools of the trade and developing your skills and ears.