Noise from the basement: a producer’s untold story

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By David Troya-Alvarez | music content writer | DamageControl7Media | April 12, 2015 

Electronic music production is an art form.

Synths, bass lines, and drum kicks. To the average music enthusiast, the different types of sounds you hear from a song are heard simultaneously with no regard to the smaller details that go into any form of music production. However, behind the scenes there are hours, days, and even weeks at a time spent creating any given song, as well as the untold story of the general struggles of being an underground producer. Every chart-topping producer and basement producer has gone through the struggles of being in the music industry. From the creative process, to the final mastering of their tracks, and everything in between, there is a story to be told with how they developed each sound.

This is one story.

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Figure 1: 5MUT in his basement studio. Follow him on SoundCloud for exclusive releases – https://soundcloud.com/5mut

From an early age, my siblings and I were classically trained on the piano. Our love of music began relatively early, and we would play recitals and concerts across the province. However, due to time constrictions as we each grew older, we could no longer continue with lessons and our love for music was left to whatever we learned over the years of lessons. Despite this, the passion for music continued to develop within the mind of my brother, Danny. From the age of 17, Danny began to experiment with FL Studios, an introductory software for music production. Little did he know, that his short sound loops would just mark the beginning for what has become a full-time ordeal to develop his on sound, and own stage persona known as “5MUT.

Long are the days of using his mother’s computer and introductory software to produce music. Now his equipment has expanded to using Logic Pro X software on his MacBook Pro, which contains a massive sound library known as Komplete Ultimate 9 by Native Instruments. These sounds get imported to a Maschine sequencer to sample drum loops, which in return get exported back to the software and out to the Yamaha HS80M speakers that fill the basement with noise. The final result leaves him with thousDSC06419ands of dollars of equipment that he has at his disposal to develop his own music productions. However, these tools are only the beginning of what becomes a wave of creative bubbles, moments of frustration, and immense satisfaction after finishing a track.

Like many other artists, the creative process is an ongoing wave of trying different sounds to produce something that works for their own intents and purposes. But what many music listeners don’t see is the ongoing thought process of what each sound makes a producer feel and how they managed to achieve any individual sound. Producers dissect individual sounds from each song they hear and use these sounds as inspiration to develop their own. A producer is left with having to go through thousands of different samples in their sound library and then emulate an idea in their mind, which is much easier said than done. Hours after hours are spent putting together a combination of sounds at different octaves, filters, and sound modulation. Loops are changed, synths are added, and drum progressions are developed to create hundreds of individual sounds that are laid out in a chaotic yet organized structure.

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Figure 2: Take a listen to Scream Louder! – 5MUT https://soundcloud.com/5mut/scream-louder

Now I know to many people these production terms may come off as a completely different language. However the end goal for many of these producers is very simple: to create an auditory experience for themselves, as well as their listeners. Like any form of art, be that musical, dance, or visual masterpieces, a producer communicates their own emotion with the audience by attempting to get them into the same mindset as they had while creating their art form.

For many producers trying to make it, there is no greater feeling than seeing reactions to their music online, or at a show they’re performing, or even their own family who listens to the sounds echo throughout the house. Most basement producers and DJs just want to be heard and could care less if they get money from their passionate hobby. They want you to have a musical experience, which makes their tough, long, and intense production process very worth it.

I ask you as a reader to continue to support your up-and-coming producers who are simply trying to share with the world their passion for music just the way my brother began his: with software, and a dream.

Who are your favourite basement producers? If you have any, please share their content in the comments section below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                                                       

David Troya-Alvarez

10403929_10152841526928574_7852095747435131359_oDavid is an electronic music enthusiast with pride in his city. His passion for music has led him to explore all genre variations of the electronic dance music world. While trained as a classical musician, his interests in music go far beyond harmonic and melodic structure, as they focus into the next generation of electronic productions that are evolving day after day.

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2 thoughts on “Noise from the basement: a producer’s untold story

  1. andres192x April 15, 2015 / 5:36 pm

    Good article!, I actually met Danny like 4 years ago through summer school when I was still in HIgh School. He seemed like a nice a guy and we became friends but when summer school ended we lost contact. I was not aware that he had become a music producer, it sounds like a very cool hobby that could potentially take him to higher places. Like you mentioned in the article, every big producer has to start from somewhere. Most of the big names in the industry start in small places like their basement but eventually become famous and make a career out of it. One day they are mixing music in their basement and the next day they are giving concerts to hundreds of people. It is an industry that can bring unexpected results on the blink of an eye, if Danny puts work into it and is lucky enough to find a good manager he will be on the radio before you know it. My advice to Danny is to keep putting hard work and dedication in order to achieve his goals, I will make sure to follow his music and support him. I look forward to listening his music on the radio one day.
    There will always be struggles to achieve your dreams but if you do the things right you will reach your goals. These are some links about the struggles everyone trying to make it to the music industry goes through, you are not alone:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/taylorsimone/do-you-have-venmo#.prJ85xybjb
    http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/The_Top_Five_Things_New_Musicians_Struggle_With.html

    Liked by 1 person

  2. musaheinen April 15, 2015 / 8:05 pm

    After reading this article, I searched your brother’s SoundCloud, and was floored. Each track has an overall shape, which the listener rides. One second you’re high and full of energy, then the next you’re low, anticipating the next peak. It’s really cool to look at the pictures in your article of where the tracks were created, while listening along. I’m studying music at Humber College, here in Toronto, and am putting together a home studio myself, so I realize how much of a process it is. His set up is ideal, and it has to be considering how much time it takes to perfect a track.

    I whole-heartedly agree that the creation of electronic music is an art form. Not only does producing require expensive equipment, it takes skill, musicality, and hours on hours of experimentation. My dad studied music, and ended up veering towards electronic music production as well, so I can relate to music always echoing through the house- it’s inspiring.

    I’m a vocalist, and have recorded on a few tracks before! If he’s interested in some original vocals, get him to check out my SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/musa-heinen

    This is also a link to a producer who I worked with from Hamilton. He writes, and shares some sweet tracks: https://soundcloud.com/millydmusic

    Liked by 1 person

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