Music Producers
Category: Music Producers

Self-education is a process that is as old as our world. Our ancestors developed housing, means of conveyance and art without formal education (referred to as autodidactism). Many successful people have blossomed from self-education over thousands of years. In modern times, self-education takes the form of absorbing information from reputable sources, applying that information and repeating the process. How do we self educate in the music industry and where do we begin?

Many articles and columns will say to begin by defining your goal. However, a bit of self-exploration should happen before any goal is specified. First, define who you want to be in the music industry. Often times I caution aspiring individuals against painting with broad strokes in this area. For example, someone who wants to be an artist, producer AND a DJ right from the very beginning of their career is facing a taller task than someone who is dialed in to one specific trade. The individual who wants to hold all of those titles will be spreading their time, commitments and energy across all three of those career paths, as opposed to the person who puts all of their effort into mastering a single craft. That is not to say after becoming a productive, professional producer that a career as a DJ is out of the question. Quite the contrary. The skillset and sharpened decision-making learned as a producer will benefit the pursuit of becoming a DJ, plus the connections made during your time a producer will help finesse the process. Before any sort of goal is defined, clearly determine who you are, who you want to be and what you want to accomplish.

Next on the list is arranging the studying environment. This should be a comfortable space, yet designated and formalized (laying in bed isn’t going to cut it here). A desk with your computer, reading materials and gear is a great start, but remember to keep it clean and free of clutter. You will need to absorb material at a rapid pace, then apply it in a practical fashion immediately afterwards. Streamlined versions of self-education require deep thought and focus, so last night’s dinner plate should not be in our learning space.

Keep a planner with a learning schedule for yourself in the studying area. Time for study should be allocated daily, with aspects of the selected career and goal broken into weeks or months. For example, if the area of focus is vocal performance, a seven-month study program may contain one month dedicated to vocal projection followed by one month for vocal cadence. Pitch, timing, emotion, resonance and breath control would all get their individual months of study before the cycle repeats itself. Noticeable growth will be present the second, third and subsequent trips back to the beginning of the cycle. Staying disciplined and studying in this manner will allow you to layer your knowledge and technique over a period of years while building and maintaining strong fundamentals.

Where can we find information from which to base our independent study? Obtaining reference materials that take the form of online tutorial videos is part of the picture, but the solution is not to “just Google it.” The process of discerning between trustworthy and misleading videos is paramount. When deciding where to obtain information online, always consider the source. What are the credentials of both the company and the teacher? Sites like, and hold themselves to high standards and take education seriously. There are plenty of other sites that offer quality information at a reasonable price, but try to avoid taking the methods from the first YouTube video that appears during a search as the most accurate source available.

Another way to find quality information is to find a mentor. However, be sure to ask yourself the same question! Let’s say you want to own a recording studio and a local studio owner offers to provide mentorship in exchange for pushing a broom around the facility. Consider that studio owner’s business practices, longevity in the market and amount of clientele. Making sure that you are studying and learning from a successful individual will greatly enhance your chances of future success (and avoiding pitfalls along the way).

Paths and goals have been set, the studying environment is prepared, the source material has been obtained and we are now (finally) ready to begin our studies. First, review the basics and brush up on the fundamentals. This will tune your brain back into learning and make sure there are no cracks in the foundation of your knowledge as you proceed. As challenging concepts arise during your study, think of them as a problem/solution scenario. Expand on that scenario and develop it into this pattern of study:


For example, say the problem is that your songs don’t have a professional sonic characteristic and lack fidelity. The solution would be to learn how to mix. Research would include studying from your qualified sources and mentors, followed by an attempt to mix. Repeat that process until your songs have reached the professional threshold you desire.

During this entire process, don’t forget to take a breath! Self-education can become daunting and frustrating, especially if you don’t see the results you desire immediately.  Turning a weakness into a strength is challenging. Remember to stay positive during trying times (the sky is not always blue, even if you’re in Los Angeles). Above all, learn from your failures and mistakes. In the absence of formal assessment, everything must be treated as a lesson. Make sure the exact same failures are not repeated.

The good news is that self-education can begin at any age and it never ends! It should be treated as a journey, not a path with a destination. Nothing is certain, but keep your goal in the crosshairs, trust the process and believe in yourself.

DOUG FENSKE is a Grammy-nominated, Multiplatinum engineer, producer and mixer for artists such as Frank Ocean, LL Cool J and Ryan Tedder. He also serves as Director of Education for CRē•8 Music Academy, which provides four expansive music production courses through a unique partnership with Westlake Recording Studios. For more information about CRē•8 Music Academy, visit

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Hands-on: Native Instruments Maschine Jam
Category: Music Producers
Tags: Equipment Producers Instruments

First look at the new hybrid performance controller

Jazz drummer turned hiphop producer
Category: Music Producers
Tags: Jazz hiphop stonesthrow
Karriem Riggins

Live booking & Mgmt: The JAE.B Group

Karriem Riggins is best known as a jazz drummer and hip-hop producer for artists like Common, Slum Village, Talib Kweli and The Roots, but he doesn’t categorize himself as anything but an artist.

“You don’t have to put yourself in a box…there’s so many different ways to go,” Riggins says. A student of late jazz bassist Ray Brown, he tours with another Brown protégé, Grammy Award winner Diana Krall. In 2011, he collaborated with former Beatle Paul McCartney in concert and on Kisses on the Bottom, McCartney’s first studio release in five years. Names of some of the jazz artists he’s backed reads like the genre’s hall of fame - Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Donald Byrd and Ron Carter.

For his solo debut Alone Together on Stones Throw Records, Riggins plants himself firmly as a hip-hop producer with a 34-track instrumental odyssey through nearly every influence on his career thus far.

“Coming back to the machines, I feel like I can really express myself,” Riggins says. “This is the way that I express my rhythms.”

Machines, however, are just one way he expresses his rhythms. Midway through the album, the track “Water” is interrupted by a vocal snippet where the speaker places Riggins “right at the intersection of hip-hop and jazz.” Alone Together is that intersection; it’s the jazz music he’s played professionally since the age of 19, and it’s crafting beats like “Africa” on an MPC5000 while touring throughout Eastern Europe and Russia.

-- Ronnie Reese
Review: Output Movement Rhythm Processor Plug-In
Category: Music Producers
Tags: Music Plug-ins Producers
With a plethora of audio multi-effects plugins available these days, what makes Output's Movement (a rhythm processor) stand out from the crowd? G.W. Childs finds out in this in-depth review.  

Every once in a while, you run into a new piece of software that makes you want to update your setup. In the past, for myself, it’s usually been a new video game, or a major DAW update that has been the case for money to fly from my hand, to Apple, or wherever this decades technology has led me. Today, the first piece of software that has caused me to really want to upgrade my shit is actually a plug-in. 

Output Movement.

Output Movement.

Meet Movement

I am hot to trot for multi-FX, filtering plug-ins these days. They make basic sample patches that I use (because I need to stretch my resources as far as possible) that I can run on my old MacBook Pro sound new, and exciting. The hard part for me, at least so far, has been finding a multi-FX plug-in where I really feel a little more at home at the interface. Movement, even in the couple of days where I have been using it a lot, has already become one of the comfiest plug-ins I have run across for this. Let me explain why.

Output Movement 2

The interface, first off, is a thing of beauty. It’s beautifully animated in all the right ways. But it’s not overt. And, the color scheme is cool, but not over the top. One thing I really like about it is that the UI works very similarly to Massive, a synth that I’ve used a lot. Once this clicked, in regard to how the four, internal rhythm generators can be assigned to modulate various parameters in several different ways, I found myself already making and coming up with ideas for my own patches. 


This is something I feel like I really need to commend Movement’s developers on... The presets! There is a large, and extremely comprehensive list of presets that sound great, and never fail to add something to pads, basses, synth leads, and even vocals. And, because these are effects presets, you never really know how one effect will affect another source. This has already caused me to jot down a few favorite presets that I keep coming back to, all the time. But, the interface is sooo damn good, that I’ve already started making my own. 

Output Movement 3

The Guts

Within Movement, as I mentioned, there are 4 rhythm sources (2 per engine) within Movement. Each Rhythm source can be set to behave as either a Step Sequencer, an LFO, or in Sidechain mode. Once you know what one rhythm source is going to do, as I mention, just drag its number indicator (like Massive), over to the parameter you want to modulate.

Output Movement 4

Within each Engine there are 4 slots for different assignable effects. Movement currently has 6 different effects that can be added in, in any particular order—a compressor, a distortion effect, a filter, EQ, delay, and reverb. Not only can the rhythm sources control things like pan, level, and more. But the effects can also be modulated.

In addition to the effects, engines, and effects, there’s also a very handy, and very powerful XY pad that can be, of course, assigned to any parameter within Movement. I should mention that this pad appears on your screen, along with Movement’s interface as a whole, much bigger than some of the XY pads produced by other companies. No one has corroborated this. But, personally, I think the developers know how deeply you can get sucked into Movement, once the interface is up, and you’ve started tweaking.

Output Movement 5

In Use...

While I love the LFO, and Sidechain functionality of the Rhythm Sources, I kept coming back to the Step Sequencers quite a bit, as they are extremely fun to work with. Steps can be programed in positive and negative polarities and there are handy little functions like randomization and Flux (where the rate knob is fluctuated by the other rhythm). There are even regular, dotted and triplet resolutions for timing, as well as Step Shapes.

Output Movement 6

I found myself using Movement, from the start, with pretty much every instrument, track and bit of vocals I could throw it on. There is immediate gratification, for the most part, from every preset. But, when pads come into the picture, Movement really takes off.

Audio (with effect):



Audio (without effect):



In addition, drums being processed by Movement sound incredible. I’m always looking for new, and different drum patterns. Movement, especially with all of its ultra modulated patches really does change things up. It will cut out certain hits and enhance other hits. There is truly lots of Movement in Movement. 

Drums (with effect):




Drums (without effect):



Vocals are where I found myself getting extremely excited. Patches within the Movement Library, and also just sitting down with an initialized Movement patch, reveals an effect device that can be subtle at times, and very blatant, at others. Just hearing the subtle movements within my voice, subtle patterns of modulations existing. But, not being overt enough to detract from what’s being said, got me very excited. I am already thinking about what a modulated 4-part harmony is going to sound like... Through Movement!


While the interface is powerful and wonderfully animated, I do find that I wait for a little longer than normal for the UI to appear, once I need to tweak Movement. The animated pulsing and knob movements that go on inside of Movement can be disabled by the small waveform button at the bottom. But this setting currently seems to be forgotten, once you close the UI and go back in. I am not really sure if this setting being locked, after closing the UI, would actually increase the UI loading time. But, I will say this, even when the interface is slow to appear, the effects coming from even multiple instances of Movement aren’t too hard on the processor. I got three instances going on my old machine, and that’s unusual for all of the next generation plugs that are coming out, lately.

Output Movement


Movement isn’t just an effect, it’ll improve your quality of life as a musician. The effects, the patches, the look and the way that effects are applied all sound great, and you can tell a huge amount of thought went into each function. It really feels like an effect plug made by a musician, for musicians. But, more than anything, Movement adds a new  vibe to pretty much anything you run through it.  

Price: $149

Pros: A powerful multi-FX plug-in with a cool XY pad, useable patches and a lot of eye candy. Makes anything sound cool!

Cons: The interface takes a while to appear.



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Category: Music Producers
Tags: Knxwledge Beats Hip-hop


Knxwledge (pronounced “knowledge”) is a beat maker raised in central New Jersey and Philadelphia, now in Los Angeles.

Standing out in a sea of producers rising from the L.A. beat scene, the prolific artist and record collector produces his sound by creating a pastiche of soul, jazz and hip-hop that melts together in a style uniquely his own. He has produced for hip-hop powerhouse Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp a Butterfly, for Joey Badass on 1999, and has released dozens of remix and beat tape collections on his Bandcamp, compiled on Anthology (2013, Leaving Records).




DJ Ghastly Interview
Category: Music Producers
Tags: Ghastly DJ EDM Bass

"The producer Ghastly, who has released singles through OWSLA, Mad Decent, and Dim Mak, got his start in a metal band, and he showed those roots several times during his rumbling, forceful set at Elements Festival on Saturday in Red Hook, Brooklyn. An hour later, as Gramatik boomed from the Earth Stage, Ghastly told Billboard Dance about a life-changing encounter with hardstyle and his collaborations with Mija and Jauz." 

Read full interview here

Dr. Dre Issued Bizarre Citizen's Arrest After Home Confrontation Mogul handcuffed, searched after angry motorist accuses him of pulling gun
Category: Music Producers
Tags: Dr. Dre

UPDATE: The L.A. County District Attorney rejected Dr. Dre's citizen's arrest for insufficient evidence, TMZ reports. Law enforcement said Dre did not have a gun on him after searching his Malibu property on Monday.  


Dr. Dre was hit with a citizen's arrest after a confrontation with a motorist outside his home in Malibu, The Associated Pressreported. The incident took place after the man parked his car in front of Dre's home and the mogul asked him to move. While the man complied, he reportedly swore at Dre and continued to yell at him as the rapper-producer pulled into his driveway.

Dre then took out his phone to record the incident when, according to TMZ, the man said, "Here we go again. Another black guy with a gun." The man then called 911, and according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, told police someone had pulled a gun on him.

When the police arrived, Dre was briefly handcuffed and searched, but officers did not find a gun. The motorist, however, insisted on making a citizen's arrest and filled out a report detailing his allegations. The paperwork will be sent to the district attorney, who will decide whether charges should be pressed.

A representative for Dr. Dre declined to comment.

Last year, Dr. Dre released Compton, his first album since 1999's 2001. The mogul has remained busy in 2016, producing cuts for T.I., joining the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of N.W.A. and working on a new scripted series for Apple MusicVital Signs, that he'll reportedly executive produce and star in. 


New Track From KSHMR and DJ Tigerlily
Category: Music Producers
Tags: DJ Tigerlily KSHMR Dance EDM

Last week, KSHMR took to social media to drop a few teasers for his upcoming collaboration with Australian DJ Tigerlily. The two short audio samples gave us a decent idea of what the producer’s been cooking up in the studio, but now we have a more complete preview of the forthcoming effort, dubbed “Invisible Children.”

Read Full Article Here

El-P announces a Pokemon remix challenge
Category: Music Producers
Tags: #Elp #RTJ #PokemonGo #Remix

If you haven’t been living under a rock this past week (or looking for a Rattata under one), you might have heard of Pokémon GO, the new game/app that allows users to finally catch Pokémon in the real world. El-P has certainly heard of it, and he let the world know of his disdain for the game in a series of hilarious tweets posted yesterday. As you can see below, he used some inflammatory language to remark on the potential dangers of hunting for Pokémon in real life:


Then came the crowning moment of this saga: a new a cappella freestyle by El-P entitled “Pokemon rappin”. After posting the track on his Instagram, the Run the Jewels rapper challenged fans to create their own remixes. The response so far has been healthy to say the least, proving once and for all that too many people have too much damn time on their hands.





How To Sell Beats Online Like A Pro

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