ELJAY Interview

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Author:
Daniel S.

Published on: October 07, 2019

What drew you into making music? Were there any specific musicians or non-musicians that influenced you in the beginning?

I feel I've always had a passion for music. Even before actually getting into the technical side I can remember having Steel pan lessons at school and participating in a french rap group that was set up by our french tutor to help us learn french.

Your drops contain a lot of interesting cuts, textured sounds, drum fills, and bass fills. It can be easy to just throw in sounds without having the song sound cohesive. How do you go about choosing and arranging these complementary sounds so they come together and make sense to the listener?

I think a lot of that comes from trial and error. Rules are meant to be broken, so instead of having the drum/bass fill at the end of an 8 bar loop why not stick it in the middle or at the beginning? It can be easy to over-complicate your tracks and that is where feedback from other musicians, friends and family can help.

What is the process for mixing your tracks? Do you mix as you go? Are there specific decibel ranges that you aim for with the certain elements in your track? Do you start with setting volume ranges, then move on to EQing?

Every mix is different and solely dependent on the track your working on, I typically mix as I go along making sure the sounds are balanced with each other and not fighting for space on the frequency spectrum. Layering sounds can be a great way to get that full sound without having to go super crazy on the mixing.

Where do you find inspiration? Also if you are working in the studio and get stuck. How do you get past that point?

I find inspiration from a number of places. I just love creativity in all aspects. For example, if nobody is inspiring me musically I might go and take some photographs and something I've photographed might inspire a certain vibe. Even going to watch a film and paying close attention to the music and paying attention to how it evokes certain emotions helps.

What are your go-to effects and processing chains at the moment? How do use these chains and processing chains in your music to achieve your sound?

So reverb is amazing! I use that on mostly everything! I've recently been messing with distortion as well, which is good for bringing out new frequencies in a sound as well as beefing it up some.

"Every mix is different and solely dependent on the track your working on, I typically mix as I go along making sure the sounds are balanced with each other and not fighting for space on the frequency spectrum."

When starting a new track, at what part of the arrangement do you start at? Also, how much of each section in the arrangement do you complete before you move onto the next section? (Until you the main theme across until you are inspired enough? Do you bounce from section to section just building small parts of it?)

Again, this is subjective every time. Typically I will try to get a rough melodic idea down first, then start with drums. All the while deciding where I want this section to be. I'd probably get about 90% of the track down in like an 8 bar loop and then spread the ideas across the duration of the track, adding and taking away different elements to keep the track momentum going or even adding new parts if needed. I feel a section of a song is done when it doesn't sound empty or boring. There should always be something holding your attention. In some cases that may be the vocal alone. But generally, everything starts with that first chord progression/melody. It dictates what kinda drums I use, the tempo, everything!

A lot of producers struggle to get a clean and powerful low end. Do you have any tips for getting this powerful low end to come through in your mix? Are you doing anything special to your kick and sub?

Sample selection is key for good kicks. Try to find a well-rounded kick with enough high end to punch through, but also enough low end to thump. I always have my sub lower in the mix so it doesn't drown out other sounds. Sidechaining your bass to the kick can help keep your kicks punchy. Lastly, throw some distortion on your bass. It will work wonders. 

Your tracks also contain many talented vocalists. Talk a bit about the collaboration process between you and the vocalist. Are there any specific steps you take when producing and communicating with the vocalist to ensure that your session or idea bouncing is creative and productive?

I have been fortunate to work with great artists. When I send over the instrumental they just know the direction I'm coming from straight away which has been amazing! Obviously we are in contact throughout the whole process and bouncing back and forth ideas. They might suggest something to change in the instrumental and we'll work that and vice versa with the vocals.



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