What So Not's six golden rules for producers

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This article is thanks to American Honey, who have teamed up with What So Not on Play Packs to give you the opportunity to find, scan and mix their track.

All of this week, What So Not’s Chris “Emoh” Emerson is on board as inthemix Guest Editor. Every day until Friday, he’ll be sharing his thoughts on production, remixing, parties and more with us. Then on Wednesday from 1pm, he’ll be taking over the inthemix Facebook page for an ask-me-anything hour.

To kick off his stint as Guest Ed, the homegrown star has put together a list of his six golden rules for producers. As a regular host of Ableton Liveschool sessions and a producer with half a decade-odd experience under his belt – not to mention countless hours spent in the studio alongside names as big as RL Grime, Skrillex, Action Bronson and his WSN production partner Harley “Flume” Streten – we figured he was more than qualified to impart some studio wisdom. So however advanced your production skills are, have a read of Emoh’s pointers below – take them to heart and soon it could be you sending your Mum crowdsurfing during festival primetime.


#1. Don’t be a snob

You might not like a successful artist’s music as a whole, but you can most likely learn something from their production, or song writing, or marketing. Draw on their strengths and outdo their weaknesses.

#2. Get your 10,000 hours

Make things bad until they are good. Develop a skill set and sound, so when it comes to expressing an idea you have the technical ability to extract it.

#3. Create your own sound bank

Don’t interrupt the creative process. Have a bank of awesome samples and synth patches curated and ready so that you can hammer everything out without getting held up.

#4. Get the right state of mind

Surround yourself with creative people, inspire yourself, travel, stay healthy, work hard but also have breaks from music.

#5. Diversity counts

Buy sample packs for genres you don’t work in and listen to music you don’t write. This will help differentiate your sound from other artists in your field.

#6. Don’t think you have to do everything yourself

95% of artists don’t do everything themselves. They outsource engineering, toplines, even raw production components and synthesis. Get things sounding as close as you can, but don’t be deterred if you can’t get all things quite on par. Find some mentors/friends/artists to help you fill the gaps in your production flaws and improve.

BONUS TIP: Creativity vs technical ability

These are two very different things and it’s important to note. You need days where you just write chords or toplines and find or create interesting noises, as well as days where you tweak a kick and bassline for five hours.

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