November 23 2015
With house music taking full flight in Australia, there are a number of producers leading the Australian charge, one of them being the house connoisseur Dom Dolla. With his production style being likened to the crispy and clean sounds of Tchami, Dom Dolla is rapidly rising as one of Australia's most exciting producers.
Having jumped on board alongside DJ Kronic and Ember to mix The Annual 2016, we asked Dom Dolla to share a few tricks of the trade by offering up a few production tips for aspiring producers.
1. Quietly does it.
I make a point of never writing or mixing at a volume louder than I can have a conversation over. Louder sounds are always perceived as more exciting. If you can make a track both captivating and energetic at a low volume, you're on your way to a hit. Not to mention mixing too loudly will fatigue your ears unnecessarily.
Not enough hi-end on that bassline, or low-end gut in that synth? Instead of EQ-ing like a madman, find another sound that includes the frequencies you need and replace the lacklustre ones. With a little compression and some ADSR fiddling in your synth or sampler, you'll have them sounding like a single coherent sound in no time.
3. Replicate, re-produce, re-build.
I'm a firm believer that, as a music producer, it's difficult to create original content to a high standard if you can't re-produce or reverse-engineer existing material. If you're just starting out, make it a goal to replicate as many of the tracks you love as possible. You might not get them sounding identical, but you'll get invaluable practice in sound design and song structuring. Then you can use your new arsenal of knowledge to smash your original tracks out of the park!
4. Pick the right sounds.
Selecting the right samples or designing the right lead sound is so much more important than post-production mixing and messing around. Spending hours fiddling with the EQ on a kick drum won't get you anywhere if the kick sucks from the get-go. You can't polish a turd...
5. It's the Chef, not the Kitchen.
In short, learn to master the gear you have access to inside and out, instead of collecting every plugin or piece of equipment under the sun. It seems obvious, but I see too many young guys forking out heaps of $ for the latest and greatest plugins, thinking it will improve their game or get them a better sound than their last subtractive synth did. The world's best producers can make a better track using average gear than an average producer can in the world's best studio.