March 16, 2017
Filed under Arts and Entertainment
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Behind the scenes, music producers are essential in making some of today’s most popular songs. A music producer writes, arranges, produces and/or records songs which can be used for another person’s album or for themselves. They shape the sound of today’s music through soulful and intriguing beats. With current technology, kids at very young ages can get a taste of producing music through apps and software on their phones or computers.
Vista junior Chris Thomas is a self-taught music producer. Growing up, he always had an interest in music and taught himself how to play the piano. “I got into producing about four years ago. I was still in middle school at the time. I was always into music and casually got apps to make beats,’’ said Thomas.
Many producers today are inspired by other artists — many older — to make their own music. These inspirations are seen as the stepping stones for a producer’s sound or flow. “What really got me into it was Tyler the Creator and the whole OFWGKTA group. Their process of making music inspired me a whole lot. It was the fact that especially Tyler made music just for the art and creativity, not the money and fame,’’ said Thomas.
Producers can spend several hours and even days just working on one song. When in the process of creating a song, a producer might have his or her own process, but music production can be put into five basic steps:
- Conceive- finding the main idea and theme for the track.
- Compose- Beginning to build the sound of the track .
- Editing- Doing things like cuts, trims, movement, etc of parts of the track to make it sound clear.
- Mixing- The final stage where you use panning and effects to create the stereo image and final sound.
- Master- Finalizing the song making it sound professional and ready for the public ear
“The time it takes is very random; it can be anywhere from two hours to two weeks. Sometimes I’ll be on a roll and create a beat within an hour, while other times it can take a couple days until I get some type of inspiration,’’ said Thomas.
Several producers today, especially in the rap genre, are known for having their own unique style or sound. Producer Earl Sweatshirt began at the age of 15 and became popular for his sparse and creepy beats and raps before becoming one of today’s biggest artists. Rapper Kanye West also began his career as a producer. Starting in the late 90’s in his hometown of Chicago, his use of vocal sampling and layering helped him skyrocket to popularity and eventually explore rap’s boundaries, blurring lines between different genres of music within his work. Both of these artists’ works can be seen as anything but traditional. “It’s hard to classify my music into one. Each is different because they have different stories behind them. I guess one thing they have similar is color… like I create sounds that feel like a certain color… I know it’s weird, but ya, color,” said Thomas.
Thomas is still frequently working on his music and believes he’ll have a big year. “I’m dropping a big project this year which is gonna be fully mine. It’s gonna be good, I hope. I’m also working with some rappers,’’ said Thomas.
Make sure to check Chris’s music on Sound Cloud where Thomas recently released a song with fellow Vista student Sahil Shah.