Get familiar with the artists behind the master channel mixtape, learn from their workflow as they share their essentials.
Coming out of Toronto, 4AM started making music at the age of 13 on his Korg D4 digital multitracker. He would mess around with his guitar, drums and keys for hours at time recording entire compositions.
Fast forward a few years, he has set up camp in Brooklyn and after months in the lab crafting his sound, we can expect many original productions and remixes. A unique synthesis of House with Urban/Alternative vibes, 4AM beats are sure to get you out of your seat.
Here’s an afterhours with the man of the hour:
“My current set up of essentials: Monitors (Genelec 8040A), SoundCard (Focusrite Saffire pro 40), Mac Thunderbolt Display, Midi Controller (M-Audio Oxygen 25). DAW Logic 8”
Phase 1: Songwriting, Sound Design
I start a project with the chords, melody and a bassline . It’s important to me that the root of any progression is catchy, to capture the right vibe. A major part of vibe is sound design and texture. I have a large library of patches from past projects that I use to jump start my ideas. I spend a lot of time refining until I get a theme that feels right.
Phase 2: Arrangement
Once the melodies sound good I arrange a blueprint of the composition to visualize how the track will play out. This way I can easily fill in the blanks when I start to add samples, drums and effects. This is where the ideas really start to take shape.
Phase 3: Carving
Hearing how each sound fits into its sonic space helps avoid overcomplicating my production. Towards the end of a project, I spend a lot of time carving out sounds in the EQ and cutting out useless frequencies. When each sound has its own place, mixing the project is easier to do.
Phase 4: Mixdown
It’s important to be balancing your levels throughout the production of a track. A good mix makes a good master. Here are a few things I do that have improved how I mix over the years:
- Mix quietly: if you’re bumping a track, it’s difficult to hear dynamic range. Don’t worry, if something sounds good quiet it will sound good loud.
- Dynamic Focus: A good mix doesn’t mean having perfectly balanced levels. You want things that stand out. i.e in a house record your kick, claps, bass should be at the forefront of your mix.
- Fresh Ears: When starting a mix down session it’s important to go in with fresh ears. Take a break before you start this process. Ear fatigue will screw up your mix.
LISTEN TO 4AM HERE: