Producers - Do you ever want the sound of live drums in your music? Don't have the right recording equipment or a drummer? Artists - do you ever songwrite and wish you just had some drums to give it that umph? Have no money to pay a good drummer? Well I will let you in on a little secret! His name is Toby Pluta.
He is a talented drummer who records from his own studio and only charges £10 for each song. He plays live drums or electric drums. You tell him what you would like and he lays it down, sends you the stems and then you can run with it! I used his services recently for a cover I am doing of the song "Wicked Game" and really have enjoyed what he has done on it. All business was done over the net. I sent him my demo idea with an added email explaining how I want the drums roughly. I also told him he could be creative if he wanted to add to my idea which he was. Within a couple of days it was done. He gave me lots of options in one take so I don't have spend any more money asking him for other takes. I will definitely be using his services again. Contact Toby via his website and let me know how you get on!
Written by Sazrah
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Oliver Price is a Scottish writer/producer who fronts cutting edge electro-indie cross over band Bronze Medallists and helms Dream-Pop trio Polychrome. He has a studio in Dalston, the beating heart of London’s creative scenes and has worked with many of the most exciting emerging artists of the last few years. Many musicians dream to make music their full time business but have to resort to treating it as a side job. Oliver however is living the dream and composing for a living. Want to know how he does it? I caught up with him to get some top industry tips for you guys to put into practice! Don't say I never spoil you ;-)
You produce music for a living. What is your secret?
Liquorice tea, late nights and dogged persistence. Oh, and loving music!
How long did it take you to get to the stage where music was your full-time job?
It took years! At age 27 I quit my part-time bar job and took the plunge, the industry has refreshed itself so many times since then it still feels like taking the plunge again every year because you are never sure where the next revenue streams will come from. I remember being 23, feeling that I'd already been at it for soooooo long and thinking that if I hadn't 'made it' by age 26 I'd cash in my chips and buy a bamboo beach hut in Bali. Ha!
Instead it's 10 years later and while I'm not exactly doing what I had anticipated when I was 23, I am one of the lucky ones who gets to do this for a living. Actually I'd say I have moderate luck. I've seen some people get a lot further with less brains over the years and some with more do nothing at all - it certainly isn't a meritocracy out there. As a competitive animal I think that's one of the biggest challenges - being inspired the achievements by your peers and not trampled.
And what other challenges do you face?
Now the day to day challenges are things like, 'Can you make a piece of french orchestral music', 'Can you write a piece of music for a circus trapeze act?', 'Can you write a song for Cheryl Cole?'. Usually I say 'Yes', think 'No' and then do something in between but the process is really fun and I really enjoy getting out of my comfort zones. And if I do it well enough that means I get to keep earning my living this way. I'm not sure if that means I've made it or not, but now I'm 33 and I get royalty statements which is great. I've said to myself though, that if I haven't had a number one single by the time I'm 36 I'm going to cash in my chips and buy a beach bungalow in North Devon!
What is your greatest musical achievement so far?
I wrote a song for my step brother's funeral, it was raw, natural and visceral, I didn't try to write it, it just came out. I think the best stuff often comes when you make the least effort, although your sort of lying to yourself when you say that because the effortlessness is probably the result of years of practicing and developing your skills, but that sounds less cool to say and doesn't help cultivate your image as a born-gifted musical genius.
Do you produce for TV/Animation? If so, how did you get into it?
I tend to write music and then it gets used on animations or TV. Although I just wrote a piece of music for an animated skate film and adapted a piece of orchestral music for a TV advert so there are no rules. The skate film happened because the music video director for my band, Bronze Medallists' new single put us forward for it.
Talking money can be quite awkward at times when you are self employed. And lot of people offer 'exposure' instead of money. What advice would you give to musicians who want to get around this?
If you feel the exposure will be worthwhile then you can justify to yourself contributing to the continuing devaluation of music in the eyes of those who offer these sorts of deals. The only way around this is for everyone to say no, but there is always someone who will say yes because exposure is scare, competition is fierce and the industry knows this and can pit us against each other. Divide and conquer.
What advice would you give for up and coming producers and musicians?
Doing stuff leads to more stuff so do things. And don't be too precious. Highly specific artistic ideals may seem to have integrity but are often quite arbitrary and the luxury of privilege. Don't be ashamed of using your talents to earn yourself a living there is real integrity in that.
What has been your biggest lesson learnt in the music industry?
You have to be able to separate your creativity from the bullshit. Who wants art that smells of bullshit?
Great words! Thanks Oliver.
Bands: Hotel Internationale, Boy Mandeville, Landshapes (Lulu and the Lampshades), Lucy Rose, Kal Lavelle, Mikill Pane, Loveable Rogues, Lail Arad, Victoria and Jacob, Fiona Bevan, Golden Feathers, YOUTH, Eyes and No Eyes (Tristram), Emmy the Great, Von D, Bronze Medallists, Helen Arney, My Cousin Kate, Iliana, The Melodic (Melodica Melody and Me), The Feeling, Suburbs, Stars of Sunday League, David Goo, Lofty Heights, Laura Hocking, Fredrick Robinson, Polychrome, Lewis Fieldhouse, Jerusa Van Lith, Oh Sister!
Sweet Like Summer
Ə - Rĭ 'mē - Ə (Couldn't Love You More) (Winner of Peter Gabriel's Song-Writing Shake Your Tree Competition 2013)
MAKE LOVE NOT WAR - AXE
Barclays (Winner 2013 Shots Award for Best Use of Bespoke Music)
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Written by Sazrah
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Ben Monroe: LA's Top Producer
Many believe that these days it is impossible to make a living out of producing. One either does it as a hobby or a side job and others don't feel it is something to take seriously due to that fact that work isn't always guaranteed. Ben Monroe, a producer who grew up in St.Louis has managed to make music production his main job and is now living in LA working every day doing what he enjoys.
Ben is also known as Bevo xP (1/4 of xP Musik), and has triumphed the radio airways, composed music for MTV and worked with such artists as Rick Ross, Pimp C, Trey Songz and several more. "How does he do it?" I hear you ask! Well, I decided to find out.......
So Ben! When did you decide you wanted to become a producer and how did it all fall into place?
I started rapping at first in 1995 with a friend of mine name Myke Wayne. Besides, my dad being in the business already going on tour with Kool and the Gang, Color Me Badd, The Jacksons, Earth Wind and Fire! Myke was the first person I ever made music with. We started recording a bunch of songs together then ended up getting into production in 1999.
Who are the biggest names you have worked with?
As a recording engineer i've worked with tons of people. I've recorded Rick Ross, Bun B, Pimp C, David Banner, Future, Lil Boosie, Trey songz, Just Bleezy, J marz, Blis, Jung Tru, Gucci mane, Peetey Weestro, Ebony Eyez, Bobby Valentino, and many many more.
What is your secret to sustaining regular work as a producer?
I was taught 'an idle mind is a devils workshop'. So I stay busy by wearing many different hats in the industry. If i'm not recording vocals, im producing songs for people. If im not producing songs i'm mixing songs. If im not mixing im doing consulting for serveral projects helping people get their music out and heard!
What advice would you give up and coming producers and artists?
Do what you love and stay consistent at it. Always remember why you are in music and why you do it. And the most important thing is keep God first and learn something new everyday.
Yes! I strongly agree! What is the biggest highlight of your career and do you have any regrets?
I've had several big highlights! One of my first ones was working with the Trackboyz on Ebony Eyez project. That was my first time doing some music for a major label. At the time she was on Capitol Records. Also around the same time I produced a record called 'So Serious' for the All Stars feat. Styles P that helped them secure a distribution deal with Universal. That was a while ago but since then I have had other great accomplishments but these are the ones that started it all when I was around 18, 19 years old (im 31 now)!
Any projects you got coming up?
J Marz "The Underdog" mixtape, Bliss "I Want it All" mixtape coming soon, Peetey Weestro "Eyez Don't Lie" mixtape coming soon!
Thank You Ben and look forward to hearing more music from you in the future!
...Want to know more about Ben? Connect with him here
Sazrah is a UK music producer who has composed music for BBC 1xtra, Film, Catwalk and famous artists. Her blogs are about upcoming artists, music industry tips and general chit chat!