The music Producers of today seem to really be putting themselves in the mix! Along with the meteoric rise of independent labels, we’ve observed an increase in the number of Producers who are in charge of everything from managing recordings, to gathering ideas, selecting songs and musicians, coaching talent, and controlling recording sessions through to mixing and mastering! Some even take on a wider entrepreneurial role, with responsibility for the budget, schedules, and negotiations. But is that happening in Malaysia as well? JUICE talks to some big names in the local industry to find out what it’s really like.
Text June Low
Bo began making music at the age of 15 with a band called Seven. Realising early in the game that it would be difficult to survive by limiting himself as a musician/performer, he began to adopt a more versatile approach to his music.
When Bo met Joey G, the duo discovered a shared interest and started learning everything they could about electronic music. After having several tracks under the moniker, Mr. Fluff, signed up to both local and international recording labels, Bo applied for a job at jinggle house Two AM and got familiar with a programme called Logic. It was only when he started working on jingles for big brands like Sony, Honda and Buick that he realised things were getting serious.
He then started working on his first solo album, under another moniker Bedroom Sanctuary and (being resourceful) asked around if anyone would hire him as a Producer. His perseverence sure paid off – he’s since worked with Hunny Madu, Reshmonu; and is currently working with Darren Ashley, Jared Lim and other local acts. Bedroom Sanctuary has even recently released a sophomore titled I Can’t Draw, So I Sing.
Bo thinks the music of today is very much D.I.Y. compared to before i.e. going to studios (as it’s affordable and you don’t need big machines to get the job done). However, with machines changing fast, it’s a continuous learning process for Producers. And despite the many roles Producers can play, Bo believes that in Malaysia you should spell out the fact that you are capable of producing music.
“A Producer’s touch is something that you need to hear to understand. It’s everything from picking musicians, instruments, working on the arrangement and a lot more. A Producer can either play one or several roles – it’s a matter of identifying what your limitations are and working to overcome them.”
“Just keep on doing what you think you’re good at” he adds. “You should be very versatile, so switch to sponge mode and soak up all you can. Be open to things, that’s very important. Test new things out, try to produce a singer for a song and get the hang of that. But no matter what, don’t give up.”
I Wanna Be a Producer continues with hip hop maestro Sona One! Read it here!