W.A. Production interviewer Marketa got to sit, well stand, with producer KSHMR as he talks about his label, Dharma Worldwide, the use of templates, and shares his advice for new producers.
Q: How are you?
KSHMR: Really Good.
Q: It's so good to see you again, I'm here representing What About Production, and I've heard that you know about us.
KSHMR: Yeah, definitely, because I'm like obsessed with finding new sounds so, they're pretty big, so obviously I've heard about them. And they are really funny boys. (In voice)"What about making your sound better" I'm always like, thinking I notice them most because, man they couldn't get somebody who like doesn't have such an accent to do their stuff? I always thought it was so funny but it sounds good.
Q: But this is how you remember it actually.
KSHMR: Actually it's good marketing right there. I guess.
Q: So do you have any products from us?
KSHMR: Um, yeah, on my computer but I forget which ones. I think there is like an ethnic vocals one that I have.
Q: So you also use them like, can you recognize a track that you made with them?
KSHMR: "Strangelands" that I did. I think I used it.
Q: That's awesome. I also know that you got your own line of sound packages, which is rare that you share them with us, why?
KSHMR: Well I think for me like the producer community is really important more so than even the whole DJing thing. So I wanted to make sure that I was giving something to that community so that the community that is so important to me, I would be important to them, so we have that relationship. And just because I give you my sound doesn't mean that you're going to become me.I think some people look at it that way like they would be scared to give their sounds away because then their career would suffer, but, I don't think so. I think that's paranoia.
Q: Yeah I got it, this is really amazing that you share with others. And do you also have time to listen to other submissions, like your fans and other small producers?
KSHMR: Yeah, definitely, well I started a label, Dharma, so I have to listen to submissions and there is a lot of them so I have to go through a filter of, like I have a partner, and his name is David Moody and he is my production assistant. Basically he'll listen to everything first and then he will send me his favorites out of them. He'll be a little bit lose like he'll say ok maybe ya know and he'll still show it to me, just in case he doesn't but I may like it. But he'll get out the stuff that just really sucks and then he'll play it for me and from there I will pick my favorites. So I have to listen because I have this label now. So I have to put out music. So I have to listen.
Q: So how much time per week do you spend on this, if you could answer?
KSHMR: On listening to submissions, I'd say twice a month he'll send me a package of like all the submission, the best submissions, and then I will go through those, so it usually takes me a couple of days twice a month. So I guess like 4 days a month I just listen to a lot of submissions.
Q: Wow this is a lot of time actually. And since you're, it's super busy during summer, and you're still on tour do you still find time to make your music?
KSHMR: Well I actually I took off the first half of the year to focus on making new music because I knew it would be difficult once I hit the road to work on new music So I haven't really, but just here and there like little ideas. Especially to get collaborations going. I can make something small and send it to somebody but its really difficult to finish a song. I'm also like it takes me a long time to finish a song.
Q: I can imagine, I'm not producing but I can imagine its pretty hard on tour?
KSHMR: I think people think like, I'm able to make a lot and it's never difficult and none of that is true its always really hard. I just make a lot of bad things before I put a good, decent, good one out, and so yeah. I still make a lot of bad stuff
Q: Do you have any tips for any young starting out producers that are in the beginning of their career and they love to produce music, they love to create and they are like so small and it's so hard for them to get someone to even mentions them or like what would do if you were like so small and starting out of nothing now?
KSHMR: Well I think the advice that people always get is to be original and to find your own sound but its really difficult because I think that just comes with time. After you've been producing for so long, so much, and you feel like you can produce and you've made so many different songs and you are really comfortable then you start having fun and you start experimenting and then your own sound comes out with time. But I think at first its ok to emulate other producers and even I would recommend opening up like these templates that people make. So like for Ableton or FL where you can see them making a song, like a big room song or whatever it is and then you can study that and you can start by copying other people I think that is ok. I did that a lot. Like I cam from pop music and I felt that I was pretty good at doing that. I was part of a group called The Cataracts, do you remember that song "Like a G6", so I produced that and I produced like a some other songs that maybe weren't as big here but I worked on that song "Sweat" that David Ghetto did with Snoop Dog ya know? A lot of random stuff but when I got into dance music I felt like I was starting all over again and because producing dance music is a lot different you know like it's all about making the beats sound as big as possible. So I felt like I was starting fresh and the way that I studied was to open these templates and that helped me a lot. So I would really recommend that. I think its ok to copy at fist as long as you grow out of that.
Q: One last question. What is your current favorite dance music genre?
KSHMR: My favorite genre is, I really like, the retro-sounding like 80's
Q: So do you do it?
KSHMR: Yeah I do it for fun and in the new sounds of KSHMR that I'm releasing, there are some song starters that are like that, but for my own music I really like big room or yeah I just like stuff that is going to work out live. Especially when there is a song in it like songs I've done like "Wildcard" and "Secrets", a song that people can sing and then you also have a really hard drop that is like the perfect thing for me. Like "Wildcard" & "Secrets" and now this new one I have "Carry me home" they are really great to play live because they have both elements they have some soul and a song that you can sing along to but they also work like they make people dance.
Q: That is the most important to me, make people happy and dance. Ok, so I have 10 quick questions for you, sorry but I have to read them (from a scripted list) … So, it's one or the other, so you choose.
Q: Massive or Serum?
Q: Nexus or Kontakt?
KSHMR: I use them both a lot. I guess Kontakt. It's just a little more important I think.
Q: Your favorite synthesizer?
KSHMR: Um, that's tough. Probably Sylenth. I know how to work Sylenth the best.
Q: Your favorite effect plugin:
KSHMR: Multiband compression. It can be different plugins but but multiband compression I think is like yeah it's very problematic because it changes your sound a lot and give you problems but if I am being honest the thing that I need to hold everything together is multiband compression.
Q: Are you playing an instrument?
KSHMR: Yeah I'm, I play piano ok and guitar ok but I'm taking lessons for the piano to get better and to be able to read music. I don't really want to be able to read music but my teacher that is the only way she is just I have to read music. I feel like I am starting a music career all over again like I feel like an idiot when I play I'm just like "doink" (plays air piano), then I have to remember A C E G and then this clef is F A C E.
Q: Mac or Windows?
Q: Analog or Digital?
KSHMR: Digital, you can get like analog emulations like UAD stuff.
Q: Headphones or Speakers?
KSHMR: Speakers. Although I did get a new pair of headphones from Neurophones and they are pretty great. They have a subwoofer that goes in your ear and they go over your ear but the in-ear is dedicated to the sub so you get s lot of bass without sacrificing any of the highs you get really clean highs and it's beautiful.
Q: So this is what you recommend basically?
KSHMR: Yeah, they are expensive but I recommend.
Q: Creating sounds from scratch or a sample pack?
KSHMR: Sample Packs.
Q: Best plugins for Mastering?
KSHMR: T-Racks.(IK Multimedia) I like the Ozone stuff but I've had better results with T-Racks. And they've only gotten better and better. They have a new system, where its kind of like slate digital suite where they have all these different plugins and you like make a chain and drag within the plugin and its great. I would say T-Racks.
Q: Ok So that's it, so Thank You very much, this was amazing. You were such an easy guy with this.