With so much emphasis on music production value these days, people think that an expensive studio and lots of equipment is the key to making a great record. So, you’ll be surprised to learn that the man responsible for Kendirck Lamar’s music production did it all on a phone.  Kendrick’s music producer, Steve Lacy needed to make the beat for hit single ‘Pride’ (Damn, 2017) was an iPhone and a gadget called the iRig. 

When his request for a MacBook was denied every Christmas, for four years straight,  Lacy finally gave up and started exploring beat-making apps on his old iPod Touch. When he discovered apps such as GarageBand, iMPC and BeatMaker 2, he realised that the process of making music on the phone was actually rather nifty and convenient. Without having to worry too much about the final sounds, he could capture the essence of the idea and get into the groove of things. A guitarist, he wanted to ideate by recording guitar lines and soon got himself an iRig, a small, cheap device that lets you record audio into your Apple device using the iPhone’s lightning connector. In a recent interview, Lacy revealed that he loved to make music wherever he went, like in the car while driving (not recommended and very dangerous!), so the iRig gives him great flexibility. 

But Lacy also does this to prove a point to an industry that’s increasingly obsessed with gear and production. He wants people to start focussing on the music and the performance more than the gear that was used to record it (I’ve been guilty of this in the past but have since realised that a great song is a great song, no matter how its produced).  

The most important thing is the music. Does it move you? Does it move others? Sure, in an ideal world, we would all love to have unlimited access to Abbey Road Studios and the opportunity to spend months working on our albums there. But look at the silver lining–technology means that you can start working on an idea the minute you have it! You can capture the essence of your song, the very thing that makes it special, in the moment and freeze it so that it will always be special. 

That being said, once the initial song has been put down on a portable device, it is best to finish it off using a computer with proper gear. Music production skills are a must-have in a world where musicians have to be their own recording engineers, producers and marketers. Without adequate production know-how, it’s almost impossible to survive in the business. 

Steve Lacy’s inspiring story has a lot of takeaways, but the most relevant for me were:  ;  

  • BE READY : Inspiration can strike anywhere; in the shower, while walking, driving or simply going about life. We need to be ready to capture it and, for that, you should familiarise yourself with music making apps such as GarageBand to make sure a great idea is not forgotten (it’s very irritating, trust me).
  • BE OPEN : Keep yourself open to new ideas and don’t disregard something just because its simple. More often than not, the simplest way is the most effective. 
  • KEEP WRITING : Write every day, even when you’re not inspired so that when inspiration does strike, you know where to take it. 
  • STAY RELEVANT : With technology advancing so quickly, learn about all that is new and don’t ignore where the world is going. It’s easy to get comfortable with what you know, but if you don’t know what’s current, you’re going to be left behind in an industry that changes too quickly. 

Learn how to produce your own music on anything from an app to industry-standard software by signing up for our EMP capsule at www.projectmynt.com where we provide experiential learning that’s taught by professionals. 

Did you download GarageBand or any of these music making apps and start tinkering about? I hope this inspired you to write music and if it did, I’d love to hear your thoughts and your music. Mail me at srijan@projectmynt.com and I shall write back to you as soon as possible!

Srijan Mahajan

SRIJAN MAHAJAN

Co-founder at StudioFuzz,
Drummer with Parikrama, Half Step Down, FuzzCulture, Shubha Mudgal

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