Production Workflow – The extra bit of punch and polish

Techno Production - The Last Bit of Punch and Polish

In this video you'll see me dive in and put the last finishing touches on a track that's nearly done.  I've already played in the car and listened critically so when I go in I know exactly what I want to do.

Tape saturation to give the low end and drums more ooomph.  Reverb because the drums are quite dry and want them to sound cohesive.  Reverb is a good way to do that.  I also recap checking your mix in mono, my mix bus compressor settings which I use the Fatso by UAD for. 

Hope you learn something - the next step for this tune is to be sent to labels as a demo.  This is one track in 4 part EP.  

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Tech Production – Workflow, Arranging, Mixing, & Sneak Look/Listen at a Work in Progress

Here's a track that's 80% done. I quickly go over some minor mix tweaks I do on my groups so I can export out of Maschine and then give it the final treatment in Ableton Live. While I work in Maschine and you may not, the take away is committing your material to audio and then approaching the next stage of production. For me it's tweaking the arrangement, recording some new takes of the synth, adding swooshes and FX, and lastly I'll polish up the mix. The mix as it is is "good enough" to move along to these next parts of the process.  So when I start working on the arrangement, I know my mix is up to snuff so I no longer fiddle w/ EQ, compression and shit like that. Stay tuned for more videos as I complete this. If you want to go deeper into things with me check out my course.

a primer on Facebook ads for DJs and producers

The Basics of Facebook Ads for DJs and Producers

If you build a better mouse trap the world isn't going to race to your door step.  They are more likely to yawn or say "so what."

So when it comes to building an audience, just putting your stuff out there isn't going to move the needle.  More than likely you'll get a trickle of likes and follows.

You have to promote yourself.

There's basically 2 ways.  Paid and "organic."  Organic is nice but it takes time, it's also something the underground community prides itself on.  The brick by brick building of a brand, word of mouth and so on.  We music makers tend to view advertising as "yucky" but this is a limiting belief.  We know some artist have bought fans which come from "bot farms," but don't disregard all advertising because of this foolishness.

10 years ago tit was easy to get a lot of growth just by putting stuff out there.   Today things have evolved - you can't only rely on "organic" growth.  It's going to be slow and frustrating unless you get lucky.  So let's make our own luck.

What most people think of as promotion is really public relations.  Working with influencers, posting and sharing on social this is all PR.  It's creating a favorable image by communicating with the masses .  This is great but it's hard to measure and takes lots of time.  Good to do but you can't have all your eggs in PR.

Typically "PR" campaigns involve lots of manual labor with no guarantee of a pay off, such as a favorable mention in the press that would result in bookings or record sales. By manual labor I mean cultivating a list of influencers or people in the press and then doing direct out reach.  Or submitting your music to popular blogs.

Getting back to basic text book basics, marketing is price, place, promotion and price.  The promotion part consists of personal selling, direct marketing, sales promotions, advertisements, and public relations.

Personal selling is the sales hustle - think "buy my mix CD." You can do that but you need an audience first.

Direct marketing - this is selling directly to the masses without a distributor, like you selling your music direct to fans without Beatport or digital distribution.

Advertising- this is how you build an audience. More on that in a second.

PR. This is about communicating with the public and building up a good brand. Posting on social is what we're most familiar with. Or maybe you run a Facebook group to establish yourself as an expert or taste maker - good stuff but time consuming with no immediate pay off in terms of bookings, music sales or even new rampage likes. There's press releases too but that's another subject. It's still another thing that takes time and money with no immediate result.

Back to advertising. This is how you grow because Facebook and many big media sites are pay to play.  If you are active on social, you have to put some money behind your activity to fuel growth - and it has to be done in a strategic way because otherwise you'll waste money.

Even DJs have to advertise to reach high percentages of their audiences. Paid campaigns also allow super specific targeting options. Like a European based DJ could run an ad just to her US fans that like Output if she want to laser in on a specific audience for an upcoming gig.

When you advertise consider that people are in 3 basic stages.

  • Awareness (I think I need new studio monitors)
  • Consideration (I'm considering Yamaha's, KRKs, or Focal Alpha's and looking at reviews of each)
  • Decision making or "conversion" (I'm ready to buy some Yamahas and looking for the best price on HS8s)

Facebook offers you the ability to create new campaigns based on these 3 stages.

In addition you want to reach the right audience. This is a key part of campaign planning. Audience, message, results.  An audience could be people that like the same things you do - fans of DJs you like, like websites such as Resident Advisor, or Attack Magazine, an audience could be people who already like your page, friends of people who like your page, people who visited your website in the past 30 days.  These are all examples of audiences.

The smart approach to use when resources are limited are to reach people at the consideration or decision making stages.

So if you're a new producer you want to reach other DJs who not only play your genre but also like things like Beatport or track source.

These are your buyers. The more general clubber or festival goer may spend little to nothing buying music.

Driving to beatport is not really advised because you can't measure the result.

You measure results by placing the Facebook pixel across your website, so you should have a website. It's not that hard to do a basic one.

If I was building an audience from scratch, I'd probably do things like:

Drive website clicks to my own site, where people can sign up for my email list in exchange for a free piece of music.

Upload a video of an original track to Facebook while building an audience of people who watched at least 50% if it's a longer video say 2 minutes or more.

Use retargeting ads to promote something to these people interested enough to watch my stuff for a decent amount of time.

To get this right, you need to have some tracks to give away or sell and your own website.

For a general awareness play it's not a bad idea to run an ad the way Agent Orange has, but in the long run ads like these are not sustainable because you can only track link clicks.  It's impossible for him to measure sales on beatport back to clicks spend on Facebook.

This is just a primer on using paid Facebook ads, remember that the best thing you can do is to be out supporting other parties and meeting people.  But again, this is like PR, you just don't know if each time you go out you're going to make a solid connection.

Consider that for the cost of a couple nights out you can buy web hosting for a year and pay for a basic website theme.  For a few bucks a day here and there you can begin advertising your stuff to build an audience.

Let me know your questions and comments because I could go real deep on this if you like.



Meet Simon Watkins aka Saffaboy

Who are you?  I have been a DJ for well over 25 years now. I started producing my own stuff about two years ago and have not looked back since! I spend as much time as I can producing- on the train, during my lunch hour, over the weekends basically whenever I have a few minutes spare you will find me plugged in.  

Tell us about your and your background in dance music? I originally started out as a radio presenter back in the mid 90's in South Africa. Rave had just hit the scene and I covered (for the radio station) most of the big parties that took place at that time. I had the privilege of interviewing Tony De Vit watching Carl Cox mix on 3 decks up close, met Frankie Knuckles and many other great memories from that time.

 I decided to move to the UK in 1998 but could not find any work as a radio presenter. So I decided to lock myself in a friends basement in London for 4 months and teach myself to mix using vinyl and an old Gemini 626 mixer. In those days it was all about hard house! Following that I left the UK to go travelling and ended up playing in Thailand - Indonesia and Australia. I landed up back in the UK where I played professionally and promoted gigs in one of the best towns in the U.K. For dance culture and live music: Brighton that is where I find myself today- not playing professionally any more but I do get out at least once a month - the DJ bug never lets go 🙂  

 Describe your skill level as a producer? I would say that I am at an intermediate level. My skill set improves all the time. To quote one of my favorite producers: Maceo Plex: " Make a lot of shit music and you will eventually start to make good music" I have made a lot of crap music! I am happy to say that I have started to turn a corner and every next tune I make is better than the last one! 

 Where did you look for production related tips and tutorials before finding the Underground Elite course and I am a course junky! I have used : Producer Tech / Sonic Academy / Fader Pro and loads of you tube videos in the past. 

 What was/is your #1 sticking point? My number one sticking point was moving away from what I call clip based production and using midi to create my own sounds and patterns. 

 How has the course helped you over come it? The course cut through the noise and uncertainty by being a no BS one stop shop to finishing music quickly whilst achieving great sound. 

 How long did it used to take you to complete a track? It used to take ages to finish tunes mostly because of procrastination and self doubt. 

 How long are tracks taking you now? I knock them out super quick now. I have a six month release schedule of tunes all ready to go. With at least 3 more in the pipeline. My main focus right now is getting the social media stuff in order to increase my followers and fan base. 

 How has the course save you time, money, or frustration? The price was super reasonable and Eric is always on hand to answer any questions and feedback that I have. Being on hand to discuss is what sets this course aside. I haven't done another course since this one and have completed at least 4 records in a couple of months. 

 Can you name 3 other things, good, bad about your experience? Good: very informative and easy to understand. Bad: not having access to all of the plugins! 

 Is there anything that stands out that you'd want others to know? Do the course spend a little money and you will get so much more in return! Hands on help and weekly updates with plenty of useful free stuff that will assist you to make better music quicker! 


Here's a track Simon recently finished. Check it out.


the weekly wrap up

Here are some news items I didn't want you to miss.

Coyu drops more truth bombs stating that DJ sets today are too niche focused and that breaking out of one's box limits growth and creativity.

I agree, there's not much of a journey in 1-6 hour sets where DJ's stick to what they are known for.   Personally I'm not a fan of hearing a DJ play for multiple hours in what sounds like them piecing together multiple hours of their pod casts.  

In a other 3-5 years, the game will change again.  Trends are cyclical.  

Read Coyu's stuff here.



Here;s some long raw footage of Larry Levan giving advice to new DJs. 


Keeping It Simple

Dosem and Hollen share studio footage.  Less is more.  You don't need racks of analog gear and a room full of gadgets.



Make techno chords with Form by native Instruments. 


Get Booked

Tips from DDJTips.  Yes, you have to promote and get your social shizz in order.



"...working towards releasing an album.
Four tracks done... Two more just about finished.


Till next time.

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