Can you introduce yourself, who are you and where are you from? What are you doing in your day-to-day life?
Good day everyone. I am Hoss, and I was born in ’94, somewhere in the Netherlands.
I am currently living in Utrecht. In my day-to-day activity I’m working as a mechanical engineer in a machine factory.
Can you take us with you on how your musical taste has developed in the past? For example, have you always been a fan of techno?
My musical taste has developed quite a bit since I started producing. I like a lot of genres though. Every genre has its gem which I could like. But overall, I am focused on techno at the moment. A few years back I was more interested in house and tech-house, but techno quickly took over after I went to more techno parties. I really like the people and the whole atmosphere at these parties.
When did you start producing? How did you discover music production? And what made you decide to start producing techno?
I think I got my first copy of FL Studio 10 when I was around 17. I had a friend at my hometown who was producing with FL Studio, so that’s how I got introduced with producing music. I’ve been making loops and not finishing tracks ever since. The techno parties I went to motivated me to make techno myself. It’s kind of my dream (still) to play at a nice techno party, and I think you need to release your own music if you want to get noticed someday. Oh, and I just really like techno of course!
Latest release ‘Era’
We would love to know about the production process of “Era”, can you tell us how the track came about? What was your source of inspiration for the track? How much time did it cost from start to finish? What issues did you run into?
The track started with some sound design in Xfer Serum. II made a 16th note chord pattern and that became the redline through the track. I didn’t really have a specific source of inspiration for the track, the track became what it is through trial and error iterations. Eventually I found a vocal (happy accident) which fitted on the melody. Then I processed it for a while and that became another key element of the track.
The issues I ran into were: mixing and making decisions. I had problems finding a good balance between the kick and the bass if I did A/B comparison with other professionally mixed tracks. I even completely replaced the bass in a very late stadium of the track. Also overthinking killed a lot of time in the process, endless tweaking knobs with little to no effect on the final result. But that was all part of the learning experience of finishing a complete track. I think I started the track in the beginning of March, and I think I finished it in July, so the process took almost 5 months. Even after the demo got accepted, I was still thinking about stuff which I thought needed improvemen
You can place your new track “Era” in the category minimal techno with melodic influences, was that also your intention when you started producing the track? Why or why not?
I think it’s really hard to place “Era” in a certain genre because my definition of minimal techno is a little bit different to how Era sounds, but I guess it’s close enough. Actually, my intention when I started with Era was to just finish a complete track from start until the end. I always produced loops, but then after a nice amount of overthinking I would get sick of the loop and then I would start something new, resulting in never finishing a track and never releasing music online. However, this time I really wanted to force myself into finishing a complete track. Even though it still took longer than it should to finish a track, it is finished. And I’m very happy that the people at Black Mirror Recordings found it good enough to have it released on their label.
DAW’s and Synths
What kind of DAW and synths did you use for this track? Do you use these synths more often? Why or why not? Do you also have a favorite synth that you use more often in your songs?
I started out with producing in FL Studio, but I got often lost in the project with automation clips all over the place and crashing computers. I am now working with Ableton Live 10 since the beginning of the year and it really improved my workflow. I am pretty sure that I will never go back to FL Studio!
I bought a Behringer K-2, and I’m really happy with it. It’s the only analogue synth I have and I like how easy it cuts through the mix. The K-2 is used in Era when I replaced the bassline, and in my next track it is used for the top bass and lead sounds. And for soft synths I use Serum a lot for sound design, and for effects I use a lot of the Fabfilter plugins.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given when it comes to music production?
Reference tracks. It really helped me to improve the mix of my track when I A/B compared my track to a professionally mixed reference track. It’s really easy to get lost in your own track and think it sounds good when you don’t have anything to compare it with, but if you then compare it to the industry standard (reference track) you will likely find out that your track is not so good after all. Reference tracks will help you accomplish the mix you are looking for, at least that’s what I’ve been told. I’m also still trying to get a professional sounding mix.
What’s your best advice you can give to any new producers out there?
Try to finish tracks no matter how bad they sound in the beginning. It’s important to learn the process of finishing a track and to not get stuck in a loop. Use reference tracks to learn how the pros arrange their tracks. And as last (probably) the most important advice: don’t think too much and have fun making music.
What more can we expect from you next year? Any releases or special events you can tell us about?
I’ve almost finished my second track! It’s a lot harder and faster than Era, so I hope to release that maybe somewhere in the beginning of next year. No special events planned unfortunately.
Thank you for inviting me for this interview and I hope everybody enjoys listening to Era. Greetings, Hoss.