Interview with A3E Boston Conference Chair: Doug DeAngelis


A3E Boston is a special two-day event, on September 23 & 24, 2014, that will feature the leading companies and vendors who are drastically shaping the music industry with their innovative apps, software, hardware, instruments and audio gear. Bridging the gap between music and technology, A3E will display the new era of creativity being ushered in by these powerful new products and ideas. To learn more about A3E click here. And be sure to follow them on Twitter.

You can also find them on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Mmmmaven is proud to be a sponsor and special guest presenter at A3E along with Berklee College of Music, KVR Audio, The Women’s International Music Network.


Doug DeAngelis is Los Angeles based film and television composer and music supervisor. Credits include Lie To Me, Baby Daddy, The Nine Lives Of Chloe King, The Garden (Academy Award Nominated Documentary), Blades Of Glory, Chelsea Lately, CNN Heroes, Gator Boys and over 300 other productions. President and founder of Messy Music, Inc. Album credits include: Nine Inch Nails, Chaka Khan, Love And Rockets, Michael Jackson, and the Grammy-winning Roger S remix of “Hellagood” by No Doubt.


Mmmmaven sat down with Doug DeAngelis, the Conference Chair of A3E to ask him questions about current trends and the future of Electronic music:

1. We’ve seen a rise in modular synthesizers here in our creative community. Where do you see this trend leading? More independent producers and manufactures or consolidation? 

I personally think that modular synthesizers are great, and what they offer from a sense of experimentation is unmatched with plug ins or even standard hardware. That said, they often aren’t conducive to the pace of composers who are working on deadlines, or need to do recalls in order to make revisions.  I think it’s great to see the resurgence and purism of programming modular synthesizers. I guess it’s a bit like riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car. You feel more connected and free to explore and enjoy the process, but it can be difficult when the rain hits.

2. As someone with a tremendous history in “Electronic Dance Music” what happens to this music in the years ahead? People tell us all the time it’s a trend. Is it?

Definitely not. I really hope that A3E starts to shed light on some of the reasons why electronic music affects people so deeply.

Great electronic music throughout the past few decades has had the ability to put the mind into a zone where time stops and everything feels elevated – some call it “the zone” or “connected”. It’s true of many kinds of music, but EDM definitely stands out in delivering the feeling of euphoria.

As A3E’s Conference Chair, I’ve been having conversations with audio developers from all over the world on topics like Artificial Intelligence in music technology, and I have found that the science behind the music is astounding. Many of the top developers come from psychology backgrounds, and they are now in the growing field of Algorithmic Intelligence innovation and applying neuroscience in music software technology. Part of A3E will be bringing together the science of the mind, with the art of the music, to explore how future technology will impact both.

3. Your experience is filled with considerable diversity of people. How can we bring more people of color into this thing called “EDM”? How can we emphasize the matter to the community at large?

I guess contemporary EDM is less diverse than its origins of house and underground music. I think it was a bit broader before because it incorporated more other styles like jazz, gospel, disco, and hip hop. First of all, it had a lot more samples of live music laced into it. “EDM” is more routed in classic European electronic and new wave music, whereas American club music was coming off the heels of 60’s soul and 70’s disco, both of which were major influences on our DJs. It’s all about timing and influence, and when the time is right the community will become more diverse. I think it is just a natural process that will happen.

4. What are some of the challenges of the engineer with electronic music? What are some of the advantages of the music?

On the technical side, the big challenge is getting a mix that sounds great in a club but still works well on the radio. It’s a difficult task with club music because the balances change so radically from one environment to the other, and you need to really understand the relationship between Compression and EQ to find that balance that works on both platforms. I used to chain two and three compressors in a row to control the mix, without losing the size and depth in the low end.

Plug ins definitely make these challenges easier, and with the power of products like iZotope’s Ozone 5, you have a lot of the sophisticated work done for you.

Compression and an EQ process called demasking are two things that a great EDM mixer spends a lot of time perfecting by mixing singles, then waiting to hear them on the radio and in the clubs. Once you have a grasp of how each environment affects the depth, punch and clarity of the mix, you can compensate for those affects in the studio. I use Ozone 5 now to handle those sophisticated EQ and compression balances, and I am able to do incredible mixes in my personal studio.

From a creative standpoint, mixing EDM is unique because it doesn’t have the “rules” of mixing other forms of music. A great club record is often not defined by its vocal or main melody line, but by an element of the music which may be more subtle to the listener. Often a producer starts with a musical element that drives the energy and creates that euphoric feeling I mentioned earlier.

So the most important thing when mixing a dance record is to find that key element that drives the feeling of the track and always keep it highlighted in the mix.

I always ask the producer to send me his rough mix so I can listen to how he has it balanced. By hearing that rough mix I can get inside his or her head and identify the elements that drive that feeling because they are typically loud in the rough mix. Sometimes it’s the hi hats, sometimes it’s the bassline or a synth hook, and sometimes it is just an accent in the percussion that dictates the swing of the track. My advice is to forget about the “rules” and just find the thing that feels good.  If you bring that element to life, then the rest of the record will fall into place around it.


A3E is an event you don’t want to miss if you are looking to gain the knowledge and first-hand experience necessary to sustain a career in music as technology inevitably progresses.

Are you interested in becoming an expert at Music Production or DJ’ing? Visit MMMMAVEN’s courses page to see how we can help you develop your skills to the next level.


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