5 Music Production Tips from Kaz James

I think as a producer it’s a never-ending learning curve; every day is a school day

Kaz James is a success story. Signed to Universal Records at the age of 21 and scoring a massive hit as one half of Bodyrockers with single I Like The Way in 2005, Kaz James achieved success from a young age.

In an interview with Music Radar, James highlights 5 tips on how to point yourself in the direction of success, including perhaps scoring films, touring on your own talent, or releasing your own music on labels like Objektivity.

1. You never know enough

“I still really enjoy writing with people who have nothing to do with my world. It’s always the people you never expect that blow your mind, and it’s a great away to keep evolving as an artist, producer or songwriter.”

2. Build your sound and sample library

“Your sample library is incredibly important – that one sound can make the difference between a record hitting or flopping.”

3. ???

Visit MusicRadar.com for the other 3 (spoiler alert — “Be Nice!“)

This is how it goes down every Sunday I'm in there somewhere

A post shared by Kaz James (@kazjames) on

Our instructors have hundreds and HUNDREDS of other tips! We can show you the software James and many other new-era musicians use, and in a way that fits your schedule! The easiest way to start is emailing me

Artist Tips from Egyptrixx

To say that Egyptrixx is a one of a kind artist is an understatement. While staying familiar to the sounds of grime and techno, he has created a completely original style that has allowed him to stand out from his Night Slugs brethren. With his new EP Transfer of Energy [Feelings of Power] being released next week via his label Halocline Trance, it was the perfect time for him to give some tips to aspiring artists.

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Preparation and troubleshooting:

These two principles are the foundation for every track Egyptrixx makes. It’s essential to have a solid set of ideas, and be able to deal with problems as they arise.

Refine ideas outside the studio:

“I find it basically impossible to come up with good ideas while staring at a computer screen; it’s such a paralysis device.”

By working outside the studio, it’s possible to make initial decisions on new music without the distractions that would usually be found in the studio. That way once you begin to actually produce a track, the workflow is steadier.

Egyptrixx – Start from the Beginning from A N F on Vimeo.

Parameters are an artist’s best friend.

While DAW’s like Ableton and Logic give an artist endless possibilities for different sounds, they can become overwhelming and finding a direction for a track. Creating a basic sound palette before starting and working with hardware whenever possible is a good way to stay focused.

“I also think it’s important to make decisions about general atmosphere and basic production techniques in advance so that when you get tired or frustrated, you can refer back and keep things rolling forward.”

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Egyptrixx Live Set [Excerpt] from A N F on Vimeo.

Avoid fatigue:

A huge part of producing music is decision making, and when you’re tired, your ability to make good decisions is impaired. By creating a solid schedule, it’s possible to maximize your efficiency in the studio without losing your creative energy. It’s also crucial to take breaks from listening your music, otherwise you can get bored of a song you’re producing and begin to second guess yourself.

“Take breaks; go do emails, read something, go outside, eat, whatever. Make sure you’re purposeful and have energy when working—don’t overdose on work. Four to five hours of good, productive studio time is better than 12 hours of drudgery.”

Write with the wrong instrument:

If you find yourself stuck on a track, try playing it on a different instrument. It will give you a fresh set of ears for the melody and allow you to have a deeper understanding of the your music.

“There’s nothing revelatory here, it’s just a silly little trick that can sometimes be useful and produce an interesting result.”

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Embrace non-musical ideas:

Inspiration is everywhere, and all forms of art and design can be translated into music.

“This process has basically become the mission statement for the Egyptrixx project.”

Egyptrixx – Ax//s from A N F on Vimeo.

The full interview with Egyptrixx can be found at XLR8R.

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Quality Audio and Why it’s Important

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There is some debate amongst music experts, audiophiles, musicians, and average music consumers when it comes to what quality audio is “good enough.” To the average listener, a low-quality mp3 vs. a high-quality mp3 will only sound different when played back to back, they won’t notice it in their daily lives. To an audiophile, anything below 320 kbps simply won’t do, it hurts their ears. But what’s the difference really?

There are two different types of audio files, lossless and lossy. Lossless files are the files used in master tracks – they retain all of the original audio data. The most common examples of these are WAVs, AIFFs, and FLACs. These files contain all of the audio information, and are therefore are much larger files. Lossy audio files are compressed versions of tracks that have some of the audio data removed. The most common type you see is the Mp3. It may be confusing at first… How do we listen to Mp3s if it’s missing data? Well, usually the difference in quality does not take too much away from the song. That is, until you play it on high-end speakers.

Low audio quality will become obvious when played at clubs or festivals that have big fancy speakers. The sound will be more distorted and not be as strong. It also becomes a problem when you start to use it in your tracks, especially when you play with the tempo. Once you start changing the tempo, since there is less data to work with, there will be much more noise and distortion and it will sound less like the original track.

People still want to use mp3s over the lossless files, but that hardly makes sense, right? Why would you want lower quality when you can have the best? Well, there is a reason: storage space. Mp3s take up significantly less space, which makes them easier to transfer and makes it so you can fit more songs onto your iPod. Speaking of iPods, you’ll notice that iTunes does not offer lossless file formats. There are other services online that offer lossless file formats for an increased rate. You can find those at Beatport, Boomkat, and Junodownload.

When you want to release your music, you will have to lower the audio quality before you send it around. This is simply for the sake of convenience for your friends, fans, retail music stores, etc. Not everyone has the time or space to download huge lossless files. However, there are issues when you convert to a lower quality. These problems are solved through dithering. Dithering is inserting low-level noise as you convert from higher audio quality to lower. It reduces the effect of quantization error, which is the misrepresentation of the sound waves that results from decreasing bitrate. Quantization error makes the audio sound distorted and terrible, so dithering is an important step when you convert your audio to lower bit-rates.

With storage space becoming cheaper, and audio equipment progressing, there is greater need for lossless audio files and high quality mp3s. Ideally, when making music, your system should be set to 24bit and no lower than 44.1 kHz (though 48 kHz is even better if your machines can handle it). You don’t want to realize your tracks have bad audio when you’re on stage and can’t figure out why it doesn’t sound how it did at home!

We have a load of production techniques to share with you. Click here to learn more.

Source: A DJ’s Guide to Audio Files and Bitrates by Dan White @DJtechtools.com