Producer James Dexter represents the new wave of artists that are simmering in the London deep house underground. With a music production degree and a background in music technology, James is already well versed in how to make a great sounding record but an early appreciation of garage and deep house has led him to pursue the vibe he loves. With hard work and hustle, he has already laid down a proper foundation and is firmly positioned for a very bright future.
James Dexter will be releasing soon his collaborative track ‘Trascend’ alongside Denney included on the third edition of Crosstown Rebels ‘Spirits’ compilation. For the special occasion, he shares five key pieces of advice to apply when producing music in the studio.
1. Know your studio surroundings: To get the best out of your tracks and production mixdowns it’s very important to know and understand the acoustic sound/set up of the room you are working within. The key here is to know your speakers and how they sound. If you struggle with mixdowns…reference back and forth with mastered tracks that you know sound good in a club and make note of how they sound in your room (heavy low-end bass, or harsh sounding highs, etc.) and mix yours accordingly.
2. Kick & Bass: For club based house music, getting the right balance between the kick and the bass is crucial, this is the main driving point, but too much low end can actually result in your track sounding weaker when it gets to the club, as it will be sending too much information for the speaker to process and handle. EQ’ing is hugely important here, use a visual analyzer and make a note of where your kick and bass are peaking individually, make sure your kick and bass are not peaking/hitting in the same areas. Adding a side chain to the bass channel is also a great way to create a tighter relationship between them.
3. Parallel Compression: Parallel compression is a great way to gain a lot of extra impact, energy, and power without taking up to much extra space in the mix, it works great on drum buses. Make sure to use a fast attack time on the compressor to make each drum hit consistent and strong, and be sure to also give a nice strong EQ boost in the low and high ends to really give the extra impact in these areas.
4. Collaborate: Collaborations are a great way to learn and progress with productions, it gives you the chance to share ideas and tips as well as giving an insight into the workflow of another producer. It can also be great fun as was doing ‘Trascend’ with my mate Denney.
5. Don’t believe in writer’s block, experiment instead: I believe in good days and bad days in the studio, but I don’t believe in writer’s block, I have days when I struggle to make tracks I’m happy with… But I work through it. Experimenting is one of the best ways to come up with unique/original sounds and ideas, and more often than not, this experimenting can be the turning point from a bad to a good day… It only takes one sound to spark new creativity and give you the kick in the right direction you need from time to time.
‘Spirits III’ is now available via Crosstown Rebels. Grab your copy here.