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Shay De Castro shares 5 amazing production tips

Shay De Castro makes her label debut on Spartaque’s CODEX Recordings, with her ‘Assembly’ EP. The talented techno upstart has seen exponential success as of late, receiving support from the upper echelon of touring DJs including Amelie Lens, Enrico Sangiuliano, Umek, Popof, and more.

She has made her mark on a variety of discerning labels, with monumental releases on Napoli’s Prospect Records, Amsterdam’s Bitten, Treviso’s Frequenza Records, and now Barcelona’s CODEX Recordings. Having toured the world prior to our current collective catastrophe, the US native shared the stage with the likes of Deborah De Luca and Spektre, igniting crowds with her unique brand of trance-laced techno.

With a penchant for uplifting builds and punishing breakdowns, her latest EP showcases De Castro’s versatility. Opening with the ominous titular track, ‘Assembly’, the listener is taken on a soaring journey, peaking with ‘Incendium’, an unapologetically synth-heavy number, and closing with the pulsating track, ‘She Reigns’. Fellow DJs can pre-order the extended edits on Beatport; these will be available on June 19th.

To celebrate the release of ‘Assembly’, Shay De Castro shared some tips to create amazing music.

1. Don’t wait until you ‘feel like it’

I know there are a lot of people who say you should only work on music if your creative brain is telling you to, but how did you get to this level in the first place? By sitting down and putting in the work. The truth is, there are some days when you’re just never going to feel like it. You may have the gut feeling of “Oh, hey, I’m going to go make something in the studio!” and 5 seconds later you’ve talked yourself out of it. Just do it anyway, and you’ll be surprised by the ideas that come about.

Consistency will help you improve in every way and overcome limitations, but you have to invest the time. Think about doing things your future self would thank you for.

2. Don’t delay arrangements

Tying into the last point, I think it’s important to make the most of your time. As artists, we all know that dealing with social media, sending demos, promo, playing gigs, and production can take up our entire day. We’ve all had those moments when we’re sitting, nodding our heads aimlessly to an 8-bar loop and suddenly 30 minutes have passed by. To pull yourself out of loop quicksand, arranging as you go or in the early ideas phases can help.
For me, this is not only a nice visual aid to get an idea of where I am but makes it easier to identify if I need to add more elements, take away, etc. Ask yourself if it sounds too empty or dense, as every element should get the space and attention it deserves.

3. Listening volume

I can’t stress this one enough. Producing on hot levels is a bad habit to get into and can happen without you even realizing it. First off, it’s going to fatigue your ears quicker which can make it difficult to listen objectively. This can not only cause mixes to sound subpar but can also end up causing lasting damage to our hearing. It’s never too late to take care of your ears, and your resulting work will thank you.

Taking a break is always a good idea, too. Spend a few hours just doing something fun that requires no “work” on your part. Wait until the next day to listen to your track again and see if you still loved it as much as the night before.

4. Pay attention to how you feel

What has drawn us in to become producers in the first place? Most of the time, it’s a raw passion for music and how it makes us feel. While skill and knowledge are obviously important, no one is going to care if your track is technically perfect if it doesn’t inspire anything in them to keep listening. Plus, if you’re not inspired by your own music, what does that say?

It’s natural to place a focus on your rational brain while in the studio, but if you can let that creative side come through, the results are pretty powerful.

5. Listen to all genres of music

It’s easy to get caught up only listening to techno if you produce techno, house if you produce house, and so on. However, I think this makes it all too simple to fall into the trap of sounding like everyone else. Everyone copies each other to some extent, whether we’re conscious of it or not. But, by listening to wildly different genres (including non-electronic ones) we can spark inspiration, discover new sounds, ideas, etc.

Shay De Castro’s ‘Assembly’ is now available via Codex Recordings. Stream the EP here

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