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Favorite ThisDJ to Producer - By AfroMonk

Published: January 26, 2011

By AfroMonk: (

I think there comes a moment in every DJ’s career when they consider the idea of producing. There are those who completely avoid it, while for others, it’s what got them DJing in the first place.

I find myself at this crossing point right now. I’ve been DJing for almost two years now. There has been a struggle for me to even begin considering production, because I have no experience in the field of music, other than being a lifelong listener and a DJ only recently. I have no understanding of what it takes or the process of making a beat other than a basic knowledge of the fundamental elements.

The problem is that I’m intimidated by the idea. Mostly because of how critical I am, and, secondly, the amount of time I have available.

After talking with many of my favorite producers, I came to understand that we all have to start somewhere and just go with it. You’ll never become an amazing producer in a short period of time. Hell, I’m sure it’ll take me quite some time considering a lot of my biggest influences have been trained in theory their entire lives, and have mastered at least one instrument in some way.

After realizing anyone can make music, and that the software I’ve been using, Ableton, is mainly to used to produce music in addition to playing it, I’ve decided it’s time.

As a DJ, my role is simply playing music of others. Tools like Ableton allow for such diverse methods of playback. It allows you to be connected with it as you feel the music, adding layers with the many effects and tricks. Controllers have all sorts of fun software which allow you to do this on a grand scale, but it’s all been leading to doing this to my own tracks.

The major obstacle I feel like I’ve been facing is that I’ve given my free time to music, but now need to find additional time to actually learn and write music. I’ve created a massive online music blog, have a weekly radio program on Glitch.Fm, write reviews for BigUp Magazine, throw a monthly event, obsess over finding the newest music, and play shows on the regular. All those things I’ve done and created.  Now it’s time to take some time off and find a way to learn.

The transition is a difficult one, but I got some advice this past weekend that completely resonated with me. A new friend of mine, Wizard, told me what a mutual friend of ours, Matt B, told him: “Good music will find you. Don’t let other peoples’ music influence what you are writing”. It makes sense, but it’s tougher than you think when you’ve become attached to what I consider the golden stream of music. You literally have to rip out that magical, feel-good IV and say “enough of this, it’s time to make my own.” Make a promise to yourself that you’re going to do it. There is no other way. It may work out, or it may not, but make sure you put yourself into it, and try not to replicate what everyone else is doing. Disconnect from it for a while, and do something original that comes from your emotions and life.