This is the transcript of the exclusive Q&A with Stickybuds hosted on our Facebook Group "Westwood Fam" May 24-31 2018. Join the group here: Westwood Fam
*The Q&A was edited for formatting*
What are a couple pieces of equipment or plug-ins in your arsenal for producing?
Are there any activities or hobbies that you do to help put you in a creative space?
Lastly, is there one show of yours or another artist that you find yourself looking back on frequently? If so, why so?
I've been using a lot of UAD stuff lately, so really digging some of the compressors and effects. Some of my fav plugs from them are Ep-34 tape echo. Great for the authentic dub delays that can self-oscillate and feedback on themselves. I use that a lot in tunes now. Also, the LA-2A legacy compressor I use on pretty much every vocal and instrument bus. I use a few others quite a bit, but those two really work great.
Another plugin that I've grown a huge fan of is using random Reaktor effects. A lot of vocals or instruments, I'll run through all sorts of random programs and just leave it recording while I mess around with random parameters. Molekular is really good for this. Then I just filter through all the recorded bits and you get lots of neat ear candy. When I put out my album there is a tune called "Lovin' Easy" and a lot of the ear candy in that tune was produced that way.
I've been gardening a lot this year and I am really enjoying that to de-stress and give my brain some room to chill for a minute from the relentless studio time I've been doing. I also really like going for walks to just give it all some space. A lot of creativity comes from when you stop trying to be creative.
I look back fondly on lots of sets and times, but my Fractal set in 2011 will probably always stand out as one of my favorites for a ton of different reasons; will always be magical and a turning point for me.
Thanks for your questions.
2) From Cam Sublime
What are some of your favorite artists right now, and who would you like to collab with that you have not yet?
Also how do you feel your style has changed from your early years to the present, if any at all?
Lastly, how long have you had all the songs that will be on the album? Are there any songs that go way back, or is everything pretty new?
I'm really digging all the half-time nuero hop dudes. Kursa, Seppa, Vorso are definitely three people I really enjoy, and are next-level producers. I've know Kursa and have been friends with him a long time; he only collabs in person though, so maybe we’ll make a jam at some point, but really love those three dudes’ tunes right now.
My style is always changing. Definitely feeling the heavier bass stuff now, but still love the funk. I think after doing party breaks for so long I got a little sick of the a/b funk mashups with hip hop acapellas. I mean, I still like it but focusing more now on other sounds. Much more focused on producing reggae, or original funk stuff and just less bootlegs. My sets are always comprised of whatever music I'm feeling. The last sets have been midtempo, house, half time, dnb, a bit of tasteful trap more midtempo. So, it's always evolving based on what people are making, what I'm making, etc.
As for the last question. Most of the tracks on the album were made in the last few years, lots were ideas that I finally had time to expand on. The oldest track is six years old, the newest one is a month old, lol. So, lots of diversity. They are all original though; all have session musicians and OG singers. It's been a big undertaking, and I'm quite proud of it.
Thanks for the questions, Cam.
3) From Luke Frappuccino
If you could collab with any artist that you haven’t collabed with yet, who would it be?
If I had to pick one right off the bat it would be OPIUO. He is one of the best producers of our generation, hands down. I'd love to learn from him.
4) From Alexander Munoz
Very interested in your take on blockchain and Bitcoin. What are your thoughts on them?
I've been involved for a fairly long time. Permissionless, trustless, open source money totally enthralled me when I first learned about it in around 2013/ 2014. I would say I have a libertarian mindset, and after learning about how the economy works, it just made sense that this was going to change the world. Which it is.
I've never been more confident in Bitcoin as I am right now. Layer 2 solutions like the lightning network are rolling out at a breakneck pace. The smartest people in the world
are all joining the sector and figuring out how to create a more transparent monetary system. It's great to see.
That's the short version. I'd also say I'm a BTC maximalist.
5) From Cam Sublime
When's the last time you got a haircut?
I get my hair cut at least 4 times a year, and usually get about 3 to 4 inches cut off each time, as well as thinned with a razor blade. It grows quite fast.
6) From Evan James Leflar
First off, thank you for introducing me to funk, breaks, and glitch hop.
I walked into your 2013 set at the Fractal Forest right as you dropped the Mothership. My dubstep-addled brain didn't know what the hell was happening and I've been a fan ever since.
Question is: Will the opening song from this year's Fractal Forest mix ever be released?
Thanks, Evan. Yes I will release that song at some point. Now with releasing album stuff I just need to figure out when, but definitely before the year is over.
7) From Tim Livingstone
What are some of your favourite YouTube channels for music production tutorials/ tips?
I follow a few channels. Usually I'll just go out looking for specific techniques I want to learn, but all these ones are notable.
Also, I attend a few Bassgorilla.com workshops, there are some great producers like Malux and Joe Ford doing really in-depth, high level tutorials.
8) From Tomas Avendano
What memory first made you aware of monetary corruption?
What would you say to someone who is UNaware that would help open their eyes? 3) Why is it that people need to understand?
I first became aware of the fiat empire scheme when I had a bit of money to invest in about 2009 or 2010. A friend of mine gave me a book by Mike Maloney, who is one of the world’s experts on gold and silver investing. I read his book and started learning about how money is created in our current system, how it used to work, and how governments abuse these systems and endebt us to private corporations. It's enraging. Most people have very little understanding of monetary policy.
I'm not sure there is a blanket "what to say to someone who isn't aware". I don't think there are many people who are unaware that our world is run ass-backwards for profit for a small group of people. I would think that in 2018 it's pretty common knowledge. The sad fact is that it's really depressing when you go deeper and see how corrupt everything is. And the average pleb human is a piece of tax beef to be exploited by the powers that be. If you don't play ball, they put you in jail.
People need to understand that we need massive monetary and political reform. Until that is addressed nothing is going to change. I'm not sure how that would happen, though, as you are asking those who benefit to police themselves. It will only change with mass discontent for the system when it crosses some sort of threshold. Most likely when we have the next currency, banking, or housing bubble crisis and a large chunk of the population loses their equity, pensions and life savings.
Thanks for the question homey. Happy to elaborate if you like. These are very broad and deep topics.
For anyone just learning the start of this, I'd say Mike Maloney's "The Hidden Secrets of Money" series on YouTube is one of the best on YouTube to start you down this rabbit hole.
9) From Zack Slazakowski
I got my first gig in a couple weeks. What was your first show like? Any tips?
My first gig was in January 2005 and it was called "Bobble Bobble", put on by the Liquidbeat crew from Kelowna. Set went pretty great. I played new school breaks and had a lot of fun. Practiced the set a lot and played music that I thought was awesome.
Tips. Just play the music you want to hear, and try to be creative/ unique in some regard. I'd also say mix harmonically if you can. It goes a long way.
10) From Roy Bekhuis
You’ve inspired me in many ways (thank you!). Who’s influencing you most nowadays, and why?
I'm inspired by people fighting back against tyranny and oppression. I'm inspired by people pushing the boundaries of sound design and what can be done with music. I'm inspired by people paving their own paths in life. I'm inspired by people who have found their own happiness.
Too many to name.
11) From Muz Moeller
Do you like tour life? What do you find to be the biggest challenges on the road?
I do like tour lif.. The older I get, though, the less I want to be on the road for long stretches at a time.
I feel the biggest challenge is the travel and just being tired. It's terrible for productivity. I'm really trying to write a lot of music at the moment and every travel spree just takes a day or two to recover from, but that's just part of it.
The best part is meeting new people. I just played at a festival last night in Pennsylvania to a pretty huge crowd that pretty much no one knew who I was. Rocked it and made a ton of new fans, so that feels great. And always one of the more rewarding parts of traveling is exposing people to what I love.
12) From Sandro Groove Mind
Hi, Tyler. I really appreciate your musical evolution. What techniques did you use for the basslines of your latest remixes of "Give it a Minute" and "Pull Up"?
“Give It A Minute” was a lot of patches and reworked samples from when I was working with Skope / Malux when we did a couple tracks together a few years ago. He is a master sound designer. Mostly distorted operator FM sine waves with various distortions, resampled and put into Ableton’s sampler to bend and filter them, then resampled again with just certain bits. Skope / Malus has a few masterclasses on Bassgorilla.com if you'd like to learn that technique.
“Pull Up” remix was just a lot of experimenting with Serum. All of the patches and bass are from it.
13) From Robert Yake
Your Shamb mixes are so thoughtfully orchestrated. The acapella usage puts you in a different tier of DJ, I think. My question is how much of the mix do you do beforehand? Is it all live or do you layer the acapellas over the tracks beforehand? Looking forward to seeing you in Fractal!
It's all done beforehand, but in varying degrees. I'll explain what I mean in a bit.
I'd estimate I spend between 100 - 400 hours per Shambhala set in the pre-production. More with the OG tracks.
The usual way I end up mixing is that I play a track, then play an acapella over that track that I drop live in the mix. But at a certain part that acapella is also merged with a track. Either the track that the ‘pella comes from, or another track that I've engineered it to go with. Then that track will have room for another acapella half way through, and the process repeats. Or, the track will end with the same ‘pella, or another acapella, and I will drop a track under it instead of a ‘pella.
Hopefully that makes sense, but that's the kind of DJ mashup style I've evolved into making. It also lets me pretty seemlessly go through genres and tempo changes, as I can mix two things that change tempo at the same time. I'm pretty much mixing non-stop, as soon as something is done, I'm putting some new layer on it. I'd say the average 1.5 hour set I play has around 60 different mix combos, each combo being a track and acapella / sample mixout, usually.
So, it's all in the prep work. But that can be very, very frustrating and long in figuring out what sounds good together, where to go from track to track, ‘pella to ‘pella, etc. The actual DJing of the set is the fun, and somewhat easy, part aside from making sure I don't miss a cue or combo. There is a lot to remember and stay on top of.
Thanks for the question.
14) From Matthyoo Chee Sallen
Crunchy jalapeno cheese Cheetos, or the original?
Cheetos are gross, but I like the cheesies in the white and blue striped bag.
15) From Kortney Overton
Might be late to the party, but here goes! I swear you were included in the line up for Astral Harvest this year, but more recently I didn’t see your name on the list. Did plans change, or was I just mistaken? You’re one of the greats in my opinion, and I just love those Fractal vibes. I was super stoked to see you there because I won’t be heading back to the Farm this year
Hey, Kortney. It's weird that I've gotten a few messages about this, but I was never part of this year’s Astral Lineup. I only play that festival every two years, and I played last year. So, I should be back next year, but thanks very much for the compliment.
16) From Simon Garside
Hi, Tyler. Seeing as we are this close to release of your beats, can you tell us if you have ever thought of getting some online webinars that could guide us through the crazy world of producing a tune? Sort of an like ‘The Mind of a Chef” from Anthony Bourdain, but the mind of a producer from Stickybuds?
I've done production workshops in the past. It's something I might come back to, but maybe more along the lines of how to bring a project to life and working with other musicians.
17) From Dan Howell
Hi, man. First off, thank you for your contribution to the scene. Your work is phenomenal.
When you put a mix together what are your steps that you take to get it tight and not boring. The problem I'm having is playing a whole track and mixing out like it's a house tune, for example. I want to edit, but not sure what to do.
Hey, Dan Go up a few posts to where Robert Yake was asking about my sets. I posted a private video about set composition, and that will maybe give you a few ideas. Thanks for the question and compliments, homey.
18) From Marcin Badura
Hi Tyler, thanks for doing this AMA, mate. Went through all the questions, some really great in-depth answers in there. I hope you don't mind answering my two questions:
Is your next album going to include "Do Your Thing"? If not, is it going to be released at some point? I fell in love in that tune after hearing your 2017 Shambs set.
Have you ever considered making video tutorials or music production streams? I'm sure many people would love that (myself included). Your latest work, including the aforementioned "Pull Up Remix", "Do Your Thing" and "Give It a Minute", is next-level production in my opinion and something I dig a lot at the moment.
"Do Your Thing" is a bootleg, so definitely not going on the album, but I will release it for free at some point. Glad you like it.
I will probably make some song walk-throughs at some point, but right now I'd just rather work on making music than explaining it. I feel there are really high-level tutorials out there of pretty much anything you want to know already.
Thanks for the question, man.
19) From Simon Denison
If you could see any three artists, living or dead, which three would they be?
Bill Hicks, Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury.
I was grateful to see James Brown before he died, and I saw Stevie Wonder a couple years ago. Those guys were at the top of the list and would happily see them again, but those three up top I never got to see, and would love to.
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