What’s your ideal producing environment?
My ideal producing environment is my bedroom studio. I love being at home for months on end, barely leaving the house, isolated from the outside world, wired in, taking breaks to watch movies and shows in the living room and give my ears a break. Then I go back in with a fresh perspective. It's really a dream life for me.
My setup is simple—most of it is in the box. I'm an Ableton guy, and I use all of the usual suspects like Native Instruments, Spectrasonics, Arturia, u-he, Xfer etc. I work primarily on Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250 ohm headphones and use Adam Audio monitors + sub for reference. I use a MOTU Track 16 and Apollo Twin Duo, I have a few midi keyboards, a Nord Electro 5d, a Neumann u87ai mic, a Banshee Talkbox and a bunch of other stuff. When I need any kind of high-end gear, or I need to record horn sections etc, I go to a few different studios around New York City that have some amazing gear and rooms.
What advice would you give to simplify music making?
The most important thing is still the song. Focus on the song, not the tech. Remember that you are not making music just to showcase your sound design or mixing skills—you are making music because you want to make people feel something deeper. You want people to have a captivating emotional response when they listen to your music, and only when you're sure you have that figured out should you focus on the technical parts of it.
And don't let the tech overshadow the song. Don't exaggerate just for the sake of using a lot of plug-ins—be rational and moderate. In EDM, people often tend to forget that the end goal is still, above all, making a song that has emotional meaning—a song that can transcend whatever is the current popular production trend, a song that can stand the test of time and make the fans want to revisit it over and over again because it has emotional value.