House Music Producers Teaching, Thriving in the Pandemic
Photo by Brittney Christie
In a time when connecting with fans is more challenging than ever, how are the most cutting edge names in house music showing up for one another?
Some double down with webcast performances, adding yet another Twitch Stream to a sea of them. Others are self-isolating in the studio to channel their own creative juices. Then, there are those who aren’t content with either of those options.
For folks who miss the backroom haggling over track IDs and feverishly discussing the newest sample pack, real conversations are the only cure.
Enter the era of online music production lessons.
Rinzen, Justin Jay, Pat Lok, Lubelkski and Per Hammar are at the cusp of this trend. Each host lessons routinely in online learning sessions to spill the tea on all their favorite skills and sounds.
In addition to giving budding music producers something new to gnaw on (at a social level), they’re also satiating that unquenchable thirst for fresh sounds, effectively morphing the lull brought on in the dance music industry by COVID to a springboard for the most tenacious.
With the opportunity to level up at their fingertips, fans are given a unique opportunity to dive deep into the nitty-gritty with maestros of everything from software to sound design. All they need is the will to tune in and the time to do it.
To learn more about the legends mentioned above and the online sessions they offer, we had a chat with each.
House & Techno with Rinzen (paid)
How to Remix with Rinzen (paid)
Cool, calm and comprehensive. Rinzen’s courses cover a blend of tools and techniques with everything you’ll need to start making timeless, studio-quality tracks of your own. With a keen eye for channeling creativity, he adds polish to workflows and a few fun weapons to the arsenal as well.
“My ultimate aim is to help my students finish more tracks,” he says, “and finish better tracks.”
At the online IO Music Academy, his lessons are conducted over Zoom.
“Teaching these courses has given me a window into connecting with so many new artists,” Rinzen says. “I love seeing their drive to improve and have been so impressed with the strides they’re making. They inspire me to raise my game and to tap into that beginner’s mindset of when I first began my artist journey.”
Rinzen’s classes are not currently live, but they can be purchased and downloaded at any time. He also has plans to continue mentoring and teaching over the summer. Follow him on Instagram to stay tuned.
The ever-playful Justin Jay delivers a creative learning experience with his own touch of spirited panache. From chart-topping songs like “Let Go” and “Home Pt 1,” he teaches his students to rethink “work” by making it fun. He also takes the business of having fun very seriously.
“My main goal is to dismantle problematic beliefs about how "complex" or "serious" making music "needs to be,” Jay says. To do this he hosts lectures and weekly challenges that promote simple creative exercises.
“One bonus of the bootcamp is that participants end up completing absurd numbers of songs.” Jay smiled. “Our 30 students in total created just under 500 songs in five weeks. One student made 60 in one week!”
Perhaps the best part of Jay’s online professorship is how it proves that - even for producers in a pandemic - your creativity, career and life don’t need to get stuck. In fact, from the helm of his new label Fantastic Voyage, which just put out a 30 track Workshop Compilation with support from Nastia, Steve Darko, Gene Farris, Vonda7 and Paco Osuna, Jay illustrates how leveling up and learning can be one heck of a ride.
Jay is currently in the midst of a small six-month program with plans to open up another set of classes in the fall. To stay tuned and catch some lessons in the meantime, subscribe to JJ’s Music Production Newsletter.
For the studio MacGyvers, Per Hammar offers the full rundown on the popular mastering tool Euromix. In lessons loaded with mega geek-grade music hacks, Hammar explores the mixing and mastering platform by drawing on his 15-plus year expertise. With topics ranging from one-off tutorials to acoustic techniques, he doesn’t hold back either.
For Hammar, who sees social interaction as key to personal development, the idea to share and hone his own skills by teaching hit him like a mac truck.
“Learning new skills and teaching our own skills to others keeps our mind fresh and gives us a feeling of momentum in life,” he says. As a follow up to Euromix Hypercompressor, which was sculpted from Hammar’s early techno productions, the current and future curriculum offers fans a chance to glimpse the secrets this wizard hides behind his curtain.
“We have a few super-specialized tutorials planned,” he hints. “One that covers how to build an interesting modular system with the help of a patch matrix, and another one that shows how you can use phase-inversion to include only certain parts of the frequency spectrum in your effect chain.”
First, fans can look forward to an Ableton Rack with a heavy-handed deliciousness that Per Hammar likes to call “PHAT BAZZ.” Stay tuned by following Euromix on Instagram, and view long-form lessons on the Euromix YouTube channel.
When the going gets geeky, the advanced nerds tune in for Lubelski. Like a tonic to treat the truly jaded producer, Jake Lubelski’s IO Music Academy lessons unpack the finer side of sound synthesis. This includes mixing, ring modulation, FM and AM synthesis and other techniques for manipulating listening experiences.
“I’d really love to be able to teach more about modular synthesis,” he says.
Where most offer entry level courses, Lubelski sets his sessions apart with technical prowess and high caliber expertise.
“I never really understood why some producers choose to keep their tips and tricks to themselves,” Lubelski says. “Everybody’s built differently, and everybody’s ears and tastes are different. Even if I showed someone how to do something, there’s no way they can make the exact same thing as me. I love to help people in whatever way I can, so it just felt natural.”
Prone to cover a lot of ground quickly, Lubelski’s sessions are decipherable but understood best by those fluent in a language known best by mad scientists. Nevertheless, the product of his wizardry is demonstrable. It also marks an important investment in the creation of a top-shelf house music community, because it imparts a rare excitement surrounding the most technical parts of the craft.
For intermediate producers with a penchant for funk, Pat Lok delivers priceless tips and tricks that will bring out the soul in your music productions. In his class on Timeless Techniques, Lok talks fresh approaches to bass, chords and other elements of groove. Having a little writers block? Feeling creatively stagnant in the studio? Lok’s ear candy lessons are just what the doctor ordered.
“Streams are great,” Lok says, “but I prefer the structure that a course like this offers, where we can build on learnings from the previous day and have a set of takeaway notes, hacks and even homework exercises to think about and add to your game.”
In future lessons, Lok plans deeper explorations of the technical concepts he’s known for. He also hopes to pass along some of the career wisdom he picked up as an artist navigating the music industry.