For this month’s Artist Spotlight we decided to look into the local music industry with Producer and Studio Engineer, Nate. Nate currently helps produce some of the freshest talent in Manchester down at Studio 88. The level of skill and hard-work he puts into his professional life is something we could all learn from. Without a doubt one of our favourite interviews so far and a must-read for anyone.
Can you give us a bit of background on what you do and how long you’ve been doing it for?
I’m a Music Producer and Studio Engineer focusing on Urban music with feeling and a positive message. I like to bring a commercial level of quality to the more local based artists that may not have the industry connections or budget.
I also co-run a Record Label that we use to release our own music called EOE Records.
I have been into music all my life and was making beats on my step Dads “Music Creation/2000” & “Norman Cooks Skip to my loops” games when I was 8/9 years old, I was trying to learn instruments as well but I really took interest in DJing and Music Production which I studied in High School and continued in College where I learnt Studio Engineering.
For a while I was producing Urban Dance music mainly Grime/Dubstep/Bassline/Drum & Bass etc, I DJed a few nights around the Northwest but later refocused back on making beats for artists and recording. Later started co-running a Studio in Leeds “A Higher Frequency Studio” when one of the guys 1st Born started working in London with the management he’s signed to and I moved back to Manchester where I became a part of Studio88 in Longsight where i’m now a Senior Engineer & Producer.
What sort of things do you do down at Studio 88?
We are basically a team of Freelance Engineers, Producers & Creatives. There’s people from different types of backgrounds on the team that work out of the different rooms we have at the Studio. It’s currently getting refurbished and rebranded for this year as well with a podcast room, several creative suites and an A-List studio room for Major projects. We work with a lot of Local & National talent, we’re about having a positive mindset, helping people on their artistic journey and providing somewhere that the youth in Manchester can express their talents rather than getting caught up in crime. It’s basically a creative hub.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process? Where do you normally start?
Say an Artist booked me for a day session to create a track from scratch, I would first go over their ideas for the track and get a good understanding of what’s needed - the style/sound and tempo. Then start playing some melodies and/or go through some samples and build the beat. Usually they would have lyrics ready or at least an idea of them so they would be practicing over the beat whilst i’m making it.
Being a producer if it’s needed I get involved in aspects of the songwriting making sure they flow correctly and the structure of the track works. We would then go through the recording process where I would mainly help them get the best performance for the track. I would do a demo mix whilst in the session for the artist to take away as well, then I would mix & master the track in detail in another session with or without the artist.
What’s the most satisfying part of the process?
I would say putting together a track that blows the Artist away and is either exactly or more than what they were expecting.
Where do you draw inspiration from and who inspires you?
I’d say to start with God and my beliefs are my main source but as a freelance creative I take inspiration from many different areas that help guide me to achieve what I do, because to be more than just a beat maker I aim to be a producer, to be more than an engineer I aim to be a vocal coach and to be more than a freelancer I aim to be a successful business man.
A mix of different creatives that inspire me are Prod By Ocean or Ocean, the futur, SonsOfSonix, LiTek, 1st Born, J-Dan Productions, Two4Kay, Kc Locke and my peers who I work with regularly either from the Studio or the Label.
If someone were interested in becoming a Music Producer/Sound Engineer, where would you recommend they start?
I’d say get whatever software you can with the system you currently have and start using that in whatever way you can. Do research into the styles/genres you like and experiment, invest your time and funds into improving and also study the business side of things because the ultimate goal should be how can you make your dream sustainable.
For Beatmaking - Ocean / ProdByOcean
Beatmaking / Social Media - L.Dre