Terry Golden is an experienced DJ and music producer that has taken his music and live performances to the biggest stages in the world, and while his aim is still high, with every release and performance he proves why his name deserves to be high on the list of artists to follow.
His skills and talents have seen him perform at big Electronic Dance festivals like Ultra Europe and Neversea, while his music have been released by top labels like Blanco y Negro and Sirup Music among others, showcasing his signature sound and style to new and larger audiences every time.
And while he has kept busy between his performance schedule, curating mixes for his weekly radio show ‘Art of Rave’ and producing and releasing hard-hitting bangers, we found some time to sit down and ask him some tips and trick regarding music production. Here’s what he said.
Hello Terry Golden, how are you?
Feeling good after finally having ‘I Am Ready’ out, I have been waiting for this release a lot. Also, I just finished a super busy festival summer, which has been fantastic. Thank you for having me in for this talk about music production.
What set of gear would you say is crucial to set up a home studio?
You must have a really good computer. I myself use a Mac Book Pro, as I can carry my studio in my bag no matter where I travel. Invest in a pair of really good studio monitors, and good headphones for the journey. Then you must have a DAW, here I think it is a matter of preference whether you choose one or the other. I use Ableton Live 11, which by default has a lot of standard plug-ins, so that you can actually get started without buying additional software plug-ins (You can ruin yourself here), so start with basics and buy what you think is missing. However, I would recommend that you buy at least a synth plug-in like Serum – it is without comparison the plug-in I use the most. Then you have to set up a good place so that everything can be ready, if the economy is up to it, then buy an extra-large monitor and a good chair, and maybe a midi keyboard (But you can use your computer keyboard, so you don’t have to, but it is definitely easier to be creative).
Which DAW do you prefer and why?
Here I think it is almost the same as talking about religion. I use Ableton Live 11 which I found easy to use and have some workflows which are really intuitive and can therefore save a lot of time. I use Ableton because that’s what I settled on, and all my plug-ins, samples, pre-sets etc, are integrated, so it will be a big task to switch, and I’m also very satisfied with the rest. However, I would recommend that you invest in one of the 3 largest, as you can find a ton of videos on YouTube about almost all functions and little tricks and hacks
What are your favorite plugins and why?
I have some plugins I always use. Serum is where the unique happens, I have developed a whole bank of my own unique sounds over time, and that is where all my Bass lines, Synths, leads, Pads etc. come to life, so for sure my favorite.
What’s the latest thing you learned regarding music production?
You learn every day, but I have spent a lot of time understanding and refining the part around making a good master. However, I would say that you can make a super professional master online for relatively little money, my problem is always that they don’t have my vision of which parts of the sound spectrum mean the most, this happens precisely on the track that you have just put all your energy and creativity into.
Which part of a track is best to start with?
It depends a little on the genre you make music in. But generally, I always start with the melody, then the hook in the drop. You also build the rest around it. There are certainly 1000 ways, but this is my workflow, and here the creative part takes up most of my mind.
How do you know when a track is ready?
Most good tracks, you don’t have to think about it – it just happens. If you think too much, it often won’t work. So, you really have to trust your gut, so if you think it sounds good, then it’s ready. After all, music is an emotional thing, to which you react differently, and not least, it works differently depending on the environment you are in and the people you are with, your mental situation, etc. So, trust your gut feeling, listen to the feedback that comes, and learn from it for the next issue. But never forget yourself.
In your experience, what elements of a track help it perform better in front of an audience?
Again, it depends on what type of performance it is. In general, the melody and the hook are where you capture the audience. It’s another way to be creative, since you have completely free game to play. So, in addition to the melody and the drop, the mix between several tracks can really help build the right atmosphere, and not least give something unique to the audience
Any recommendations of books, videos or any advice you’d give to someone starting their music production journey?
There are a ton of materials, videos, etc. However, I thought that Digital DJ tips has some really good programs that you can follow, both as a newcomer and experienced. This applies to both music production and if you just want to learn to DJ, or become even better at it. Most programs are also quite reasonable in price, and very easy to follow.
How do you keep yourself inspired to produce new music?
I think music runs in my blood, so it’s never been a problem. I would say, however, that getting permission to play one’s music in front of a live audience, large or small, and to see if it works or not, is an essential part of me continuing to want to be creative and come up with new music. I make music to perform, not the other way around.
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