Interview Date: 27 April. 17
Joe Garston's Music: Listen Genres: Electro
Making deep Progressive House basses, driving synth drops, and melancholic melodies is all in a days work for Notaker. This Monstercat and Armada releasing producer is quickly getting the attention of the dance music scene with his unique style and is set to for a breakout 2017. We had a chance to talk to Notaker and find out how what goes into his uniques style and how you can improve your own productions!
SoundShock: Let’s take it back all the way to the beginning. Who is Joe Garston and how did you get into music production? I can't remember the exact reason what got me into music production, but i definitely remember watching a live video of The Chemical Brothers in 2007 & hearing Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 is what started me searching online for production software. I would re-create their live sets and songs in FL Studio and a midi keyboard.
You’ve had many beatport chart topping tracks in your career. Tells us about what it was like to get these tracks on the charts. Any advice for producers looking to get there music out there and get picked up by labels? The support for my music always takes me by surprise. Especially when it charts. It's a great feeling! I think the timing for new producers is important, making sure they are producing something unique and fresh and not what everybody else is making, Just stick to trying to create your own sound.
Many producers write melodies that are either too complicated that don’t stick in the listeners head or they will write something that is too boring and does not get the listener engaged in the song. A lot of your tracks have energetic, playful, and memorable melodies. How do you go about writing these memorable melodies? Do you start with your chords first and then work on the melody?
Melody and harmony is the core of my sound. always aiming to pack as much as I can within a small melody, emotion, feelings and as you mentioned.. energy! My melodies are often just 8 bars of music so it's sometimes tough to carry the music for a few minutes. Another method I use is recording my chords and melodies then re-sampling it, slicing and reversing certain parts to create a new arrangement of the entire melody.
Your drops contain a lot of quick moving melodies, arps, bass lines, and bass fills. How do you approach the arrangement of these elements so they work together in unison?
A lot of it is trial & error. Sometimes adding too many elements into my mix over complicates things and takes the emphasis away from the melody or the overall groove and movement of the track. It's important to remember that sometimes simpler just works better.
Electronic producers have a hard time with music theory. Either they don’t know what to learn or how exactly to apply the theory. If you use theory when writing your tracks, what specific parts do you use and what topics do you feel producers should know?
I can't say I studied musical theory or know much about it. I just go with what sounds good to me & remember what I mentioned above, don't over complicate things with the arrangement.
Your tracks have always had great mixing. All the elements punch through in their own space and create a full sound. Are there any specific techniques that you use in your tracks to achieve this big sounding mix?
I guess alot of it comes down to Multiband Compression that i use on all my mixdowns, FL Studio has a pretty decent one that i use for my tracks.
The mastering in your tracks is very clean, upfront, and powerful. Are there any tips for getting this type of modern dance music mastered sound, assuming that your mix down is already well balanced.
Getting the balance right is always the hardest thing, It's hard to say how i achieve it, I just try keep it as simple as i can without overloading the master chain.
Producers seem to struggle a lot with the stereo imaging of their tracks. Often times, their track will be too wide, not be wide enough, or have elements all over the place which make it hard for the listener to understand. How do you decide which elements go where and make sure your elements are giving enough interest to the listener without being distracting?
Again it comes down to trial & error. Try different techniques and methods with your sounds, some might sound better with a wider reach than it did before. Just don't overload the listener with too much at once.
"Something that works well for me is making the mixing process part of the process where you create the song. While you're creating something you can at the same time be analyzing whether the element is working the way you want it to or not."
What are your go-to effects and processing chains at the moment?
FL Studio's Hardcore is something i'm using alot partnered with my Korg Minilogue, I can get some very unique leads when i combine the two.
A reverb plug in called Ambience.
FL Studio's Multiband Compression.
LFO Tool is something i love and use in all my tracks! Using it for sidechain compression or crazy filterd effects.
When arranging you song it can be difficult to keep listeners interested from start to finish. What are some ways you can keep the listener engaged in the arrangement and have it flow smoothly throughout the entire track?
As i mentioned above, My melodies are often just 8 bars of music so it's sometimes tough to carry the music for a few minutes. But trying to keep it simple, catchy and interesting. Using unique sounds in different sections keeps the listener engaged and keeps the arrangement sounding fresh. Learn to create anticipation and know the right time to release it over time. You can always try following the arrangement of other songs with the style you are producing to get a better idea of this.
From the get go you have always had a signature sound. No more than ever, producers need their own sound so they don’t get lost in all the similar sounding music that is out there right now. How do you develop a signature sound that is true to you and expresses your own unique voice?
It can take a long time, it took me a while. But just trying new things, vsts, effects... all help towards creating a unique sound that you can call your own. Just do your own thing and do what you think sounds cool.
What’s next for Joe Garston and your label Forever? Any exciting new music being released on forever? Will we ever see an album from you?
Forever has some really great releases on the way. Just now we have some remixes being released of my track 'Crush' remixed by some of our best producers!
I'm working on some new singles, or maybe another EP at the moment. But plenty more JG to come this year, i plan to release as much music as i can in 2017.
A JG album would probably take a long time for me! So i'm not too sure about that just yet.. But maybe someday!