For the third edition of our Studio Talk series, we introduce non other that New York legend and Terminator Records owner, Todd Terry. Todd has truly shaped what house music is today after serving almost four decades on the circuit, merging the breaks of funk with the 4x4 beat of house music in the 80s and 90s.
Todd the engineer and wizard behind The Jungle Brother's 1989 hip-house track 'I'll House You' showcased his production talent which has kept him at the forefront of the scene right up to this date.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Todd during his busy touring schedule to chat to him about music production, where he has shared with us some great studio tips, techniques and gear picks.
"Be yourself, you can't chase what others sound like, you can never catch up"
DjMag Game Changer: Jungle Brothers I'll House You produced by Todd Terry
1. Talk to me about your studio set up. What are your go to pieces of hardware and software?
I create everything on my laptop these days due to the fact I'm on the road for 80+ gigs each year. I work in Logic and have too many plugins and virtual synths to remember. I mix back at the office/studio back in New York, or at least send the files to have my engineer mix there. When mixing the tracks stay in Logic, but I monitor out of the tower through a older apogee mastering converter a PSX-100 for D/A that I love the sound of. Playback is on Yamaha NS-10's, Genelec 1031A's or ADAM S3A's.
The vocal chain I use when in the studio is my U87 into a Tube-Tech mic pre, into a Manley EQ then to a Silver 1176 and then the PSX-100 as A/D the converter. The go to plugins we use for mixing are many of the stock ones in Logic are everything from Waves, all the vintage re-creations are great.
2. "How do you overcome 'writers block'", is a question I get asked all the time by students. How do you tackle dips in creativity?
I never think about that, I'm always making tracks, and beats. Sometimes vocal records can be a bit tedious, but I can always be making tracks.
3. When it comes to starting a new project, how do you structure making a track? And how do you manage your workflow?
Beat, bass line, then melodies. If I plan on it being a vocal record I usually play some beats to get any idea of what might work best with the vocalist, most of the time it comes together quick, it's finishing to where I'm happy that takes the time.
4. Finally, what advice would you give to up and coming DJ's and producers, wanting to break into the industry?
Be yourself, you can't chase what others sound like, you can never catch up.
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