Marco Spaventi is one of the lectures for our upcoming Music Creation & Production course in October. We met up with him to talk about his history with electronic music, how the environment around his studio affects his work and what young producers should keep in mind while developing their own style.
Marco, you’ve been in the music production scene for quite a while already. Can you maybe tell us when you came across electronic music for the first time?
The story starts back in the time when I was still living in Italy. I’ve always been into music,
I played piano and was also playing in a band. But still I was dealing with all other kinds of music, not only electronic music per se. And then, of course, the classic story: A friend of mine gave me a Mini-Disc of „Unit Moebius“, which is an underground acid and techno production from the Netherlands. It’s very very dark, only made by machines and there were all kind of sounds I didn’t really know back then, by which I was really impressed. So I started to listen to it over and over again and started thinking: „ How do you make these sounds?“.
I was always used to the sound of guitars, drums, piano and a bit of synthesizers, but not really to the sound of machines. This really struck me. So I started to collect synths and using the computer to get more in touch with electronic music.
So this was also what got you to produce music yourself?
Yes, I mean because used to play in bands I was always involved in writing songs and arrangements a little bit. But on some point I started to really learn how to produce my own stuff at home. Back in the days you had programs like Cubase 3 for example, so I just got a computer, some gear and started. I really had no clue what I was doing, I was just trying to create something.
Your studio is located in the Nachtlab, where also other artists and different companies of the dance music industry are based. Does the environment of the Nachtlab influence your creative process and style of working?
Definitely. Having my studio in the Nachtlab gives me the possibility to show people where I work, it gives my work not only a professional attitude but also a professional mindset. The moment you move into a professional facility you start realizing: „Ok this is my real job now and not just a hobby anymore.“
But it also influences my creative process. Since there are a lot of other producers located in the Nachtlab and lot of exchange of ideas, music or other knowledge is going on. It definitely affects your creativity.
Would you recommend people who start producing to get in touch with likeminded people, to teach and or learn from each other?
Absolutely. I’ve teaching now for a long time and I always see when the students start teaming up a little bit. Each one stimulates the other as you just want get more creative and want to show your best. It’s just a natural thing.
You are one of the teachers during our upcoming Music Creation & Production course.
Do you think courses like this can be crucial to the professional development of young producers?
Yes, there is a degree beyond which you can’t really teach yourself anymore. You can learn a lot by putting in a lot effort and self teaching, but there are things you can’t self teach. So receiving a bit of education gives you a certain structure. I took a course myself and thats how I learned to improve my technical skills and in a way I couldn’t have done it on my own.
If you are a young producer who is willing to get professional, you should receive some kind of education to get yourself more structured.
Would you say it also saves time when you participate in an educational course?
It not only saves time because you receive information you don’t necessarily have to look for yourself anymore, but it also kick starts your skills and anticipation.
Nowadays it can be tough to develop your own style as a musician. Is there any advice you can provide to people how start to produce music?
One of the best things do is obviously to listen to a lot of music, but not just in way as „ Is this cool or not?“, listen to it from a more analytical point of view. There are usually pinpoints you can focus on for example: What instruments are used? Why does it appeal to you? Is it the bassline? The arrangements? The structure and evolution of the layers?
Those elements will always be there and at the same time you can try to implement it in the music you produce. Apart from that a little bit of experience and more analytical listening will help you to create your tracks. Building up on that, your own style will develop automatically, because you’ll adapt the elements you liked in other tracks to your own taste.
In my job I listen to a lot of music produced by young producers and I can hear that they have the talent to choose the right sounds. But they are lacking a little bit of experience. I often give them feedback like „Your track is cool, but this is a bit too noisy or this is a little bit out of key etc.“ Then they hear it themselves and start thinking about how they can improve it.
It’s an ongoing process in general, it just never stops.
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