Interview with multi-talented DJ and producer $ilv@


$ilv@ launched his career from humble beginnings where he regularly DJ’d at college parties and bars and built a name for himself in Buffalo. After graduating, $ilv@ took his career back to his hometown of Long Island and New York City.

Now, with an established career under his belt, $ilv@ produces unique, standout tracks that gain the attention of audiences all over.

We sat down with $ilv@ to find out some of the top tips for producing music.

1. What software is best to use for beginners?

I feel that Logic Pro x is good for beginners. It has a decently simple flow to it. Also, if you want to make it even easier you can always buy hotkeys cover for your keyboard. If you want to save money you can always start on GarageBand. 

2. What are the essentials a budding producer needs to start making music without breaking the bank?

The essentials to start producing music are pretty simple. First, you need a decent computer. It has to be able to keep up with what you are making, be clean, no viruses, etc. The worst thing is working on a song for a few hours and it just crashes or quits out.

The second is a basic keyboard you can plug into the computer via USB. After that, you can start with stock sounds really. Play with them, and create your own unique sounds. Use the filters and stock plugins. 

3. Have you got any suggestions for books/YouTube channels people can learn from?

Honestly, I do not follow one channel in particular. YouTube is amazing though. I just type in whatever I am looking for if I have a question, or need help. Usually, hundreds of videos pop up explaining. You can learn a lot from YouTube. Reading wise, I just read articles from many different websites and the information on the websites. I also read things other producers write. A lot of big-name producers will make tutorials. Watch those. 

4. What is your advice on sampling?

Make sure you have the rights to samples. Do not make that mistake. If you purchase them read carefully. You don’t want to put a ton of work in and make a song you can’t release, or even worse release it and get hit with copyright. There are a ton of great places to get samples. You can use a splice, or There are also a ton of vendors who are independent. Just make sure you have rights. 

5. Which part of the track should you start with?

So to me, there is no right place to start. I have started at the beginning, the middle, and the end. I have started at a build, I have also started at a drop. I have even started at a melody section. I usually start with what I am feeling at that moment and what inspiration is in my head. I tend to pick an instrument, then play with filters and make a cool sound. That’s where I start. Then with what sound I have, I get an idea of where the song will be going.

6. What plugins are best to download first?

So if you are a beginner, look for free plugins first. There are plenty of free plugins on the internet. Mess around with those first. You can make really great things with free ones. If you want to spend some money I love serum. I also like Omnisphere. Native instruments has crazy awesome plugins also. Obviously waves have been around forever and has great plugins. 

7. Is it important to learn an instrument?

I think it is pretty important to learn an instrument or have some musical background, it will definitely make the process easier. But it is not impossible to make music having no knowledge. Some people just have an ear for it. 

8. Do you think it’s necessary to learn how to mix and master?

Is it absolutely necessary to learn how to mix and master? No, I do not think so. You can always hire professionals for this. Do I think it is better if you do? Yes, I do think it is better. This way you can make the song sound exactly how you want it to. I mix and master all my own tracks. This takes a lot of extra time and is tedious. It also can get frustrating. But it will help in the long run. 

9. As a DJ, is there anything producers should avoid doing in their tracks that could be annoying for DJ sets?

No. Most DJ’s can incorporate a part of any song into any drop or transition. I would say one thing would be having a weird amount of bars in a section compared to most songs in a similar genre. Something like this still shouldn’t throw off a DJ, because it could just be looped. But, it could if they haven’t heard or used the song before. 

10. What should a producer do if they’re struggling to find inspiration?

Go out. Leave the song for a few hours, maybe a day. Find inspiration. Go to the beach. Take a walk. Talk with people. Maybe even hit up a show. I get a lot of ideas from art or tv shows. I also go to concerts and festivals to study. Find inspiration in anything or anyone. Just step away, clear your head, then go back.