Heather is a respected songwriter, producer, DJ and creatively works under her artist name Bright Lights.
Top Tip “I’d say, just don’t stop. If people tell you your sound is garbage or ‘not good enough’, then just keep going. If you’re making records that you really love but can’t figure out how to market, then just keep going. You never know where your break is going to come from.”
Friction (aka Ed Keeley) is one of the country’s top d’n’b DJs as well as the former host of a high-profile Radio 1 show, and owner of the Shogun Audio label.
Top Tip “Be hard on yourself and what you’re making. Whether it’s experimental or commercial, whatever it is, make sure it’s the best you can make it. Get feedback from people who will be honest with you. You don’t want people just saying: ‘Yeah, I like that.’ Critical feedback is important! Hone what you’re doing and get better.”
More from a top composer…
Top Tip “You have to be a reckless idiot to want to become a pro musician. The chances of you making any livelihood is 0.0001%. So I’m happy to be in a position to help young composers to get going and make sure they actually get paid for all the passion and the work they put into it, and focus on their craft of being a composer. I love that they’re young and often have wildly different ideas from me. That’s exciting.”
In a career spanning nearly 20 years, drummer, engineer, mixer and songwriter Emre Ramazanoglu has garnered an impressive résumé: composing music for high-profile movies and working closely with some of the biggest names in pop…
Top Tip “Something that I’ve said before to people who are coming up through the production industry is: ‘You should have no time off, ever!’ – no one understands that, really. It’s all about being passionate. So, when you’re waking up in the morning, you’re reading manuals[or magazines and websites! – Ed] about music making. You’re listening to music and thinking about it from a production standpoint. What’s key is that you’re always thinking about making music.”
Jazzy Jeff continues to push boundaries, and has an interesting perspective on developing yourself…
Top Tip “The thing I do love about the industry now is social media: if Will and I had it back when we started out, we’d have sold 100 million records… Will and I never had direct access to our fans – it went through our record company. We couldn’t connect with our fans. That’s what social media is for me. Everybody who just loves who you are, you can very easily just say: ‘Hi!’”
Stereophonics drummer, solo artist, audio engineer… it’s fair to say Javier Weyler has packed a lot into his 43 years. He’s now soundtracking a range of projects with his Breaking Waves Creative Sound Agency.
Top Tip “Your attitude should be focused on the music primarily, and the creative process. I think if you really have a craft and a career path you want to follow, you can learn as much as you want from a book or tutorials, but actually doing it yourself is the key. I never had any help when I was growing up and getting into music.”
1. “Invest in yourself: get educated. I went to the EMI Institute in Zagreb and did the audio-engineer programme.” – DJ Sylvester
2. “No matter how much you learn in this business, there is always something new to learn and the worst producers are the ones who are ignorant and already think they know it all.”
– Matt O’Donnell
3. “Plan, plan and plan some more; learn to solder; patchbays are invaluable; network with other people.” – Dan Armstrong
4. “Don’t underestimate the need for a good network – different social-media channels, yes, but it’s even more important to get out and visit fairs and meet producers.” – Michael van Thoor