A man of many sounds, Carmack has been both both versatile and consistent in 2014. His collection of releases ranges from trap driven big room smashers, to beautiful plush overtones and jazz driven grooves. Carmack never fails to resonate deep into the low-end while still leveraging a melting pot of wonky rhythms and acid washed synths. Whether you’re an aspiring producer, or someone looking for an introspective look into the mind and history of a brilliant producer, we’d definitely recommend checking out the #askmeanything for yourself. You will find both candid and in depth dialogue into what life and success means in today’s digital world. For your convenience, we’ve compiled the best of all things Mr. Carmack.
The Makings Of Mr. Carmack
How did you get into making music?
I was born into it. My father and mother are both lifetime musicians, artists, teachers, and cultural obsessives.
What was the moment when you decided to pursue music production full time?
I guess it would have to be summer 2011, when I moved to Hawaii. I was already producing for my own sanity 6-10 hours daily and id just failed out of college. What the kicker was, however, was when I realized I was producing to escape my current situation, and letting real world things fall by the wayside, like budgeting and putting socks in hampers…so I vowed to grow up in Hawaii, and not let my music control me.
What was is it like working with Pharell?
Nothing short of amazing. When I stepped up, the man came up with a verse, bridge and a hook so catchy I was repeating it for weeks, in 15 minutes! All with a contagious swag everyone in the room seemed to enjoy. People aren’t that consistently held in high regard for nothing, and his methods are solid.
What’s Djemba Djemba like to hang out with in person?
Djemba is an idiot, and a genius, like me.
You seem like a real down to earth guy who cares about his fans. My question is about the Internet. As an artist who has had so much success releasing music on the Internet, how has internet changed music, in your opinion?
I’ve always let the Internet inspire me. I’ve been downloading shit illegally for years, I used to use YouTube, Sound Click, ReverbNation to look for new stuff with the same vigor I use SoundCloud today. It all comes down to how you use it, per se. There are certain things that can be controlled and regulated; the Internet to me is NOT one of those things.
What is the smartest way to go about getting into and participating in various collectives? You’ve gotten the nod from members of Team Supreme, Soulection, HW&W, M|O|D, etc. that consider you one of their own.
I never was one to send out promotional emails for myself. I know this is a used method by a lot of aspiring “artists” out there to spam and plug constantly after every new track he/she makes, and I’m sure more times than not its worked favorably for them. but personally, I think the amount of time spent clicking “send” after “send” is better spent writing a new track.
What if, instead of focusing on building relationships now, you spend the next years listening to every kind of music you put your hands on, going and taking music / music related classes (audit a community/college/online class, do NOT pay those LA /NY recording music institutes) and developing an ear and a solid base of work for yourself. You then have more leverage in your relationships other than “I make computer music and I made this track yesterday”.
Undersell and overproduce! Especially with art. The more quality shit you make, the more some unsuspecting fan will come along and say “I like this, let me find out more” and you already have a shit ton of music available, tried and true for them to check out.
What advice could you give to a “young homie tryna” get into trap production/Djing? Where do I start?
Start with yourself. Read, get into uncomfortable relationships, be open to shit jobs and long hours, respect everything and everyone that crosses your path. When you feel you got a handle on that, then pick up your laptop and write about it. Also, take an introductory music class. If you’re in grade school, join the band.
How do you stay inspired when you have a writer’s block (if you have them)?
Keep producing! not just in music but in other aspects in life as well. Make your living situation better, your transportation situation better, etc.
I haven’t had writers block in a really long time (knock on wood)…but if I do, I go running, or drinking with friends. Sex helps a lot..
What would be your best advise for producers looking to get a release on a label?
Release it yourself, and keep releasing.
What was your biggest obstacle in your earlier years as a producer?
I was for years never satisfied with my mixes. My old homes will object to this, but shit didn’t really start sounding good crisp and album ready until about 2 years ago, when I started using band camp and sound cloud.
Try this: take a nice saw chord patch, something easy on the ears for you. Now take any reverb effect plugin and turn the dry wet all the way to 100%. You’ll get a muddy sound, but if you turn the space/size/delay/room knobs to a minimal level then you should get a very airy and spacious modeling of your chord synth. The rest is all eq-ing and compressing!
How do you mix your kicks/sub? Any tips?
Try to saturate/maximize then limit hard. it’ll give you bigger sound!
Do sample your 808s or synthesize them yourself?
Both! They both give different tones.
What DAW do you use?
Any other production tips/quirks you enjoy?
Try new things; download things you know you’ll mess around with. Vocoders make great synth patches!
Follow Mr. Carmack Here: