Here at Music Gateway, we’ve been working with the wonderfully talented Boom Dice, a Grammy-nominated Producer, Songwriter, Mixer & Artist, for a while now and have enjoyed every second! Ahead of his brand new release, ‘Embers’, we had a chat with Boom Dice to talk all things experience, inspiration and words of wisdom for artists wanting to sky-rocket their career!
Check it out!
I can’t answer that! I wear so many different hats in different genres to compare. I can tell you the personality types that are my favourite are the people that are driven, excited to create and learn, and treat everyone around them like humans. Without that, the talent doesn’t matter to me. I am just lucky to have worked in high-level artistry consistently for the 12 or so years and I feel like I am just getting started!
This isn’t understood by a lot of people out there but a good engineer is essential. I am glad to be asked this since it is a huge part of my story. As an artist, I would find someone that is willing to learn constantly and doesn’t follow stringent rules (because there are none). Find someone who is flexible in their workflow and can achieve results at a high level in a hotel room or commercial studio and everything in between.
Find someone who understands vibe vs technical perfection and someone who knows when to do a lot vs little. These are key skills in my opinion and definitely why I came up the ranks as I did. If you can build trust with someone like this, I guarantee you will never have to explain creative aims with difficulty again. They will just get it and get your artist project. An engineer that fits this box (including a positive attitude and chilled out) is easier said than done though!
‘Boom Dice Presents’ works individual releases with the aim to shine a light on these acts. Whether you are upcoming or established, we partner with certain artists and their teams that are making moves themselves but are also investing in their artist project. There are too many artists who want everything done for them and that privilege is reserved for very few realistically. They are also the ones who want shortcuts and don’t spend time learning.
There aren’t any shortcuts to success (in most cases) so what attracts me to certain artists over others is not just the quality of their music but the whole package. I want to be able to see you everywhere online, see the effort you are putting into public image, and know that you won’t disappear next month and change your name to become something else. Those are the artists the Boom Dice Presents platform invests in.
We help push via marketing, press, radio, PR, music video, distribution, mentoring, and basically everything else on top of working on the music itself. So it is pretty all-encompassing and actually really difficult to find acts who understand the benefit of collaboration outside of their artist bubble. I like artists who want to exercise their creative juices amongst other audiences too. As an example, I often find artists or their managers saying “that sounds a little too pop/dance or too Rap for us, do you have something else?”. Then I navigate to their Spotify and hear nothing but pop/dance tracks from that artist. This is just one example of how I see acts blocking themselves right away.
It is easy to view yourself in a light that everyone else doesn’t so you need that perspective from others without being so precious while starting out. That is definitely something that differs between the British industry and North America at least. That is why I personally get excited about those artists who try things out and spread themselves around. That is how you get better obviously.
I have industry heavyweights like Manny Marroquin for example who inspire me to continue on the path of choosing what I want to work on without limitation, but I actually have learned to stop comparing myself to others and what they are doing. Since I made that decision, I have grown leaps and bounds in my success rate and the only person you really have to compete with is yourself. How are you bettering yourself this year vs last?
That is the metric I care about most now. I try to keep off watching what people are doing other than research. Nobody likes that person at a party who keeps trying to test whether you know someone and the work they do. Haha. The main question I ask myself these days is “Does this really matter?” and those who know me know my answer in most cases is hell no.
1) Huge amounts of people in the industry don’t know what they are doing so make sure you learn everything that you can to be well rounded to make educated decisions yourself. I wasted a lot of time relying on others who should have been better educated and aligned with what my personal goals were. This can actually work against you. I see it all the time with people whose first answer is “let me talk to my manager” when all you asked is what they are working on? Reg flag for me if you don’t have your own opinions as an artist. But the lesson is to learn everyone’s perspective and grow your knowledge always.
2) Educate yourselves on all contracts relevant to your field. Even if you are an engineer, mixer, producer who doesn’t want to have to care about these “boring” complicated details and just work on the music. The more upfront you are about your value and how you work, the more it is respected and people will want to jump on board. You can’t position yourself well or fairly if you don’t know what to include or do before you agree to work! So don’t be lazy and learn it. I have found myself in this trap even with higher-level artists who will take advantage of that. In most cases, they don’t know what they are doing either so what is the problem with having a dialogue first and getting a basic agreement on paper? If they have a problem with that, chances are you shouldn’t work with them anyway. Not everything is an opportunity you have to take and I am still chasing the simple concept of fairness years after some projects have been finished! Persistence pays off though.
3) I wish someone told me it doesn’t get easier the more success you get! It makes sense in some occupations and of course, there are different experiences across the board but for me, it doesn’t matter how many Grammy nominations, Brit Award wins, platinum, gold, silver plaques, streaming numbers, or any other measure of material success you get, it doesn’t really do anything other than becoming a calling card on your reputation and trust level. You are still dealing with humans at the other end who more often than not, are no more qualified to be working in positions than the next person. People always have their agendas and interpretations of what success means. That is why it is important to build real relationships when you find someone who excels in their field. Making sure people know it doesn’t get “easy” is a really good piece of advice. You need thick skin and patience. The game is for those that have it!
I stay lean as possible! I was spoiled when I started out working in the best commercial studios in London with access to the most classic, expensive and sought-after equipment. Then I realized this isn’t a realistic thing to maintain as my goals changed. I spent huge amounts of time digitizing all the things I used to rely on so I have my secret weapons in both the analogue and digital worlds. I need to be able to deliver top results without all of that gear and fortunately, I can do that with just a laptop, some key software and plugins, and my Aston Halo/Spirit Mic combo. I also have an Apollo Arrow/Solo from Universal Audio that gets me the quality vocal takes I need from anywhere. So pretty light and travel-friendly on that setup.
In my actual studio, it is basically the same except heavy-duty versions of all of that including Apollo X8P, some beautiful HEDD Type-20 studio monitors, and then my NI Komplete Kontrol S61 keyboard and an electronic drum kit from Roland. I also have some live percussion and a couple of small synths. I make an effort to not collect gear or hold on to stuff I don’t need or use. Plugins and that tech are so good these days that it makes the debate on what is better even less relevant to me now. But of course, I still miss the tactile approach and that would be a whole other answer in itself!
The approach really means your plan from the moment you hit the record button (Metronome) to “finishing” a track (Master) all the way through to release (Mainstream). What is your plan as a creative? What separates you from the millions of others doing it themselves now. Anybody can distribute their music for better or worse. That is happening and saturating the market. So now more than ever, your story, reasons for wanting to convey certain things, and how you implement the steps to get that reach are hugely important.
It is amazing how many artists and teams out there approach their goals without a thought or business plan. You wouldn’t do that in any other job, so why are you treating your dreams and aspirations like this? It is bizarre to me.
The 3M concept is something I really try to drive in the importance to artists and teams we work with. It is a learning experience for most and it becomes apparent who has what it can take to make it and those who don’t! But again, I can only speak from experience. Probably 90% of artists who I have seen come and go through my short career so far clearly didn’t think in the “3M” fashion and if they did, couldn’t be bothered to adapt enough to figure out their position so they have disappeared. That must say something right? That is what “3M” refers to.
For sure it is the Grammy nominations. They never get old! Whether it is me personally or projects I work on, that was once the only aim and when you hit that goal a few times, those goalposts change. The Brit award is also a huge thing and that project really gave me a lot of firsts here in the UK along with multiple certified sales plaques, official chart awards, etc… That will always be special to me as someone not from the UK who was able to hit those top levels in one aspect of my career. I don’t think of these accolades as certain projects to be honest because it is more about the journey.
These material wins and back-slapping titles we assign represent all of the stuff you deal with along the way. For me, it is about a team coming together to create something that resonates with many. But funny enough, I don’t really speak to anybody after the projects are done! Haha. I just move on to the next one like a little nomad interpreter of the techno-artistic field (said nobody ever)
Make sure you check out ‘Embers’ out NOW on Spotify!
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