Phonica Records’ Avsluta demos Secretsundaze Studios Remote services

By in Features, Turntables & Tech

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An inside look at the production services on offer – with one-on-one video sessions and written feedback offerings.

With global lockdowns ongoing, and artists unable to access studios and rehearsal spaces as before, Secretsundaze has rolled out new services for remote production work, 1– 1-2- Video Sessions and Written Feedback. Phonica Records’ Avsluta uses two of her own tracks to demo each one:

“Secretsundaze is a music community that began in 2002 when they threw their first dance, followed by the launch of its label and the Secretsundaze Studios based in East London. The crew promises to champion artists they truly believe in and, more importantly, foster an environment for artists to learn, grow and get actively involved. They collectively agree dance music is about fun, individuality and expression – something I could feel during my experiences with their Studios Remote services. While the physical studios are manned by six engineers, Nathaniel (aka DrumTalk) heads the recently launched Remote project, with a choice of 1-2-1 online sessions or in-depth written feedback forms.

The vision for Remote is establishing “an international network of studio engineers / producers teaching a global audience how to make music.” At the moment it is still in its formative stages, however the goal is to progressively address issues of accessibility in the world of music production, with plans to introduce concessionary rates for young people as a way of fostering new talent.

1-2-1 Session

The 1-2-1 sessions take place via Zoom with AudioMovers software integration for low-latency hi-res audio with a choice of working in Logic or Ableton, or simply sharing your files for Nathaniel to work with. I approached this tutorial as an artist working towards finishing up a track I was struggling with, felt stuck and started to lose enthusiasm. I needed a fresh pair of unbiased ears to get it off the ground. From the outset, Nathaniel made the session feel personal and brought a genuinely collaborative spirit into it. This was as close to an in-studio session as you can get. Both the tempo and focus points were easily communicated and followed, tailored to my specific needs, with general knowledge thrown in where appropriate.

It is important to come prepared, have your project tidy and legible for Nathaniel to be able to navigate within it. Have an idea of what you want from the session, some landing points and questions at the ready. I benefited from taking the time prior to the session to understand what points in the track needed the most attention and picking the track to work on accordingly. In this way, I could get the track moving but also learn about broader concepts that are helpful to my production practice in general.

The 1-2-1 sessions run for 90 minutes. An option to record the session for future reference is a great bonus too. Nathaniel was quick to analyse the project, communicate his thoughts on the arrangement, mix and creative approach and dive right into the job. The breadth of Nathaniel’s knowledge is apparent in his approach towards the technical as well as the creative aspects of the music-making processes. There was a pleasant honesty with plenty of constructive ideas which I really appreciate.
More than a lesson, this is a mentoring experience that can be specifically tailored to your skills, knowledge, and needs. It doesn’t matter if you need a fresh pair of ears and honest feedback, a lesson on how compression works or painting those final touches on your album. This might sound as a given to some, but I believe that the warm non-judgemental approach, and constructively critical attitude are not at all a standard and this is what makes this service more special in comparison with others. Building a level of comfort and trust from the outset and being exposed to a wealth of ideas and knowledge in this way is inspiring and it works magic.

 

In-depth Written Feedback

The written feedback is designed as a form that tackles issues of structure, production quality and creative concepts within a piece of work in various stages of completion. The track is shared in downloadable WAV format via Soundcloud link with Nathaniel who then takes a detailed look at the track in Logic. It is beneficial to provide some context of the work along with a reference track to make Nathaniel’s understanding of what you’re looking to achieve easier and specifically tailored to your needs.

The track I provided was a work in progress, much like the one used in the 1-2-1 session, where I felt dispirited every time I opened the project. It suffered from weaknesses that Nathaniel was able to clearly pinpoint and comment on in an informed and neutral matter. Nathaniel’s writing is eloquent and to the point, outlining the initial impressions and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Going forward he addresses the sound design, arrangement and mixing, offers constructive feedback and suggests practical solutions with detailed step by step strategy towards reaching your desired outcome.

Conclusion

Secretsundaze Remote are tailor-made services, quick and efficient to address and adapt to your level of knowledge and skill, while offering a genuinely collaborative experience with a personal touch, giving an invaluable insight into the wider aspects of your practice as a whole. While the written feedback is a useful, unbiased evaluation tool providing basic guidance to lift your particular piece of work off the ground, the 1-2-1 session is a personable mentoring experience that moves beyond the particularities of a single piece of work, to explore and strengthen your music-making practice in general.”

Head here to find out more about Secretsundaze Studios’ Remote services.