Thanks to the avail­ab­il­ity of digit­al audio work­sta­tions, such as Ableton, any per­son who is pas­sion­ate about music has the abil­ity to become a music pro­du­cer. Gone are the days of hav­ing to save large amounts of cash to pur­chase mul­tiple pieces of ana­logue equip­ment. And whilst the pur­ists might be against this new pro­duc­tion style, the Music Pro­duc­tion Con­ven­tion cel­eb­rates this change in cul­ture and also gives pro­du­cers oppor­tun­it­ies to learn and net­work.

In its third year and hos­ted at the Abbey Road Insti­tute Par­is, the Music Pro­du­cer Con­ven­tion is a 3‑day event that helps pro­du­cers up skill, hear inspir­a­tion­al talks from their idols, gath­er inform­a­tion on the busi­ness side of the industry and is an oppor­tun­ity to con­nect with like­minded indi­vidu­als.

This year’s con­ven­tion hos­ted a line up of pro­du­cers from around the globe includ­ing Rock­wilder (US), Scoop Dev­ille (US), Shroom (Ams­ter­dam) and Mad­izm (FR), just to name a few. Though most classes were in French, the talks with the US artists were in Eng­lish and the open dis­cus­sions were trans­lated into Eng­lish for inter­na­tion­al guests.

Kick­ing off on the Fri­day, the first (half) day of the Music Pro­du­cer Con­ven­tion included mul­tiple sold-out Ableton work­shops, which cul­min­ated in a Beat Battle. The battle took place at 2 Piece Cuisine out­side of Par­is city centre and fea­tured over 15 pro­du­cers across Europe includ­ing a very tal­en­ted 15-year-old. Word is the 15-year-old knocked out last year’s battle win­ner Thibault (USA) in the first round! The win­ner was Swiss pro­du­cer Luvanga.

The Sat­urday and Sunday of the con­ven­tion hos­ted talks and work­shops by renowned pro­du­cers and was more flu­id in its approach. Attendees were wel­come to attend the vari­ety of work­shops and also social­ise in the net­work­ing lounge. The lounge is also where the open dis­cus­sions were held. More ser­i­ous and determ­ined attendees booked 1–2‑1 listen­ing ses­sions with estab­lished pro­du­cers to dis­cuss sound and tech­niques.

In a Sat­urday pro­du­cer ses­sion, Ams­ter­dam pro­du­cer, Shroom, who has worked with the likes of Ghost­face Kil­lah, Mobb Deep and Busta Rhymes, hos­ted a intim­ate ses­sion where he went into detail into his cre­ation and pro­duc­tion styles and tech­niques. In the ses­sion, the group cre­ated a beat, using Ableton and a series of plug-ins, that was remin­is­cent of some­thing you’d hear on a Wu Tang Clan album. Shroom explained and demon­strated his pro­cess in real time, and one, very brave attendee stepped up to the stu­dio and provided some keys on the Maschine.

Shroom is also known for cre­at­ing samples packs, which have become pop­u­lar with­in the pro­duc­tion com­munity. He also broke down his very spe­cif­ic and metic­u­lous pro­cess of record­ing instru­ments for these packs.

One of the dis­cus­sions of the day was titled Pro­du­cer Life: Dream versus Real­ity. A very inter­est­ing and rel­ev­ant top­ic. The pan­el con­sisted of artists who were also involved in work­shops includ­ing Shroom, Itali­an rap­per Mondo Mar­cio and French pro­du­cer Mad­izm. The host very kindly trans­lated for the Eng­lish speak­ers in the room.

All of the pan­el­lists spoke frankly about work­ing in the music industry and mak­ing music, wheth­er that be as a pro­du­cer or as a rap­per, and gave sound advice to the guests. The resound­ing response was that it is pos­sible to be suc­cess­ful with mak­ing music as a career and don’t believe the [neg­at­ive] hype.

Mondo Mar­cio stated: “every­body is mak­ing music” [but you] “really need to believe in your­self, cliché but true. Trust in your craft. Focus on your career and sound”.

Shroom, who has had suc­cesses with work­ing with Eminem and with his sample packs echoed Mondo’s sen­ti­ments. “[I’m] still try­ing to make it myself. I’ve had suc­cess but I’m work­ing every day”.

Mondo fin­ished with, “there is a myth around con­tracts and get­ting signed. Don’t look for that, look for [your] sound and the con­tracts will come”.The dis­cus­sions focused on the busi­ness side of the industry, some­thing every­day pro­du­cers have very little know­ledge on but some­thing that is import­ant to their ways of work­ing and suc­cesses. In the Diver­si­fy Your Rev­en­ue Streams dis­cus­sion, the artists made it clear “don’t pull all your eggs into one bas­ket”, like just releas­ing music, look for synch oppor­tun­it­ies and/or col­lab­or­a­tion oppor­tun­it­ies.

Sunday, again, was a very flu­id day in terms of tim­ings. Unfor­tu­nately due to flight delays and emer­gen­cies some of the morn­ing pro­gram­ming was pushed to the after­noon. This allowed for attendees to mingle in the com­mon area and out the front, and it also meant there was more involve­ment in the debates. One of the dis­cus­sions for the day was The Mar­ket and the pan­el included an eclect­ic mix of people from dif­fer­ent strands of the music industry.

On this pan­el was French rap­per Vince, UK producer/finger drum­mer Nali and Nerve/Universal label exec­ut­ive Ori­ana, who all gave their advice on how best to use mar­ket­ing tools such as social media.

One thing was evid­ent and that was that “time[s have] changed due to the inter­net” and it was import­ant for artists to be on at least one social media plat­form to engage with their audi­ence.

Label exec­ut­ive Ori­ana advised the “most import­ant thing is per­son­al­ity and story-telling, [I] don’t look at the num­bers”.  From their own per­son­al exper­i­ences as inde­pend­ent artists Nali and Vince both agreed that it was import­ant to be con­sist­ent with shar­ing con­tent on social media, and that you don’t need high tech equip­ment, just inter­ac­tion and human con­nec­tion to stand out.

Finally, to close out the 2.5 days of the con­ven­tion, US pro­du­cers Tony Dofat and Rock­wilder hos­ted a joint work­shop ses­sion. The com­bin­a­tion of the duo speak­ing togeth­er cre­ated a great dynam­ic and in turn provided inter­est­ing insight into their begin­nings as Hip Hop pro­du­cers in New York City. Rock­wilder spoke about his humble begin­nings of “just doing beats to play in the car” and know­ing and work­ing with Red­man who his “moth­er was scared of” and Erick Ser­mon “his pro­duc­tion was com­plex”.

Rock­wilder weaved in the songs he ref­er­enced whilst he spoke and Dofat inter­jec­ted through­out with hil­ari­ous anec­dotes. When Rock­wilder spoke about women being the best sound­ing boards for tracks, “if my mum like [a beat], hit record”. “In house A&R”, Dofat joked. Fast for­ward to the 2000’s and Rock­wilder speaks about work­ing with Big Pun, Jay‑Z and Eminem. His stor­ies were inspir­ing and hum­bling, and were a nice way to fin­ish the week­end at the con­ven­tion.

In its third year the Music Pro­du­cer Con­ven­tion is still very much in its infancy and yet has man­aged to attract a num­ber of high-pro­file inter­na­tion­al speak­ers, as well as interest in attend­ance from pro­du­cers from across Europe. I look for­ward to see­ing the event, which is worth­while for beat makers and pro­du­cers of all stages, devel­op and expand fur­ther in years to come.

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Kylie de vos

Kylie de vos

Self-pro­claimed Hip Hop nerd, Kylie dis­covered the genre through her older cous­ins in the mid-90s. Since then her interest in the genre has been on the psyche of artists: the how and why artists make the music that con­nects with so many people on so many dif­fer­ent levels.

About Kylie de vos

Kylie de vos
Self-proclaimed Hip Hop nerd, Kylie discovered the genre through her older cousins in the mid-90s. Since then her interest in the genre has been on the psyche of artists: the how and why artists make the music that connects with so many people on so many different levels.