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In the studio with Projects To Mansions
Jaz from the RepostExchange Team
Mar. 03, 2022

How long have you been producing music, rapping, or DJing, and how did you learn?

Big Steele: Eight years, off and on. Self-taught.

7 Figure: 15 years as a DJ on & off, Rapping for 13 years total, and only 3 years seriously! Co-Producing 1 Year.

Lil Mas: Two and a half years.

KEO: A solid three years now.

Mr.Dorsey: I first started recording in 2016 when we first formed the team, so three and a half years.

What DAW(s) do you use and why?

Big Steele: Friends were using FL Studio and other producers were using Ableton. 

7Figure: FL because Big uses it and it's what we all use 

What are your favourite pieces of gear and why?

Big Steele: My Yamaha speakers and UAD Apollo interface.

7Figure: RX2 because it makes DJing just enjoyable.

Lil Mas: RX2.

What are your favourite software plugins and why?

Big Steele: Serum and OTT, they allow for an unlimited amount of sounds and OTT provides so much width in a clean way.

7Figure: Serum, to learn the science behind waves and see what you can turn them into is absolutely amazing to me.

How would you summarise your approach/workflow when creating a track?

Big Steele: Reference tracks. A track I am currently listening to will spark an idea.

7Figure: I like to hear an idea first and then flow on a track with no words, just sounds. I want to see how I sound on something first before I write in the lyrics.

Lil Mas: IDK, it’s a long process, I’ll work on a playlist for hours and forget to eat until I have a set I feel is good enough to be played live.

KEO: My workload on just about any song is the same tbh. Usually, I'm the hook man and usually able to set the tone for the team.

Mr.Dorsey: When I create, it’s more of a vibe and what I feel with the music. Most times I just freestyle and record my ideas over and over until I find the right one that fits the song I’m creating. When I’m preparing for a set, it’s more energetic and exciting to perform and release the energy with the fans.

What resources do you use to improve your craft?

Big Steele: Virtual Riot's livestreams have helped a bit, also Cymatics.FM.

7Figure: Blue Cheese, a platinum producer from Ear Drummers who taught me flow is extremely important. Besides him, Kingdom Hearts music to actually hear real scores. This helps me hear how music can tell a story. 

Lil Mas: YouTube tutorials and watching/listening to other DJ sets and paying attention to how they transition songs or how they listen to how the set changes its flow in regards to how they set the mood for the crowd.

KEO: I like to throw some beats on and build off of random ideas.

Mr.Dorsey: I study and listen to many different genres and artists to find ideas and concepts for different melodies and creative differences. I will also just play beats in the background while I’m in the house or driving and record myself with a freestyle. 

What is the last YouTube tutorial you watched that you would recommend to other Re-Ex Members?

What knowledge or advice do you wish you'd learned earlier?

Big Steele: Sound design and marketing.

7Figure: How to market music properly and how to build music into a business. 

KEO: Definitely make sure you're consistent with keeping your ideas fresh and new and making sure you're being original.

Mr.Dorsey: As far as music, just truly develop and find your own sound. Don’t try to sound like anyone else or make music like anyone else. Differentiate and make yourself stand out. Once you find your sound and make good music, the MOST important training is to learn how to market and promote your music

What challenges related to making music do you face and how do you overcome them?

Big Steele: Mixing and mastering will forever be a struggle.

7Figure: Sometimes I don’t like my voice and how it sounds on a track. I don’t let it stress me and just give the track to Dorsey or KEO because I don't like to force things or waste my time. 

Lil Mas: Picking songs! For the most part, I’ll imagine myself as a someone in the crowd and think to myself how I would react if I heard this song or this one live and I go from there.

KEO: Writer's block sometimes, but that just falls back to what I said with trying to keep ideas new and original. Sometimes you need to live life to find those ideas.

Mr.Dorsey: Music to me is my therapy so I feel like it helps relieve me of stress and a way to express my life challenge. The only challenge I face apart from being music is to choose which songs to release at certain times. We overcome that challenge by strategically placing songs to fit certain marketing purposes to benefit the whole team.

Can you share any killer tips or techniques?

Big Steele: There is a niche for everything, just make music.

7Figure: Find your niche and understand it's about what people want. Now find a way to give people in your niche what they want but still be an artist. Example, sometimes people don’t want fries so you decide to sell it with burgers. Anybody can eventually make good music. It's about learning how to push it and have the music make sense. 

Lil Mas: I’d say probably not as DJing is easier to learn by watching.

KEO: Not really because it all comes naturally, music is more than thoughts, it's kind of like a feeling too!

Mr.Dorsey: I think the best technique or advice I can provide as far as music is: just feel the music, create the song, and release it with a good marketing plan. As far as business, the best and the only advice I can give is to market and network, network, NETWORK!

Do you use any online tools to assist with the production process?

Big Steele: Loudness Penalty. Tells you the rating for each streaming platform for loudness.

Do you try and get feedback or suggestions to improve your music?

Big Steele: Yes, a large network of people for reference. 

7Figure: Kind of, if I have different takes, I record that, I chop and eventually have my fans vote on. Either via my Instagram or Facebook, I have them choose on what their fave style flows. That way, they feel involved with the music and I know the majority is getting what they want.

Lil Mas: I always try to get feedback from the other guys and ask them what they think about certain transitions, whether they go smoothly, are too different apart, or just bad lol. What sounds good to you may not sound good to someone else, so it’s good to ask for certain opinions. 

KEO: I definitely love constructive criticism, but I don't get it too much because I'm already a perfectionist. 

Mr.Dorsey: Always. Posting on social media and other platforms to gain feedback while creating the song sometimes, as well as listening to feedback from fans once we release the music.

Which track are you most proud of and why?

Big Steele: Hmm, not sure. My fault is once a song is released I can always hear things I could have changed to make it better.

7Figure: 'I'm Sick' because it was trash at first & for it to improvise so far is awesome.

And 'Mosh Pit' because I know it's a hidden gem people will look back on & eventually take off. 

Lil Mas: IDK, production-wise, I don’t do much as I get frustrated easily learning it and tend to get annoyed at myself within 10 minutes of trying.

KEO: Every one of them because they led me to where I am today!

Mr.Dorsey: I’m proud of all of our songs because of the progression and consistency, but I’m most proud of our song 'Mason Jar' because it was one of the first songs recorded and released and it’s still a lot of our fans' favourite.

Desert Island Gear

Top L-R: Serum, XDJ-RX2.

Bottom L-R: UAD Interface, OTT, FL Studio.

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This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. This interview was originally published on August 2020.