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In the studio with Darin Epsilon
Jaz from the RepostExchange Team
Mar. 30, 2022

Meet Darin Epsilon, a revolutionary producer, DJ, podcast host, and record label owner as he shares his insight about what he’s learned in the past decade. It was such a pleasure to learn about his personal process to create a track as well as to hear his advice for aspiring DJs and producers. You don’t want to miss out on what this Chicago-born artist has to say!

How long have you been producing music and how did you learn?

I completed my first track when I was 14. My high school offered a basic course on electronic music and MIDI, so that was my proper introduction to the world of keyboards and sampling. Fast forward eight years later and I released my first remix in 2007 during my final year of college.

I started in an era when YouTube was not widely used, and I was pretty much the only kid in my area that knew about or was into house music. I learned pretty much everything through reading books, watching tutorial videos, and asking others online for feedback.

What DAW(s) do you use and why?

The first software I learned on was Cubase SX 3, which I found to be too confusing and intimidating. From there I experimented with FL Studio, Reason, Logic, and finally settled on Ableton Live.

I’ve written a track in nearly all the major DAW’s but Ableton Live is by far my favourite. The software was built by techno producers for other techno producers. It’s really intuitive and has powerful tools that make it fun and easy to get my ideas down quickly. I feel this is really important for whichever DAW you choose so that you can stay inspired (and avoid pulling your hair out!) while working on music.

What are your favourite pieces of gear and why?

I’m really more into software for convenience and better prices. I own a Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 keyboard, which is probably the most valuable piece of hardware that I own at the moment.

What are your favourite software plugins and why?

A few VST’s that I regularly use in my projects are Arturia V Collection, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Rob Papen Predator 2 and SubBoomBass, u-he Diva, Loopcloud, NI Guitar Rig, and Massive X.

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

My music tends to be really melodic so I start by sketching the main ideas on a piano. Once I have the main theme of the track written out, then I find a kick drum and build it like a house, stacking each layer on top of one another until the track is completed.

Different styles of music require different approaches, however. If you’re a drum & bass or dubstep producer, then it makes sense for you to start with the bass groove or percussion first rather than the melody.

What resources do you use to improve your craft?

At the moment I have a ProducerTech subscription. I did a tutorial for Sonic Academy so need to give those guys a mention. I’ve also learned a lot watching tutorials from Groove3 and Ask Video. My friend Paul Nolan started Make Your Transition (MYT) so have to give a shout out to him as well.

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

Yalcin Efe (aka Biskuwi) is my favourite YouTube channel when it comes to melodic house, techno, and progressive house.

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

I definitely wish I understood compression much earlier in my career. It’s not something that came naturally to me and was really difficult to grasp when reading about it. It took a long period of time before I finally started feeling comfortable using compression in my projects.

Also, my mixdowns, in the beginning, were rubbish. I think I would’ve slept a lot better if someone showed me how to improve the sound quality of my first demos 🙈

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

Writer's block has always been my biggest challenge, especially as time goes on and I’m producing year after year for well over a decade. Sometimes just getting a project started can be so difficult. You would think starting with a blank canvas would be easy because of the endless possibilities, but it can actually be extremely daunting because of that very reason.

Can you share any killer tips or techniques?

This would take far too long to explain over text so I’ll refer you to this video on how to pitch bend an audio sample in Ableton Live!

Do you try and get feedback or suggestions to improve your music? If so, how?

Yes, I think getting constant feedback is extremely important, especially for beginners. Try to ask someone that isn’t your close friend or family member for their opinion. Most of the time you won’t like hearing people criticizing your music, but this is really one of the best ways to learn, and you’ll come to appreciate the honest feedback.

Which track are you most proud of and why?

This is really so difficult to answer because it’s like choosing a favourite child. Each track is really special and I can pinpoint a specific time, place, or emotion I was feeling when I wrote it. My track featuring vocalist Alice Rose titled 'My Own Time' went viral on YouTube and has 3.7 million views to date.

The remix by Miss Monique released earlier this year is probably my most commercially successful track of all time, charting in Beatport’s Top 100 for 75 days.

Other notable tracks are Anamorphosis and Midgard. Anamorphosis was released on Katermukke, which is one of the biggest and most respected labels in Berlin, and featured in Spotify’s 'Electronic Rising' editorial playlist.

Midgard was featured on BBC Radio 1 by Pete Tong and remixed by the legendary Sebastien Leger on Warung Recordings. Later it was played by Pete & Bedouin during their B2B closing set at IMS Ibiza.

 

Has RepostExchange affected the way you make music? If so, how?

I’ve used the website before on numerous occasions and it’s helped spread my music out to a wider audience in a relatively short period of time. RepostExchange has a strong community and I appreciate them for connecting me with music lovers all around the world.

Desert Island Gear

Top L-R: Native Instruments' Komplete Kontrol, Native Instruments' Guitar Rig.

Bottom L-R: Ableton Live 10, Celemony Melodyne, Spectrasonics Omnisphere.

Connect with Darin Epsilon on SoundCloud, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify.

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This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. This was originally published in January 2021.