When it comes to music production, there is an internet subculture which experienced explosive growth in the early 2000s alongside the advent of consumer-ready digital recording software, social media, and music discovery platforms.
I’m talking about beat making.
Beat making is the term given to the process of creating instrumental electronic music, predominantly using recording software, sequencers, audio samples, live instrumentation, and synthesizers, to be shared and distributed (often independently) online.
In terms of building an audience as a beatmaker, growing followers on social media networks like YouTube, Bandcamp, Instagram, and BeatStars is where most people start out. But the truth is, very few reach success in terms of regular live gigs/touring, getting a record deal, or even better, getting their beats placed with a top 40 artist or licensed for TV, games, and film.
Being part of this community for the last 20-ish years, I’ve witnessed incredible shifts in the way music is consumed and monetized, and I’ve had the pleasure of making music with artists from all over the world. And of all the hyper-talented people I’ve met, there’s always been one that stands out from the rest.
Elaquent and I first connected on Myspace back in 2006, swapping beats and recording techniques here and there via direct messaging. And though we’ve only met in person once or twice, we’ve maintained a 15-year-long conversation of messages, links, and emojis across various social platforms.
Elaquent has honed his craft with fierce independence and determination, all while using live performance to build a credible fan base throughout Europe, Asia, the United States, and at home in Canada. Now signed with the infamous Mello Music Group, it seems the industry is finally starting to catch up and take note of his unique offering as an alternative (and reliable) music producer.
I messaged Elaquent to see if he’d be interested in a Q&A style interview, and he very graciously accepted. If you’d like to hear some of Elaquent’s music, I highly recommend listening to The Midnight After and taking it from there.
When I first heard The World is Yours by Nas, that was one of the first times I remember being captivated especially by the beat as opposed to the lyrics. I was like 5, I didn’t understand the scope of the bars like I do now, but I had that piano sample stuck in my head for weeks, so that’s probably where the intrigue began.
However, when I heard Common’s Like Water for Chocolate and specifically the nag champa joint, that was when I started googling how to make beats.
Probably Myspace, in that it was the first time I discovered an audience really existed for the type of music I wanted to do. In terms of growth, SoundCloud was pivotal, before they started pulling remixes and pushing ads. Not knocking them for it, but the dynamic changed a bit after that.
Nowadays, Bandcamp has been my fav platform, as I’m still an old school guy and still buy music as opposed to streaming.
Simply put, my laptop. I’m getting comfortable making beats on Maschine+ without a computer, but my bread and butter is FL Studio. Take away any midi controller or sampler or whatever, as long as I can run FL Studio, that’s all I need. If we don’t count that, then I’d probably say Novation Nanokeyboard, as it comes in handy when I’m away from home and need pads.
Goku pretty easily.
To be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out. Anything that involves art and the opportunity to help someone achieve their artistic dreams is something I would love to do.
I think the biggest mistake artists make is not understanding their audience. Marketing your sound to an audience who doesn’t understand or appreciate exactly what you do is counterproductive and something I had to learn the hard way early on.
Once in a blue moon. Usually after a release to see how far word of mouth has spread.
I think things will return to the way things were. People are starved to enjoy shows like before and after a year plus of just live streams, I think there will be a boom in live shows… Provided Covid cases don’t suddenly skyrocket.
Playing at Vision in Tokyo was really special, mostly because it checked off a bucket list goal.
Probably a couple weeks ago in my car lol. Prior to that, it had been a while.
“Start learning how to play bass, you’ll be a beast”
Many times lol. Once every couple of months actually. Monetizing what you do while being honest about the unconventional way you want to do it has kept me up many nights.
Dark Knight, easy. I should rewatch Batman Returns though, it’s been a while.
My only mantra is to colour outside the lines and to remember human beings aren’t perfect; therefore, neither is music.
Social circle is critical. I get more inspired watching my good friends succeed and follow their dreams than seeing some of the big name guys you have no connection to, plus I can trust them to tell me the truth about any beat or idea.6
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