On July 5th, 2017 at the EDM Production Discord we held a Q&A with Herobust.

Here is the transcription of the live session.


A big thank you to everyone on the Discord for asking questions and participating!

Heyy Herobust, how do you get through artist's block?

Herobust: on writers block: so there are a lot of different disciplines in production. sound design, mixing, mastering, writing, etc.... when writers block hits, i usually just switch disciplines. So when i get stuck writing, I might just spend the day processing drum sounds to use later. Or if I get stuck mixing down, I might write new songs using a bunch of sounds I made earlier. If you're not inspired in one area, you still may have inspiration in another. So i just switch it up and stay productive...

Who are your biggest inspirations inside and out of electronic music?

Herobust: biggest inspirations: prefuse73, squarepusher, aphex twin, prodigy, elon musk lol. IMO electronic music was more experimental in its early years so those older artists are the ones that really inspire me.

What is your creative process like? Do you typically improvise, or do you have a clear set idea in your head?

Herobust: creative process: i start with sound design. that's just cuz its my strength... The sound usually influences how I use it. If it sounds like some industrial tool shit, I might layer with samples of actual tools (dirty work). If it sounds like a squid monster, I might use aquatic samples to build on that theme (giant squiddim). I just let the sound design guide where i take the track.

which is a little compound, but it's relative: What are some of your favorite ways to process out bass sounds in terms of effects? Any tips in terms of achieving the same clarity that you do (that refined, compressed, glued together type of sound) when rendering a track after it has been put together? Tips on making elements stand out?

Herobust: : processing: i use a lot of small reverbs recently. thats how i get that metallic effect. i also do all of my processing in parallel so i can automate the volumes separately. Imagine having a channel of only your reverb - you can automate its volume to flood in and out exactly as you want, or make it wider without affecting the dry signal. Use parallel processing a lot. In terms of glue, thats all about bussing things together and processing them as one. Some compressors glue better than others. Some widening effects can help glue things too imo. To make things stand out, i usually automate eq or lowpass filters on other elements so one is brightest and takes center stage. Its a subtle change that might only last a moment, but it makes sure only 1 element has the spotlight for that time.

What's a tool so important in your workflow that you wouldnt be able to produce without it?

Herobust: : Important tools: SUB PAC!!! I use my subpac to dial in the sub and it totally changed my mixing. I produce in Reason, which hasnt supported vsts until very recently. So I really just use the Reason native devices. Thor is my go to synth for everything. For mixing/mastering... Voxango SPAN is visualizer that I really love. Helps me A/B a lot.

If you lost everything, what would be the first few things you'd re-install, or any particular sample packs or vsts/plugins you'd download/install and why

Herobust: Well Propellerhead Reason is all ive used for years. No plugins..

So tbh i just dont have any, and i also dont want to risk losing my sound tbh.

What i do works for me :wink:

its pretty inspiring to see you rise up higher and higher in your career. what did you struggle with most while rising to be an amazing and well known producer? also, what did you feel was the easiest? (also, please show some love for those of us 18 and under, i really need to go to one of your shows and i cant wait 3 years!!!)

Herobust: For me, the hardest part about growing as an artist is dealing with the expectations of fans. You know what the fans want, generally... Indulgent dubstep, indulgent trap, whatever it may be.... But if you just give people what they want over and over, you stop innovating and they eventually get bored of you. So you have to have the foresight (and the balls) to take risks and continue on your path even though you might receive backlash in the short term. Good artists challenge their fans as well as themselves imo.

How do you write your harmonic cadences? How do you write your rhythmic motives and and rhythmic themes? How do you relate and contrast rhythmically between the instruments?

Herobust: ok this one is hard to answer cuz its just such a natural vibe. Here's a huge thing that helps me rhythmically though. Every stopping point I hit, I stand up, play it back, and I dance. I dance a lot. I probably spend 1/3 of my time in the studio dancing. Pay attention to how your feet hit the ground. Pay attention to how you shift your weight. Do the rhythms in your song dictate a natural movement? You will always notice clashing (or just bad) rhythms in your music when the dancing starts to feel awkward or forced.

ALSO CONSIDER THIS - you are a music person. you probably have great rhythm. not all the fans will. so it has to be more natural for them then it does for you probably...

Do you make use of Reasons Cv functionality at all? What is your favorite limiter? What do you love the most/hate the most about Reason?

Herobust: yes. reason cv functionality is all the magic in reason. it is complicated, but totally worth it to learn because it unlocks so many possibilities you'd never get anywhere else. Fav limiter is oxford limiter. I love how dynamic reason is. You can master it, and make any sound you want. As opposed to learning one plugin for one sound and learning a new one for another. for example - massive for basses and sylenth for supersaws...

What's your mastering chain??

Herobust: mastering chains: first off, lose the mindset that it will be the same every time. not all mixdowns are the same, and not all genres can have the same mix/mastering. Its usually something like this - 1. compressor. 2. different compressor with slower settings. 3. Widening plugin. 4. Ozone (limiter). 5. soft clipper (if needed).

the compressors i like are the SSL, ableton Glue. Waves Center is cool for widening.

transient shapers are also really helpful for some mixdowns

about the MOVE MINT vip: how long did it take you and how did you create the wobble in it

Herobust: I actually wrote move mint as a bass house song first. I switch the original to trap and liked it better in the end. So when I decided to make the vip, it was already done lol.

most of the sound design on Move Mint was created using VERY high resonance on filters using Thor

listened to the vip and before the wobble hits there is another synth, how did you get that?

Herobust: that synth is just super high resonance on a thor filter, freq tuned to actual notes, super small reverbs on it

did u use serum for it?

Herobust: no i dont use vstis

How do you approach making a track, what do you start with, whats your workflow?

Herobust: most of the sound design on Move Mint was created using VERY high resonance on filters using Thor

what would you tell your younger self

Herobust: notes to young hero: open up to new ideas/new genres quickly. Dont resist... The signature sound you bring to any genre is what defines you , not merely the genre you choose to create. So let new ideas inspire you. Just play with them... have fun w it

Do you have a specific morning routine/small things that you do to help you get in the mindset to get producing

Herobust: my goal is to isolate myself. like mentally, just not being affected by what anybody else is doing. Im a firm believer in unique perspective being really import in music. So i really try to keep mine from being influenced by anything before i go in to write. So this means no twitter before the studio, no emails, no soundcloud at all, no music... no music or real world shit until im done. Like, Im about to explore my brain and try to find something cool in there. So before I dive in, need to let any waves settle.

when you started learning production, did you ever feel like giving up? what stopped you/kept you going? and when did you stop having those feelings of giving up?

Herobust: No. I never wanted to quit in the beginning. Not because my music was always good, but because making shitty music is still fun af! Production is one of those things where the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. So you really should always feel like a beginner. You just have to be learning ALL THE TIME. So dont focus on enjoying making good music. Focus on enjoying that act of learning. That's how you really have fun and improve here. All us "big" producers have tons of production threads together, and trust me, the best producers are simply the ones who always have that drive to learn more.

Any tips on developing a consistent sound design style? Making sounds less based on luck and being able to develop your own style of sounds?

Herobust: the key here is to try and fail. if you want to learn how to make "skrillex bass," you can just google "how to make skrillex bass" and find it... Im not saying you cant do that, but I am saying you should TRY TO MAKE THE SKRILLEX BASS FIRST lol. Sometimes you try, fail, and the resulting sound sucks (nbd google it). Sometimes you try, fail, but end up with something else totally cool. Sometimes you try and nail it (great). So as you do this, you will progressively get better and better and making the any sound you have in your head. And you also get the added bonus of stumbling upon happy mistakes on the way. Fun fact that "skrillex sound" was him trying to sound like Noisia. He failed... but the sounds he discovered were pretty sick right?

try not writing any music for a whole week. just make sounds - basses, leads, drums etc for a whole week. Now spend the next week writing an EP. This is what I usually do. The result is that all the sounds in the ep have a consistency because they were made together (no gaps of writing for days in between). So the result is usually some degree of consistency throughout the EP.

In regards to collaboration, how do you usually think about it? When you do a collab, do you have a set plan or something, or do you just sorta let it happen how it happens?

Herobust: i usually try to figure out how we fit together based on our strengths. if mine is sound design and theirs is phrasing/writting then maybe ill make a bunch of one shots for them to resample and write with. every couple fits together differently you just have to try new ways until you find it. Its really hard not to get attached to how you "heard" things going, but you really have to drop all that. good collabs aren't 1 person dominating the effort...

How did you make connections and how important would you say networking and social media is to you and to gain a fanbase etc?

Herobust: You get 1 first impression. Opinion leaders (bloggers, artists, labels, etc) are solicited all day every day. If you are lucky enough to grab their attention once, don't waste it before you're ready. My best advice is to work on your craft for a long time before you solicit anybody. I've made many valuable connections using online platforms, but I produced for years before hitting anyone important. Sharing the music is one thing, but social media really empowers us to convey identity or narrative around ourselves and our music. So you can really provide context for what you're doing and deepen your message. You can also post memes :smiley: Long story short - get your craft and your perspective in order and all the connections you need will be made easily.

With the music industry becoming an increasingly global affair, do you think trying to market yourself outside of your home turf is a viable approach for achieving sustainability or should artists continue to hammer down on local promotion?

Herobust: stop promoting yourself locally! (or at least do it using a different alias). "breaking out" becomes way more difficult once you have been labeled as a "local opener." Either way, globally/locally doesnt matter... the battle is fought and one on the internet now. so focus on the internet. If you look at new "breaking" acts like slushii or mello, they both held back on playing for a long time. I imagine they got offers to play smaller rooms in the beginning, but they didn't take them. Instead their first show was a massive festival (HARD i believe), and the internet buzz went crazy from there. As a result they both skipped the stages of playing all those smaller rooms and jumped straight to larger ones. In short - focus on your craft and generating buzz on the internet and everything else will fall into place (globally too)

what's your opinion on going to school for music/music production? do you believe it's beneficial to starting a career in music, or do you think an organic, self taught approach is the best way to do it?

Herobust: can definitely help, but its not the only way... you learn a lot on youtube. if you wanna do it, go for it, but work your ass off and get everything you can out of that experience because its expensive.

Has there been anything you had to give up in order to focus fully on your mus

Herobust: yeah my health lol. traveling all the time (and partying) gets tough

What do you think or / want to be the future of Sound design?

Herobust: idk i think serum will be done soon though. sick of that sound

are you an ITB or a synth guy? what gear/tools did u use for albumin?

Herobust: im all in the box. albumin was all from Reason as well

is it different making beats now that you are quite a bit older than when you first started? do you feel like your music should be "more mature"?

Herobust: lol yeah i'll get there eventually. bass music is still super fun for me rn

your collab with Roman Cvpellv has completely changed my dedication to music. how did that amazing collab happened? I remember seeing glimps of wip version of the project on his computer, but nothing else...

Herobust: super dope producer from russia. I actually found him and just emailed him cuz i like his shit so much.

Favorite uprising producer?

Herobust: im going through a weird n dirty phase rn, but i love this dude https://soundcloud.com/trisicloplox

As far as bass goes. I like to get low. But, playback is an issue. Lowest note that works on most big systems out there

Herobust: i never like to go lower than D#

So fuck starting out locally? Break the internet first ??

Herobust: yeah my advice is to focus on internet first. your hometown will claim you as their hero retroactively after you poppin later lol

i wonder if you have any advice for the first few years in production and how to keep on doing it if youre mostly not happy with the result

Herobust: foccus on what you're learning. not the result. learning feels good, even if the resulting song is trash lol.

Is their any other hobbies you have besides making music that you like to do, to come back with a fresh idea

Herobust: hobbies: basketball, working out, chess