Point Blank Presents: Breaking Into EDM [Ep. 012 - Taylor Thomas]
EDM.com has once again teamed up with the award-winning Point Blank Music School to present Breaking Into EDM: Where your favorite artists and industry-insiders share words of wisdom, tips of the trade, and personal stories of making it and breaking it.
This week we've caught up with newcomer Taylor Thomas. Already racking in plays with his just-released Pantheon single 'Heartbreaker' ft. Lauren Cole, the Dallas-based producer is off to one hell of a start. Stream 'Heartbreaker' below, and read on to learn more about the rising star's inspirations, dream collaborators and more!
EDM.com & Point Blank: What's your musical background like? How'd you end up producing electronic music?
"Around 10 years ago I was accepted into the percussion program at my middle school. It was then that I really began to take an interest to music, as it was so simple yet so complex. A friend of let me borrow a copy of FL 7, which led me to make some loops that sounded terrible, but helped me understand the basics of electronic production. Months later I listened to Wolfgang Gartner’s “Fire Power”, and that led me to explore his other work, and I was immediately hooked on producing quality electronic music such as his album “Weekend In America”. After about 20 originals and remixes that are probably now scattered all over the internet, me and my friend Evan started a duo called Zombie Penthouse. Working together really opened me up to new mixing and production techniques, which in parallel helped hone in on my own original sound. Months later I asked Lauren if she would sing on an original, and that’s how Heartbreaker came about!"
EDM & PB: Describe your sound in 3 words.
"Dramatically aggressive compositions."
EDM & PB: At what point will you consider that you've 'made it' as an artist?
"When I can travel and meet people who enjoy my music. There’s no better feeling than when someone comes up to you and say they love your work. Music is a social art, and I believe that the internet has made it so much easier to share, but in person performances and meet and greets are what I live for."
EDM & PB: Musically, who are your biggest inspirations & why?
Wolfgang Gartner - This man can fit pieces of synth bits together into a work of art better than most in the industry.
Milo & Otis - Their screech synth is second to none and completely original.
FKJ - He’s the funkiest man alive, and his productions relax me every time.
Kill the Noise - Something about his genre neutrality inspires me to pursue neutrality as well. Also he’s worked with Brian Tyler (Madsonik) who’s scored Fast & Furious 7, Avengers, etc, and together they’re unstoppable.
AWAY - A personal friend's upcoming solo project that will blow up for sure.
Shyun - One of the best DnB producers out there. Period. His sound design is immaculate.
Gesaffelstein - His dark production and image really conjure up perfect production inspiration.
Bad Catholics - These two are just pushing the barrier of trap and insanely great diversity. Their bootleg of “Bad Blood” is the grooviest and harddest hitting take on Taylor Swift I’ve heard.
Oliver - If you want high quality '80s style electro, this duo will put it out. “Light Years Away” was one of the best releases of 2014.
EDM & PB: Who are your dream collaborators?
"Everyone above in addition to Billboard. Holy mother this guy is incredible. After digging around Youtube and Wikipedia, I found out that he’s produced tracks for some of the largest pop stars such as Britney Spears and the like. He just recently released a track with Realmind called ”High Rush” on the Le Chau Collective that absolutely tickles my analog heart."
EDM & PB: As many producers can attest to, it's not uncommon to find yourself stuck in a creative rut. Where do you usually find inspiration?
"The best inspiration I’ve found is working while it’s raining. Something about the darkness and overcast really helps set the mood for writing the more dramatic and dark pieces of music I enjoy. Another great tip is that if you imagine that your music was the score of a film, this always helps me further write breaks and drops in a track. If I really can’t find inspiration, Netflix always helps. Gotham is my current addiction as the aesthetic of the show really helps me get into that rainy mood mentality."
EDM & PB: What tips would you give a producer who's suffering from writer's block?
"Get out and produce somewhere else if you work on a laptop. I find it helpful to produce in some newer buildings with beautiful futuristic architecture, as well as something that might have a bit of urban decay. Either way changing my environment really helps me work through a rut, I even change my furniture in my studio around every six months to stay on my toes."
EDM & PB: What tips would you give an aspiring producer/DJ on breaking into the scene?
"Take something you really enjoy and try to recreate it, then add you own flavor. Don’t put out something that could be mistaken for another artist, you want to have your own signature feel or sound so that someone could listen and within 10 seconds know it’s your work. Also become a Master of None (shoutout to Aziz). Don’t just focus on one aspect of production, If you know a bit of music theory, how to structure a song and make it flow, sound design for synths, and some mixing and mastering you have the opportunity to put out great music."
EDM & PB: What is the best piece of career advice that you've ever received?
"Never stop working on music. I’ve taken month long breaks but have always reopened Ableton to play around with making a new sound or effect. Sometimes you really can’t produce 24/7, and now I understand why touring artist find it so hard to put out music all of the time, but never stop."
EDM & PB: And the worst piece of advice?
"Music is dead. Seriously I hear this all of the time, and although music sales might be down, streaming is way up, and music will always stick around in one form or another. My dream is to score film with the same style I produce in, similar to how Disasterpiece scored “It Follows”. His originality and one of a kind sound really helped shape the movie into one of the best films I’ve watched, and I hope I can do the same with future projects."
Stream "Heartbreaker" ft. Lauren Cole above & grab your limited time free download here!
For more inside tips and expert advice on everything music industry, check out Point Blank Music School, with courses in London, Los Angeles and online. The award-winning electronic music school boasts former students including Claude VonStroke, Nicole Moudaber, AlunaGeorge, Plastician, and many more. Catch this week's production 'Quick Tip' below and head to their site to sample a course for free.