An Interview with Spock: Social Media, Creative Block, and Writing MORE Music!

He’s a producer who knows how to to make people laugh.  Spock has been on the rise thanks to his hilarious Snapchat videos, light hearted tweets, and impressively unique dubstep sound.  Spock’s music has been featured on Disciple Recordings and he even made a recent appearance in Getter‘s “Rip N Dip” video.

I had the opportunity to chat with Spock and ask him about his journey thus far, what it’s like to be a social icon, and what he thinks it takes to “make it” as a producer.

What has your musical journey been like so far? How did you start making music and get into production? What’s happened since?

I am a huge metalhead and when I was an edgy high school sophomore I hated all electronic music because it was the cool thing to listen to. My girlfriend at the time showed me My Name Is Skrillex (Skrillex Remix) and I realized it was actually super sick. I then heard Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites and thought it was the most heavy crazy sounding thing ever and decided I wanted to make stuff like that.

Like everyone, when I first started out I was terrible and just downloaded whatever random dubstep Massive presets I could get my hands on and piecing together horrible dubstep songs. After about a year of producing I started getting some songs on and started to gain a little bit of traction. I then met Barely Alive and realized I had no idea what I was doing and basically took a bunch of time off from putting music out to really learn how to produce and try to come up with more original songs. Through them I met the whole Disciple crew and made a lot of great friends and connections.

How did you start building a following on social platforms such as Snapchat or Twitter? Do you think your popularity on social media has helped grow your music project, or the other way around?

I’ve always loved to make jokes and make people laugh; so I’ve always been posting stupid things on social media. But just within the past 6 months my socials have really started to grow. They started “poppin off” with some reposts from Nick Colletti and Getter and then I was in Getter’s “Rip N Dip” video which helped a lot as well.

People always ask me what I started doing differently to grow so “rapidly” but honestly I haven’t been doing anything differently from when I first got into social media apart from being more consistent with the content that I post, I guess I just got more exposure and now people care about it more? I definitely think that my “popularity” on social media has helped grow my music project.

I think that putting your personality into something helps people feel more connected to you. Social media is weird but I love it.

Do you have any routines, habits, or tricks that help you get in the zone and overcome creative ruts?

I’ve actually been in a huge creative rut with music lately and I think it’s just something that happens and you have to deal with it.  I haven’t written anything worth finishing in like two months. Whenever I sit down to write music it just hasn’t been good lately.  Not really sure if there’s anything you can do.

I guess you can just force stuff out if you want to or just take a break for a few days or a week or something and come back fresh to writing.  Sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and do some sound design too because sometimes you can get a song idea based around a cool sound that you made.

Some people can force music out and some people can’t.  I think you just have to find out what works for you.

What is your approach when you start a new track?  Could you run us through your general workflow process?

I always start out by making a drum loop and going from there.  Most of the time I loop 8 bars and start writing the drop first.  Finding a groove is super important so sometimes I will just drag in Serum and try to come up with a cool pattern with just a saw wave before even starting to do any sound design.

Also I’ve found if when you’re writing and you hear something and think “oh I should add (whatever) right there, I’ll do it later” just do it right then.  Don’t put things off because you are lazy just do it right when you think to do it.  I normally write the entire idea of the drop before moving on to writing an intro or breakdown or anything because when you’re writing music for a club the most important part is the drop.

What is your DAW of choice? Do you have any go-to plugins (synthesizers or effects)?

I use Ableton Live and Serum for like 90% of my stuff.  I’ll use Massive if I need to make a really basic sound, but since I’ve updated to 64-bit Ableton my CPU load isn’t as big of an issue. so I’m starting to almost phase out Massive entirely.  As far as effects I tend to almost exclusively use the Ableton stock plugins just because they sound good and am what I am used to using.  Also the stock plugins are nice because you can adjust all the parameters without opening up a VST so I find it quicker and easier.  Oh, and Operator is also super sick for making unique sounds.

Could you tell us about your most recent release? (Hand Cannon?) How’d the track come about? What are some sound design tricks you used in that track?

I tried to remake an unreleased Skrillex song that I heard a set-rip of and then thought the main sound that I made was kind of cool so it just gradually became on original track instead of a remake haha.  For the main sound in that track it was just a really detuned Serum noise with a lot of weird pitch bends and filters.  For sound design, in general, I always try to do something weird and out of the box because almost everything sounds the same nowadays.  Not that I even think that I sound unique or anything but I always try to do something so it’s not just another monotonous phase mod Terror Squad dubstep song.

What three pieces of advice would you give to upcoming producers?

I still consider myself an upcoming producer but the three things I think could help everyone are:

1. Be your genuine self at all times.
Seriously… Just write music.  I am horrible at starting new projects because it’s so intimidating having a blank Ableton project staring you in the face.  I recently made a template with my groups (Drum group, bass group, FX group) set up so it doesn’t seem so scary having a completely empty project and it just helps the workflow a bit more and keeps your project more organized.

What do you think is the #1 most important thing when trying to achieve success as a producer?

Just be yourself and don’t be afraid to fail or like you aren’t as good as someone or something else.  I am guilty of this all the time… I live with Barely Alive and I will hear their new tracks being produced upstairs sometimes and  just be like…. wow…. that is way better than me and I suck why am I even writing this?  But then you just have to realize that YOU are YOU and get over whatever ego or comparisons that you are making and just keep on truckin’. Comparisons are great if you are trying to get a clean mix-down or something but it becomes toxic when it affects your creativity and desire to do what you want to do and write what you want to write.  If you like what you are doing and are happy with it then there’s no need for a comparison.

It was great talking with you Spock!  Where can people find you online?

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