Eric Prydz Shares His Music Production Tips and Music Creation Process In This Highly Inspirational 2007 Interview Click To Tweet
Hello Techno Addicts! In this post, I wanted to share with you a very inspirational interview that Eric Prydz did back in 2007 with Sam Reeves of the Swedish House Mafia Forum. And also share a bit of ration from my own thoughts on the responses he provided. In this interview, Eric Prydz shares with us his best music production tips and tricks as well as what inspires him to create his music. As most of you already know, Eric Prydz has been my #1 inspiration and musical influence since I was a kid so this highly acclaimed interview means a lot to me. I have been a stalwart of Eric Prydz for many years now, and since I first heard this interview; it’s had a huge impact on my own personal journey with electronic music. The meat and potatoes of the interview starts about halfway through so I’m going to jump right into that. Hopefully, after hearing it for yourself, it can give you that musical provision you need with superb music production tips!
(8:33) Sam Harris:
“Sweet. I opened a thread if you haven’t noticed on the Mafia forums and tranceaddict about what the users want to hear, as opposed to me the head of everything. Heres a question from there. Where do you get the inspiration for your titles, such as Muranyi, Balaton, Rymd?”
(8:54) Eric Prydz:
“Well, Muranyi is a street… “Muranyi Utca.” That’s where my girlfriend used to live, and I actually made that track at her flat. I went to get something to eat, and when I came back I saw that street sign and thought the name looked really cool. It fit the music on Muranyi because it kind of has a different sound to it. A lot of people tend to think that it sounds like a video game, but I never really saw it like that. I thought it sounded more like Balearic, or… I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to put my finger on it. I think that the video game reference is based on what kind of sound that I’ve chosen to play the melody, you know. Balaton, which is the flip of that record is a lake. It’s a lake in Hungary. I was visiting my girlfriend this summer and we sort of went to the lake, and it was really beautiful over there. At the time I was making the track, and I thought “I’m going to call this track Balaton.”
Lake Balaton in Hungary
My Thoughts: This is interesting in the sense that Eric Prydz gives us a digest on how his track-names came about. “Muranyi” and “Balaton” are actually two of his most popular tracks to date that were released just months before doing this interview, on an EP. I’ve also noticed that most of his fans who hear his music have no idea what most of his track names even means or what they pertain to. If you’re familiar with Eric Prydz’s EPIC RADIO series, you’ll notice that he tends to play a lot of his own material (both old and new, some unreleased) and he actually gives a brief explanation of how the track names were inspired.
(10:20) Sam Harris:
“Ok cool. Alright, another question from them is how you approach a song. Do you know what alias it will be? Do you have an idea that you try to put down?”
(10:32) Eric Prydz:
“Sometimes I do, like sit down and say “Okay Eric, we need to do a new Cirez D release for Mouseville”, and it never really worked for me like that. I make music. I make small grooves. I make small melody ideas all the time while I’m traveling, or stuck in a hotel room somewhere. I would say I have maybe 300 or 400 unfinished projects just on my laptop. So it could be something that I’m listening through again that I see with new eyes and new ears maybe a year later, and say “okay, I’m gonna’ try to finish this one off.” It’s not that I have some sort of specific order that starts off with a beat and try to add a bassline. Some people work like that, but for me, it’s different every time. Sometimes I can wake up in the middle of the night and have this melody line in my head, and get the laptop on… fuck around with it… so it’s different every time for me when it comes to the procedure of making music.”
My Thoughts: So it’s pretty clear that Eric Prydz produces most of his music on his laptop as it’s proven to be very convenient for him since he travels a lot. Makes perfect sense. At the time, he says that he had maybe “300 to 400 unfinished projects just on his laptop” alone which is absolutely insane. That’s alot of musical projects. The man is a powerhouse machine at generating new track ideas. This explains while you’ll find a lot of leaks sprinkled around the net of his unreleased material, mostly ripped from his live DJ sets. Aside from his public releases, God knows how much more unreleased material Eric Prydz has stashed away deep in the voids of his various hard drives.
He also states that he usually likes to create simple melodies as the “foundation” or “seed” for new track ideas and then kinda builds around that foundation and seed until it becomes something worth persisting. And that’s when he adds other elements to the melody such as the kick and percussive elements, and what have you. This is exactly how I personally engage in my own music creation process. This can be one of the most helpful music production tips to add to your arsenal. It may also help you overcome writers’ block!
(14:10) Sam Harris:
“Alright, while we’re on productions this is one thing that you’ve been famous for by so many people… your mixdown process. Every one of your tracks sounds like gold. How do you do that, who do you work with, and how do you work with them?”
(14:25) Eric Prydz:
“I do everything myself. I think that a lot of people tend to think that I have this massive, really expensive studio. And a lot of people think that it’s the mastering guy that does it all for me, but when it comes to mixing music in the mastering process, you’re really limited because the track is one file. The only thing you can do in the mastering process is raise or lower the volume of certain frequencies, so you’re very limited in what you can do. I think the strength in my productions is kind of the separation, and how all of the sounds are mixed together, and that’s something that I kind of put a lot of effort into, because I always wanted my music to sound you know, really really good in a club. If you have a really good idea for a track, but it doesn’t come across well on a big system, it sort of gets a lost in a way. So I would say 50% of a track is the actual mix of it. You have to make sure that you can hear all of the different channels clearly. I always try to make my tracks sound like this big powerful pack of muscle sort of thing you know, and it’s kind of hard to explain how I do it because I use my ears, and I know how I want it to sound. Over the years I sort of learned how to get it to sound like that. Nowadays I don’t even need to master my tracks after I’m finished, because I do the mastering, but while I’m doing the mixdown sort of thing. I never actually EQ the track on the master; i do it in the actual track with the elements, because that is how you get a good result really. So no, to answer your question again, I do everything myself. The only mastering that is done on the tracks is for the actual tracks that are gonna’ be cut on vinyl, because on vinyl, you cannot have the music sounding as it does digitally. If you want to cut out music on vinyl, you need to cut out certain frequencies. You need to have the bass sound in mono, because if you have it in stereo then the needle is going to jump around a bit. And they do cut out a lot of the high-end as well, everything over 15,000/16,000 Hz, something like that. It’s kind of a science in itself to get the level of the vinyl as high as possible. But they don’t do any physical mastering of the track. What they try to do is cut out frequencies and press it as loud as possible on vinyl. So that’s how it works. All the tracks on beatport and stuff like that is my own mastering really.”
My Thoughts: This right here is the best part of the interview. Solid music production tip indeed. You can see that Eric Prydz got a lot more technical in terms of explaining his mixdown process and shares his music production tips. Which is something that many electronic music producers may find very beneficial to incorporate in their own mixdown sessions. Eric Prydz breaches the age-old myth that it is essential to having an uber expensive studio with costly hardware gear to achieve the desired sound quality. It’s all about how you control the individual volume and frequencies of each element in your channels, which the correct term is referred to as “gain staging“. Gain staging is an extremely important process that must be done pre-mastering phase to ensure the best quality. This is one of the best music production tips for securing an ample amount of headroom post-mix. If you’ve listened to a lot of Eric Prydz’s tracks, you’ll often notice his highly astute ability and gift for making his tracks sound FULL and MASSIVE with few elements making up for the entire track. Check out his track, “Glow” below for a prime example of this.
This is an art form that Eric Prydz is highly regarded for, and it is a skill that can be very hard to attain for most music producers starting out as they hold the false presumption that “more is more”. According to Eric Prydz, “less is more”! Mixing and mastering is literally an art form in it of itself and is just as important as your sound design and arrangement. In other words, the track is devoid of its brightness and true potential if it only encompasses one or the other. These music production tips should be taken seriously for all music producers.
(18:24) Sam Harris:
“Well, another question long-awaited… we have many of these, almost done though. What is in your studio? You said before that you don’t have a massive, bombastic studio. What’s in it?”
(18:38) Eric Prydz:
“I would say nowadays, 80% of my tracks I make on my laptop with a pair of headphones. That’s it. Or maybe 70% because I’m traveling so much, and I rarely have any time to spend in the studio. The laptop I’m using is an old crappy PC from 2004. I mean it was kind of state of the art back then; it’s kind of a custom made laptop from Frost Network, which is made for making music on it basically. It’s running a really old version of Logic. I think it’s 5.2 or something like that. But I sort of like being limited, because then you… I don’t know. Instead of trying to figure out how all the synthesizers work, you can work with a few instruments and try to make as much as possible out of that. As for my studio, I’m running a Macintosh with Logic 7, and like waves plugins, and I do have the Korg bundle as well. And then, I have one synthesizer I think which is a Korg MS-2000. I think it’s MS-2000B. It’s the new version. It’s the one with the vocoder thing. Apart from that, I don’t have anything. It’s like microphone preamps, microphones, stuff like that. But as I said before, I really like to keep the setup as small and compact as possible. It’s not really what kind of fancy equipment you have, it’s how you use the stuff that you actually have, you know. And I’m doing fine with the small setup I have, and I don’t have any plans of getting a big show off studio. I don’t need that.”
My Thoughts: Once again, Eric Prydz makes it very clear that during his earlier productions, most of his music was made entirely on a laptop with a pair of headphones. On equipboard.com, Eric Prydz made it known that his go-to choice for headphones was the popular HD25 Sennheiser Headphones which I think he literally still uses till this day. He also had a collection of various ITB (in the box) plugins used for creating sounds/melodies in mostly all of his productions. However, his hardware was limited and only included a Korg MS-2000 with a vocoder. I think what Eric Prydz is trying to elucidate to us all is that limiting yourself can have a more positive effect on your music production as you’re forced to make due with what you have until such a point when you’ve used your tools more effectively. One of the best music production tips I’ve heard to date. He says, It's not really what kind of fancy equipment you have, it's how you use the stuff that you actually have, you know (Eric Prydz 2007 SHM Interview). Click To Tweet
For this interview to be almost 12 years old now, it is still one of my favorite interviews to date by any electronic music artist. It’s very inspiring when your #1 musical icon shares his best music production tips for the bedroom music producer who dreams to have a spot on the professional roster.