Having spent four recent weeks in the top 5 of the Student Radio Network charts, Rose Muollo-Gray, aka Hybrid Rose, knows a thing or two about recording from the bedroom at radio quality. The Massey University student adapted a recent presentation on the subject for us to enjoy. What’s your opinion on the subject – could music produced in the privacy of our bedrooms take on the world?
When I tell people I’m a bedroom producer, they kind’a roll their eyes and smirk a little… what the f*ck is up with that? All I do is use my MIDIs and laptop to make my music, I don’t take the effort to go to a studio and work. When I make music at home, it’s not to follow a trend or to make people think I’ve got some type of problem, I just feel a lot safer with my teddy bears, a cup of coffee out of my favourite mug and being able to take Netflix breaks.
Last year, I was taught in my audio engineering paper at Massey University that studios aren’t just built for sound, they are also designed to be decorative so people can create their own environment in a studio spacing. Yes, that is wholesome and wonderful, but nothing feels more authentic and real like being able to work in a space you spend personal time in. People eat, sleep, cry, reproduce and have their most personal thoughts and feelings while in their own personal space.
With that feeling and idea in mind, it’s easier to be able to work at home because it’s all for you, and quite literally your own place. I prefer home studio working, I like being able to get completely naked and raw to create the most genuine pieces of music for my following – and also studios are expensive to book out, so no thanks.
For my set up, I only really use my laptop when I make music – I program all of my synths manually and occasionally I’ll use my Tascam US-2×2 interface + condenser mic if I record live vocals. When I perform I use my laptop, the Tascam interface, and for MIDIs I use my Nektar Impact LX25+ and Akai MPK Mini keyboard. I have Tech. Inc Shockwave headphones, they were only $19 but have a beautiful quality sound. It’s not a huge set up so I’m really comfortable in bed, I’ll set up a little shrine around me of all my music gear and get to work.
The one thing that has started to become a trend with musicians when they are finishing up a body of work is to lock themselves in a room with a blanket and mini fridge, so they can work all hours of the day. Back in 2015 when I was in the works of creating this Hybrid Rose character, Madeon (a French electronica producer) dropped an album called ‘Adventure’. He did this interview with HungerTV in which he said:
“I have this thing I do every year where I wake up, start a clock and lock myself in the studio for 24 hours. I make myself write an EP of three original songs from scratch. At first, it’s normal but after the 16th or 18th hour you become really vulnerable. You start to feel like the worst producer ever and want to give up everything. I write a song in that zone and I try to find ways to be in psychological places that result in me making musical decisions that I wouldn’t make otherwise on a regular day.”
When I read that, I didn’t believe him until I revisited the idea for myself with some tracks off my upcoming third album, ‘Awkwardly Eccentric’. It does create this weird space and when you finally wake up, you feel so weirdly refreshed and open. It’s like a psychedelic experience emotionally. People have ended up texting me being like, “Girl, I haven’t seen you in a while, what happened?” Just remember to take time away from your craft to remind your loved ones you are alive and well!
People spend way too much time trying to be professional in their approach, y’know? I personally think some of the best producers are people who work at home. Kevin Parker, Madeon and even Porter Robinson are all successful musicians who don’t go out to a studio to work, they make their music from home in studios they’ve built within their personal spaces. Just because you work from a studio, doesn’t make you any more professional, it just means you have money, Susan. Go spend your money on better gear, that drum kit sounds like an amateur beatboxer.
On a serious note, I am definitely an advocate for people who produce their music in their PJs with some fast food and all that. It also makes you happier. Hello, you can be as creatively vibrant as you want, no one is going is sneer or cackle at your work, which can be discouraging if they’re a professional in the room with you. No one likes being told what to do, especially in a space made for creative expression.