Dominic Martin

Who are you and what do you do? How long have you been a working musician?

I'm Dominic Martin. I’m a music producer and DJ living in Glasgow, Scotland.

I started out making music back in 1999, finally releasing my first vinyl in 2003. I’ve been doing this full-time since 2007.

What is your educational background? Are there any schools, courses, or books you recommend?

I’m pretty much self-educated as I really haven’t had any so-called proper musical education. My proper education as such was focused more on business and languages, so anything I’ve learned has been achieved by trial and error over the years. When I was starting out, there was no internet - so no tutorial vids or anything like that. What you had to do back then was:

a) find someone who had the same bit of hardware as you

b) basically go to their studio and ask them questions or get them to come round to yours and show you how to work the kit in question.

I was fortunate because I had access to some prominent producers across a range of dance music, and by hanging with them and picking their brains I began to learn. I also read Sound on Sound and Future Music - although the terminology really did feel alien to me at that time but it gave me an idea of the gear that the pros used and something to aim for.

One of the things that is great about making music today is that there's a plethora of information out there, be it online or hard copy, unlike the old days you don't have to delve too far.

In terms of recommendations, online schools like Point Blank and Sonic Academy are really useful, particularly their genre-specific courses. A couple of years ago I decided to kinda go back to school - i.e. get some formal teaching in the areas where I had never really learned at all and I took a couple of courses at Point Blank which I found to be really handy. Their courses are not cheap, but regardless of your level, I guarantee you'll learn something and would definitely recommend them.

What hardware are you using?

At the moment, I’m using a 2010 Mac Pro quad-core with FW810 audio interface. I have Tannoy Reveal monitor speakers, a Mackie Onyx 1620 Desk and an Akai MPK49 controller keyboard.

The advances in technology mean that you can now do almost everything on your computer, so for me hardware has kinda faded away from my setup over the last few years. Years ago you'd have needed racks of gear costing thousands to do essentially simple things that you can now do with the bundled software in your DAW.

For example the first Akai sampler I ever had boasted a massive 6 seconds of sample time, which at the time was mega. Now you could sample entire movies for days on end and it probably wouldn't make a dent in your hard drive. Also, with many of the classic synths now being available digitally, it makes it much more appealing to mostly stay in the box. A good example of this is the classic Korg M1 - such a desirable synth when I started out, but with a prohibitive cost, roughly £1200. Now you can get the digital version for 40 euros which takes up no space except on your hard drive. Go figure…

I have Native Instruments Maschine which has been a game-changer for me. It’s the perfect marriage of hardware and software. I tend to start projects in standalone mode - get a vibe going - and then do a wee bit of EQing and arrangement and tweaking before dumping the sections into the DAW for EQ and finishing. The bundled content and expansion packs are excellent and it really is a good starting point. It's difficult to compose a full track from start to finish in there - the EQ and visualisation options are lacking but in terms of workflow, Maschine is outstanding.

What software are you using?

I use Logic Pro at the moment. I’ve used all of them during the years, from a shonky version of Cubase on an old PC, Reason, Ableton, I've tried them all but I always end up back at Logic, where I'm most comfortable.

Do you have any specific plugins that you use a lot?

Yeah loads!

I use Rob Papen SubBoom Bass, Lennar Digital Sylenth, AudioRealism Bass Line Pro - analogue sounds with real character; NI Massive for wobble basses and screaming leads, Korg M1 - original oldskool M1 presets!; Sugar Bytes Artillery and Effectrix - great for DJ-style and mangling effects; Schwa schOPE - a great tool for real-time visualisation. Other manufacturers I like and use are Ohm, AudioDamage, Fabfilter, Sonalksis, Waves, Izotope, Camel.

For your sounds, do you use mostly soft synths or hardware?

I use mostly soft synths. As discussed earlier, hardware would be lovely but I don't have the space! Nowadays soft synths can really emulate their analogue predecessors plus you have all the additional benefits of digital.

What would be your dream setup?

Hard to say as you can get so much more these days with minimal equipment. I'd probably add in some old school monitoring like Yamaha NS10s and the old Genelec 1030s, and maybe a vocal booth. Plus as a pure indulgence it would be nice to have a few old Moogs to call upon.

Can you describe your creative process? Is there a particular routine or schedule you stick to?

First up, caffeine fuels beats. Before you make a noise, make a cup of coffee, or even better go out and buy a cup of coffee - preferably gourmet shit. Fresh air and coffee is a potent combo. Once you've done this and dealt with any emails or annoying routine stuff that'll bug you during the day, you're good to go. It's about clearing the mind!

I almost always start with the drums, get a vibe going then start layering stuff - bass, keys, vocals, samples, whatever the vibe is that particular day, see where it takes me. Once I'm happy with the vibe, I'll start thinking about mixing and arrangement . I'll do mini-scenes in Maschine to give me a feel for how I'm going to build the track, certain sections etc.

I take a break after I’ve been working on something for a while just so I can come back to it with fresh ears. This is good to do as you can pick things out straightaway that need fixing.

Where do you shop for and discover music?

It's a mixture of promos I get sent from labels and people I know - other DJs sending me new tracks plus the usual suspects such as soundcloud, juno, beatport, whatpeopleplay etc. I check out loads of DJ mixes to see what other people are playing, this is a good way to get a feel for what tracks are doing the damage across the globe.

Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?

So many! Every day there's a new discovery, someone I come across that I've never heard of before that is making incredible music - that's the upside of the internet!

What's brewing in your studio?

I'm working on a remix for Glasgow Underground which will be coming out shortly. I'm also working on a bunch of new original tracks for 3 different labels which should see the light of day early in 2013 so it's a busy time, as always!

Any production tips & tricks you'd like to share?

Yeah, listen to other styles of music outwith the style you're trying to create, take influences from this and integrate it into your productions, this will help you to sound a bit different from anyone else. It's an easy trap to fall into but try to avoid following trends and chasing a sound - we've all made that mistake at some point. Also, never think you're done learning, there is always something more to learn.

Where can we find you on the web?

SoundCloud / Facebook /