Sleazy McQueen

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

My name is Laurin McQueen Fedora. I have produced under the names Sleazy McQueen, Tres Gueros and 2 Spare Astronauts. I have over 100 releases to these three names licensed on labels worldwide and available in a variety of media. I’ve been producing music since 2002, and from 2003-2007, it was my fulltime occupation. Currently, I’m the Marketing Director for Central Florida’s largest independent concert promoter. Due to the seasonal nature of touring bands, I still get time out of the year to tour in support of my own music. It’s an ideal job, to say the least.

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

I graduated from the University Of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with a degree in advertising, and another in photography. I’ve never attended any formal music or production programs.

What hardware and software are you using?

I’ve used Ableton Live since 2002. I also use a JUNO-106, Roland SH-101, JV-1080, Orbit 9090, JP-8000, and just acquired a TX-7. Additionally, I have a bag of percussion and other toys that add some out-of-the-box air and rhythm. I also use the following controllers: a UC-33 for slider automation and a Novation Launchpad. I use Alesis Monitor 1 and have an appropriate amount of acoustic treatment in the studio.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would include an array of vintage 80s gear. For the most part, my current setup is tuned to my workflow, so I really can’t imagine it being any different. The only thing I know I would add is a tape delay and a TB-303.

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

I usually work on music in the morning with a cup of coffee. If something is particularly groovy or I get in the pocket, then I work through until I get all of the musical parts that will ultimately comprise the song. I take a break, usually with a run or a walk, then re-visit the track and take a crack at a first arrangement. The whole process is ideally done in one day. Some of my better music has been made in one sitting, which ensures a consistent groove.

Where do you shop for and discover music?

It depends. I love to dig and find vinyl, but I usually don’t have that luxury. I purchase most of my digital content from Beatport. I don’t spend any time at all looking for music to play on soundcloud. I listen to a few promos a day, but I rarely find anything I like. I have very specific tastes for what I will play, so I have to hunt pretty hard to find special tracks.

Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?

Lately, I’ve been coming full circle back to House music. I think everyone is. There are really good things in House music right now and I think it could be really good for the state of the US House scene. There are so many good House records out now, people aren’t afraid to drop below 120 for a House cut, so there’s just so much more groove and boogie in the music.

What’s brewing in your studio?

The most exciting release I have coming up isn’t actually anything I produced, it’s a mix CD. I made it the old fashioned way with two turntables and a mixer. I added some effects with a Kaossilator—those are really just a few laser sprinkles in the intro though. Most DJs I’m friends with use their computer to make mixes though they could certainly make the same mix in a live environment. I’ve heard a few sneaky mixes though that are far better than the DJ could reproduce live and I think that’s deceptive.

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

I think the most important production tip to give to some when making edits or re-edits or using samples is to remember to EQ. When adding new elements on top of existing music, it’s crucial to remember to mix the elements in a way that they sound natural. EQ them into the pocket and make sure you’re not adding frequencies that are already prominent. A few tricks that I use for most tracks include light flange on some of the musical elements and a light New York compression to the master channel. This bumps up the high and low a bit and adds some bump to the track. I also like to add a small amount of distortion to the bass, and reverb and flange to synth parts. If you listen to my tracks, you can usually pick out a healthy amount of space echo, depending on the track and how stripped it is. This effect can sound really cool on the bassline. Most of what I know about the business side has come as a result of working for Eighth Dimension or running my own label, Whiskey Disco, and releasing music on labels for the past 7 years. I moved to Orlando in 2007 to work for Eighth Dimension, and I learned a lot about music publishing, licensing and running a label.

Where can we find you on the web?

Facebook / SoundCloud