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True creativity strikes where you least expect it. That’s why even the most established producers still have a “bedroom production rig” — and many got their start this way. When studios and professional gear are financially unattainable, the vast network of freebies and forums are often enough to get aspiring musicians into the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and off into a world of sound. As well, platforms like SoundCloud and Bandcamp allow artists to self-release their music and promote it on other forms of social media, giving independent artists a voice and a place to showcase their talent.
For anyone interested in trying their own hand at bedroom production, Bedroom Producers Blog is a great resource, hosting tutorials for Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and others. It’s a wealth of information that brings knowledge of digital production and creativity to the masses.
But to get started, let’s take a look at some of the pioneering producers, pushing the edges of the industry from within their own bedrooms.
Knxwledge might be the most apt stage name that Glen Boothe could have chosen for himself. Raised in equal measure in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Knxwledge has put out a staggering 64 Bandcamp releases since 2009. For Knxwledge, though, quantity doesn’t come at the sacrifice of quality, as he’s slowly worked his way up through indie label releases to finally find himself amongst hip-hop legends on Kendrick Lamar’s latest album. Six years after announcing himself, Knxwledge has only just begun his ascent.
Matthewdavid loves the bedroom. Even after his latest release on Brainfeeder, he still refers to himself amongst “the bedroom production illuminati.” Matthewdavid is one of the more unique producers to emerge from the LA beat scene, cutting his teeth on turntables like many DJs. “So, it started off as a tip from friends who were making rap music on Fruity Loops… I soundproofed my bathroom and recorded these albums in high school.” To this day, he shies away from analog gear — born and raised in the box, the computer is his home.
Marcel Everett is something of an enigma for many. At only 19 years old, his astonishing trajectory out of the bedroom began with the cult success of the genre “witch house,” followed by the rise of artists like James Blake, Clams Casino, and The Weeknd. As the sound took off, so too did XXYYXX’s self-titled LP in 2012. Since then, he’s produced tracks for several video games, as well as artists like Usher. He still produces in FL Studio.
The LA-based Aaron Carmack took a slightly more traditional route to the production world. Like many young music students, he took an interest in songwriting while playing piano, and went on to try his hand at music school. But he veered off the traditional path after discovering DAWs, and from there, the rest is history. Once he learned Ableton, he put his solid theory and songwriting background to good use, releasing album after album. His recent rise has caught the attention of labels including Soulection and Mad Decent, guaranteeing that we’ll be hearing a lot more from Mr. Carmack.
Much like Matthewdavid, Nosaj Thing came to music through DJing on turntables in high school; they also share a similar narrative in the LA beat scene, as Nosaj came to the computer after years of DJing to flesh out his ideas. Three albums into his career, he’s firmly established himself as one of the biggest names to come out of the West Coast electronic hodgepodge. To this day, though, he “says that most of his songs begin as home-produced sketches.”
Ta-Ku is an Australian enigma, entrepreneur, and most prominently, musician. Repped by labels Fools Gold and Future Classic, Ta-Ku rose to prominence through a series of remixes and beat tapes that were self-released and promoted through digital means. Now, he’s released his break-out album, Songs To Make Up To. From humble beginnings, Ta-Ku has emerged as one of the foremost voices amongst the Bandcamp/SoundCloud elite.
While most of the artists here fall into the “beat” genre, SCNTST takes an entirely different approach to bedroom production. The Munich-born producer manages to create a sound that takes other artists a slew of analog machines and a variety of alternative techniques like sampling sounds from old video cameras to produce. Signed to techno record label BNR, SCNTST is forging forward out of the bedroom with global DJ dates on tap.
There’s not much that people don’t know about Flume at this point. The Australian electronic producer is probably THE foremost example of a bedroom producer hitting it big. After posting tracks to SoundCloud and Bandcamp under several aliases, label Future Classic took notice and decided to push his next release. It took off, and the rest is history. Artists like Flume show that when talent meets opportunity, the endless possibilities for distribution the internet offers can be put to great use.
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