An interview with Joaquin Ace.
Joaquin Ace is originally from South Africa, but currently living in the USA where he spends his daily life, in addition to music production, as a scientist (but doesn’t play one on TV). He likes listening to a wide variety of music, including AC/DC, Metallica, White Zombie, Collective Soul, Offspring, Trancemaster CD’s and trance/techno vinyl recordings from the 90’s and early 2000’s. He can be found on Facebook and likes interacting with supporters. The word “followers” sounds too cult-like to him.
1. How long have you been creating music?
I took classical piano lessons for about 10 years when I was a kid, but I first tried the electronic side of things with Cubase SX 1.0 about 18 years ago. However, I realized quickly that making electronic music involves more than “just pushing buttons” and pushed the music making shenanigens aside for a few years. About 3 years ago I decided to give it a real go and put considerable effort in learning the techniques on both a theoretical and practical level, while trying to complete tracks.
My first “completed” track, 6 weeks after I bought my first DAW, didn’t have any percussion in it, but somehow I thought it was finished and polished. No reverb, no delay, no compression, no mastering, just a bunch of loops I arranged with a dj-type intro and outro. I couldn’t understand why the label I sent it to didn’t sign it. (Rick- We see this so much)
2. What genre do you like to write?
My main genre is hard dance, but I also like techtrance, progressive psytrance and dark techno. I have spoken to other hard dance producers aboout genre labels and we agreed that as long as the track is “banging”, it is part of the genre. I tell non-dance music listeners that I make the hard rock of dance music when I have to describe my genre. I think we can all agree that the hardstyle/rawstyle/hardcore is the metal of dance music. I also make presets for various virtual synths which are available on https://www.encountersmedia.be/.
3. What has been your turning point in your music production?
After about a year of hard work, I realized how little I knew and the secret is to never stop learning, keep on trying and make music that you love. Don’t make music just to follow trends, otherwise you will always be a follower.
4. Can you give your favourite tip you have been given from a mentor that you have.
There are so many tips that it’s hard to pick a favorite. I would rather like to pick a favorite mentor, which is Rick Snoman, Ph.D. (yeah, he has a legit/real doctorate for those that don’t know), and give some of the tips I got.
I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled onto dancemusicproduction.com, but the most obvious possibility was that I was googling (is that a verb yet?) how to make dance music. I bought one DMP tutorial (before there was a subscription available) and soon enough the whole DVD tutorial collection arrived from the UK and I started listening to Rick long before he knew me.
One of my most favorite tips in the tutorials were to turn OFF the sync on a delay and set the time by msec. It wasn’t long after that I decided to sign up for one-on-one coaching.
Besides working next to a producer in the same physical space in the studio, this is the best thing a producer can do for their career. Soaking up the knowledge from someone this experienced, is the best way to get the correct facts in the shortest time. Yes, it might be possible to stumble on these facts in an online tutorial somewhere, but how much time would’ve been wasted sitting through irrelevant- or worse, incorrect tutorials? One of the most valuable tips I got from Rick was to remove the resonances. With live recordings we can move the instruments and/or microphones around in the space, thereby decreasing undesired resonances. When we work in a DAW, we need to remove those resonances with an EQ.
I have listened to A LOT of tutorials over the years, including those made by “#1 [insert chart name here]” producers, but none of those came close to how much I have learned so far from Rick.
5. How did it feel to have your first signing?
My first signing gave a feeling of unbelief (not the same as unbelieving feeling). I looked at the contract as had to pinch myself that it was real.
After the track was released I started having doubts about my music production skills. I started to think maybe it was just luck, maybe I can’t do it again etc. One thing I learned from that is to put that kind of thoughts out of your head. You have to belief in yourself and keep going. The only way you can show that it wasn’t just luck, is to make more tracks and get those signed as well. So for me my second signing really gave me the feeling the first signing should’ve. The feeling of the hard work is slowly starting to pay off. The feeling that the music I love to make, is also liked by others.
6. What are your next plans for your music career?
Make as many, high quality, banging tracks that I can and keep refining my skills. Keep being mentored by Rick until he “fires” me or give me Madonna’s phone number.
7. And the all important Altar question- What colour socks do you wear?
I don’t wear socks at home, but when I go out my socks always match my pants.
His latest release can be found here. Please join me in supporting this great new artist.