Announcing the winner of our latest Beats In School competition with Anjunabeats: Joel Freck. Joel is the second winner of the production competition after last year’s winner Taya, winning a Complete Online Mixing and Mastering course from Point Blank, along with gear and mentorship supplied by various top industry brands. He’s a Canadian Producer/DJ with support from Above & Beyond, Myon and Fatum, and his track ‘Violet Rose’ was nominated for ‘Dance Recording of the Year’ by the East Coast Music Awards. The competition involved recording a mix including an original production by the artist. Check out the winning mix below and read on for our recent catch up with Joel.
Hi Joel, So you’ve just won the Beats In School competition. Can you talk me through the winning track(s) and mix?
Hey Point Blank. Yeah!
I had three unsigned songs in there that I was actually working on to send to Anjuna. Two were the big “Anjuna Festival” style sound and another was a tribal track that I hadn’t yet finished but was dropping in my sets. I thought I might as well include it to highlight my versatility in production styles.
On top of that, I included 2 tracks I had finished earlier in the year.
The winning tracks were both tailored to Anjuna and the music their team was coming out with as of late. I had tested them at the club a few days before and the audience reaction was perfect, so I thought I had something special to share.
I took a bit of a risk and mixed some house, some tribal, and did a lot of mashups. All things I would do if someone were to see me perform live. I wasn’t sure how Anjuna would feel about me cutting up some of the classics, but they seemed to really enjoy the direction I went with the set, plus how my tracks sounded amongst some of Anjuna’s best.
What about your set up and writing process generally, any tricks or rituals that you always stick to?
My setup is currently changing and upgrading thanks to Beatport and its partners, but for the most part it’s nothing crazy. I run a Mac Pro, Logic X, 2 KRK 6’s (Now AdamA5X’s) and a midi controller.
My writing process usually begins with me focusing on a song that’s exciting me at the moment. That song that I’m most excited to play in my sets that night. When I have a track like that stuck in my mind, I usually want to create something in the same fashion to go alongside it, or completely replace it. I try to look at the bigger picture of how the music will be played which influences how I step into the writing process.
From there (depending on the sound and style) I usually have a basic template I open that just has some sends to reverbs, delays etc. to save me 20 minutes. Then I Import any old percussion/bass/lead bus from other projects to pick the sounds I had worked with that I like and keep a semi-consistent sound. I then change them out, edit the processing etc. This is usually how I start every project.
How did you get into making tunes and mixing?
I had been fooling around making hip-hop and electronica beats for my friends in high school but that was all it really was. It wasn’t until my friend flew me out to a show in Toronto where I saw the full scale of a DJ/Producer. After that night, as soon as I got home to Halifax I bought Mixer, a Mac, and switched from FL to Logic.
Have you had any tuition before?
Definitely. I had done a year of schooling in Vancouver for film, then when I made the switch to music I enrolled in a Point Blank course for arranging electronic music. I always had bartending on the side to pay all of that down.
What inspires you?
I think a better question is what doesn’t. I get inspired by movies, people, sounds, ideas, everyday life. Anything and everything. Wanting to give people a moment that resonates with them the same way it does with me is a big one. When I have that “yessss!” moment, I try my best to make it translate to every listener.
What drives me is the visualization of performing on a festival style stage. I get energized by people having a great time.
What advice would you give yourself if you were starting out if any?
There are two things. Learn arrangement and why it works – do this by referencing others tracks that work, and learn the ins and outs of mixing. It’s so key. I never knew this when I started out. It’s probably standard knowledge now, but when I first began nobody ever touched on how important it was.
As part of your prize, we are offering an online course of your choosing. Which one are you going for?
There were quite a few that interested me but I went with the “Mixing & Mastering” course. I really want to understand everything there is to know about making a clean & punchy and a greater grasp on how to polish it up and make it shine in the master.
Outside of your course, what have you got in the pipeline?
All sorts ;). I’m working with Anjuna at the moment firing lots of new tracks back and forth, and Beatport’s keeping me busy with all sorts of fun stuff. I’m sure some of it will be announced in the near future.
Thanks Joel and good luck!
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