The process of recording music exists on a spectrum of expense, and every band has to start somewhere. For today’s affluent and well-educated musician, this could be a shiny studio with thousands of dollars of equipment, or even a high-end computer with professional studio programming. For the musical artist whose pocket isn’t overflowing with coin and paper, the creativity of first compositions must translate thriftily in production, mixing and recording. Today’s advanced technology caters to everyone’s DIY initiative, making the recording process easier than ever. Artists like Grimes, Frank Ocean and Animal Collective all started in the confines of their own homes and makeshift studios, using laptops, low-end microphones and sequencers to make ambitious and modern masterpieces. “Bedroom” production is an age-old career origin for the talented modern musician. Thus, when the “bedroom” artist’s success manifests in the form of well-earned money, publicity and new creative opportunities, what is the next step?
While collaboration isn’t for everyone, many rising artists turn to trusted and innovative producers to add nuance and sonic embellishment to their prospective material. After promising debut LPs and EPs, an artist’s decision to enlist a talented production team for the follow-up release often propels them into new fields of creative territory and positive critical reception. Below are three prolific and contemporary producers who are consistently involved in the releases of today’s most promising acts, blending disparate genres into the ever-expanding pop discourse around the world.
Most recently an Oscar winner for Adele’s “Skyfall,” Paul Epworth is known for his stunning work with Adele’s “21” and pop band Foster the People’s “Torches,” and is a well-established British producer who specializes in dramatic, cinematic grandeur. Ten years ago, he transitioned from remixing to a full-time production career and immediately received acclaim for his production and written collaborations with Bloc Party and Maxïmo Park. Additionally, he has produced for The Rapture, Florence and the Machine, Annie and Cee Lo Green. His tasteful respect for huge, instrumental accompaniments in his collaborator’s albums is his trademark, pushing the gregarious personalities that he produces to higher grounds. Epworth is currently signed on to produce “Broke With Expensive Taste,” the upcoming and elusive Azealia Banks album that’s being pushed back to the third quarter of this year.
A master of rock and roll’s flirtations with radio pop, Chris Coady is one of today’s most prominent studio gurus for the ascending alternative band. His subtle mixing skills take any one-dimensional qualities of his collaborators and add emotional depth and clarity, seamlessly expanding each band’s vision and specific sound without taking drastic turns for new aural territories. He’s the man behind Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio and Beach House, simultaneously paving the way for new musical growth and distilling each group’s signature characteristics. Coady’s is able to change his clients’ sound make-up without being overbearing and derailing.
Known just as much for his collaborations as for his solo releases under the moniker Blood Orange, Devonté Hynes is a young electronic producer who specializes in light pop compositions. He’s been making waves in the last year with his work for Sky Ferreira on “Everything Is Embarrassing” and with Solange Knowles on her “True EP” and upcoming debut album. Using tropes from ’80s and ’90s radio pop and R&B, Hynes is attempting to flashback to the future with melodies that are percussed with steely, hollow drums and always compliments the artist’s vocal abilities before drowning them in bass and synthesizers. Due later this year, Knowles’ full-length album collaboration with Hynes will speak for Hynes’ commitment to modern pop music and its relationship to the radio hits of decades passed.