Talking production, inspiration and the based life with DC producer Alex Young.
For starters, can you tell us who you are and what you do?
Wassup! My name is Alex Young and I’m 18 years old from right outside of Washington, DC in Bethesda, Maryland. I am a producer, a DJ, a musician of many sorts, and over the last few years, I’ve been playing shows and traveling all over the US working on music, and a bunch of cool stuff that I’m excited to share with the world.
How did you get started producing?
I’ve been singing, playing guitar and drums since I was about 8 years old, and my early passion for music and technology led me to start learning how to work in DAWs and attempt to record my own sounds when I was 12. I wanted to be able to do everything involved in the recording process by myself. Then when I was 14, I got totally hooked on electronic and rap music and the production behind it all, and I started focusing pretty heavily on song creation, sound sculpture and in depth mixing techniques.
What are your favorite hardware or software synths?
Currently, for software synths: I’m in love with Serum and Spire
Hardware: I’m pretty much in the box most of the time nowadays, but I love classic synths like the Juno, and synths with vintage/warm sounds
What’s your favorite master bus effect?
I’ll keep my master bus pretty empty aside from a compressor and a limiter, but my favorite mastering compressor plugin right now is definitely the Slate DFX compressor. It has some great features and a super warm yet clean sound to it.
Do you play live or DJ sets? What’s your performance setup?
So far I’ve only played DJ sets, but I actually have been working on a live show! My DJ setup is all Traktor, a Z2 mixer with the F1 and X1 attached, and I love it. I know how to use CDJs, but I’ve always enjoyed how much accessibility and control you have with Traktor gear. As for the live show, I’ve been using Ableton and creating custom controller mappings for a bunch of different gear (such as the QuNeo and K-Board)
I’m super excited to incorporate more performance aspects into a show, like live guitar, singing and synthesis. There are so many different variables and aspects of sounds and effects that you can edit/automate/map, and it’s gonna be amazing to see what type of live performances people come up with in the next few years. I’ve also been mapping controllers to visual programs like Resolume Arena and started working on some cool projection mapping stuff too. One of the big reasons I fell in love with the electronic music culture in the first place was seeing some of the amazing audio/visual productions of dudes like Skrillex, Deadmau5, Amon Tobin… and there is nothing cooler to me than an amazing live show, in the right atmosphere, with the right people, where the music and visuals are on the same level. and the show as a whole is on another level.
What’s been inspiring you lately?
That’s soooo tough. There is so much cool music in the world right now. I’ve been taking a lot of influence in my new music from artists like Kanye West, Imogen Heap, Aphex Twin, Jon Hopkins, The 1975, Mark Ronson, Benny Blanco, Jack White, Max Martin, Prince… I could go on forever…
Some of my favorite musician’s and the some of the most incredible on the come up currently are Cashmere Cat, Lido, Chet Faker, Flume, Jon Bellion, Porter Robinson, Madeon, Travis $cott, mr. carmack, Ryan Hemsworth, BenZel, Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson and my DMV boys Lindsay Lowend and Jonah Baseball are making some really incredible music right now.
What does ‘based’ mean to you?
For me, it’s all about positivity and being real with people. Spreading love, awareness and just generally being someone and something people can look up to. It’s also about understanding that everyone, regardless of who they are, or what they do, has feelings the same as you or I, and its important to live without judgment of others and be the best you that you can really be. FURREAL. Stay Based. Do you. Live happy. Travel and shit. I have been out of school for about a year and half now, and making the decision to follow my passion and stay true to myself has opened a whole world of amazing people and wonderful places that I wasn’t aware of.
Check out Alex’s SoundCloud here: