Norway’s got a new house hotshot in the form of 19-year-old Jerry Folk, whose invigorating style has both the blogosphere and dancefloor buzzing. From lush synths to funky stylings—as heard on his recent track “Futura”—Folk’s sound is as unique as it is impeccable.
Ahead of a forthcoming US tour, the young DJ/producer caught up with DJ Times to dish on his top production tips to help fellow musicians find their own distinctive style.
Don’t limit yourself to one genre/style to find your “sound”
If you sit down with the intention of making “this sound” or “this genre,” you will get a feeling of not being creative. There are plenty of great producers out there who produce tracks in lots of different genres, tempos, and styles (Jamie XX, Bonobo, Royksopp, just to mention a few). If you are worried about not having your own sound, it will hold you back. You have your own personal taste, so no matter what you producem the sounds you are using will be processed through your taste. Whenever you start working on a track, start making whatever feels right in the moment and just go with the flow. Music is supposed to be fun.
Be productive even when you have writer’s block
All producers have periods or days where they don’t feel like making a track simply because the ideas or inspiration just are not there. I like to stay productive on these days and instead spend my time layering drums or sounds. Make that perfect clap, snare, kick or whatever. Go looking for tracks where you can sample fat kick drums. Anything. You will be glad you did when you feel inspired again, and you have an army of great drums waiting for you.
Don’t forget to listen to other people’s music
I have had long periods where I’ve hardly listened to other music than my own. I’m spending the whole day making tracks, and in the evenings I’m listening to these tracks over and over again to hear sections that can be improved or because I enjoy listening to my own creations. I always try to remind myself to find new music or listen to tracks that I love. Sit down and listen to a great album. It will give you tons of new ideas. We need to be reminded why we’re into music in the first place.
Ask for feedback
When you’ve made something you personally really love, it’s always scary to ask for feedback. You’re afraid that it might not be as good as you thought it was. However, feedback is super important. When you’ve been working on a track for hours/days/weeks, you often reduce your ability to criticize your track because you’re so into the project that everything makes sense. Send it to someone you know appreciates good music and ask for some advice. They often tell you to change/fix some of the most obvious stuff. Be open to trust other peoples ideas.
Use vocal chops
I very often use vocal hits to make my tracks more pleasant. Adding a vocal chop with a delay and a lot of reverb on every 8th or 4th bar can take your track to a new level.
Listen to “Futura” below and go to Folk’s Facebook page for more information.