From the eye of the interviewer: Producers
With this much time, that snare will be great
While much of the live entertainment industry was shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic, music producers, the people behind the tunes that make us move, had more (sometimes too much) time to focus their time and energy into their music. Whether it was finishing old songs from dusty projects, honing a workflow, or just having no social obligations to impede progress on music, many artists found ways to adjust to life during the pandemic. Fifteen months later, we are starting to see the fruits of those labors from many of our New England-based producers.
I interviewed four producers from around New England about their habits gained during the pandemic, as well as what having all the extra time to work on music meant for them. Nick Minieri (Boston, MA), Spekski (UK/Boston, MA), Undrig (Maine), and Zach Santabarbara (Connecticut) each were kind enough to answer some questions about their music production, pandemic thoughts, and optimism about the future now that live events are back. They were universally appreciative of the time they had to delve into their music during the pandemic, but are excited to bring the interpersonal aspect back into their lives.
Being able to concentrate on production was a benefit to everyone I spoke with, though some missed the creativity spawned from bouncing ideas off friends and hearing works in progress on more than home studio sound systems. Most are looking forward to getting back to performance (as they all DJ as well), but keeping it in balance with their music production. Gaining insight into their processes was another common benefit, such as Nick Minieri improving on "self-censoring my work, marinating on tracks for months to ensure they still hold up". Spekski is awaiting dancefloors again because "'I've always found you learn a lot playing an origin track out for the first time", while Zach Santabarbara now sets up "block(s) during the day where I feel I could relax and not be disturbed by anything else" and fully see through an idea to completion. Undrig feels "fortunate to be in a position where I have the luxury of being creative at all".
All four of producers released music during the pandemic, from either their SoundCloud or Spotify pages or on major music sources like Bandcamp, Beatport, and Juno Download, so be sure to check out their music once you're done reading the interviews. And with new projects in the works or just needing finishing touches, give them a follow and be on the lookout for their next new releases.
photo credit Sean Quinn
Nick Minieri - Producer/DJ - Zakim Records - Boston, MA
Nick Minieri moved to the Boston area in 2004 and has been an active part of the local music community since he arrived. Working as a graphic/production designer by day, he has work many hats in the Boston nightlife scene. From running Zakim Recordings and the Beantown Boogiedown blog, to party photography, music production, and DJing, Nick has earned the respect and admiration of his peers in the scene. Now focusing primarily on music production, Nick and I emailed back and forth about how the pandemic affected his production workflow, precautions he's taking as live entertainment begins again, and thoughts on the future.
images provided by Spekski
Undrig - Producer/DJ - Heavy Pressure/Resonant Sound - Maine
Undrig has been DJing and producing music since early 1999. He has produced various genres of electronic music, much of it bass heavy and percussion focused. Based in Maine, he frequently performs at nights in the Portland, ME area, including Flask Lounge and Urban Farm Fermentory. John gave me some quick hits about his production, being able to dive into his creativity during the pandemic, and optimism about the future.
Gaia Rising - August 14, 2021 - Urban Farm Fermentory, Portland, ME
Zach SantaBarbara - Producer/DJ - CT