Italian Producer Alex Messina is an artist who has completely immersed himself into the art of production, studying relentlessly on perfecting his craft and it shows as his releases range in genre, techniques and detail.
Some of his more recent tracks include ‘My Self’ and more recently ‘Gears Of War’. With several years of experience under his belt, we sat down with Alex to find out some of his best tips for beginner producers.
T.H.E – Do you think it is essential to know how to play an instrument or learn about music theory before learning to produce?
Alex Messina – Sure! It is essential to start from a solid basis of musical study and therefore learn to play an instrument of any type, acoustic, string, percussion, wind or any other, provided it is an instrument. I would opt in particular for classical instruments like classical guitar or piano. Even if it’s just the basics, it’s worth learning because it will help you so much in the long run.
T.H.E – What equipment would you recommend buying for a beginner?
Alex Messina – I advise you not to buy expensive equipment and not to compete with those who own multiple VSTs or plug-ins: the study full of science fiction equipment and the many plug-ins, do not make a good producer. I would therefore say to buy the essential things, such as a sound card, two monitor speakers, a Midi keyboard and a good audio-midi sequencer software to install on your PC. This is enough to create great things: Michelangelo painted the famous masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel with the only use of a scaffold, a bucket of color and a brush.
T.H.E – Do you think YouTube is useful for learning to produce?
Alex Messina – Well, there are lots of interesting tutorials, if you have a doubt, you can check you’re doing it right through YouTube, it’s a great teacher. However, you need to make sure you know how to select valid sources otherwise they could teach you bad habits etc.
T.H.E – What are some bad habits that new producers should try to avoid?
Alex Messina – First of all, don’t waste too much time on sounds and styles of the moment, but try to create something new …
Secondly, when you are in the creative phase of a project, I advise you to immerse yourself completely and let the creativity flow into you without thinking about the direction and whether someone will like it.
T.H.E – How do you turn on your creativity?
Alex Messina – I want to point out that for a producer the continuous and profound listening to music and sounds in general, even those offered by nature, is fundamental. So from my own musical experience, I immerse myself in those sounds and let my imagination run wild. I therefore await inspiration, which generally does not arrive at a predetermined time: art is not programmable.
T.H.E – How do you normally approach the writing of a new song?
Alex Messina – From an idea of a melody or a tune or simply experimenting with new techniques.
T.H.E – Which plug-ins are the best to use?
Alex Messina – I would say that they are all very important, then it depends on the specific cases and what is being developed at that time, exceptions are the compressors, which in any case I find essential both in the mixing phase and in the mastering phase