Here Are 4 Crucial Tips From The “Producer’s Guide to Workflow and Creativity”

Producer's Guide

The name Sam Matla has been circulating around the production community for quite some time. This young entrepreneur out of New Zealand has been interviewing industry professionals over the last few years, all to curate countless gems of knowledge which he catalogues on his podcast (or dare we say ProdCast). But hosting the EDMProdcast is not Sam’s only venture. Aside from producing and hosting this bi-weekly show, he also teaches his craft through services such as track/genre walkthroughs and by writing books.

His latest book, which is the second version of his original Producer’s Guide to Workflow and Creativity, just hit the E-shelves two weeks ago. We were anxious to get our hands on a copy to share everything that we found. The instant you start flipping through the pages you can tell that Sam’s direct and light hearted personalty (made clear throughout his podcasts) will make for an easy read. His professionalism and mastery of his craft are found in hidden gems of personal experience and quotes from some of the leading minds in the creative field.

With almost 140 pages of text, this E-book covers everything from finishing music, finishing A LOT of music, and even making this music original to you. While not only guiding your mindset to one of a success and ambitious creative producer, Sam also provides countless ways to handle the less glamorous side of productions as well (creative block is never sexy). I have already read through the Producer’s Guide to Workflow and Creativity twice and still pick up new ideas and perspectives anytime I scan through it. After finding such in these pages, it would be a shame not to share some of the crucial bits producers can find in this book along with my favorite quote that Matla curated for each section.

1 – Creativity: Sam continues to reference an interview with Monty Python’s John Cleese about creativity. Cleese spoke at length about something called the ‘open mode’ versus the ‘closed mode’. The ‘open mode’ is almost akin to a heightened and elated sense of creative output. This idea is the foundation of much of Matla’s call-to-actions throughout this book and is why you need to try to invest at least one and a half hours into any studio session. The first half hour of any session is most likely switching your brain into this ‘open mode’, and out of the 1 + 1 = 2 mentality that we usually have to deal with to get through our day. The only things you need to break into this ‘open mode’ is space, time, time, confidence and humor.

“When in your space-time oasis, nothing will stop you becoming creative more effectively than the fear of making a mistake.” ~ John Cleese

2 – Finishing Music: One of the biggest struggles producers have is actually finishing music. Sixteen bar loops are fun and impressive to your friends, but nobody else wants to hear them. Matla is no stranger to this, and knows how to overcome this stage of the creative process. The best way to do this is by having a long first session and then not overthinking it from there. You get an idea that you’re passionate about and run with it.

“A rule of thumb is that if you don’t like your track by the first studio session, you can’t really expect to improve on it in the following sessions.” ~ Naden

Sometimes this can be kickstarted by producing the hardest part of the track first. Maybe you struggle with chord professions, maybe you struggle with melodies. Start with what is hardest first because when you get to that part down the line, it’ll only get harder. Matla and Budi Voogt, founder of Heroic Recordings, talked about this as “Slaying the Dragon”. Whatever is the hardest part of songwriting for you, that is your dragon! That is your goal to vanquish.

3 – High Output: Everyone wants to create a masterpiece. But it is not like you can sit down at your computer on any given day and decide to write your life’s best track. Even Kanye West describes his early years as locked up in a room writing up to five tracks a day to get to the level where he is at. The more music you write, the most problems you solve, and the more dragons you slay. . . the better you will become. This will not only help build momentum and confidence, it will also develop consistency which is the best thing to cultivate for a young producer. Momentum takes time, so never rest after any small win!

“The best way to refine your craft is to create a huge volume of work. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work.” ~ Ira Glass.

4 – Originality: Having a unique sound is something every artist strives for, but a rely accomplish (and there is never a how-to guide for). Matla goes in depth on how to glean what you can from countless different sources including other music, inspiration and outside sources. All these parts add up, from your brand, to your music, to who you are as a person. Music evolves and you as an artist should to. You need to constantly be coming up with new ideas and revising from old ones.

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff I can steal from” ~ David Bowie

As stated above, the Producer’s Guide to Workflow and Creativity is a phenomenal source for producers at any level. Whatever area of music you are struggling to perfect, this book will help you get there. Along with the core text, Matla has also provided a supplementary book that gives you strategies and techniques for overcoming creative struggles at any stage in songwriting. I cannot recommend this book enough. If everything I have said above is for you, head over to where you can purchase your copy of the Producer’s Guide to Workflow and Creativity today.

If you are still sleeping on Sam’s industry-leading podcast, I have included a link to my favorite one below!