We are proud to announce that Connor Proctor (Metasine) has earned his Purple Belt after over a year as a Sensei for Producer Dojo. His recent songwriting breakthroughs will be showcased on his upcoming Producer Dojo EP release in February, 2020. I have had the pleasure of working closely with Connor over the years and I was psyched to catch up with him and see what the future has in store for Metasine.
Connor, tell us about your musical journey so far.
I began making music in 2008 on a demo version of FL Studio at my parents’ dining room table. In college, I found myself immersed in the world of electronic music. My friends (shoutout Cook B102) all had really great taste and introduced me to so much inspiring music. By 2012 I had a library of original music and was playing shows on campus and around CT. After school, I moved to Boston, MA and continued to make and perform music, now using Ableton. A few years ago, I decided to check out a workshop that ill.gates was doing (The Breakthrough Workshop) – I had been using his infinite drum rack and APC template and of course loved his music.
Well, Dylan shook me to my core. The way he spoke about practicing discipline, implementing workflow, and understanding the music industry and how listeners become fans was incredibly inspiring to me. I never intended to join the class, I just figured the workshop could be helpful, but his passion grabbed me immediately. There was no other way. I signed up for the Class of 808 the next day and got to work.
Where are you from originally? Can you describe your life using only song titles?
I grew up in a town in Connecticut called Simsbury. I went to college in Hartford, CT and now live in Boston, MA. Life by song title is tricky, but if you’ll accept an album title.. “Making Up a Changing Mind” (Pretty Lights) is a good way to describe my ethos.
What made you want to become a music producer? What do you do when you are not producing music?
I just love to make music. There really is nothing other than that. To me, creating is meditation. When you make something original, you live in the absolute present for a brief moment. In this moment the universe comes through you. The separation between mind and body vanishes and pure expression takes over. Sometimes it can be satisfying, sometimes it can be devastating, but the process of growing through it is ultimately the flame that ignites my flow.
I do tons of stuff other than music. I currently work full time for a mortgage company (I know… not the most creative job) but am in the process of transitioning to a career in UX Design (a form of product design) – sidebar, if you know anyone in this field, give me a shout! Outside of that, I love to play golf when it’s warm and snowboard when its cold. I also love video games (especially the old stuff.. mainly Zelda).
Congratulations on your upcoming EP release on the Producer Dojo label. What was the experience like for you and do you have recommendations for others who may be interested in releasing on the label?
Thank you! I’m so stoked to finally be done with it.
The process was difficult but ultimately rewarding. Some of the tracks on the EP took 2 years of constant revisiting to get them to where they are now. It was interesting to learn that no matter what, you can always keep improving on an idea. While I do tend to follow the “20 hour” rule, these tracks just seemed to keep evolving and growing over time. As I learned new things, the songs advanced with me. Towards the end I started feeling that I had nothing left. A year and a half in the making and still getting feedback was tough to face. In the end it was really helpful to take time off from projects and return to them with fresh ears. I actually ended up reinspiring myself and getting that giddy “new song” feeling with most of them towards the end, which was really cool.
For anyone trying to finish an EP, all I can say is keep going. Don’t give up, but also don’t force it. Take your time, stay balanced and consistent, and get it done. Respect the process of growing through your mistakes. Nothing is ever perfect, but you’d be surprised what you can do if you just keep going.
How has your experience been teaching for the Dojo?
Teaching for the Dojo has been an amazing experience for me. It was really cool to meet and talk shop with some of the other amazing artists in the class. Ultimately, it was the biggest learning experience for me yet! It’s one thing to know how to do something, but it’s another to be able to teach it. Additionally, giving feedback and helping others to grow is difficult. Finding the right balance between criticism and support is sometimes tricky, so big shout out to all other other Senseis and especially Dylan for doing this so well!
That said, I have withdrawn myself as a Sensei for the time being (mainly just due to time constraints with my career change and my own production). I do just want to shout out all of the Ninjas who did sessions with me, you know who you are. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to assist you in your growth and I hope you’re all continuing to push yourselves creatively and most importantly having fun!
What is your Studio set up like and what are your top 5 favorite VST’s?
I produce on a macbook pro 13” (circa 2012 I think) running Ableton 10. I use JBL LSR305 monitors and Sennheiser HD280 pro headphones (and a subpac). I produce mostly with a Push 2 and a MPK 249 keyboard. I perform with an APC40 (1st edition) running the ill.gates X Will Marshall live template. Live instrument wise I have a King alto saxophone and a Yamaha strat guitar. I also have a bunch of Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators that I love to use for “mudpie” type stuff.
My go-to VST instruments are Serum, Massive, and Razor. I also use a lot of Waves plugins – specifically their reverbs. Also izotope’s imager, xfer record’s OTT, and s(M)exoscope for mastering (tip courtesy of the homie Nintendeux). I usually just stick to the Ableton stuff for most things.
What are your plans for your music (both near term and long term goals)?
Near term, I’d like to finish my collab with Dylan before the show I am playing with him in December. I also want to do live sax at that show so I’ll need to put a little extra effort into preparing that set.
Long term, I just want to be happy and able to express myself through music. While I would love to do music as a full time job, I have found in the past that putting financial pressure on my music production has made me unhappy. We all know the saying “do what you love and you never work a day in your life.” Well, I do love making music, but attaching my success in it to my means of living puts pressure on me that ultimately takes the fun out of it. I remember telling Dylan this and he said he understood, but that I might feel differently after selling out a venue and performing in front of thousands of fans. So I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. I just plan to live day by day, grow my ideas, express myself, and try to soak in every moment of this beautiful life.
What are the top 3 “game changing” lessons that you learned as a member of the Class of 808?
– Nothing is perfect. You can mess with that snare for an entire day, only to change it again later, just move on.
– Amateurs wait for inspiration to strike, pros just show up to work. It was really important for me to learn how to practice discipline and consistency in my production.
– Finish everything that you start. If you’re not in the habit of finishing, you won’t be able to when it really matters.
If you could go back 10 years ago and advise your younger self of just 1 thing, what would that advice be?
In all honesty, I would probably tell myself to value my relationships with people a little more. I think we all spend so much time being creative that we can sometimes neglect the people around us. It’s important to find balance and not cast aside the people who support you because of how driven you are. That said, I think it’s equally as important to surround yourself with the people who hold you up, ignite your fire, and push you to be the best version of yourself.
Do you ever experience writer’s block in the studio? How do you overcome it? How often do you make music?
Of course. We all get stuck. I find that the best solution is to not force it. Take time away from the project. My productivity is usually determined by my general vibe. If I’m not feeling it, I am very quick to acknowledge that its not happening today. That said, when that magic moment does happen, you’d better be ready to capitalize. When ideas finally strike, the world goes away. It’s just me and the music.
All that said, I would just say that next time you experience writers block… make note of where your phone is. If it’s in the room with you, that’s probably why. My advice is to never ever bring your phone in the studio. That thing is a creativity EMP.
Also I typically produce daily, although I go through dry spells where I wont open Ableton for a few days at a time. I keep it low pressure so it comes and goes, although I find I start itching to work on music if I haven’t in a while.
What are your favorite genres of music at the moment and who are your top 5 favorite artists right now?
I listen to pretty much everything. I mainly love reggae, hip-hop, funk, and jazz. Within electronic music I am really into future funk, melodic stuff synthy stuff, and gooey gooey drippy swing stuff. I like happy music. Shit that makes me dance.
I’ve always been super inspired by Pretty Lights, Gramatik, and GRiZ. Right now im really into CharlestheFirst, Defunk, and Shylow. That’s just to name a few. There’s so many talented musicians out there. It’s really quite amazing what some people are able to do with sound.
Are you involved in any other music production communities?
I’m in a bunch of groups on facebook, but I rarely participate in social media stuff aside from promoting my music and shows.
That said, shout out to WUMP Collective. Those guys and gals are my original music family. We all came up learning from and growing with each other and I’m super proud of what everyone in that group has been doing.
If you met with a music producer that was on the fence about joining Producer Dojo what would you tell them?
You only live once. Money is just a concept of our shared imagination. Any dollar invested in yourself is a dollar well spent. If you are serious about improving your skills and being able to creatively express yourself efficiently through music, there’s no better place than the Producer Dojo. Take a risk, bet on yourself, you will not regret it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
Thank you all so much for your support. I’m so excited to share my EP with you!
Also if you’re located in New England – come out to the Boston stop of the ill.gates Liftoff tour and lets hang!
Lot of love <3
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