MESSEA (Jessie Cockshott) has been making big moves since joining Producer Dojo. Jessie earned his Producer Dojo Brown Belt when his scorching tune, “Celestial Void” was placed on the Cypher 15: Space Station Beats EP and he has been working really hard on an amazing EP that will be released soon on the Producer Dojo Label. It was a pleasure to share the great news with Jessie about his Purple Belt and learn more about what is next for MESSEA.
Jessie, Congratulations on achieving your Purple Belt! Tell us about your musical journey and how did it lead you to ill.gates, The Producer Dojo and the Class of 808?
Music has always been a very important part of my life ever since I was a kid and has acted as a positive outlet for negative energy. I remember having an old boombox that I could record onto tapes with and I would splice sound effects from SEGA video games or parts of songs on them with an old crappy microphone to make weird little mixes or record guitar riffs (they weren’t very good haha). I started out playing guitar at a young age, and eventually started performing in various different bands in my teenage years. My most recent project before I started my solo project, MESSEA, was a metal band called LOWLIFE. I played multiple gigs along the east coast and shared the stage with a lot of different metal bands that I looked up to and idolized in highschool like, The Acacia Strain, Oceano, Villains, After the Burial etc. over a 4 or 5 year span. It made me realise that if I really wanted to do something, and put my energy into it that I had the potential to make it happen. After going through multiple different member changes and dealing with the stress of trying to have 5 dudes in a room all on the same page all of the time, I decided that I wanted to start learning how to record and produce my own music without having to rely on other people to perform it. I reached out to a good friend that goes by AudioPrizm a few years ago and he helped get me going in the right direction with electronic music production, making beats, and he is actually the one who initially mentioned the Ill Gates Producer Dojo to me.
Where are you from originally? Can you describe your life using only song titles?
I am originally from a small town in NY, Jamestown. **Judas Priest – Breaking The Law playing in background**
What made you want to become a music producer? What do you do when you are not producing music?
I wanted to become a music producer partially because I wanted to have the freedom to create and perform music on my own without having to rely on others to make it happen, and music has been an extremely therapeutic form of expression that has helped me through a lot of dark times in my life. When I am not making music I am usually skateboarding/snowboarding, hiking, or traveling.
What is your Studio set up like and what are your top 5 favorite VST’s?
In my studio I have Yamaha HS8 monitors with a KRK sub, and a focusrite 8i8 interface. I use my Line 6 POD Pro to make weird guitar patches that I incorporate into my music. I also have an Agile 8 string guitar, LTD 7 string, Peavey 6505+, some other amps and analog guitar pedals, Maschine MK3, Make Noise 0-Coast, Midi Twister, a pair of CDJ 900 nexus, a cheap little Arturia midi keyboard, and an insulated/padded isolation booth that I built with some friends for recording vocals, live instruments or other random things around the house. My 5 favorite VST’s would have to be Serum, Endless Smile, Side Widener, Some of the Glitch Machines products and Gravity by Heavyocity.
What are your plans for your music (both near term and long term goals)?
My overall goal is to make a living off creating music that I am passionate about and collaborate with friends and other like minded artists that I meet throughout my journey, and to create a presence that inspires people that might feel similar to the way that I do and give them an escape from reality through sound.
What are the top 3 “game changing” lessons that you learned as a member of the Class of 808?
If I had to pick 3 lessons that really resonated with me they would probably be the “Pink Noise” mixdown technique to get a generalized starting point for your mixdowns, then you can adjust to taste afterwards. The snare layering session with CONRANK was really inspiring and insightful. And my 1 on 1 session with Spiderhound where we talked about utilizing negative space in tracks to add dynamics and make them hit harder.
If you could go back 10 years ago and advise your younger self of just 1 thing, what would that advice be?
To not let other people’s influence have as much of an impact on your life, keep your eyes on the cheese and go out and get it!
Do you ever experience writer’s block in the studio? How do you overcome it? How often do you make music?
“Inspiration happens in the heat of the moment Morty.” I experience writers block frequently, but most times I realise it’s just mind over matter or ear fatigue from repetition and hearing the same thing over and over again when you are trying to produce a tune. Giving your ears a break and doing something else for a while helps. As silly as it sounds, playing with fingerboards helps distract my brain and spark new ideas or melodies when I am in the middle of a project. There are times when I will have a specific theme, idea or melody in mind before I sit down at my computer, but a lot of times I will just sit down and try to create a new bass or guitar patch and twist some knobs, or record a random foley sound or something around the house until I find that one thing that sparks inspiration and run with it.
What are your favorite genres of music at the moment and who are your top 5 favorite artists right now?
I have never really been the type of person to have an all time favorite artist because I feel like it is always changing depending on my mood and I appreciate all different kinds of music but I have noticed that I typically tend to cling to darker, non traditional sounding music. I enjoy listening to metal bands like Volumes, the Villains 10 Code album will always be a favorite, I like old school hip hop like Big L, Busta Rhymes, and Biggie. As for electronic music a few of my favorites would be Anti-Negative, Aleph, and D3XTR.
Are you involved in any other music production communities?
Not really, I will look up tutorials from time to time but for the most part I like to try and keep things as raw and organic as possible when I am creating.
If you met with a music producer that was on the fence about joining Producer Dojo what would you tell them?
I would tell them that the Dojo is a very unique and inspiring collective of artists that provides you with a lot of useful tools and knowledge to utilize and help turn yourself into the type of producer that you would like to be.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for my upcoming collab with muncheez and KIBZ titled “Elixir” and my “CONTAGION” EP being released on the Dojo label! Also my name gets pronounced wrong a lot… it is spelled MESSEA but pronounced Messy.