We are proud to announce that 6TH STREET is the Producer Dojo Purple Belt Class of 808 Ninja of The Month.
Richard Wang (aka 6TH STREET) has only been a member of the class of 808 for less than a year and it has been a pure joy for me to watch his evolution during this time. Richard has an infectious smile and is a man of many great talents and I had the pleasure of catching up with him on his experience with Producer Dojo and learning about his plans for what I am sure will be a very bright future.
Richard, tell us about your musical journey and how did it lead you to ill.gates, The Producer Dojo and the Class of 808?
Wow, it’s crazy to actually think back to how it all happened. Growing up my parents forced me to take piano lessons (which I’m grateful for now) and I taught myself to play guitar and drums. Believe it or not I was a drummer for a metal band back in high school. I also played the trombone in band. I’ve always LOVED music and used to fall asleep every night listening to my CD player.
Fast forward many years – In college, I met a couple producers in my dance crew who were making beats on their laptop. I had no idea that making music was so accessible and that sparked my curiosity. I kept that in mind and a couple years ago, I got new laptop and downloaded Ableton and my life was changed. I started looking up tutorials online, downloaded all the free samples I could find and just started creating. I got lost in the creative process and fell in love with it. I’ll never forget how proud I was when I made my first song.
After about a year, I had taught myself the basics of production and realized I needed some real mentorship to help me recognize what I didn’t know. There were some real gaps in my production knowledge that needed addressing. By this point, I had stumbled into the Producer Dojo Facebook page and I saw a lot of people raving about the Class of 808. What was this secret crew of producer ninjas? I did some research and wondered if it was worth the investment and after a short conversation with Baphometrix (who is still a current member of the Class of 808), I was convinced. I joined the Class of 808 about a year ago and it has transformed my production life.
Shout out to Baphometrix – thanks for responding to all my questions about the Class of 808!
Where are you from originally? Can you describe your life using only song titles?
I am originally from Woodbury, MN! Midwest REPRESENT!
Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror
Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
Eminem – Soldier
Linkin Park – Numb
Porter Robinson – Language
Porter Robinson – Sea of Voices
Kasbo – Over You
What made you want to become a music producer? What do you do when you are not producing music?
For me, it was learning to create music that moved me. I really started spending a lot of time in the DAW when I was going through a heartbreak in my life. Music was a way for me to get my mind off of the pain and to channel the emotion into something constructive and creative. It was a way for me to communicate when I felt like I couldn’t speak. It was therapeutic. After that season of writing, I was hooked on making music.
When I’m not producing music, I’m dancing! I’ve been dancing and choreographing professionally for much longer than I’ve been producing. I’m still dancing with my company, Cantinas Arts, and working as a freelance dancer and choreographer working jobs like music videos and live shows. (Can you spot me in Diplo’s music video? https://youtu.be/UFRyNEldHns?t=104)
I also love traveling around the world, camping and snowboarding! And eating. I love food.
Tell us about your upcoming releases including the EP, “Neon District” on The Producer Dojo label.
Man, it still feels surreal that my EP is being released through the Producer Dojo label. When I first joined the Dojo that was a distant goal of mine. The fact that it’s happening is just crazy to me.
“Neon District” is a compilation of four songs, all very different genres and all conveying different emotions. I imagined the EP to reflect the diversity of a bustling city, a place where different kinds of people and cultures come together. This EP is also a roadmap of my growth within the Dojo as all of the songs were written for different monthly mixtapes. Every mixtape challenge taught me something new about music production and I poured my heart out into each one these songs.
On a different note, I’m also working on a different EP with a singer/songwriter friend of mine, Leo Xia. This album reflects on past relationships and the memories attached to them. The goal is to create a live show with these songs and to showcase the EP as a live experience.
What are your plans for your music (both near-term and long-term goals)?
In the next 6 months I want to finish writing this EP with Leo Xia and create this live show with him! This is a pretty ambitious show as we want to incorporate tons of dance elements in the show as we are both dancers. If the show is super successful it’d be amazing to do a short tour with him around the area to share the music with more people!
In the next year I want to start start booking and playing live shows. The end game for me is to be playing at festivals and sharing my music, emotion, and story to people around the world.
What are the top 3 “game changing” lessons that you learned as a member of the Class of 808?
Keep it simple and don’t over clutter your mix. The concept of horizontal vs vertical composition really blew my mind.
Turn off your wifi when you’re in a writing session.
Go where the sounds take you and you don’t have to “wrestle” the song to fit what’s in your head.
If you could go back 10 years ago and advise your younger self of just 1 thing, what would that advice be?
Every minute is an investment, don’t waste your time!
Do you ever experience writer’s block in the studio? How do you overcome it? How often do you make music?
If I ever experience writer’s block in the studio I usually just sample dig until something sparks my creativity. I’ll also start listening to other people’s music to gain inspiration and ideas. There are so many creative ideas in music these days that there’s always something that will inspire me. I always say if you’re frustrated with writer’s block, step away from the computer for awhile and enjoy the rest of your life. When you come back you’ll be in a healthier mindset to be creative.
I write about 3 days a week! The rest of the week is mixing, mastering, and marketing. And gym – because a healthy body is a healthy mind.
What are your favorite genres of music at the moment and who are your top 5 favorite artists right now?
Future Bass, Melodic Dubstep, and Bass Music
Are you involved in any other music production communities?
I’m also part of a community called ACN, which stands for Asian Creative Network. I was introduced to this Facebook group about three months ago. I’ve met a bunch of local DJs and producers from this group and I’m learning to DJ next week from a new friend from the group! I also started streaming music feedback on Twitch and the community of producers that is starting to form there is super inspiring. We called ourselves “6th Fam” or “6th Gang”! There is a lot of underground talent on Twitch!
If you were having coffee with a music producer that was on the fence about joining the Class of 808 what would you tell them?
Class of 808 literally has the full package and has something to offer for any producer at any stage. From ill.Gates’ HUGE library of samples (which I have yet to still dig through all of them), to the one-on-one mentorship, to the Weekly Download lessons, to the professional career opportunities available exclusively to 808 members, there is SO much available.
One thing I absolutely love about the Class of 808 is the community of producers that come with it. These are all people that are serious about music and serious about growing. Everyone cheers each other on and celebrates each other’s successes. Music is a team sport and the Class of 808 is a hell of a team, especially with ill.Gates as the team captain.
This is the article about the Class of 808 written by Baphometrix that convinced me to join the Class of 808! It’s a detailed breakdown of what you can expect from the membership. Baphy – you’re the BEST!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
Yes! I just started streaming on Twitch a couple months ago and I stream every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday from 6-8pm PST. It’s always a fun time! If you have any questions about my story within the Dojo or want to get some live feedback on your music and join a dope community of Twitch producers, you’re more than welcome to stop by! I’d love to get to know you and your musical journey. (www.twitch.tv/6thStreetMusic)
I’m SO stoked for the release of my first EP with the Dojo, “Neon District”. Stay connected on my Soundcloud or any streaming platform and stay tuned for that release! (https://fanlink.to/6THSTREET)
Finally the last thing I’ll say is this – you are enough. Life is bigger than just music and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. There’s literally only one you on this planet. Learn to love yourself and your music will be a beautiful, unique extension of you.
Much love to all of the Producer Dojo and the Class of 808! Honored to be a part of this family. <3