Nikola Zjalic (TESKO) shares the valuable lessons that he learned as curator of the latest Producer Dojo Cypher 12 – “Computer Noises”
Nikola, tell us how you became the curator of the Computer Noises Cypher and why do you think it was a valuable learning exercise for Class of 808 Ninjas?
Well I’ve been part of the Dojo for a few years now and after the Something Wrong EP release in December it made sense to contribute back to the dojo community so when Dylan asked me if I’d be interested in hosting a cypher it was an honor.
Out of all of the students on the Cypher, do you have a shout out for most improved on Cypher 12? Can you share the story of the ninja’s progression?
Either Lunch With Ghosts or Aeded. I gotta give the shout out to them. Everyone was pretty diligent about keeping me updated with their progress and implementing the feedback I was getting. They should be really proud of the final product since their songs were awesome. Like I said, everyone really grinded on their submissions but those 2 ninjas stuck out to me most.
What do you think was the most common obstacle shared by most ninjas?
I think the hardest part (as it usually is) is the mixing/polishing up stage. Figuring out the best way to present your musical ideas while making sure it stays pleasing to the ear is always hard. I had that trouble with my tune as well. Especially with crazy bass sounds and stuff it’s really important to tame those sounds afterwards and make sure the overall listening experience translates well regardless of what someone listens to the song on, or how loud they crank it.
Tell us about your TESKO track on the cypher.
So this one came together interestingly. Part of the reason I did the cypher was to pay homage to tech since this is the only time in history that music production is this readily available for everyone. As much as people like to complain they fail to realize that if they were born even just 10-20 years earlier a career in music more than likely would not have been an option. The barrier for entry was so much higher years ago then it is now. Of course pros and cons but as far as my love for the craft is concerned I’m immensely grateful to be able to indulge in my passion.
The song I released (!FRIENDS, pronounced “not friends” ) was a joint I put together when I was inspired to incorporate my vocals into a trap/house type of tune? I was feeling inspired by some of the House guys like Habstract, Wax Motif, etc. and wanted to do something along those lines while still incorporating and furthering my style of “authentic bass music”. Something really important to me moving forward is storytelling and connecting with people so that song was kind of my outlet around that time to get some feelings off my chest.
I moved to Calgary in January this year (2019) so a lot of this song was written on the road during the LONG drive. I started the idea at home literally right before I packed up all my studio gear for the move. The vocals were the last thing I recorded and the rest of the song was basically written during the move.
What valuable lessons did you learn as curator that you would like to share for future Cypher Curators?
How much work and organization it takes. I think in the future it’d be worth doing group calls maybe weekly to discuss some common problems I’m seeing across the board. That way I only have to repeat myself once and I feel like hearing someone’s voice and being able to ask questions in real time is better vs. reading a comment. Overall though, not that it was a problem for this release but just making sure that all channels of communications are open at all times and everyone is on the same page as far as what’s expected and the overall artistic vision we’re contributing too. Community is super powerful so any way to further encourage that is a plus in my books.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Shout outs to everyone that contributed and I’m really proud of the mix overall. I think it’s another great showcase for the dojo and another great song in the arsenal for everyone that contributed. Lots of the entries are on Spotify already so following everyone there would help immensely. I’d be forever grateful if you supported all my friends and the dojo community by interacting with this cypher and spreading the word. My song !FRIENDS will be out later this month but all of the other submissions are already released!
Producer Dojo Cypher 12 – Computer Noises Track List
Free Download available at each individual artist page.
1 TESKO – Intro 00:00-00:25 @iamtesko
2 Hellavision & Satisfriction – Overdrive – 00:25 – 2:15 @hellavision and @satisfrictionmusic
3 Knobreaks – Computer Talk – 2:15 – 3:14 @knobreaks
4 UHNK – Grit – 3:14 – 5:55 @UHNK
5 VEINZ – Robo Dolphin – 5:55 – 7:40 @veinzz
6 Aeded – Output – 07:40 – 09:20 @aededmusic
7 The Vatcher Brothers – Robot Riot – 09:20 – 11:13 @vatcherbrothers
8 Brandon Fallout – Expand – 11:13 – 13:00 @brandon-fallout
9 Lunch With Ghosts – Dialup – 13:00 – 14:14 @lunchwithghosts
10 Spiderhound – I Love You Like… – 14:14 – 16:25 @spiderhound
11 Luke Rain Ft. Amir Jackson – Blue Screen Of Death – 16:25 – 19:09 @lukerainmusic and @theamirjackson
12 TESKO – !FRIENDS – 19:09 – 22:50 @iamtesko