As an art form, dance is very unique in that it requires another art form to feed from: MUSIC! At World of Dance we know how important music is to dance. Music needs to inspire us to do things we’ve never done and move in ways no one has before. We need groundbreaking music in order to portray deeper thoughts and emotion while exploring new sounds and rhythms.
The Producer Dojo just released Tesko’s newest album “Something Wrong.” We got to spend some time with him and find out how he brings his music to life. With tracks like Something Wrong and For the Homies, Tesko is showing himself to have a bright future ahead of him.
WOD: The Album is titled Something Wrong. What does that mean to you?
TESKO: Essentially it represents all the self-doubt and perfectionism that comes with creating. I know artists will be able to relate to what I mean. The strive for perfection won’t increase the quality of your work past a certain extent, only further delay you from releasing music and growing as an artist. It’s a form of procrastination and fear. Of course the music needs to be well written and polished but you will never be satisfied as an artist if you keep trying to make your work perfect.
On the bright side I’m sitting on albums of music now but I also think I held myself back a lot by not putting my art more out there over the years. All of the songs I’ve released that I’ve been skeptical about initially have ended up getting awesome feedback and began to change my thoughts on how I approach sharing my art.
Something Wrong is exactly that. It’s something wrong. It’s not perfect, it’s not supposed to be. You can always change more things but it doesn’t mean the song will be better. An imperfect finished song is better than a perfect unfinished song.
WOD: Can you describe your workflow process? How do you start a track? What’s the process to finish your tracks?
Tesko: It’s different each time depending on the genre I’m trying to write. I live a pretty busy life outside of music so generally for months at a time I’ll write whenever I have a spare moment and later stock pile all my best ideas/songs and then narrow it down to the best ones that sound cohesive together. After that I’ll move those projects to a new folder and start storing all my assets there: the project files, any visual art that inspires me, samples relating to the theme of the EP/my brand/etc that I can sprinkle throughout the tracks, and anything else.
Once I narrow it down I pick a track or two to tackle first and listen through taking notes on anything I should fix or any ideas I have. I then implement the changes and listen through and take notes again. When I get bored or lose my mind (whichever comes first) I hop over to another track and repeat the process. After a few days of working on the other tracks I’ll go back and listen with a fresh set of ears and again take notes. This really speeds up your sessions later on since you know exactly what needs to be done. When you can listen through your song without any complaints then you’re good.
Lastly I send it off to my friends for a solid roasting and they give me more things that my desensitized ears might have missed. Generally once I’ve spent a certain amount of time on the track I’ll send it out for a final time, get any last minute feedback, implement and move on.
WOD: What daw/ daws do you use? What’s some of your favorite go to equipment and plugins that you use?
Tesko: I’ve used a ton in the past but I’m a total Ableton fan boy. It does everything I could ever want it to do and more (besides having a nice clean way to vocal comp like Logic or Pro Tools but there are work arounds)
As far as equipment, my guitars and mic for sure. My Ibanez RGIR27FE guitar is my main baby. I started off as a metalhead and the genre is still very dear to me so it’s something I’m trying to bring more into my music but in a way that’s still accessible for an dance-music oriented crowd. I also love pop music and vocals are the best way to story tell by far so that’s also been something really exciting for me lately. I’m using the Audio Technica AT2020 mic for whoever is interested.
As far as plugins, Omnisphere, Kontakt, and xFer Serum all day. There are others but if those were the only 3 I could use until the end of time I think I’d be alright with those 3. Also Ableton’s warp modes which aren’t plugins but definitely worth mentioning. My aim with a lot of my bass sounds is to create something simple and clean that has vowel-y movement. All of the craziness and variation usually comes from me mangling and toying with the audio afterwords.
WOD: How did you find your style? Any good advice or tips for up and coming producers?
Very painfully over a long period of time. I’ve been involved in music seriously for like 10 years at this point and I’ve thought about what my sound should be a lot since then. I think it’s good to sit down and explicitly define what kind of story you’re trying to tell with your brand, what you want your music to sound like sonically, what visual aesthetic you’re trying to go for, etc. but ultimately you’ll discover your sound over time as you write more and more music.
Your “sound” is the culmination of all of the habits you develop from producing a lot, as well as the way you use your plugins, process your instruments, and your choice in samples. All besides the last are cultivated through many hours and songs that never see the light of day but as far as sample choice I’d say it’s pretty important to go through all your abandoned projects once in a while and save all of the best effect racks and samples you’ve made into your personal sample folder so you can re-use them in the future.
WOD: What’s your advice for getting recognition. Or getting noticed?
Tesko: The world doesn’t owe you anything and it doesn’t care who you are, how passionate or skilled you are and it definitely doesn’t care about your dreams. It cares about what kind of value you can provide. Head down, be patient and grateful, work hard, show your fans you love and appreciate them and enjoy the process. The best part about all of this has been the friends I’ve made along the way and that is what this whole journey is actually about at the end of the day. What’s the point of reaching the top of the mountain if you have no one to share high-fives with at the top?
Tesko lives in Windsor Onatario, Canada. When he’s not making beats, he’s working on getting his degree. He makes his own music production tutorial videos, and hosts a podcast through his collective ALIVE Imprint.