Q&A with the prolific producer byDJBLVD

byDJBLVD has been taking the electronic music world by storm, striking back time after time with unmissable releases, growing his popularity as fans become transfixed by his groovy and funky energy. Recently, the talented producer and DJ has been adding to his production catalogue, releasing several new tracks, including ‘The Genius Is Me’: a vibrant production detailed with catchy elements and thumping beats.

Today, byDJBLVD is joining us to take us behind the scenes of this latest release, sharing an insider’s look into the production and creative process of ‘The Genius Is Me’.

Hello byDJBLVD, how are you? Congratulations on the release of ‘The Genius Is Me’!

Hi, I’m doing great, actually! And thank you! I’ve been on a roll lately with my production and the success of my releases, so I’m rolling on this good music high I’ve got. As always, I’m glad to be sitting down with you and chopping it up. Let’s get into it!

To start, can you walk us through the production process?

I’d be happy to walk you through the production process for ‘The Genius is Me (TGIM)’. Most of the time, it takes me anywhere from 3-6 weeks to produce a song I’m proud of. ‘TGIM’ was no different — it took me about a month between building and crafting my sounds, the complete mixdown and the final tweaks afterward. I always begin with my drums, which was the most integral part of ‘TGIM’, in my opinion. I pulled the individual kicks and percussion from my go-to library on Splice and took them into Logic to mix with. While I can’t give my effects chain away (sorry!), I can detail the thought that went behind my percussion. I knew I wanted a punchy, deep kick and slightly ‘wet’ supporting snare, cymbal, and other percussion hits to give it that old-school flavor. I believe I nailed down everything but the kick until the end.

After the main percussion, I searched for my melodies and instrumentation. Ironically, a lot of the build of this song was sampled, re-mixed and cut up from Splice. I’m a big fan of the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I pulled from many different sounds and elements across R&B, Soul, Afro and House to build thi unique blend that came together as ‘TGIM’: a soulful, ‘2-steppin’ UKG banger!

What inspired the sound and vibe of ‘The Genius Is Me’? Did you have any specific influences or musical elements that you wanted to incorporate into the production?

When thinking of inspiration and the vibe for ‘TGIM’, I honestly thought about Church. As a kid, I was raised in the Church. Typically, your church or Gospel-sounding songs include lots of soul, screams, rejoicing, percussion, etc. Naturally, a lot of my tracks have many of those elements. As I thought more about this song’s theme, I imagined what a church choir would sound like at a jazz club. This is when the sexiness of the track began to build.

Outside of that, much of this track was influenced by Scott Diaz’s recent drop, ‘Second Chances’. I love that song so much, and maybe one day, I’ll have the opportunity to create something with him. When thinking of the specific minor elements I wanted in this song, I did a quick Google search, connecting specific instruments and tunes to musical keys and emotions. I’ve mentioned this in my other interviews — emotion is the key driver of how all my songs are built from start to finish. The saxophone as integral –my saxophone lines were influenced by the man himself, Ronny Jordan. He’s usually the most prominent influence alongside Kenny G. for all my saxophone instrumentation. Everything else just came naturally, honestly. Producing it was like a fever dream, so forgive me if it’s hard to explain. 

The track features catchy horn lines, can you tell us how you create such groovy melodic elements? What is your process like?

Unlike some tracks, for these horn lines, I actually pulled them from Splice, cut them up, re-mixed them to sound a bit more wet and create a chamber-like effect, and then dropped them in my track. Sometimes, building everything from scratch is not always essential, and I stand by that. It’s how you introduce it. The sounds fit perfectly. 

Doing that allowed me more time to focus on the sound of the instrumentation rather than the specific melody itself. For this track, this worked amazingly. However, I usually start with a particular instrument I heard throughout the day, grab my MIDI keyboard, and play. I’ll pick a musical key to start, focus on an emotion I’m feeling, throw on a temporary drum beat between 125-132 BPM and play keys until I hear a set of chords hitting my ear perfectly. While doing this takes me much longer to finish a track, sometimes it’s more fruitful.

What were some of the plugins you used during the production of ‘The Genius

Is Me’?

Some plugins I used for ‘TGIM’ are Serum (a must-have), Beatmaker and Astra. They always help me spice up my sounds, re-sample or get creative and re-create the sound from scratch in my own sound. Serum was used most to help add some depth to my sounds.

Did you experiment with any new techniques or processes?

I didn’t experiment with new techniques or processes for this song. However, I do feel like I dove a bit deeper into playing with my effects chain in Logic to create some of my sounds. Every time I produce a track, my knowledge of and creativity within that program increases dramatically. 

Since I started producing, I flip between Serato Studio and Logic to craft my tracks. I’ve been meaning to get into Ableton for the longest. Even though both of the programs I use now are incredibly powerful, I feel limited sometimes. Maybe I’ll make the switch in early 2024 to help expand my toolkit. Who knows.

What would you say is the most important part of this song that gives it its

own distinctive character and what do you hope listeners take away from it?

The instrumentation is the most essential part of the song that defines its character to me. The song didn’t have a soul until I added the instruments — it felt like it was missing something crucial. Like most of my tracks, the instrumentation is one of the elements I take most seriously, as I think it can make or break your track. The wrong instrumentation can really throw off the emotion and vibe you’re trying to create. The saxophone just gives it this crazy sexiness that is infectious, and I absolutely love it.

When listening to ‘TGIM’, and like most of my songs, I never hope listeners take anything away. I’ve always been a bit insecure about my music production. The fact that people can listen to my music, tap their feet, move their bodies and rejoice is everything to me. The groove is what I want listeners to take away if I had to name something.

For those who haven’t heard ‘The Genius Is Me’ yet, how would you describe it?

I always suck at describing my music. For those who haven’t listened to ‘TGIM’ yet, I’d describe and paint them a picture like “If you took U.S. Jazz and Soul and dropped it in London, ‘TGIM’ would be the result.” Odd, right?

There are so many elements to the track that introduce themselves as it progresses: the vocal strips, the main synth melodies, the horn instrumentation — it’s hard for me to put it into one word. When I run into moments like this, I usually ask folks, “You like Jazz?” and that sums it up.

‘The Genius Is Me’ is funky and groovy in energy, which elements do you think

add to this vibe and what was your process like for crafting them?

When thinking of creating the vibe of this song, I actually had a video on in the background called “Sun City ‘The Ultimate High’ Hippodrome 1998 UK Garage Masters”. You can find it on YouTube. It captures how raw and groovy the UKG scene was in the 90s. Everyone was dressed to impress, everyone was moving, and most importantly, everyone had some groove in them! I built ‘TGIM’ around what I envisioned would’ve felt natural in that room.

I probably re-watched the video 10+ times throughout the song’s build, and each part played a significant role in my chosen elements. While I watched the beginning scenes, I would focus on building my drums and percussion. I imagined people were walking into the club, and they couldn’t hear too much of the intricacies of a song – just the drums pulsating through the walls. Naturally, I wanted to emulate that feeling and create the perfect build for the song. Following the drums, I led with my melodies, which I chopped up and re-mixed to add more depth and flavor. The vocals came next, and the way they fit in shocked me. At first, I wouldn’t say I liked the vocal add-ins, but they grew on me more and more.

Toward the latter half of the video, I focused on my instrumentation. I always have at least one brass section or saxophone as the dominant instrument in my track. And there were a couple of scenes where you saw folks really grooving, and it felt like it aligned with the introduction of an instrumental element. When the horns come in on ‘TGIM’, they ignite a new feeling in your movement. They roll in so effortlessly and smoothly that you can’t help but tap your feet and move your waist. Lastly, the closing of the video features many face-to-face interviews, representing the wind-down of the song to me. I slowly removed elements until we were left with the main melody, a bit of percussion and a final vocal touch to bring it home.

What can fans expect from you next in terms of future releases and projects?

Great question — fans and new listeners can expect more UK Garage tracks from me soon. I have a new song called ‘The Backrooms’, released from Smashing Trax Records in London on December 8, 2023, two days before my birthday. Also, I’m working on a new UKG track with a producer I found on TikTok by the name of “@Lailo.Beats.” That’s going to be a good one. Looking toward 2024, I’m pushing myself to release more, release better and continue to grow in my craft. 2023 was great to me, but it’s time to continue moving the needle. I’d love to collaborate with some more underground producers — we’ll see what the future holds.

byDJBLVD is quickly building traction; with a clear passion for his craft and seemingly limitless creativity, there is no doubt that his future looks bright. Having promised more powerful music soon, the talented producer and DJ is keeping his motivation and drive high, and we cannot wait to hear what is next to come. So, as we close our conversation, we thank him for his time and for giving us such an inspiring glimpse into his knowledgeable approach to music production.

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