British producer and DJ Jacob Plant’s career is blooming. He’s released successful original material - the likes of About You (featuring Maxine), Bike Engine (with Stylo G) and Only Love (featuring Becky Hill) - and crafted official remixes for Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Tinie Tempah and Example, receiving support from the likes of Annie Mac and Zane Lowe along the way. His latest single, Amnesia, features James Newman (brother of John).
With all of this already on his CV, Jacob is clearly a man worth listening to, so we asked him for his top five pearls of production wisdom.
1. You need to find your strengths
“One of the most important things I have learned is to find your strengths and do what you do best. It's very easy to get distracted with what everyone else is doing, but everything comes and goes, so if you spend too much time chasing the wave you'll never ride it. I’ve found that doing what you want to do and sticking to it is the best thing you can do. When I was younger, I used look at social media a lot and get worked up by how well other people were doing. That's a really unhealthy place to be in!”
2. You need to not rush music for the sake of it
“Sometimes, it's easy to get excited about a demo you are working on and send it around to everyone, but that isn't the best thing to do. Find a group of people around you that you trust and get their feedback. Work on the song until it feels like it’s the best you can do, then send it around. The worst thing you can do is get the attention of a label or publisher and then lose it by sending half-done demos. I think quality over quantity will always win in the long run.”
3. You need to experiment
“Some of the best ideas come from experimenting with synths or chord progressions. There are no set rules when making music so just have fun with the tools you have and make sure you enjoy the creative process! If you have writer’s block, step away from the computer and do something else so your mind can wander. If you stress yourself out by putting on pressure to write, you will block yourself from creativity.”
4. You need to persevere
“More than 50 percent of the music you make will probably be s***. Even the best artists have awful songs saved on their hard drive somewhere, so don't get down if the last couple of songs you made suck. Like anything in life, you have your ups and your downs, so try and enjoy the good moments and keep going through the bad. I'm sure your biggest idol has had points in their career and wanted to give up, but if you don't persevere nothing will happen!”
5. You need to be self-sufficient
“Make sure you spend time on learning the art of mixing and mastering your own music. Study mixdowns of your favourite songs and try to copy them. Spend time mastering your tracks and reading tips and tricks online. It doesn't matter how good you are - there will always be something new for you to learn. You will save a lot of time and money in the future if you can master these skills!”