Topic - 5 things I’ve learned about music production: “Why do you even want to sound like anyone else?”

(Image credit: David Montes Aldea)

If there was such a thing as ‘a good lockdown’, it’s fair to say that German-Croatian producer Topic had it.

First came Why Do You Lie To Me, featuring rapper Lil Baby, and then there was a remake of the trance classic Your Love (9pm), made with the help of original artist ATB. 

Topic’s run of success has continued with Chain My Heart, which features Bebe Rexha, so what’s his secret? We asked him to ponder on the five things he’s learned about music production...

1. Persistence is key

“In the first years I started out I always got to a point where I was kinda frustrated that I didn’t make any bigger improvements in my music production, and then I stopped.

“After a few months I picked up music production again but then had to start a few steps back.

“Then I had this moment a few years ago, where I told myself ‘over the next years I’ll focus so much on music production without any stops’, and this was when I made a lot of progress with my production skills. Since then I’ve never given up again.” 

2. Find your own sound

“Especially these days, it’s even more important to find your own sound. There’s so much music released daily and so much is sounding the same that you’ve got to stick out.

“Why do you even want to sound like anyone else? Also ask yourself: who should recognise you then?”

3. Explore different genres

“I always like to produce other genres just for fun and dive into the culture of the genre as well. It’ll give you a new perspective on your own music and maybe you can even use other genres to influence your music.”

4. Produce for other artists

“What’s really refreshing for me is to produce for other artists. It is even easier, because I think less and just do what I think will sound good without thinking ‘can I use this or that sound/sample in my songs’.

“It’s also interesting to get in the head of the other artist and see where they wanna go music wise.”

5. Take care of your ears!

“I used to blast my speakers like crazy! After every studio night my ears hurt and I sometimes had a weird feeling in my ears for several days. Your hearing is the most important part of your job so treat it well.

“It’s not even good for your mixing when you blast your speakers like that, because everything played loudly sounds good at some point…”

Topic’s single Chain My Heart, featuring Bebe Rexha, is out now.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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