BASECAMP's 10 top tips for producers

A trio with musical influences that extend far beyond their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, BASECAMP came to fruition when the three producers joined forces to write.

Quickly realising there was a strong chemistry between them, the idea of BASECAMP immediately took hold. Deconstructing typical genre boundaries by utilising haunting melodies, intensified by thumping bass lines and heavily percussive drums, BASECAMP effortlessly layer unpredictable tempo changes with elements of subtle glitch and organic strings.

Fast forward to 2016 and after releasing stand-alone singles 'Comfort Zone' and 'In My Veins' (collaborations with Jamie Lidell, Del The Funky Homosapien) the stage has yet again been set for the return of BASECAMP - this time in the form of the six song 'In Stone' EP.

Their most complete body of work to date, 'In Stone', takes listeners on an audible journey through drastic genre, and tempo changes as the music progresses. All the while so, there is an underlying sense of cohesion that is unlike anything the trio has delivered.

We hit BASECAMP up to impart onto us some of the tips and tricks that have helped shape the dark, brooding tones, heartfelt melodies and body shuddering bass of their productions.

1. No rules

"We like to come into the studio with this frame of mind. No rules, no limitations. Anything is possible."

2. No egos

"Since there are three of us producing at the same time, there are usually a ton of ideas in motion all at once, which can lead to butting heads. So we established an agreement that every idea gets a fair shot. Even if it sounds crazy, corny or just plain dumb.

"We've had very pleasant surprises by doing this. You should always make it your goal to extract your ego and commit yourself to the good of the song and the people creating it. Keeps the vibe very positive and fun."

3. Set challenges

"This may seem like it contradicts the whole "no rules" idea, but sometimes, if we feel we've hit a wall or we're just bored, we'll set weird challenges for ourselves as we start on a production.

"We've set all kinds of criteria, like using only iPhone apps and micro synths, or creating a whole idea by manipulating and twisting just one sample. We have found that setting these sometimes weird and obscure challenges can yield some of the most interesting ideas."

4. Pace your day

"When we are working, we spend all day and night in the studio. so it's important to optimise the workflow of your day in order to get the best results. In our case, we feel the most creative at night, so that is when we do most of the producing and writing, and use the afternoon to do the more objective work like mixing and editing."

5. Get out of the box

"We love and use plenty of VST's, but it's amazing what you can do when you are able to work on hardware. There's something about it that feels so alive and organic."

6. Cut vocals in a new session

"This is a big one actually. All computers have their limitations with processing, and we love stacking our plugins! So we usually bounce out the music as stems into a new session and cut vocals.

"That way we won't have any hiccups as we start to layer everything up and we can stack plugins without worrying about pushing the system to hard."

7. No fear

"Don't be afraid of sounding terrible. Whether that pertains to a vocal melody you're playing with or turning every knob on a synth just to see what happens. You never know what that idea may lead to or inspire others that are in the room with you. Everything is worth trying out, even if it sucks."

8. Stay organised

"We love samples. We have a massive library on our computers and external hard drives, so it's very important to keep the samples labeled and organised. The last thing you want to do when inspiration hits is waste time searching for that perfect snare."

9. Learn hot to play an instrument

"You don't have to be the world's greatest, but being able to pick up a guitar or sit down at the piano instead of staring at a computer screen can be a great way to break up writer's block. It allows you to look at an idea from a different angle, which is important."

10. Go for a walk

"Speaking of writers block, it happens to everyone. You get stuck on something and feel like you have exhausted all ideas. It's amazing what a 15 min walk will do. Step outside, clear your head and get your heart rate up. You'll come back to the track refreshed every time."

The 'In Stone' EP is out now on OWSLA and you can check out more about the trio on the official BASECAMP website and Facebook page.

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.