• Watch DJ Khalil Make a Beat by Sampling Random Records

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    DJ Khalil, a staff producer at Aftermath Entertainment, has been featured on Mass Appeal’s Rhythm Roulette series.

    The series challenges producers to make a beat by sampling three randomly selected vinyl records. On this episode, the records were found at Adrian Younge’s Artform Studio in Los Angeles.

    Born in Seattle and raised in Los Angeles, Khalil first made a name for himself as one-half the independent hip-hop duo, Self Scientific. In the mid-2000s, Dr. Dre signed him to Aftermath as a producer. Khalil has since produced Billboard Hot 100-charting singles like Eminem‘s “Survival,” Dr. Dre’s “Kush,” Aloe Blacc’s “The Man,” Wale‘s “The Matrimony,” and Logic‘s “Black Spiderman.” Most recently, he produced A$AP Ferg‘s gritty anthem, “East Coast.”

    Watch Khalil on Rhythm Roulette above.

    Related: DJ Dahi Uses Serato Sample in New Rhythm Roulette Episode

  • Watch Russ Explain How He Produced ‘What They Want’

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    Russ
    Photo source: Facebook

    Rising Atlanta rapper and producer Russ has shared a humorous video of himself explaining how he made the beat for his breakout single, “What They Want.”

    The 24-year-old artist recreated the simplistic beat in two minutes using only his laptop.

    Russ dropped “What They Want” on his SoundCloud account in 2015 before including it on his debut album, There’s Really a Wolf, in 2017. It became his first single to appear on Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at No. 83. The track was also certified platinum.

    In a 2016 interview with Billboard, Russ said he produces, mixes, masters, and engineers all of his songs. He also said he doesn’t want to be mistaken as a new artist despite his new-found success.

    Watch Russ recreate the beat below.

    Related: Watch the Producers of Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’ Explain How They Made the Track

  • Watch the Producers of Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’ Explain How They Made the Track

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    Colombian producers Mauricio Rengífo and Andrés Torres have explained how they made Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber in a new episode of Genius’ Deconstructed.

    In the video, the producers provide an extensive break down of the song’s elements, which was made with Pro Tools. They also recount how the track has evolved.

    “We think that reggaeton is pop now,” Rengifo said of the song’s impact on mainstream music. “You don’t have to treat it like this urban dark thing.”

    “Despacito,” which has six official versions, rocketed to popularity after a remix featuring Bieber was released in April. It’s the first Spanish-language song to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in over 20 years and has remained there for 10 consecutive weeks.

    Watch the video above and download “Despacito” on DJcity.

    Related: Watch Rsonist Explain How He Produced The Diplomats’ ‘Dipset Anthem’

  • DJ Dahi Uses Serato Sample in New Rhythm Roulette Episode

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    Mass Appeal has brought back acclaimed hip-hop producer DJ Dahi for a special, new episode of Rhythm Roulette. The series challenges producers to make a beat by sampling three random records, chosen from a record store while blindfolded.

    Dahi, whose credits include Drake‘s “Worst Behavior,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees,” and Big Sean‘s “I Don’t F#ck With You,” produced a track using Serato’s new plugin, Sample. The software enables producers to find and manipulate samples in tracks using any DAW that supports VST and AU formats, such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Logic Pro.

    In this episode, instead of going to a record store, Dahi went to New York City and dug through cardboard boxes in the back of a van owned by vinyl collector, Gene Brown.

    Watch the video above.

    Related: Watch P-Lo Make a Beat by Sampling Random Records

  • Serato Sample Is Now Available

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    After much anticipation, Serato has made its new Sample plugin available to the public. The production tool has been in an exclusive beta test for the past three months.

    Sample is a plugin that enables producers to find and manipulate samples in tracks using any DAW that supports VST and AU formats, such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Logic Pro. Sample is Serato’s first production tool since it launched Pitch ‘n Time in 1998.

    The announcement was made on Monday on Serato’s blog.

    “We initially launched Sample as a Beta for experienced producers to test. Feedback from this group helped us improve and cater to different producer’s needs, giving us the versatile, powerful, user-friendly plugin that’s now ready for trial and purchase.”

    As an incentive, the company has offered a free 30-day trial for its users.

    Download the trial or purchase Sample 1.0 here and watch Serato’s overview video above.

    Related: First Look: Serato Sample

  • Take a Look Inside deadmau5’s Home Studio

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    Deadmau5 recently invited Linus Sebastian, who runs a popular technology channel on YouTube, to take a tour of his home studio in Canada.

    The video provides an extensive look at mau5’s state-of-the-art space, which has been under construction for three years.

    The studio, which is located in the house’s master bedroom, is suspended from what used to be a vaulted ceiling. It was done to improve the room’s acoustics and preserve its aesthetics (many of the cables are hidden under the floor).

    In terms of equipment, the room is one of the only Dolby Atmos mix studios outside of Dolby itself. It contains nine custom-made ATC speakers that are positioned to produce 3D audio, a $500,000 Neve analog console, two walls of analog modular synthesizers, and over a dozen rare keyboard synths.

    And if that wasn’t enough, “The mau5 House” also includes a server room in the basement, which powers his home network and graphics studio.

    Watch the video above.

    Related: Watch Deadmau5 Give a Tour of His New Studio

  • Watch Rsonist Explain How He Produced The Diplomats’ ‘Dipset Anthem’

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    Rsonist, a member of the production duo The Heatmakerz, has explained how he produced The Diplomats’ 2003 hit “Dipset Anthem” in a new episode of Genius’ Deconstructed. The video marks the first time Genius has featured a song older than a decade in the series.

    “Dipset Anthem,” which peaked at No. 64 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, served as the lead single off The Diplomats’ debut album, Diplomatic Immunity.

    In the video, Rsonist recalls how he got into producing and was gifted $20,000 worth of equipment. The producer then breaks down how he used the Akai MPC2000 to chop up the different elements of the song. He admits he almost threw away the beat but stuck with it because he liked the track’s only sample.

    The Heatmakerz are a multi-platinum production duo made up of members Rsonist and Thrilla. The New York-based group rose to fame in the early 2000s after producing for Lil Wayne, Ghostface Killah, and The Diplomats.

    Watch the video above.

    Related: Watch TM88 Explain How He Produced Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘XO TOUR Llif3’

  • First Look: W Hotels’ New Music Studio in Hollywood

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    W Hollywood Sound Suite
    W Hollywood Sound Suite

    In early June, W Hotels Worldwide unveiled a music studio and writers room at its Hollywood location. The “Sound Suite” as its called, is part of an initiative to facilitate creativity among hotel guests and local musicians.

    The studio is the brainchild of W Hotels’ North American music director, White Shadow, who’s best known for being Lady Gaga‘s DJ and producer. It provides hotel customers and local artists with an easy and comfortable way to write and record.

    The W Hollywood isn’t the only location with a Sound Suite, though. The company recently launched studios in Seattle, Bali, and Barcelona, and there are plans to roll out more.

    Recording booth
    Recording booth

    Like many great ideas, the Sound Suite came out of necessity.

    After traveling with Lady Gaga on her Born This Way tour, White Shadow realized there needed to be an easier way for artists to record while on the road.

    “It was inconvenient and costly to rent a studio in every city,” he tells us “So we put a studio in a flight case and set it up in our hotel rooms. But it takes a while to set up, and you’ve got people banging on the door if you’re making noise above a certain level.”

    A couple of years later, White Shadow approached W Hotels about adding studios to their locations so that guests could use them.

    “The W brand is super passionate about music,” He says. “It’s a big part of their DNA.”

    “I knew that the studio would fit because they were willing to take a risk that I’ve never seen another big brand take. There wasn’t a 45-page case study about how to get a return on investment. It was like, ‘How do we come up with an idea and make everybody feel good?'”

    DJ White Shadow
    DJ White Shadow

    While the Sound Suites are equipped with the best available technology, they’re smaller than traditional studios.

    “We didn’t want to overdo it because studios are moving into smaller and smaller spots,” White Shadow explains. “You can sit in your room with a laptop and your headphones on.”

    A smaller space is also more affordable and easier to use.

    “I wanted up-and-coming artists to be able to use it and feel like they’re in an incredible studio in an incredible hotel,” he says. “We’re still trying to work out the kinks, but it will be available to customers at a special rate.”

    Sequencer and synth
    Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 and Maschine Jam

    The studio isn’t limited to guests, though.

    “We’re going to do artist-in-residence programs,” White Shadow adds. “We’re also going to host special events for things that we think are cool and Native Instruments is going to do product showcases here.”

    Of course, White Shadow is one of those artists.

    “I’ve been recording in here non-stop for the first three weeks to make sure everything is on par,” he says. “We’ve done really good sessions in here already, and we didn’t have to go out of our way to create a vibe. The vibe was already here.”

    Mixing console
    Mixing console

    Recording rack
    Recording rack

    Genelec monitor
    Genelec 1038B monitor

    Akai MPC2000XL drum machine
    Akai MPC2000XL

    Wall art
    Wall art by Bisco Smith

    Lounge area
    Lounge area

    Entrance
    Entrance

    Words by Anthony Polis and photos by Julian Melanson.

    Related: Review: KRK Rokit 8 G3 Studio Monitors

  • Watch a Producer Make a Track Using Serato Sample

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    Serato made waves in April when it announced Serato Sample, the company’s first VST plugin. Since then, a select group of producers have been experimenting with it as part of an exclusive public beta.

    Ryan Enzed, a DJ/producer from New Zealand, has shared a video of himself doing just that. In the clip, he makes a track with samples that he built using the VST. He offers insight into his process, as he adds layers and manipulates sounds with features like Key Shift and Time Stretch. The finished song can be heard at the end.

    Enzed is no stranger to producing and sharing his knowledge. His YouTube channel, which has over 6 million views, contains numerous production tutorials. As a producer, he has released music on Dim Mak and Big Fish Recordings.

    Serato recently stopped accepting applications for the beta, and there’s no word on when Sample will be released. However, Enzed’s video provides producers with an in-depth look at it in the meantime.

    Watch his video above.

    Related: First Look: Serato Sample

  • Watch P-Lo Make a Beat by Sampling Random Records

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    Bay Area producer and rapper P-Lo was recently featured on Mass Appeal’s Rhythm Roulette.

    The series challenges producers to make a beat by sampling three random records, chosen from a record store while blindfolded.

    After picking up some vinyl at New York City’s A1 Records, P-Lo headed to the studio. The process started off slow, but he ended up delivering a bouncy track, which he classified as a “collar popper.”

    Born in Pinole, California, P-Lo rose to prominence in 2013 after producing the singles “Act Right” for Yo Gotti and “Bout Me” for Wiz Khalifa. In 2008, he co-founded the HBK Gang, a collective whose members include Kehlani, Sage The Gemini, and IamSu. His recent album, More Than Anything, features tracks with E-40 and G-Eazy.

    Watch P-Lo on Rhythm Roulette above.

    Related: Watch David Banner Make a Song With Random Records