I'm a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, producer, mixer and DJ of 20 years. I performed in several bands and eventually ended up behind the mixing chair to produce my own songs and others as well. My strength is the ability to give a quick turnaround for any mixing project. So if the time is of the essence, hit me up!
I've worked as a performer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, remixer, producer, mix engineer and DJ in the past 20 years. I've been in rock bands, experimental electronic bands, a house music group (Volta Bureau) and a DJ. My work with Volta Bureau has garnered notoriety within the Electronic Music world to the point that we got signed to Nurvous (subsidiary of classic New York City label, Nervous Records), then Defected Records, and finally Sony due to a song I wrote, performed, recorded and mixed called "Alley Cat."
As far as style aesthetics, I can nail 80's synth pop, Bedroom Pop, Minneapolis Sound (Prince, The Time), R&B, Disco, House, Lo-Fi Hip hop, and Trap. As a producer, I am also able to tone down my specific styles in favor of bringing out the artists' vision into something more tangible and honest to their journey. I firmly believe in connecting with and understanding the artist and client first before we begin working together.
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Interview with Miguel Lacsamana
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: With Volta Bureau, I wrote, performed, mixed and mastered our hit song, "Alley Cat" back in 2012. That song got us signed three times in a span of 3 months (first Nurvous, then Defected and finally Sony). Our song was being played on BBC1 on Pete Tong, Annie Mac and Toddla T's radio shows. Avicci had our song on his top ten and Madeon included it on his performance set that year as well. It was the number one song on the Beatport Indie Dance Charts for 12 weeks in a row.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently I'm working on my own music and working on my brother, Vincent Fable's, music projects as well.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: A bit of both. I understand that there are nuances using digital that you won't get using analog. But also, I understand that recording technology is at a place where the emulations are as good as their analog counterparts. I try not to get bogged down on gear too much because even the great Madlib has been producing on the iPad and nothing else for the past 7 years.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise to my clients is that I will never see them as a customer, but rather a partner. Your success is my success. If both parties aren't elated and excited with the end result, then I've failed as a partner.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love collaborating with others and helping them achieve their vision.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you do this for less? I always try to be transparent and let them know the basics of why something costs the way it does. (hourly rate, how many hours it normally takes, and how the amount is calculated).
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: With any art form, I feel most people think that it's easy and can be done quickly. And a lot of professionals can perform very quickly, and i feel that's where the disconnect is. The value of all the time spent on the craft, isn't fully understood.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: -What do you want done with this job? -What's the turnaround? -What's the budget? -What are your intentions with this project? -Do you know what the core values of this project are?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If the services are strictly for production services for a company that isn't specifically in the music industry, is to understand what it takes to provide this service and be mindful of that. If the services are for aspiring artists, I would ask them to take a long hard and honest look as to why they want to have a career in music.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Guitar, pen, paper, solar panel system, and an Ipad.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: In Virginia, I started performing in acapella groups in high school singing Boyz II Men and barbershop songs. I became a DJ in college (mid 90's). Started producing when I graduated (2000). Joined multiple bands thereafter (2003). Ran a record label. Helped nurture other local artists. Recorded traveling bands in DC as part of an online site I helped run called, All Our Noise. Found success with my group, Volta Bureau, eventually signing to Sony (2012). Moved to New York City (2015) and started getting into sync licensing and theme song creation. Moved to Los Angeles (2018) and is currently working with a few artists, including myself, in creating new songs. This all took place in the last 20 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is anything that's groovy, vibey, danceable, and catchy.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Thundercat because of how serious he is with his craft but manages to also not take it so seriously at the same time. I admire anyone who knows their strengths but also isn't afraid to look like a fool in the process.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't overthink anything. Fail fast and fail often. That's the only way one can truly improve.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on poppy, r&b, house, hip hop and electronic music, in the form of full songs and just instrumentals.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I see myself as a champion of the artist. I know how tough it is to be vulnerable, and I'm very skilled in creating a safe space for all those whom I collaborate.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: The first thing I like to bring to the table is trust. The hardest thing to do is express oneself fully and I immediately want to create a safe environment free from shame and judgment. My main goal is to bring the real artist out into the open to be as vulnerable and authentic as possible.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When producing, I like to take some time to get to know the artist's core values and what's important to them as humans before we write. When making beats, I normally start with the beat. It has to be infectious before I move onto the melodic elements first. When writing a song, I try to write on an instrument and get the entire song written before I even open up the computer. I try recording on the phone first so I don't get distracted by sound shaping or mixing.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have an iMac, Ableton Live 10, Universal Audio Apollo Twin Quad with the entire plug-in suite, JBL LSR4300 8" monitors with a 12" sub, Korg Minilogue XD, Roland Juno GI, Korg MicroKorg, Avalon VT737SP, AKG C414, Shure SM7B, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Precision Bass.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Prince is by far my biggest influence as a musician. Daft Punk, Timbaland, Missy Eliot, the Neptunes are my biggest influences as far as production goes.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I've mixed singles, EPs and albums for artists. I've shadow produced acts as well. I've done remixes, created theme songs for shows, and have produced and recorded singles and albums for bands.