My name is Tom Watson. I am a producer/beat maker for top line writers behind artists such as Usher, Akon, Chris Brown, Robin Thicke, Lil Wayne and many more. I specialize in EDM, Hip Hop + Urban beats as well as remixes in those genres and I am happy to create a custom beat or remix for you which will be mixed and mastered on delivery.
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Interview with Current Sound - Tom Watson
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started producing at home at only 13 years old. By the age of 16 I had songs on commercial radio. At 18 years old I started working at Fresh Fm in Australia, doing production and hosting the local music show Fresh Air. I was in charge of scheduling local music content and interviewing local producers and DJs. I asked to work on songs with the best people in the industry who all said yes since I was hosting the biggest local music show on radio in the state. I got to learn a lot from them. At the age of 19 I left radio and I started my own recording and production studio, which I have been doing full time successfully since and I am now 34. All of my sucess since then has really just been word of mouth and referrals. My Adelaide based studio was consistently in the top 5 studios on google for Adelaide, Australia. I married my wife in March 2017 and I have recently (March 2019) shut down my studio in Australia after running it successfully for 17 years to move to the US with my wife and I am opening a new recording and music production studio in Los Angeles this year (2019).
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I operated a commercial recording and music production studio in Adelaide, Australia for 17 years, Current Sound. I am now based in Los Angeles, California and I will be reopening Current Sound in Los Angeles but in the mean time I am working as a freelance producer and engineer in LA.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working with The Gordon Brothers who are a hit songwriting team that were responsible for all of songwriting credits in the artists mentioned above and we work together on a consistent basis. The songs we create are pitched to various labels and artists. I am also working on a bunch of songs for various independent artists.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: They usually are just curious about prices and will sometimes ask something too generic like. "How much for a beat?" or "How much for a remix?". However this price will vary depending on a lot of factors so I'll have to ask a few follow up questions to determine an answer as well as working out their budget because often I can still create something within a clients budget but it might not be to as high of a standard that I can do, so I might present them with a couple of different options and prices. The most popular question on Soundbetter (not in my studio) these days seems to be "I want a hit song?" "Can you make me a hit song?" Let me answer this for you. In my studio, yes, online, no because music is very personal and online we need to keep revisions to a minimum in order to keep prices affordable, when people ask for 'a hit song' they really mean 'a hit song' that they personally think represents themselves as an artist. I can however, 'make you a hit remix' online which you will own and can use as the original version of the song if you like because if you like the original, you will love the remix even more as it will be tailor made to your song, voice and style. If you don't have a song already, my main songwriters have their own profiles on Soundbetter as do many other singer songwriters, if you need a whole song done, I'd suggest contacting a top line writer on here first and then sending me the A Cappella to do a remix and do create all the music from scratch as I play and write chords by ear which I am very good at and can create all the music from scratch so at minimum, it's best to send me an inquiry with an A Cappella and then I can respond accordingly. If fact, I'd rather hear just an A Cappella if possible, even if it's a guide/demo vocal.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm one of those people that gets most excited about whatever I did last. A couple of recent songs, "Low", "Say Hello" and "Look at You" I'm very proud of. Those are song that I've produced for the songwriting team The Gordon Brothers that will be pitched to artists in the future.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not yet but I'm sure I'll find some in the future.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I hate this question, I kinda feel like the analogue guys just like it because they are used to it, everything can be emulated on the computer now. The only way to manipulate a sound is through EQ, harmonic distortion, compression and limiting. Analogue desks might do some of those things unintentionally but you can do it all intentionally on the computer if you know what you're doing.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I make sure my clients are always happy and feel in control.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to create music for a living and do what I love doing.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Well the general public confuse DJs and Producers often. I started as a producer and I make a living as a producer but I also do a little bit of DJing however I got into the much later and I mainly do it because most people expect me to be able to DJ. They're really not the same thing at all.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: It will obviously vary depending on whether the client is a singer, rapper or songwriter but some of the questions I ask is? Do you have a particular sound that you are after? What is your demographic and market. Eg, US east coast, west coast, UK, Europe? What is your budget? Do you want a vocal hook written or performed on your song and if so, what is your budget for that?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: There are a lot of cheap beats online but you really get what you pay for. Nothing beats a custom exclusive beat or remix that fits your style. Not to mention that the cheap beats online are often only leased which means they aren't exclusive to you unless you upgrade to an exclusive licence. For that price you could probably get your own beat tailor made for your style or song.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1. My hot wife 2. My keyboard/midi controller 3. My laptop 4. Some solar panels otherwise none of that stuff would work 5. Some sort device that converts salt water into drinking water so that I don't die as the word desert isn't too reassuring
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I'm better at fusing different genres together than most people so I don't like to say I just produce one genre but I guess my style is really more US based Hip Hop,Trap Urban and with cutting edge EDM sounds fused into the mix.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Mariah Carey, she just has such a good range and her producers are always hot so it would be a good compliment.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Learn to play the piano.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Hip Hop - Trap, East Coast, West Coast, Urban - Rnb, Club EDM
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Playing by ear and working with existing material and ideas as well as producing originals.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: All of the music ;) Not just that but a new fresh vibe and I try to make sure that the music brings out the best in the songwriting and the performance.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: If I'm working with a singer/songwriter or a songwriter and they want new production to a song they've written I'll either record or be supplied with an A Cappella. I usually don't listen to the original beat if there is one and create all of the music to fit the A Cappella. Then once it's finished, if there is an original beat or backing I'll then listen to it just to make sure that my version is better and different enough from the original. If I'm working with a rapper or DJ, they might have a sound in mind and I'll emulate the sound of the style they have in mind without. Other times, I'll suggest a sound or pitch an idea. I also just produce instrumentals/beats and then pitch these to different rapper and songwriters to write a top line to.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Timbaland, Quincy Jones, will.i.am, Diplo
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I have clients who come into my studio who are solo artists/singers or rappers and for those people I will create a custom beat for them and record them. I also work directly with established songwriters who are signed to different music publishers who write over existing backings (known as top line writers). Often these backings aren't that great so I create, write and produce completely new music for their songs prior to them submitting these songs to their publishers and my version will become the original version. The publisher will then pitch these songs to different labels and artists, hence why I end up with impressive artist credits. I also produce instrumentals/beats which are given to top line writers, rappers or sold online.