At just 21, Alvyn's list of credits as a music producer and muso are longer than Miley's tongue. Here he chats favourite gigs, the programs he uses and how you can get your start.
1. Tell us about your work as a music producer:
Basically I make music with a laptop. There's really not that much to it in my opinion. In terms of what I've done so far, I've been a session band member for Tim & Jean as well as the producer for The Lazy Calm over the last few years. I've also made music for independent filmmakers and organisations on the side whenever opportunities arise. Currently I'm working as a solo artist under the name of LVYN which is mostly electronic music and beats. I'm also in the process of producing tracks for Young Chozen's upcoming EP and I'm excited to see what will happen from that. As more of a hobby I also enjoy DJing using Ableton which is the same software I use to record with. This allows me to bring production elements to a live DJ setup which is fun. Other than that I'm always looking for valuable opportunities to collaborate with people and produce music.
2. There are quite a few different artists and projects you've been involved with, what are some of your favourites so far?:
My time playing as a session musician for Tim & Jean was fun. I got to tour around Australia playing at big festivals which was an awesome and humbling experience. After that as previously mentioned I became the producer, guitarist and keyboardist for my band The Lazy Calm and made an album contracted under Universal Records which was a great learning curve for me. These two projects would probably be my favourites so far.
3. What do you love about producing music?:
For me, producing is a way of expressing myself through crafting sounds into music. I enjoy trying to experiment with weird noises and then turning them into something melodic. For example I might record a random sound of something ridiculous like maybe a hammer hitting glass and then stretch that sample until it becomes a melody, which may then become the hook of a song. Being a producer is awesome because unlike playing in a live situation where things are spontaneous and often imperfect, you can sit down for hours recording, tweaking and modifying sounds til you feel you are either satisfied or frustrated. I love the fact that you can start off with something in mind and finish with a sound that was completely different to what was intended because of the way creativity flows. Producing is definitely something that's a part of who I am now and has enabled me to convey how I feel to others without necessarily having to write lyrics and sing.
4. You have been playing in bands and producing music for several years now, how did you get started?:
I started out learning classical piano when I was 6, then picked up guitar and started messing around on drums a few years later. In high school I played and sang in a pop punk band and it was then that I started to try and record my bands' songs at home with a computer which sparked my interest in music production. But in terms of learning how to use recording software and equipment, like many others I've basically learned everything I know from friends and Youtube.
5. Where do you get your inspiration from?:
Mainly just life and how I'm feeling as well as whatever I'm listening too at the time. (which really sucks sometimes because I want my music to sound original!)
6. Best gigs you've performed at:
Probably have to be Splendour in the Grass 2011 (with Foster the People and many other acts) as well as Wonderland 2013 (with Flume, Bag Raiders, PNAU and Alison Wonderland)
7. Favourite artists at the moment:
(in no particular order)
James Vincent McMorrow
8. Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
9. What advice do you have for someone who wants to start producing music?:
If you want to get into production, a basic setup involves a computer with recording software, a midi keyboard, an audio interface, a microphone, headphones and studio monitors. However the backbone of an entire setup is in the software, so essentially that's all you need to get started. If you have a Mac, Garageband is a good place to start then moving to either Logic or Ableton is quite a common course of action.
In regards to learning, Youtube and Google are your best friends. There's tonnes of information out there for free which is awesome for people that want to get into it.
However, what it takes to be a producer is someone who has the patience and humility to learn and continually improve. It's not easy to master the art of production (I have a very very long way to go) but if you ask me, it is very fulfilling in the long term and definitely recommend giving it a go if you feel like you might enjoy it.
Check out Lazy Calm's latest: