David Smith (Producer DDS) embodies the spirit of music production. For over ten years, he’s crafted his unique sound through countless hours of practice and application. In 2014, he produced Dej Loaf’s runaway hit “Try Me,” which earned him a Gold plaque. Since then, he’s won two BMI music awards and built a following of over 30k through his YouTube channels.
Take me back to when you produced “Try Me” for Dej Loaf in 2014. Did you believe this song would change the course of your life?
At the time that I made the beat for “Try Me,” I had just gotten laid off a few days before. So, I was in a negative space. I wanted to make a beat that had a positive feel to it. I titled beat “Good Life,” and ironically, that’s what that beat gave me.
Have you ever felt like you had to chase that next hit record?
Yes, I have. “Try Me” gave me a taste of what’s out there. Now, I want to have a more significant hit record. As far as I know, “Try Me” has only been certified as a Gold record. I really want to reach that platinum milestone. I don’t pressure myself as much as I used to about chasing a hit record because I realized I wasn’t chasing that with “Try Me.” I just wanted to work. So, I’m taking that approach more these days. I believe that will lead me to make better music.
Is there a particular process you follow when you make music, or are you free form-based?
Honestly, there’s no real process. I load up Maschine, open a VST (Instrument), select a random sound, and have fun with it until I find something I like. From there, I build upon it until the track is complete.
As an entrepreneur, how do you balance your workload during a typical day?
I’m huge into scheduling my time. One of the best tools on the iPhone is the Reminders app. It helps me make sure whatever I need to accomplish that day gets accomplished. I schedule the important things that need to get done the night before. I base what I do first on the priority of the project. After breakfast, some days, I’ll jump right into making videos, and other days I’ll be sitting down responding to emails. But on days when I don’t have anything that needs to be done right away, I’ll go with the flow. I may start working beats for an hour or so and check out what’s going on in the world. From there I’ll work on some videos. Once that’s done, I’m either editing the videos, mixing the beats I have ready, or writing out plans and ideas for other videos and projects until it is time to pick my son up from school. During these hours, I respond to comments, post videos, read, or maybe chill out depending on the day.
What’s one misconception about music producers of today?
A misconception that I deal with a lot is people trying to make beats and thinking they’ll see success (placements, online sales, etc.) within the first few months of trying. Technology has made it easier to make better music, so people think they can jump in and take off. But, there’s still an amount of time that needs to be put in practicing your craft and building your skills. People will email me and say they’ve been making beats for two months, and nothing is happening. On top of that, they aren’t consistently working on music. I understand people have lives and have to work. But, there’s no excuse for saying you want to be successful; however, you’re only making one beat per month. I’ve been making beats for about 12 years now, and I work on music regularly, and I still feel like I have much farther to go.
As an active investor in the stock market, what are some tips you can give a novice who wants to start investing?
My tip for anyone wanting to get started with the stock market is, educate yourself! The knowledge is all out there. You can read books, watch videos, take courses, and so much more about investing. Get rid of the misconception that investing is hard or only for wealthy people. Investing is a tool to help you build wealth. Also, be sure to read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” to help you understand the mindset you should have when investing. It’s a quick read, and it’s worth checking out. “Think and Grow Rich” is another excellent book you can read about investing.
Talk about your placement on Icewear Vezzo’s new project, “Drank Baby.”
I’m glad to have been a part of this project! I’ve been a fan of Vezzo since I first heard his track “Money Phone” years ago. I always wanted to have a record with him. Back in January of 2014, I started doing a 365 project which was me uploading a beat to YouTube every day for a year, and the first beat I uploaded was an Icewear Vezzo Type Beat. The track was a surprise to me. I met Vezzo for the first time back in August of 2018. I went through some beats with him at the studio and was excited about the possibility of getting a track with him. Fast forward about 10 months, a music executive named Dame hits me up and tells me that they have a record with Vezzo and Dej on my beat. I texted Vezzo’s manager Chanel to hear the track. When I heard it, I was surprised by the beat because it wasn’t a beat that I’d given him at the studio when we met. I must shout out Dej Loaf for setting this up. She was the only person who had that beat. I think it turned out great. I love the track. I look forward to doing more work with them in the future.
What can producers expect from your online courses?
With my Maschine course entitled “How I Use Maschine,” producers can expect to learn exactly how I use Maschine by Native Instruments to make beats. I go in full detail about how and why I do everything that I do. I cover everything from the primary buttons on the Maschine to finishing a beat. Now for my mixing course entitled “How I Mix Beats,” I go over why mixing is essential and also how I mix my beats. My method is very different from a lot of other mixing videos I’ve seen on YouTube. So, my approach may be more straightforward for people.
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