As part of ELEMNT.STORE Learn & to celebrate the release of KAGE Shadow Sounds Vol 1 we sat down with KAGE to discuss his production, career & see his amazingly mobile studio setup.
What made you pursue music?
I just loved making music after school to the point where I could not picture myself doing anything else for a living. Seeing Tiesto play at the 2004 Olympics and also my brother’s music taste got me into electronic music at a young age. Old-school Trance made me want to become a DJ, then I got my hands on FL Studio 7, way back, and the rest is history.
How do you make bass presets in Serum?
How was your time at HBA (DUTCH Music School) & do you have any advice for others studying?
HBA was perfect for me as I went into it without any clue about the industry, how things work, and without any network in the music scene. My advice is to make use of the time and people. You’ve got three years to build a network and learn from multiple classes filled with like-minded people and a school filled with teachers who are or were industry players. Take your time getting to know yourself and create your own sound, but also don’t be afraid to ask around and to see how others work.
What was something that helped you progress with your production & sound design?
I’ve always been a fan of many different genres of music, I think taking inspiration from more than one point definitely helped me. I play guitar and piano, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it for my productions. My biggest inspiration comes from listening to music and livesets. After I soak all that in I let my mind do the creative work. I learn from what’s there and try to deviate my sound from them.
What are your thoughts on bigger albums vs smaller EPs?
I love bigger albums if they tell an actual story. I’d like to do that someday, I have plenty of ideas already. For now, I prefer smaller EPs & single releases as it brings more attention to the track. With a bigger EP or album there’s always a few tracks that feel like throwaways, in the sense of getting skipped in favor of the more popular ones.
What is house music to you, how would you define it & when creating your own sound in the house genre what was the process?
House music is timeless. There are so many subgenres and endless ways it could shape just by keeping some of the house fundamentals, which to me are groove and energy. I took inspiration from trance and electro house at first, then came bass house. I’ve always preferred the darker and deeper atmospheres in music so this just worked for me.
Do you use any hardware or are you all in the box?
I don’t use any hardware, I’d probably end up playing around too much instead of finishing tracks. Also, it’s expensive.
Can you give us a small look at your studio setup?
It’s just me, my laptop and my cheap earplugs wherever I want to sit. It’s all about what you’re used to working with.
EDITOR'S NOTE — That is honestly KAGE's setup! The minimalism is inspiring!
Do you have any tips for upcoming producers?
I usually say ‘Less is More’, but this time I’ll say; Don’t overlook the artist / branding part of the job. There’s both creatively and financially so much to be done and gained through solid branding. Find something you like that fits you and your music, and apply it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as crazy as wearing a mask or helmet, but even the simplest but memorable branding could make your name stand out.
Thank you for being so generous with your time, KAGE ✌