Chad Hugo and Pharrell are the two genius music producers who make up The Neptunes. They’re responsible for many smash hits of the 1990’s and 2000’s, and have managed to blossom with their own unique sound that combines electronic funk and percussions, as well as musical influences from Asia and the Middle East.
Here’s a very interesting interview they did back in 2006 on what they would do with only $10,000. From what they say, it’s not money you would have to dump down all at one time on equipment, but a gradual save and invest strategy. Read on for the interview or scroll down to the bottom for the video.
Pharrell: “The first thing I would do is definitely take piano lessons, just to know what it is that you’re playing and become familiar with music itself, and not just what you hear….and $10,000 would definitely get a Pro Tools Starter Kit.”
Chad Hugo: “Yeah…some kind of little portable studio so that you can have a hands on learning experience. We started out with an 8-track, like a little cassette tape which I am glad that we went through despite of all the technology that’s out today. That old little measly cassette tape thing taught us how to patch our own stuff and work with what we had like 8-tracks.”
“Nowadays there’s so much technology that you can easily just get overwhelmed. I say just start with something simple. A little recorder machine, a microphone, take piano lessons, take some kind of instrument lessons and depending on what you’re doing, I say learn how to DJ too. That helps out with being able to pick records and learning why you like a certain song and why you like listening to something that helps you find a groove.”
Pharrell: “That’s it. That’s really it. But definitely like some sort of Pro Tools Starter Kit. Something where it’s not too difficult to learn because like he said (Chad), it can become overwhelming because once you see like 10,000 buttons and all these infinite possibilities of arranging things, it just becomes so much and you sort of lose yourself.”
“You should start off with something that doesn’t really and cannot accommodate you fully so that you strive for more and there’s something you want to do, but “damn, this doesn’t have that capability”. So then you work a little harder and you save up your money and it makes you appreciate it, and from that point on, you’ll be getting to master all of the equipment that you use.”
“That’s what’s important. You can’t master like a full on studio and in one year, you can forget about it. But what you can master is the art of playing piano and reading, and learning on small equipment and knowing when it’s time for you to expand. That’s how we did it. I mean, not to say that’s the only way but…”
Chad Hugo: “There’s always equipment that will emulate old things. If you don’t even know those old things you’re emulating then what’s the purpose?”
Pharrell: “That’s right.”
One of the most important things mentioned by Pharrell is to start off with something simple and gradually build your way up. I wholeheartedly agree with this advice, and it applies not to just music production but with anything that’s complicated to learn. You need to learn to walk before you can run.================================================================
If you want to start making beats or become successful at it, then you're going to need some great music production equipment to enhance your skills. Take a look at the following: