Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
In the spotlight this week is a the skillful and gifted Producer/Singer Songwriter/Comic Writer out of Calgary, AB., Michael 8! I have to let you know, I have so much gratitude for this person! He was one of the first people to hear all about Studio B Podcast back in September of 2019 at the YYC Music Awards - and encouraged it! Thank you, Michael, for believing in this project - that has grown immensely.
Michael is BRILLIANT and ACCOMPLISHED! Thank you for joining me this week Michael!
You NEED to know about Michael 8!! (If you don't already and if you do, here's your reminder of how incredible he is!).
"Scholar and advanced graduate of The Academy Of Production And Recording Arts, Michael Hill has spent years using his skills to produce his own music in electronic rock act Septembryo since 2006. Lending his talents to a select few artists over the years, his services are now open to the public for the first time ever. As a YYCMA nominated songwriter, specializing in creating song structure and arrangements for solo artists of all genres, Michael can also help you write or co-write your next big hit." - audiohouse.ca
Learn more about Michael 8 here:
Sarah Scott (SS): Since this is your first time on a Studio B platform (and I'm very excited about this), tell us a bit about yourself, your producing and your own music!
Michael 8 (M8): Hey thanks so much for having me! Septembryo is my main musical project that I pour most of my time into. It can be described as paranormal themed electronic pop rock that features a comic book series of the same name. I also have a post hardcore project called Telephone Silence. I write and produce for both of these projects but didn’t start writing/producing for other artists officially until November 2019. Now it’s been almost 3 years full time as Love Hz Productions, I’m working with the Audiohouse, Kulinary Records as well as freelancing with various artists and I couldn’t be happier. I really love my job!
SS: Now, you're with Audiohouse and Kulinary Recording (and freelance) out of Calgary as a producer. How do you describe your working/production style and what genre(s) of music do you produce? What genre do you enjoy producing the most?
M8: My favourite thing about working in production is being able to work with genres I normally would never have the chance to otherwise. I’ve done everything from country, pop, punk, hip hop, meditation, as well as written for films, podcasts and more. It’s too hard to pick a favourite genre but what I love most is working with solo artists who often start with just vocals and one instrument and helping them develop the full sound that they envision.
SS: When an artist is looking to work with a producer, such as yourself, what are the qualities of a good producer an artist should look for and be aware of?
M8: If you can find a producer who is focused more on bringing out what makes your song special to begin with, rather than changing it based on what they think will be popular, then I think you’ll have found a good match. I once had someone ask me if I ever had to work on something I didn’t like and the answer to that was a hard no. Because I don’t believe a producer can effectively do their job if they don’t appreciate and see the potential of the projects they’re working on. Anyone can pick something apart and criticize it, but to be able to see the potential in something unfinished or unpolished and get excited about it before it’s obvious to everyone else, I think that is the key role of the producer. Because only then can they work to make what’s special about a song obvious to the average listener and in turn get them excited about it.
SS: You're also a songwriter, specializing in creating song structure and arrangements for solo artists of all genres. How should an artist be prepared to come into a writing session with you or with any other songwriters/producers? What can they do and how can they be prepared to have a productive writing session?
M8: Not much really needs to be prepared beforehand honestly. However having a clear vision for the kind of songs you want to write is essential. Knowing what type of audience you want to reach and write for will help bring focus to the session for both the artist and collaborator.
The lines between writing and production can be pretty blurred as well so an artist can come to me at any stage of the process and we can effectively begin working together. I’ve had artists send me everything from a cappella voice note recordings from their phones to full recorded demos with a band. So there’s really nothing I need prepared to a certain level to begin work. I’ll usually ask for a few song samples that represent what they imagine for the vibe of the song or, if they’re just starting out, their vibe as an artist. I like to have conversations with my clients about their influences and what inspires them. Because even if an artist doesn’t have a clear idea of what their vision for their sound is, we can usually find that within that conversation. Oftentimes an artist’s original sound is the sum of all their musical influences.
SS: Do you have a favorite piece of music that you worked on?
M8: That changes all the time. Usually it’s just the latest thing I’m working on haha. I’m always most excited about the latest project. But an example of a finished song that stands out for me off the top of my head is “Worst Case” by Lisette Xavier ft. Sincere which got nominated for a YYC Music Award this year.
You can find him at:
And of course on all DSPs!