Christopher Nunn on Music Production
1. What do you get from producing that you can’t get from anything else?
It's fun and it’s something I can do on my own and in my own space as opposed to photography which usually involves going out into the world and engaging with people. I love that of course, it's what I do and it's very important to me, but music gives me something different. It's meditative in a different kind of way. I can get lost in my own little sonic universe.
2. Do you DJ as well? How do the two fit together?
I used to DJ a bit. That was the first thing I started doing years ago. I saved up and got a pair of Technics and was really into scratching and beat juggling and all that stuff. From that I started getting into making beats on an old version of Cubase. I think it's a natural progression.
3. How do you go about it? What’s the ideal time, place, and mood to be in?
For me I like to be relaxed and in my own space where I can experiment and feel like I don't have anything else to think about. Or perhaps more specifically working with music takes my mind off anything else that's going on. It's very therapeutic and puts me in a nice mood.
I really enjoy the process of listening to records and finding a sample, chopping it up and reworking it. This usually forms the skeleton of a track. Then I'll start layering sounds, adding drums or instruments and seeing how it evolves. I'm always looking for sounds to sample. It could be from vinyl, tapes, movies, or things I've recorded.
I have a little synth as well which is a lot of fun. Sometimes I won’t work with samples at all and create something entirely from synths or instruments. I'll build up melodies and little chord progressions or just make some noise. I have a looper pedal so sometimes I'll build up little pieces of music on the fly. I really enjoy to play keys but I’m not a trained musician and it’s all very new to me still.
4. How did you get started with music production?
I was really into hip hop at school, mainly early 90’s east coast stuff. From that I became interested in the sample sources used by producers. This opened up a whole new world and completely expanded and diversified my taste in music. I used to go to all the car boot sales hunting for vinyl hoping for that ultra rare obscure gem but it was always loads of Perry Como or Holst’s ‘The Planets’.
The earliest thing I remember was trying to make little beats and stuff on the shitty PC my parents had in the basement. This was even before I started DJing. I had a cracked copy of Sound Forge or something and used to cut stuff up and make loops. I remember having a 'track’ I made on a floppy disk. It had some dialogue samples from Terminator 2 on it. It was garbage obviously, but I remember getting a real buzz from that.
Over the years I kept dabbling with it but it was on the back burner until last year when I had eye injuries and needed something away from photography or visual art that I could work on, and music came back. I don’t really make anything that sounds like hip hop now, but that's how it started.
5. Do you think you’ll keep doing it?
Definitely. Maybe I will do something that uses images and sound. There are all sorts of possibilities. For now though it's my little hobby that I love and I don't feel compelled to share anything at the moment. I want to keep it fun and an escape from whatever else I am doing.
6. A few people - such as Torsten Prufrock or Henrick Jonsson - strike me as producers of another level of quality. Who stands out to you?
Actually I heard some Porn Sword Tobacco (Jonsson) stuff recently and really liked it. I've been listening to quite a bit of Nicolas Jaar/Darkside. I think they make some really interesting music. There is so much out there though, it's hard to keep on top of it all. Recently I’ve been listening to Knxwledge quite a bit, I definitely rate him. I also heard some new Colleen stuff the other day. She makes very beautiful music.