Story by JAGER CHYNOWETH
Utah is known for its surreal landscapes and access to outdoor activities. What many wouldn’t know is that the Beehive State is emerging as a prominent music scene, especially for hip-hop artists.
For years, Utah’s culture and the hip-hop scene were at opposite ends of the spectrum. This has proved to be a difficult hump for Utah emcees and producers to overcome. But technology is helping to raise the profile of the local music scene.
As advancements in technology continue to increase, it is not so far-fetched that even Utah could become a big name in music. But it also poses the risk of a glut of artists vying for listeners’ attention.
Chandler Paulson, a local producer known as Channy P, credits technology for helping him become an emerging producer.
At 14, his introduction to music creation started when he and his little brother were given a $100 gift certificate for Christmas. They decided to spend it on a music-making software called Mixcraft.
With this software, he was able to transform from a high school freshman with no musical background to a college senior who has begun producing and making beats for a large number of different rappers and singers in Utah.
“Tech advancement has given me the tools to learn the different components and aspects necessary to compose sounds that are sonically pleasing, without the hassle of learning to play instruments,” he said.
In turn, this allowed him to fast-track his knowledge of music theory. Technology has generated a new way for producers to read music by adding shortcuts with preset chords and progressions that are built into the software itself. This informed Channy P on how professional quality music should sound and be created.
Music making programs have become an essential piece in creating quality music regardless of someone’s knowledge of music. Channy P says that all digital audio workstations, or DAW, like FL Studio, Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Ableton, are the starting point for making music today. He insists that meeting and working with other producers benefits each other as they watch and learn how someone else operates their DAW and makes music.
The current producer scene is not large, but it is quickly growing. Channy P said that a lot of rappers, bands and musicians in Utah are now turning to local producers who understand the components needed to build a song, to learn how to make higher quality sounding music.
With the continuance of emerging music technology, schools like Salt Lake DJ and Production, or SLDP, have created courses which teach you how to maneuver a DAW. Another local producer, Mad$haw, who works closely with Channy P, is a product of these classes.
For Mad$haw it all started with a music foundation class in March 2017. After four months in the course, he accelerated to an advanced class which taught him how make music using the software Ableton. After finishing the six-month course, Mad$haw enrolled in a weekly advanced mastering class. Before taking this class he had no musical involvement.
“With music technology advancing it has given someone like me, with little musical background, the ability to quickly learn how to make music,” Mad$haw said.
The course taught him how to make, mix and master beats. Although he is still learning music theory, he is able to compose his own melodies and chord progressions using Ableton with no issues. He insists that there would be no way for him to jump into a music career so late in life if it was not for this technology.
Even though advancements in musical technology have lowered the bar for making music, it has also led an oversaturated music scene. Channy P says that the biggest problem is that anyone thinks they can produce or be an artist without actually putting in the time to learn and understand how music is really made. Also, there are free music streaming services available that make it easier to release new songs.
Videos posted to Youtube also teach people how to mimic certain sounds that were created by popular producers, which has diluted some producers creative edge.
“An authentic producer understands the music making components regardless of what genre or sound he or she is trying to achieve,” Channy P said. “Hip hop is becoming extremely saturated and it is even harder to find good producers who know the correct terminology and have an understanding of music theory in general.”
Although oversaturation could be a looming problem for Hip hop, Channy P is grateful for streaming services like SoundCloud to promote his own music. He’s obviously not alone.
“SoundCloud has grasped the attention of today’s youth making it a gateway for artists like me to display my art and gain a fan base quickly,” said local rapper Madgi.