Interview: Darcy DaQuino

In this interview with Darcy DaQuino you’ll read more about him and his workflow. Everything from his structuring to mixing and mastering will be answered! Darcy joined us as the first producer on NXT Music and we are really proud to have him in our musical family.

Name: Daan Posthuma
Artist name: Darcy DaQuino
Age: 27
Birthplace: Amsterdam
Currently residing: Purmerend

How did you get started in music?

I started DJing at the age of 14. Back then I didn’t produce music, but I was playing gigs around the northern part of The Netherlands. I started producing music when I was 18 and took some keyboard lessons to really learn the basics of the keys.

Do you play any instruments?

I used to play keys, but very basic. I could play a couple of songs, but currently I’m fully concentrating on music production.  

Which famous musicians influenced you? Why?

  • Avicii, because I started producing progressive house music because of him. His music has amazing and catchy chord progressions, melodies and vocals.
  • Axwell, because of the love of house music. I already liked the old Axwell music, but with the merge of SHM and Axwell^Ingrosso they became my idols and motivation.
  • Third Party. Also because of the progressive house music. Have been to a few festivals in The Netherlands and saw them play live. Amazing performance and emotions in their productions. They just released a new album called: Together which is amazing!
  • Lots and lots of Dutch DJ’s as well, but I can’t name them all haha. Few of the highlights are: Armin van Buuren, Sick individuals, Dannic, Magnificence, Julian Calor.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?

I started listening to hip-hop and r&b on The Music Factory Channel (TMF) when I was young. I first discovered house music in high school when I was playing vinyl records at my uncle’s house. This is how I got in touch with DJing. When I started DJing I liked a lot of different electronic music genres such as funky house, electro house, trance, Swedish house, disco, pop, and more. Eventually progressive house made it’s rise at around 2011-2012. Since then progressive, electro house and Swedish underground house were my favorite.

Could you briefly describe your music-making process?

I don’t’ follow the same process every time I start a new track, but I made my own template in Logic pro X. This saves me time to make all the channels and some start-up plugins. First, I create the chords, followed by the melody and chord-harmonics. Other tracks I started with creating a drop first, but I try to follow one or two paths. After the chords and melody, I will build the first version of the first breakdown and then start with the drop and then glue the breakdown and drop together with a first version of a buildup to create tension. Eventually the track will evolve in its own way. I like working at different parts in the same studio session. Otherwise I will get bored or tired of just making one part of the track.

How do you test the quality of your music after you created something?

After having a solid base of the track, I export the track to .wav and listen it in my earplugs/headphones and in the car. This helps me decide whether I want to keep producing the track or throw it away. When I’m back in the studio I will keep working on the arrangement and when I’m happy with the result, I will create the intro and outro. From here on the arrangement is finished and I start with mixing the track inside the same project. When I’m busy with the arrangement I often add a basic cutoff EQ and/or some distortion to make it clean up the lows and extreme highs and fat up some of the sounds before I dive into the mixing process.

How do you mix your tracks?

When mixing I will add a reference track which suits the style of my new track to keep A/B testing to see if I’m on the right path with the mixing process. I like to mix on separate channels, but on busses/groups as well. Eventually, when the first version of the mix is ready, I’ll export the track again to .wav and keep listening to it a couple of days on my earplugs/headphones and in the car. Besides those reference items, I like to send my music to my music producer friends for feedback. I always ask trustworthy friends to give feedback to a track. Even if some of those friends don’t have anything to do with music, it’s still important. This process keeps repeating itself until I’m happy and finish the final mix.

How do you master your tracks and do you master tracks yourself?

I usually don’t master myself but know a couple of good mastering engineer guys that can master it for me. A fresh pair of new ears is more reliable to a track than myself because by that time I already listened my track a 1000 times.

Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration?

From tracks/songs on Spotify or when a melody comes to mind, I try to record it with my phone, so I can work this out in the studio afterwards. Sometimes from moods and life-events, like breakups or happy moments.

What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in music?

Keep practicing and collaborating with other music producers. Best is to meet people on internet forums or at music conferences (like Dancefair and ADE in The Netherlands), at school, your town or wherever. You can learn almost anything yourself nowadays with all those tutorials on YouTube, but you can learn even more by sharing knowledge when collaborating. That’s how I met my friend Kevin. We found each other on Facebook and started chatting and exchanging music. Eventually we met and started to collaborate.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

To get my productions to a professional level. I mean the arrangement, mixing, mastering and everything around creating and improving my music. I still find it hard to get my music signed to labels. My next goal is to sign music at some of the major labels, like Armada, Axtone, Size records, Spinnin’ records, Revealed recordings, just to name a few.

How were you able to overcome that challenge?

In order to reach a professional level, I keep producing music and following tutorials. When turning knobs, you learn what sounds you can make from a certain VST. You can create unique sounds and incorporate them into future projects. This is how I’ve created my own sound.

What has been the most rewarding experience as a musician?

When a DJ plays your own production live. Best feeling ever to see people dance to your music. Goosebumps.

Can you describe your most memorable performance?

My most memorable performance was when I played a warmup set before Blasterjaxx came on at the mainstage of The Unknown festival, back in 2013. Blasterjaxx was up and coming back then and it was an honor to play before them. It was a small electronic music festival in Abbekerk (The Netherlands), but the crowd and vibe were sick. A lot of friends were standing in front of the stage to support me and it was my first mainstage gig at a festival.

What upcoming projects / releases / shows / etc. can we look forward to?

Right now, I’m busy in the studio creating new music. Some solo projects but collaborations as well. The goal is to get those tracks signed and I will see from there. Sometimes I play a couple of radio shows in the neighborhood to promote my music and some gigs at student parties and such. I will keep you guys updated!

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