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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Apollo Brown Uses Broken Equipment to Make Great Music

When I was younger I thought being a great DJ and producer meant owning piles of expensive gear.  I've realized over time that this is a completely flawed way of thinking.  Growing up I was discouraged that I was unable to afford an "adequate" sampler and it prevented me from trying to produce earlier in life.  I know some analog purists hate the fact that beats can now be made with cheap software, a computer, and mouse, but I think it is inspiring.  DAWs provide a great entryway for people who want to produce but don't have a lot of capital to invest.  

While some shake their heads and laugh to themselves when people mention programs like Acid Pro, Cool Edit, and FL Studio (formerly Fruity Loops), these programs can no longer be denied.  Danger Mouse, one half of Broken Bells and co-producer of numerous projects with The Black Keys, has used Acid Pro on several of his critically acclaimed projects.  Grammy award winning producers 9th Wonder and Boi-1da have shown that award-winning, major label music can be created on FL Studio.  And Apollo Brown, a veteran Detroit producer whose resume boasts collabos with Ghostface Killah and OC, continues to use the obsolete multi-tracking program Cool Edit and a computer with a half-broken keyboard to crank out beats that are undeniable.

In a must-read 2012 interview with Kevin Nottingham, Apollo broke down the method to his madness.  "I still have the same computer, I still have the same four blown speakers, and I still have the same keyboard that only 16 keys work because it got flood damage...Only thing that is different is my mouse because my other mouse broke...My setup is very basic, simple and that is what I live by…simplicity."  Apollo's story helps re-enforce the ideal that you shouldn't stop being creative just because you don't have the means to afford pricey equipment.  If you feel that you should be making music, try to find a way to make it, even if your setup isn't ideal.  

Apollo's story is also inspiring because of his perseverance.  He states in several interviews that he has been making music (with Cool Edit) since 1996, but didn't receive a great deal of recognition until 2007.  Now in his early 30s, Apollo appears poised to reach new highs with his music.  This goes to show that hard work, passion, and a willingness to not give up can help you overcome various obstacles.  If you are a producer struggling to get by right now, remember that instead of sitting around and counting the reasons why you haven't been recognized yet, you should start working on improving your craft and getting better every day.   

For further inspiration form Apollo Brown, check out the video below.  Also make sure to stop by his Bandcamp page.  

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