Cutting his teeth in production before entering the world of DJing, ETC!ETC! (aka Jose Guerrero) has mastered the art of making moombahton, trap and electro. In this interview, the multi-faceted, genre-defying musician talks about his creative processes and the story behind the making of his forthcoming single on Firepower Records with Tha Trickaz entitled “Supa Hot Fire.”
What motivated you to start producing?
I started making music in bands when I was 17 years old. I’ve always loved the whole creative process of writing and making a song, which was always in me. When I started making my own music, I downloaded a bunch of production software and started tracking guitars and drums. Of course now it’s much easier with all the software that is out.
What is your preferred DAW of choice and why?
After trying tons of DAWs I landed on Ableton and I stayed with it. To be honest, it’s very easy for me to use and I’m so used to it by now. I know all its ins and outs, but I’m always learning new things. A lot of my close producer friends also use it, so it’s very easy to sit down and collaborate on a bunch of things.
What’s the first thing you do when trying to get your drums to sound good?
Hit up Bro Safari! [Laughs] honestly, his drum work is crazy. His production is on point. Whenever I want to get feedback on something I send it to him and he kinda guides me to where I need to go. A lot of the time it’s hit or miss—just keep messing with filters, EQ or anything to try to get it to sound right, or at least to the point where my ears are happy.
When it comes to bass, do you feel synths or sampling is better?
I feel like making your own synth is better because you are able to manipulate it or make it any way you want. There are times where a sample might be the “right” sample, but most time I feel like a real synth gives the track the best piece of sound.
What’s your most sought-after piece of gear at the moment?
That’s a tough one because there is gear that I definitely want. I think maybe some more monitors. [You can] never go bad with a good pair of studio monitors.
Out of all the tracks you start, how many would you say you actually finish?
I will say that I try to finish every track I start. Mostly I would say I end up finishing two songs out of five.
What is your monitoring setup like?
I keep it simple with two Adam 7s. They do their job and I’m happy.
Favorite pair of headphones?
Sol Republic HDs.
How did your collaboration with Tha Trickaz come about?
I’ve known Julien from Tha Trickaz for a few years now. I did my first tour on a bus with him. We always talked about a collab, but this past March I was in Paris and we hung out and really went in on a track. When I got back to the States, I had a sample of something he started in my mailbox. [I] got the stems and we went back and forth. I was really stoked about the tune, so we finished it pretty fast.
What’s your best piece of advice for new producers?
Always be open to criticism. Don’t feel like someone is putting your track down if they give you feedback; it’s always a way of growing. Also, be patient—quality over quantity. Take time on the tune, you’ll get the best end result.