Mija on her go-to techniques and navigating the “gray period” of music production

Amber Giles (a.k.a. Mija) is a DJ-turned-producer who has performed at the world’s largest festivals and released music on renowned labels like OWSLA and Fool’s Gold.

Yet despite her successes, Mija still often sees herself as a beginner in her craft. “I constantly feel like I just learned how to produce yesterday,” she notes. “I don’t think that feeling ever entirely goes away — it becomes easier, but the more you do it, the more you learn, and each day you become better than the day before.”

While this feeling of continuous improvement is enjoyed by beginners and veterans alike, a unique challenge for those just starting out on their music production journey is the roadblocks that come with navigating the unknown. “When you’re learning how to produce music, there’s such a long ‘gray period’ that you have to work through that’s incredibly frustrating, before the lightbulbs go off,” Mija states. “Once those lightbulbs do go off, you can actually start to make things that you like, and then that’s when it gets fun.”

To help the lightbulbs go off, Mija recommends starting out with just stock plugins. “I think my biggest mistake was downloading a bunch of VST plugins, while not even knowing how to really use the DAW,” she recalls. “Get rid of all of your plugins and learn how to use things in stock Ableton, so that way you actually know how everything works. And then start building your collection again,” Mija suggests.

Watch the video above to learn more production techniques from Mija, and download her sample pack to incorporate her genre-defying sound into your own productions.

January 16, 2020

Harrison Shimazu

Harrison Shimazu is a composer, content strategist, and writer who’s passionate about democratizing music creation and education. He leads the Splice blog and produces vocaloid music as Namaboku.