Sounding out the self: Ceri talks production tricks, lockdown lessons & personal growth
When Ceri set out on a mission to find her own sound, in the process she found herself too.
The DJ, producer, label owner and music teacher’s musical journey has been one that’s in turn set her on a personal path to inner happiness, self-care and acceptance.
Now based between London and Ibiza, Ceri is intent on sharing the lessons, challenges and tips she’s learnt through her own experiences as a producer and DJ.
After doing a masters in music production and teaching at the likes of Point Blank, Ceri set up her own Find Your Own Sound masterclasses which give new producers the tools to take their music to the next level, from arrangement to mixing down and generally finding a sound that’s unique to you.
When she’s not sharing pearls of wisdom, you’ll find her hard at work on her own projects. Her own brand of punchy house and techno has come via labels like Decay and Save You Records, as well as her own imprint Find Your Own, a home for her productions since 2017, as well as reworks from artists like Fred P and Mr. G.
This months ahead will see her leading more of her production masterclasses, as well as getting back in the booth at the likes of Fabric and Junction 2. But before things get busy, we spoke to her about reflections on lockdown, self-care, tips and tricks and helping producers on their personal music quests…
Hey Ceri, What’s happening in your world right now?
Hey Guys! Right now I am building a life between London and Ibiza. I couldn’t decide where to be based as I love both so much. So I decided that I didn’t have to choose and I can do and have the best of both worlds. I also recently recovered from the long c-word. I don’t want to give that too much attention, because it’s time to forget about it now. Although I do think it’s worth mentioning, just to say to anyone else who’s experiencing it, that there is an end in sight and you can and will get over it and seeing a functional doctor or naturopath is key when it comes to these kind of things. It’s also my five years no alcohol soon as well so will be celebrating that. I gave up coffee and sugar when I gave up alcohol too, but I have cracked on those ones a few times not gonna lie.
What has the time away from the “normal” routine of working in the music industry taught you?
That sleep is actually underrated, not overrated! Time in silence is a must for me, to be truly connected to my intuition and creativity. Also that sometimes you need a break from something you love, to be able to fall back in love with it all over again.
Photo: Ceri in THIS studios, where she’s running music production courses for beginners.
You’ve got some great festival slots in the diary this year, including Junction 2 in June, are you looking forward to getting back in the booth properly for the first full festival season in a couple of years?
Yes I can’t wait! My first gig ‘back’ in the world last summer was the Junction 2 Inner City gig, and I almost had an orgasm when I played a particularly housey track with loads of synths – hearing music on a big sound system for the first time in so long felt so good! It made me remember the healing power of music, and why I love house music so much. I can’t wait to play the festival in June either, I’m playing two sets on the main stage which will be really nice. I love playing warm ups and I love playing peak time. The team have pulled it of against so many challenges over the past few years, so I am really happy it’s finally happening and can not wait! It will be worth the two year wait and more for sure.
Anything coming up for you on the production side of things?
I had to have a break from music making for a while for various reasons. And then when I started again, I was putting so much pressure on myself that my creativity wasn’t flowing. I wasn’t sure if it would ever come back but I’m happy to say it did. When I moved to Ibiza I started channeling songs too, I’ve also put vocals on my tracks for the first time ever so look out for more on that soon.
Alongside your own DJ and production work, you also mentor and teach others production through your Find Your Own Sound masterclasses. What is it that drew you to teaching and mentoring?
I have made all the mistakes there is to make, and overcome so many challenges along the way. So I put what I learnt into a 5 week masterclass, to help other producers work things out quicker, and give them the tools they need to finish tracks quicker and make them stand out in terms of being mixed well, and also being unique to them. Past attendees have gone on to have their tracks signed and played on the radio.
Can you let us into your personal journey of finding your own sound as a producer and the name of your label?
It took me years to find a sound I was happy with, and it’s still evolving. I came up with the name of the label during a Kambo ceremony, it represents not only finding your own sound as a DJ / Producer, but also finding yourself in life, knowing who you are, what you will and won’t accept and what you stand for. Some may say it’s also a tongue in cheek reference to DJ’s who just copy other people rather than being original, which I guess is the opposite of finding your own.
Are there any quick production tips or tricks you could share with our readers?
The best production tip I can give, is to turn notifications off your computer and turn your phone off when you’re making music! Its so simple but makes such a difference. Like anything worth your time, to experience it and be able to express yourself fully, you need to be fully present and in the moment. And that really helps. My other favourite tip, is to use a jazzy drum loop instead of a metronome for more vibes.
To people out there who are interested in trying production but don’t know where to start, what advice would you give them?
Just give it a try, and ideally find other producers you can learn from or get advice from. Don’t get too worried about which programme you’re using either, once you get to a certain level, most of the techniques and effects are the same in most DAW’s.
What else have you got on the horizon that you’d like to shout about? Both in and away from music…
This week I’m running an in person Music Production course in Ibiza at the HUB Ibiza Studios. And it’s my birthday this weekend so I will be mixing chilling with partying.
Next week I’m playing Parish Queernight in the Netherlands, which is always fun, then I have fabric room 2 the week after for a Detroit Techno set. Also looking forward to playing Forum in Birmingham and Koko in London. Getting back in the studio as when I moved to Ibiza I left my equipment in London, but I have now finally found a wicked studio here I can use.