Maarten Vorwerk, a producer of electronic music for over 20 years and well-known for ghost producing tracks, offered some rare insight into his motivation behind creating music for others in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) conducted for social networking site reddit.
Here are ten things we learned from the AMA:
1. He loves being in the studio. Maarten Vorwerk gave a candid and eloquent answer when one reddit user asked him point blank – “why do you do what you do?”, in reference to ghost production. He outlined the fact that there was a key difference between producing and DJing, which is something that many critics of ghost production seem to miss. Here is the response in full – “I love being in the studio. That’s what I want to do everyday. Producing and DJing are two completely different things. Most colleagues like both. I don’t.” Nicely put.
2. Successful ghost producers are innovators. In response to a question asked by one user about how the mocking of “Big Room” sound had affected him, Maarten Vorwerk gave a telling response, saying that it motivated him to stay ahead of the curve. This shows that the best ghost producers aren’t focused on cranking out generic music – they always want to innovate and do new things with music.
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3. Volume is important. Maarten mentioned that he had worked on at least 30 tracks that were released in the last year. This shows that the most successful ghost producers are always working, always creating, and always in-demand.
4. Ghost production is a career. When asked the rather demeaning question about whether he would pursue his own career, Maarten Vorwerk gave the perfect riposte – “I am already pursuing my own career in EDM. But on the production side instead of being a DJ.”
5. He doesn’t like to perform live. This is a key point that might offer some insight into why ghost producers do what they do. There is a vast chasm between a producer taking the time to create and refine a track and having to DJ front of a crowd of thousands of people. They both require different skill sets. Maybe ghost producers like to stick to what they’re good at.
6. Persistence pays off. When asked how to get one’s foot in the door of ghost production, Maarten Vorwerk gave a simple, yet understated answer – be persistent. This is key to being successful in any field, but it’s good to hear straight from the horse’s mouth.
7. Deception is rife in ghost production. It was quite revealing when Maarten mentioned that a significant hurdle to becoming successful at what he does was the deceptiveness of people. His key piece of advice is to always know the contract you are signing in absolute detail before committing to it.
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8. Networking is important. Maarten Vorwerk talked about that the fact he produces every day and constantly releases new material means he has a strong network of contacts – this is key for successful ghost production. Once your name is out there as someone who consistently produces quality, you can expect more work to come your way.He isn’t a fan of mashups. Maarten is somewhat of a purist as a producer. He doesn’t like mashups, replying to one user that they “usually f*ck up the original, which was great already”. He prefers to craft original tracks and only composes official remixes on request.
9. Trial and error help you learn It was intriguing to read Maarten’s response when asked whether he had received any formal music training. He put his production skills down to trial and error as opposed to any education. Yet more proof that a great way to make music just does it and learn as you go.
10. The market drove his decision to ghost produce. One user questioned Maarten Vorwerk about the reason he got into ghost producing. The insight gleaned was fascinating. Maarten referred to the market for vinyl and cd’s petering out circa 2008/2009. The royalties he received weren’t enough to meet the cost of living, so he updated his business model and began ghost producing tracks. This ensured he could still produce music and remain self-employed.