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Terry Golden and his double desk setup

With his unique and powerful mixture of styles from techno and trance to big room, house and progressive, Danish producer and DJ Terry Golden has made a name for himself. Since his first performances as resident DJ at the well-known FOX Club in his hometown Herning in Denmark he has risen through the ranks and today performs at famous locations like Club Löyly in Helsinki, Raasta in New Delhi or the aftershow party of the icehockey world championship.

He recently redesigned his studio, setting up two workplaces with Zaor desks: one desk for his music production, the other specifically designed for online streaming events that put a strong emphasis on the visual appearance and perfect ergonomics. In the wake of him obtaining the coveted title Zaor Studio of the Month April 2021 we had the opportunity to interview Terry Golden and talk about his production methods, his musical influences, his career and his reasons to choose Zaor.

How did you get into music and producing?

Terry Golden: I actually started playing the guitar at the age of 10 and played in several bands. Although I had already been listening to electronic music for twenty years, it was a major change in my life when I eventually decided to work as a DJ eight years ago. My dream was to perform on big stages, which meant that I needed to create my own music. That was and still is the motivation to start producing

How did your cooperation with Zaor come to pass?

Terry Golden: I built my first home studio five years ago and improved it over time. When we remodelled our house last year, I gained more space and decided to start from scratch. It was really hard to find a company in Europe that would cater to my needs for a custom set of furniture. Finally, my research brought me to Zaor. I spoke to CEO Klaus Gehlhaar and we agreed on the cooperation. My studio is my creative place, I need to feel comfortable, so the custom furniture from Zaor is very important for me and my work. Now I have everything within reach and in the perfect position.

You have two desks for different purposes. What is the idea behind your setup?

Terry Golden: One desk is my production table where I do all my creative production work. Because of CoVid 19 I started doing online shows, so I needed an additional desk for my DJ gear. With all those cameras pointing at it, this desk was supposed to look exceptionally good, and it certainly does. I use the second desk for my live shows on Twitch, Facebook and other platforms.

How do you go about producing? What inspires you?

Terry Golden: I listen to music almost all the time, so other people’s productions are my biggest inspiration. I always use one or two reference titles to keep me on track. A new song usually starts with a melody or riff as an anchor. Then I create the kick and sub bass to build a solid basis and then proceed with synths and leads, drops, fills and effects. Since I have to make sure there is enough room for all parts of the song, I am already mixing during the production process. Most of the time I use the same kicks and other basic instruments to keep my sound consistent.

How would you describe your music? What is the intention behind it?

Terry Golden: With my first releases I started as a classic trance producer. My problem was that I like different genres, and all advice about creating your own brand and sound tells you that you have to stick to one genre. My personal preferences are trance, big room, house and progressive. One year ago I started to develop my own signature sound and way of production. I took my favourite elements from my genre-preferences and mixed them up. My music is made for the club and the big party because that is what I like. When I was still doing classic trance I got almost no attention from record labels, which changed drastically with my new style and sound. I guess the most important thing is to make something people can remember and to ensure that they can feel it at the same time. This is rule number one, because then you have fans and returning listeners. That’s really the first step in achieving your goals.

Am I right in assuming that you use quite some effort to separate the individual sounds in your mixes? They appear very transparent.

Terry Golden: Yes, you are quite right. Since there is a plan with all the different tracks in my songs, this is indispensable. If I lost this transparency, the overall feeling of my music would be gone as well.

What is your sound design philosophy?

Terry Golden: Since they in most cases build the melody, synths and leads are a big part of my music. They also are an important element of my sound, so I spend a lot of time on their creation, using multiple layers and sometimes mixing different synth plug-ins. (Spire and Serum are my go-to ones.) If you break down my music and especially my new style, kick and bass need to go hand in hand and provide that steady bottom energy which is very important in my intros and drops. To create tension, I use stabs a lot. They are actually a mix of a bass and a synth sounds. To me, this is magic dust for the tension of the songs. Pads and strings are needed to make the sound big and wide, as that is what you a looking for when a big drop comes up. Their main purpose are those breakdowns where you can close your eyes and just enjoy the moment while you wait for the next build-up. On top of all this comes the main part with the leads and synths as that is what creates the melodies and variations in my songs.

What about effect sounds?

Terry Golden: I use a lot of FX like impacts, sweeps, white noise, rises, sometimes reversing sounds and various other FX one shots. The main purpose of the FX is to make breakdowns or build-ups stronger. They are also great for making the transition from intro to build-ups, drops and other parts more powerful.

Do you use voices as well?

Terry Golden: Vocals are a great way to create variations not only in a specific song but also in a DJ set and the music catalogue – it is an element that will keep the audience listening. I use them for breakdowns and also to calm things down a bit, making them ready for the next build-up and drop. So all of the above plays its own very important part in my music. I don’t think you can take one specific part of the sounds and instruments I use and call it the most important thing. It would be easy to say that the kick, bass and leads are the most important parts, and yes, they play the major role in my productions, but they cannot work at their best without FX, Pads, strings and stabs. It is teamwork that makes it, in music production and elsewhere.

How did you get into streaming?

Terry Golden: I went into streaming when I released my first track. It’s just the way the music business works today, and that’s where you find most of your fans in the beginning. It is mandatory if you want to get booked for clubs and big festivals.

What are your most important tools?

Terry Golden: I must say my Denon Prime DJ decks and mixer are the most important pieces of gear since this is where I feel free and totally in my zone. When it comes to music production, my go to plug-ins mainly are Fabfilter, Izotope, Xfer Serum and Valhalla. I use them in every production. I work in Ableton Live and create basslines, pads, synth, melodies and other parts on Ableton Push 2 and a MIDI keyboard. Today I just bought a ring called Wave from Genki Instruments, which enables you to control your synth wirelessly with your hand. That will help me create some cool and more natural waves in my sounds. I like trying out new stuff.

How are you monitoring?

Terry Golden: Sound is of cause very important, so I am lucky to have been chosen as an ambassador for Adam Audio. I have their new top of the line monitors S2V, which are awesome – they improved my mixing a lot. I also use headphones, a pair of PD club speakers and a soundbox in my studio. I listen to all my mixes and masters on all of those units and in my car. Since most listeners won’t have top notch monitors or club speakers, my tracks have to sound good on all those systems.

Are there specific points that stand out to you as being particularly important for your musical development?

Terry Golden: Work hard, never give up – and don’t think you can be a superstar overnight. Don’t make the same music as everybody else, trust you ears, heart and mind and do what you love – that’s what I do, and what I have been doing from day one.

Are there specific points that stand out to you as being particularly important for your musical development?

Terry Golden: On 28th May I released my first EP with some tracks presenting my new sound on Undertake Records, a London based EDM label. Additionally, I have a single called “Dreams” coming up on 25th June on Sirup Music, which are one of the big players in Europe, and I am just finishing the material for a full album – so I think my future is looking good. By the way, “Future” is also the name of my EP.

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