20 Tips to Make Your Music Grammy-Ready

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Morgan Page's hand in psychedelic swirl

Morgan Page takes us to school

Morgan Page earned a Grammy nomination last year for Best Remixed Recording (Nadia Ali’s “Fantasy”), but there is no rest for the house-music weary, as they say.

Page has been issuing studio and DJ setlist advice on his Twitter account, and they are simply gleaming gems, kinda like learning from Bobby Knight how to box a player out on the basketball court—but Page, a mellow Northeasterner, doesn’t throw chairs.

Here they are:

Create songs with clear cue points for the crowd, other DJs, and VJs

Use change before change w/ turnarounds and 1 bar dropouts on the last measure

Instead of making biz cards just ask for others, take notes on back, and reach out on your own

Use Gmail filters to autoarchive unsolicited promos

Use a digital camera in HD video mode to capture your new material, crowd reaction, and room ambience

Leave some dynamics in your mix – it’s going to get slightly crushed by broadcast and club compressors later on

Note which songs aren’t clipping the club’s mixer but sound louder and fuller than anything else

Analyze your favorite music – what does the EQ curve look like? What’s the RMS?

Import your favorite mix into the DAW and drop markers to analyze arrangement technique

Use compression in a series to achieve key goals for each stage (add punch, level peaks, sidechain to kick)

Mix your vox at low levels and use a series of gentle compressors for leveling (1-2dB GR each)

Automate oscillator pitch, slop, FM, and ring mod to build tension

Allow a bit of breathing room before the drop for the club’s compressors to reset

Give the first few bars of your breakdowns some space to decay and ring out

Violate anticipation in subtle ways by changing the timing of drops and automation

Stick with developing your complete 2, 4, or 8 bar groove before moving on to arrangement

Use negative space as a pocket to make people dance, responding to the gap

Try tuning your reverb/FX by carving around octaves relative to the song’s key

Mark the sweet spots on your DJ mixer lightly with pencil for easy reference

Avoid clipping early on by starting your session w/ all faders at -6dB or below