Viceroy Shares His Top 5 Production Tips

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Photo: Skyler Greene Photography

With a guiding mantra of “Summertime all the time,” there’s no producer better suited to soundtracking your pool party playlists than San Francisco’s Viceroy. With his signature disco-laced sound and bright aesthetic, the DJ/producer has amassed a remix discography consisting of official remixes of everyone from Lady Gaga to Maroon 5.

Now, Viceroy is in the midst of the release of his groovy new single “The Life,” featuring fellow nu disco superstar Penguin Prison. To celebrate the release, the self-proclaimed Sultan of Summer shared his top five production tips, perfect for everyone from the budding bedroom maestro to the experience studio artist.

1) Sweep down—not up—for harsh frequencies.
Getting rid of those harsh frequencies is a very important step in making a song listenable and enjoyable to the ears. Many people sweep up when looking for harsh frequencies in the range, but you should do the opposite. Sweep down instead until you find a sweet spot where harshness is averted. It’s less work and gives you a better feel for where those spots actually are.

2) Stack kicks, but avoid phasing.
I think stacking kicks these days is crucial. Making your own kick with a nice sub, mid and high frequency compressed together can really give your tune that extra punch and energy it needs. The key, though, is to avoid phasing. Make sure you properly line up the kicks and EQ each sample properly. Compress them all together at the end.

3) Sidechain everything to the kick.
I cannot express how important this is. I don’t sidechain vocals usually, but every other instrument that I have in song has some sort of side chaining. Don’t use the same settings for everything, as different frequencies require different forms of sidechaining. It lets your track mesh well together and gives your kick plenty of room to cut through.

4) Parallel compress your drums.
Ever wonder why some producers’ drums really glue together so nicely? Parallel compression is one of the major reasons. It gives some nice snap to your drums and lets all parts of your drums stand out nicely. It takes some time to get used to, but it makes all the difference.

5) Bus your effects.
I learned the power of busing your effects recently. Instead of putting reverb on every single track, bus the effects you want to use on your instruments. It helps with mixing in your effects in post-production and can help with latency amongst other things.

Stream Viceroy’s new collaboration with Penguin Prison “The Life,” below.