New Dog on the Street – The Mongrel

I am a beginner a producer working under the name The Mongrel, focusing mainly on Drum & Bass and House/Dance music. I enjoy experimenting with sounds, trying to combine various genres together and bringing elements of one genre into other ones. I have released my first album last week, Mixed Breed, which was my first major project I have finished. Music is a way to relax for me, it is like meditation, when I focus only on music for several hours.

Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I was born and raised in Slovakia, a small country in the middle of Europe. People often mistake it with Czechoslovakia, which does not exist anymore, and with Slovenia. I had a pretty normal childhood I would say, spent a lot of time with friends and at the computer. As I grew up I have started to pick up random interests, ranging from learning foreign languages to hobbies, like learning how to do card tricks or throwing knives. I have picked up making music in a similar way. I have always wanted to play an instrument and compose my own songs, but I have never got to learning play one, which I am sad about until today. I do remember exactly how I started producing electronic music though. One day, I was watching videos on Youtube and found a video titled something like "Garrix makes a song live on a radio show". It had about 20 minutes, during which he created a nice track in Flstudio. I thought it doesn't look that difficult and gave it a shot myself. Of course I was mistaken, since for the first month or so I didn't really know what I was doing. I still often dong, but you learn your whole life.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Since I still am just starting, I can't really tell. But one thing I feel like a lot of people do wrong is being too careful with their songs, or art in general, I would say. It is good to be self-critical, but not to the point that you are never satisfied with your work. With every song I learn something new and often think of older songs that I have made as obsolete, since each new song sounds a bit better than the last one, has better structure, patterns. But if you let this hinder you, you will never show what you got to people. Don't be affraid to show your art to people, after all, it is something that you have made yourself. I feel that a good start is asking your friends to give you opinions on your work, or even complete strangers. You learn the most from people and you may even find out that some of them can help you with spreading your work.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
This is something I often think of, but have not experienced yet, since I haven't made any live performances. But honestly, we are all just human and make mistakes, if the atmosphere at the performance is good, I personally do not see someone making a mistake as a big deal. I think if the person reacts accordingly and makes a joke about the faux-pas, it can be a cool memory from the performance.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
I have not had the chance yet. Maybe one day.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Currently I make all of my tracks in Flstudio 12.5, really looking forward to the next update to see what Image-line has prepared for us. As for synths, Serum is my main "instrument" and most of my songs are made mostly using it. I can't say I have a studio actually, since I make all of my songs outside my home at cafe's, working only with a laptop that can sometimes barely run the Flstudio projects and a cheap pair of headphones - this setup is to make the whole song from start to finish. And then at home, I make the finishing touches and check every aspect of the song the best I can. I use Steinberg UR22 Mk2 sound interface and AKG K702 headphones. No monitors, unfortunatelly, but I suppose for a bedroom producer, this setup is good enough for now. I always think of ways how to upgrade. Definitely would like to get some new software in the future - I have started the rent-to-own programme for Izotope Ozone 8 and Neutron 2 last week, so I am looking forward to working with those. My laptop definitely needs to be upgraded and my good cheap headphones died yesterday. I have already bought a replacement, but they are a disappointment. So thats another thing.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
I pretty much stick to Twitter and Facebook at the moment. Mostly Twitter though. I also put the songs which I consider good enough to put on the internet but not good enough to mark as official releases on soundcloud, where they are free to download under the (CC) license. I also post to an Amino group called Music Producers from time to time, and that is where I go the idea to start a simple tutorial series (which I currently do not update since I have very little time lately, but will get back to as soon as possible) to help people who are interested in making music but do not know how to start, by posting short tutorials explained as simple as possible. Fiverr is not a bad place to look for paid promotion, though I am careful with it, since I have 50/50 good experience on it. And right now, I am here on Exposed Vocals.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Well, since Martin Garrix is the person thank to whom I started making music, definitely him. He seems like a down to earth person and knows his way around music, I think I could learn a lot from him. The guys from Swedish House Mafia aswell, since they are a big inspiration for me and I really enjoy their kind of music, they have a very specific vibe which I enjoy. As to where, I am really not sure since I do have a bad case of stage fright and generally do not enjoy being in front of people, but if I had the chance to perform with, or without them, I would do my best to overcome this.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
I am always working on new music, a lot of it goes into the scrap folder, a lot of it is in the work in progress folder. I have finalized Mixed Breed not even a week ago, and I am already thinking about what could be the next major project. Possibly a set of songs inspired by various folk themes, depending on what I feel like doing. I will definitely get back to the tutorials, since I got good feedback on those.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
I would be doing the same thing I am doing while making music - studying. I am currently a student of English and German language at a university in Slovakia. I study translation and interpreting, so combining schoolwork, social life and music is a bit different, since all of them require some time to invest into. But I feel like I have it balanced.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
Hopefully, a lot of new songs, I will keep posting some free tracks on Soundcloud and I hope to release another set of songs on Youtube, Bandcamp and Cdbaby in 2018.
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
I would like to thank all of my friends who have always supported me in making music, helped me with songs by giving criticism or lending me their voice to make some vocals and thaught me about mixing and mastering, since this is the step I often find the most difficult.