DJ Pnutz: Facebook / Bandcamp / Twitter / Instagram
1. What’s your current set up?
I’ve got two turntable setups on either side of my production desks. My main DJ set up is two Technic 1200s and a Rane 64, the other setup is two 1200s and a Rane 56. For my production setup, I have Ableton Live 9.5 Suite, an Akai APC 40, Roland Gaia synthesizer, an Ensoniq ASR 10, and a DBX 166 compressor. I also like to use a Korg Monotron ribbon synth and my Roland 307 depending on the type of sound I’m going for. I’ve got some cheap electronic drums that I’ve sampled from occasionally as well as a couple of old keyboards, a musical saw, and various percussion instruments.
2. What piece do you use most often?
Most often I use the APC and Gaia recording into Ableton. I tend to use a lot of samples which I’ll sometimes run through the DBX (especially if I’m sampling drums). Second most, I love to play with my Roland 307. I’ll just sit on the couch in the living room, plug in some headphones and make some really old school-sounding electro stuff.
3. How did you get into producing?
Making music is something I’ve been interested in since I was a child. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I got a small Casio keyboard for Christmas and started teaching myself to play by ear. In 5th grade, I started playing the snare drum and got a full drum set a couple of years later. In high school, I became more interested in electronic/hip-hop music and had so many ideas for songs that I wanted to make. I felt like I was always remixing songs in my head, so for my graduation present I asked for a set of belt-drive Gemini turntables and a small 2-channel Vestax mixer. I eventually saved up enough money for Technic turntables and a Pioneer 500. My first real piece of “gear” was a Yamaha djx keyboard. It has a sampler in it and a huge bank of typical stock sounds. It was a lot of fun to play around with but a couple of years later, I got a used Roland 307 and that is when I really started getting serious. Around age 22 or so, I began using Sound Forge and Acid. I’d sample records, flip them around a bit and add some additional sounds from my keyboard and 307. I practiced this way for a few years until I was given a copy of Ableton Live. That has been my main DAW ever since.
4. Are there any challenges, as a woman, in such a male-dominated field?
I would say the biggest challenge I face as a female producer is the fact that no one knows I’m a female. Most people just assume that I’m a guy. It bothers me because I don’t like people to think I make good beats “for a girl,” I just want them to think that I make good music…period. I didn’t get into to DJing/making beats because my boyfriend did it either, I got into it because it’s something I personally was interested in.
5. What projects are you working on?
I am in the final stages of mastering my second solo album that I’m releasing on June 6, 2016. This will probably also have a 45 single to accompany the release just as my first solo album Rackmount did. After that is competed, have a few emcees who I am collaborating with and will be releasing albums with them also.
Be sure to see DJ Pnutz at the Air-Conditioned Lounge on Thursday, May 26, for the record release of her new album, The Good Wife’s Guide To Beatmaking. [INFO]
Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.