IMPACT 0306: DAY IN THE LIFE OF A YOUNG MUSIC PRODUCER
Josh Wei is a Singaporean record producer, songwriter, and managing partner at Snakeweed Studios.
Signed to Universal Music Publishing Group at age 19, he is responsible for some of the biggest pop records to come out of Singapore, including Gentle Bones’ ‘I Wouldn’t Know Any Better Than You’. With over 40 million streams collectively, it is one of the highest-streaming records by a domestic act (English) in the history of the country. He also worked with JYP’s Stray Kids on ‘Sunshine’ as part of the ‘Cle: Levanter’ album, which hit #1 on the iTunes Album Charts in 18 countries worldwide.
In 2020, he worked on the soundtrack for Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Turning’, which includes songs from Kali Uchis, Courtney Love and MUNA. He also co-produced ‘Soldiers’ for Rachel Platten, which in addition to being released as a single, was also the soundtrack to a nationwide CBS primetime network promotional spot and American Idol’s 19th Season. Today he shares what a typical day looks like for him!
On most days, I wake up naturally around this time. Sleep is most important for me, and I do my best to get at least seven hours a day.
I work about 12-14 hours a day, usually every day of the week. Whenever I feel I need a break, I try to take complete days off. This could mean anything from spending a day out at the beach to a vacation abroad, it all depends on where I’m at and how I’m feeling. In this industry, projects come and go, and they vary in intensity. As of now, I’m still at a point where I am comfortable adapting my life to work. All that said, I am ready for the day when more work-life balance is required!
I start my day by sorting through emails and messages, and sometimes going through the accounts for Snakeweed Studios.
I spend an hour on the stationary bike at home while watching Netflix. I am trying to lead a healthier lifestyle these days, for myself and for my work.
I book a taxi and make my way to the studio. If I can afford the time, I’ll always try to take the bus or train. It allows me time to listen to the charts. I follow ‘Top Hits Today’ and ‘Pop Rising’ on Spotify, as well as the Billboard Hot 100. This helps me understand what the people are listening to and to see how their tastes evolve over time. Understanding the listener is of utmost importance to me as someone who creates things for others!
I arrive at the studio to start work. At the start of the day, I study production techniques, source for samples and sounds, and experiment on my own. I find this very important for me to grow in my craft and develop my sound. If I were to just work on projects, I’d likely stagnate as I’d be employing the same techniques over and over again.
As with anything we do, there are bound to be things we might not enjoy. For me, it’s probably the technical side to music-making that I have to do or at the least, oversee. Things like editing, timing, tuning and charting aren’t the most inspiring parts of art for me but it comes with the territory!
That being said, there are countless things I love about my work. The eureka moments when ideas come together. The knowledge that there are people out there who have been touched by the music I’ve made. The fact that making music itself is just so fun! The list goes on.
I usually have lunch downstairs at the food court of Shun Li Industrial Park. Today I am eating Prawn Mee!
LinYing arrives! We are working on an album together now, and we usually have sessions from 2 PM-5 PM every Monday to Wednesday. Lin’s approach is very different from other artists’ I’ve worked with before. She prefers to be in the room with me for all parts of the creative process. In most cases, the producer would work on the track alone and present it to the artist later and then make changes together. At first, I was a little apprehensive of how this way of working might go, but she’s so easy to be in the studio with that I find myself being able to communicate my ideas freely and enjoying every second of the process.
I work alone on a couple of things I have going on at the moment. Today it is making small adjustments to multiple projects, a string arrangement for CL, an instrumental for Stray Kids and some melodies for Benjamin Kheng!
I have dinner with my partner at Snakeweed Studios, Leonard Soosay and our two interns, Ariel and Jovan!
My interns and I set up for a Vocal Recording later. We make sure that the studio is clean, the AC is at the right temperature, the air purifier is switched on and the lighting is right. Mood and Vibe is everything!
Joel (Gentle Bones) is here! Today we are recording his vocals. Joel and I have been working together for so many years now and we get right into it. It’s going to be a long night, but we know how to push each other in the right ways to get the best takes possible.
We’re finally done, and we’re happy with the recording. I start to pack up and book a taxi ride home.
This article was published on Dec 30, 2021