In the following interview we meet the musicians and producers Tonee Jukeboxx and Farzad Rahnavard (Duo Mastering) in Hamburg and learn, among other things, how contacts in the industry can be made and how music producers can get commissions for successful artists such as Cro, Shindy, Capital Bra, Moe Phoenix and Mike Singer is coming.
Is there even a formula to be successful? You can find out all that and more here today!
In the first part of the interview, we talk to Tonee Jukeboxx about songwriting and music production. The second part on mastering with Farzad Rahnavard will be out in a few days, so stay tuned or follow us on Instagram or Facebook so you don't miss anything! Here we go.
Duo Mastering - In the interview part 1/2
Q: Hey Tonee, nice that you found time for our interview today! How are you? What are you doing today?
Hi Beshko, I'm fine! I've been working at Friedemann Tischmeyer's Mastering Academy for some time, so I'm going there right away and will enjoy my premium life in the studio. *laughs*
Q: Where does your passion for music production come from?
It's very simple: I was 9 or 10 years old when I wrote my first song. Back then I wrote poems and wrapped them in music. I think even my dear grandmother kept my very first lyrics.
At least that's how I started. We then wrote our first songs together with my basement band and when I was 13 or 14 I had a hard rock band and played metal.
I've actually always been writing songs - over time I just switched genres, started my own hip-hop band and then made rock music again. A lot of things just developed, after all it was quite a long way here.
Tonee started his career early and quickly grew into a multi-instrumentalist. With skills on drums, guitar and piano, Tonee today produces many new talents, his own music and works as an audio engineer for well-known artists. In 2018 he founded the Mixing & Mastering Studio Duo Mastering.together with Farzad Rahnavard
Q: How did you get into professional songwriting?
I got into professional songwriting when I became a member of the group We'r'Songwriterz. This is an association of really great musicians, producers and instrumentalists who write songs together.
Songwriting is an artistic activity in which a lyricist and/or composer composes melodies and writes lyrics that can be sold to an artist to sing the song and then call it their own. Large productions often involve several songwriters in so-called songwriter camps.
I found out about the whole project through a photographer friend of mine, Lee Maas. He asked me if I would like to accompany the Berlin singer Teesy with instruments on Radio Energy and of course I accepted the offer. Funnily enough, we then met in the rooms of today's Mastering Academy to rehearse! Although Friedemann wasn't there then, I met Farzad Rahnavard there.
We just rehearsed there in the studio, played the piano and stuff like that. Farzad and I had a lot of common ideas and goals, so we met three months later in Quickborn where he then told me about the concept behind We'r'Songwriterz.We then wrote countless songs together and even though the group isn't that active anymore, we're all still kind of a family!
Q: For which artists did you write and which songs came out of it?
Shortly before I joined the group, they did the song "Faith" with Blasterjaxx, in which Ziya sang the vocals. It turned out to be such an international monster track that went platinum in Sweden shortly after it was released!
They also wrote "Bist du Real?" for KC Rebell, which was released with Moe Phoenix and currently has over 65 million views on YouTube.
Together with the group we then wrote 4 or 5 lyrics and composed the toplines for Mike Singer's album "Karma", then did the vocal production for the song "United" by Blasterjaxx and then for Laith Al-Deen I did also wrote the song "Feuer". Laith's album was also well received and was number 1 in the charts for a few weeks!
Those were the biggest cornerstones we made.
We then did a few smaller projects, e.g. we were in the studio with Haftzettel's brother, Capo. We were also in the studio with Victoria Swarovski and delivered a few songs, but there were also days and sessions where nothing new was created.
Otherwise, songwriting is often simply writing songs - with or only for well-known artists - which then never come out or only in three years.
Q: How do you get new jobs as a songwriter?
Well, in the past I only ever wrote my own songs. The fact that I write lyrics for other artists only came with the group We'r'Songwriterz. I also believe that it only developed this way because Farzad is not only very talented but also extremely communicative. That's how word got around, more like word of mouth.
Farzad once sang in a boy band that was managed by Otto Walkes - through the numerous encounters, at some point you simply have a lot of contacts in the music industry.
Sometimes A&R's and Artists approached us directly because our Facebook Page existed and it showed that we do songwriting.
Mike Singer's producer, Phil The Beat, for example, also approached us and that's how the project came about!
The so-called A&R Manager (Artists and Repertoire) is the interface between the record label and new artists. The A&R discovers new talent and is the direct contact for newly signed musicians and bands.
Q: In short: you should just do a lot, make contacts and show references?
Yes, exactly, meaning the groups have to be in the right circles. Of course, there's no point in writing a song for your neighbor and then thinking, "Yeah! I'm sure Sony will call next week.” – You just have to do it and turn the right screws so that you can work with the right people. A bit of luck is also part of it, of course.
Q: Now we're getting down to business: The special thing about your songs is that you don't just write some in German and English, but also sing in languages (e.g. Portuguese and Twi) that you don't speak at all. What makes your lyrics so special?
Personally, it's important to me that the song transports a story and works on an emotional topic.
I also sometimes try to see a song like a film, i.e. with a beginning and an end.As Hans Zimmer also says: "All you need is a story!" *both laugh*
Q: How much do you pay attention to the phonetics?
Phonetics is very important - if not the most important factor! Music and songwriting is actually nothing more than a good flow, a strong melody and good phonetics, because thanks to that, songs can become internationally successful. The rapper Bonez from the 187 Straßenbande shows how it's done and is suddenly celebrated in French banlieues. If the melody, the flow and the phonetics are right, then even as a Frenchman you can listen to a German song and celebrate it.
Depending on the genre, the phonetics are more important. Shouts as simple as "Ayee", "Yo!", "Woow" are sounds that your listeners can sing along to, so it makes sense to include them.
Even if you don't get the gist of the lyrics, you know that at the end of the hook there is always "Ayyee ja ja" and that makes the song more tangible.
Especially in German, a good pronunciation is important and what makes good songwriting. The word "Rüpel" doesn't sound as smooth at the end of a sentence, but the word "Weg" does.
Anyone who makes music in English should at least take a look at something by the Swedish songwriter Max Martin on the internet! He is one of the most famous songwriters who pays close attention to phonetics and whose native language is not English!
Q: How do you go about writing the song and how do you arrange the song?
It depends on the song, but I usually do a short intro with adlibs or a filtered hookline so people can get into the song.
Then start the so-called 'Rollercoaster Ride' - This means that people calmly get on the rollercoaster with the intro and start with the first verse (e.g. 8 bars). You pre-hook them (8 bars again) until they get to the top of the hook and then the action really starts!
What you can also do is go down in the pre-hook and calm down so the hook just pops even more!
In the best case, you have an intro, a verse and a pre, which clearly separates the hook line from the verse. The rest is then optional. Either you do "second verse - second pre - hook - end" or you do "second verse - second pre - hook - bridge - hook - end".
You do the latter if the hook line is so strong that you want to offer it a third time. Instead of a third verse, the bridge goes in a different direction, which takes the listener out of the old song structure and then picks up 'BÄM' with the hook again!
Q: Finally, do you have any tips for beginners and students?
I can speak from experience: The most important thing is that you know what you want to do. At some point you start somewhere and always make your beats, for example, because you think you've got what it takes and suddenly you realize that you actually want to do songwriting. You're either lucky and just knowing, or you find out by doing. So don't talk a lot, just do it and try as much as possible.
On the way you learn, get better, find out where your strengths and weaknesses are and then you can also focus. You don't have to spend hours recording when you can write a hit in three minutes. You just have to find your field and try it.
Discography by Tonee Jukeboxx: Cro, Mike Singer, Laith Al-Deen, Blasterjaxx, Ziya, Disarstar, Prinz Fero, Ronnie Eriic, TOCO, Luchiez, Corby Rhymez, Chiller1, and many more.
Q: And what pro tip can you give us?
Keep your projects clean! Imagine you are now working with another producer who is using the same DAW and wants to open the project file. If everything then looks like cabbage, then that's not cool.
It is important that your project is in order, but making music is still creative work, which is why I don't leave everything standing and label the tracks in between, but rely on my color coding during the production. The following applies: Build up the House!
The most important elements like drums and bass come first. Then the instruments come in one color and then the vocals come in one color.
In PreSonus Studio One, I then put the tracks in folders and keep track of them. If I need the STEMS, then I go back into the project and rename all the tracks individually.
Q: Wow, thanks for that insight! Tell us about the projects you are currently working on! When is new music coming from Tonee Jukeboxx?
I'll be releasing new songs soon! I am currently planning numerous releases, because of course I have been producing diligently over time. The Iceland EP will be out later this year - I can't wait!
I also recently produced an album for my bandmate Corby Rhymez that I can be heard on. In addition, our Afrobeat project TOCO is just getting started, in which we are collaborating with numerous artists from Ghana and Germany. I'm also currently mixing and mastering elsewhere, but that's still classified.
You want to realize your own project with duo mastering? Get in touch!
Here is the website, its services, references and contact details:
That was part 1 of the interview. The second part is here: