Hyperbits Masterclass Student Spotlight
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success”
— Joel Freck
We continue our Hyperbits Masterclass student spotlight series by introducing Joel Freck.
Joel Freckelton is a Canadian-based producer with a signature genre-blending style. Delivering heartfelt melodies with mainstage energy, Joel has carved out a niche all his own in the years since completing the Hyperbits Masterclass and joining our ever-growing family of alumni.
Joel gained his initial traction by winning a Laidback Luke competition. He built upon this momentum by winning a following competition hosted by none other than Anjunabeats. This brought him massive label signings, international bookings, and support from the largest names in the industry.
Joel opened up about where he started, his favorite parts of producing, and how the Masterclass helped him get to where he is today.
Tell us where your sound is at now, and what you are trying to achieve with your music.
When I first took the course, I was primarily focusing on making the ‘Trance 2.0’ sound (huge saw stacks and all that). Over the past two years I’ve been moving in almost every direction possible – falling in love with synth-wave, deep house, and other genres. I even have recently started making pop & hip-hop beats!
At this point in the game, I'm just making as much fire as I can in hopes to start consistently working with my favorite singers and label. I am also on the lookout for a manger to get me touring when everything opens back up.
But in my down-time, I mentor students who want to begin producing as quickly as possible, which is really fun.
How has the sound of your music shifted as you have gotten better at production? Was there a definitive turning point along the way?
The better I got producing music, the more I asked myself why I wasn’t trying new things. As I grew, I felt the urge to move in different directions to see if I could make something completely different. My new method is to put on radio shows at the gym and the second a song really makes me feel something, I go home and focus on producing something similar to that. This brought me a lot of awesome ideas and one of the reasons my latest album is filled with so much variety.
What is one thing you can hear in a track that instantly tells you it was made by a newer producer?
The things I hear most are strange & cluttered arrangements. What I mean by that is, if you're making songs for other DJs to mix, there should be only percussion for the first 8/16 bars. While at the same time, this section must be entertaining enough to keep people listening. This is where cool tricks with reverbs, delays, and one-shots come in.
Another few things which seem to be common is a muddy low end; where the kick and bass just sound like low rumbling or thumping instead of having clear definition. Super sharp, shrill high frequencies are another problem (it is always better to cut sounds rather boosting everything), along with no particular placement to sounds (songs should feel alive with things by utilizing panning and dynamic range).
Talk about a few aspects of production that you have always struggled with, both while starting out and still to this day.
Mixing & Mastering has always been my #1 issue. It’s actually the reason I took the Masterclass. I was fed up not understanding how to turn an idea into a commercially finished song.
I’m a slow learner, so sometimes it can take me longer than usual to understand and execute elements. But I’ve cut that down significantly over time. I’m still improving in some of my less-than-flawless areas, but hey, it’s a process, haha.
How much did the Hyperbits Masterclass help you deal with these struggles?
It almost instantly nullified them. Actually, I purchased Serik’s Start-to-Finish house course (now part of the master class). It helped me so much that I knew I needed the Masterclass to get that more in-depth education.
It was a total turning point for me. After the Masterclass, there wasn’t a question I couldn’t easily answer for myself. If I did have particularly odd mixing issues, I had the instructors and alumni community to discuss it with.
Joel's latest collaboration was supported on Armin Van Buuren's ASOT radio show
Did you see the most significant improvements in your productions while taking the Masterclass, or in the following months and years after applying the Masterclass' methodologies?
Both actually. I had a track going into the Masterclass called ‘Violet Rose’ that I loved the idea of, but the mix was awful. Within the first few weeks of the course, I solved all the mix issues with it and sent it to [RIDE] where it was signed during the program.
I also whipped up more ideas during the class that I later developed – which helped me win the Beatport's ‘Beats in School’ competition with Anjunabeats. Even within the last few months, I've made a collab that Armin himself loved and chose to be on his Ibiza 2020 compilation which was pretty insane.
What do you love most about producing music at the level that you do? Has this shifted over time as your skills have improved?
There's something about being able to properly articulate yourself that is so freeing. Once you know the ins and outs of production, there isn't anything that you hear that you can't replicate or make something similar to. To me, that is crucial.
Also, I can finally make the tracks I dreamed of sharing with people, and they sound exactly as I want them to. There is something so special about making songs that people vibe with.
Joel with Anjunabeats labelmates – Jason Ross and Ilan Bluestone
Share what you think is the single most effective trick or tool a producer can use to convey more emotion in their tracks.
Take your time making melodies that genuinely resonate with you. Or, if you’re going for something darker, really search to find the right sounds to articulate that. The song HAS to make you feel something. If you feel it and love it, then it’s almost guaranteed others will too.
And even if nobody does – as long as you love it – then it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. It’s all creative expression at the end of the day.
Do you do anything to creatively recharge when not working on music? Tell us about your leisure activities.
Usually, I game (PC) or take coffee breaks with the homies to recharge. I also just lounge with the missus, which does the trick.
Some extra sauce as of late; I try to hit the gym every morning so that, even if I don’t feel inspired or get anything done musically, I know I still worked on me for the day. That sets my mind at ease. I also try to get in twenty minutes of meditation each day as well.
Tell us a hot take you have that many may disagree with or may not know about you. Bonus points if it has nothing to do with music.
Hot topic, and something people may not know about me, is that I'm big into alternative/naturopathic medicine and a vegetarian with a 90% vegan diet. I'm big on juicing, purified water, and natural herbs & oils to get the body in an alkaline state.
A lot of popular science tends to blame many diseases on genetics. But if your body is in an acidic state due to a poor diet, it will cause "dis-ease" within the cells. If you alkalize your body with the right nutrients your body will be in balance and won't need to purge the toxins as often. Therefore it will be "at-ease."
'I had a track going into the Masterclass called ‘Violet Rose’ that I loved the idea of, but the mix was awful. Within the first few weeks of the course, I solved all the mix issues with it and sent it to [RIDE] where it was signed during the program.'
'I also whipped up more ideas during the class that I later developed – which helped me win the Beatport's ‘Beats in School’ competition with Anjunabeats.'
The Hyperbits Masterclass was never built to be an overnight success. Finding success in music production takes time and dedication, but for those willing to put in the time and invest in themselves, there is no better option.
Joel admits that, before taking the class, he lacked the confidence needed to bring his productions to the next level. If you relate, whether its mixing, sound design, or anything in-between, the Hyperbits Masterclass will give you the tools you need to crush your music production goals.
We want to shout out Joel for taking the time to sit down and chat with us. Check out more of his phenomenal productions and keep track of what the future has in store by following him on all popular social channels:
If you'd like to learn more about the program that helped Joel Freck perfect his sound and garner support from Armin Van Buuren, check out The Hyperbits Masterclass.
We help music producers conquer advanced music production with a proven framework and supportive community that helps thousands of producers achieve professional results every year.
You can also scope out 20+ epic Hyperbits Masterclass alumni to see what's possible after taking our flagship program.