Federico Coderoni on His Music Production Manifesto

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Federico Coderoni

Italian-born music composer, Federico Coderoni works in Berlin also as music producer and sound engineer.

Music is his preferred language to express chronicles with the world, and he pursues this cause with vigor, sharing his journey with those who feel inspired to join. 

He graduated from the esteemed Conservatory of Music, Santa Cecilia, with a degree in Electroacoustic Music Composition and is best known as the brains behind several music productions released by Cosecomuni Recording Studio. He is also known widely for his works as the keyboardist for the award-winning Italian band, Velvet
He left Rome in 2016 and now operates for worldwide artists and companies. Lately, he earned the Advanced Diploma of Sound Engineering and Music Production at dBs Music Berlin Academy in 2018.

His specialization in Virtual Orchestrations gave him easy access to the motion pictures world. Coderoni entered the world of film music in Rome during the long collaboration with Cosecomuni Recording Studio, through which he established a connection with famed director Matteo Rovere to score a song in Veloce come il vento (2016), starring Stefano Accorsi.

After having moved to Berlin, he got in touch with young and talented director Tancredi Di Paola from Los Angeles, who asked to score Mama (2018) and another film, 83rd Street (2018), with Tamar Pelzig. Finally, the song Next Up has been selected to be part of the soundtrack of the series El Club (2019) produced by Netflix.

Do you play any musical instruments?

Piano, Synths, Drums.

How did you get into music and for how long have you been producing for?

I was born as a musician.
I started studying keyboard, piano, and singing since the age of six. 
While growing up, I played in many bands of different genres starting from covering the idols of classic rock during the pre-adolescence, then creating the first original pop/rock music.
Gospel choir has been love at first sight: harmonizing with my voice while many other layers are playing simultaneously was so exciting! 
I discovered indie rock in early 2000 when was a keyboardist and back vocalist for two indie rock bands at the same time. That’s when I discovered my love for synthesizers and sequencers.
Up to that point, I had already recorded my first two albums. In 2012, after two more band adventures, I met a band called ‘Velvet.’ For a very short period, I was their keyboardist and worked on over four records. Between these EPs and albums I was also  hired as a music producer  and worked in their  studio, The Cosecomuni Recording Studio. In this studio, I actively collaborated as a “guest musician” in the recordings of almost any artist/band who passed by (over 15 in total).
In pursuit of new horizons, in August 2016, immediately after graduating, I moved to Berlin to work as a composer, music producer, and freelance sound engineer.
I am now contracted to produce music  add orchestras to third parties recordings and to compose original soundtracks from all over the world.

What, in your opinion, are the skills needed to be a music producer?

  1. First of all, it is necessary to learn how to play an instrument. Take private lessons or sign up for a music school. Learn how to generate music using your own hands.
  2. Secondly, it’s important to listen to as much music as you can, crossing the boundaries of personal taste and trying to have a professional and analytical approach to enjoying varied music genres and sounds. Only in this way can you turn every listening experience into a possibility of growth and awareness.
    Only in this way can you find your own path to your sound identity.
  3. Always consider that innovation can be achieved thanks to knowledge mixed with the intuition of the owner.
  4. Remove the temptation to buy in order to do: everything is sellable and has its own price, except your creativity, culture and knowledge. Tools and instruments COULD help but they WILL NOT make your sounds or music. 
  5. Forget about techniques and workflows, stay focused on the message that you want to come up with.
  6. Always try to be self-critical and listen to the opinion of others by accepting it humbly.
  7. Be careful to surround yourself with “yes people”: you can always improve and do more. Real growth can only come from those who are able to offer constructive criticism and share it openly.
    If you only receive praise, you will never understand how to improve yourself. So if someone says that you have made a masterpiece, ask them a few questions and point out what you think the weaknesses are.
  8. Tune into your own emotions at the time of creation and let your instincts guide you.
  9. Don’t be afraid of crossing the boundaries because there aren’t any but yours.
  10. Nobody will be exited about someone that reminds him/her of something already existing: be yourself.
  11. Try to think your piece of music as a play on a theatre stage: —Imagine every instrument or sound involved as a character and cure the relationships between them as well as which roles they have in your plot; — Everyone deserves a place so don’t overlook backgrounds, colors and space;—Sometimes step out your own view and refer to the audience in order to have an external feedback.
  12. Finally, make peace with the fact that you are never completely satisfied with your work: there will always be something that will not be exactly as you were imagining it.
    Being stuck in a mental loop is the biggest enemy you can encounter during a production. It’s what makes  you afraid and it doesn’t make you progress to new horizons. It’s what happens to people who work on the same piece for years and end up losing their initial vision. So, Don’t overthink, don’t overdo: in most cases you’ll see that “simple is best”.
  13. Don’t forget to have fun!

How do you become a music producer? Do you study with courses, learn online, or just experiment?

After finishing high school, I chose to enroll at the University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’, where during my experience in the course of Sound Science, I could learn so many different tricks behind the post-production processes gaining technical knowledge directly addressed to hands-on experience.
During those years, I discovered computer music and the unexplored universe of sound synthesis.
Due to this change of perspective, in 2012, I chose to quit and start the course of Composition of Electroacoustic Music at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia. There I had the opportunity to specialize in virtual orchestrations and sound design, developing a combination of avant-garde technical skills and classical composition knowledge. From 2012 to 2016 I’ve been a student, growing professional experience as a full-time sound engineer and music producer at the same time. This period changed me completely as a professional: on a normal day I would go to electroacoustics class in the morning to study how a compressor circuit worked, then in the afternoon I would go to the studio and spend hours using various analog gears.
This was a mindblowing dream.

Who are the producers who have most influenced your approach to music production and why did they have that influence?

David ByrneBrian EnoJohn CageKarlheinz Stockhausen, in terms of sound experimentation and compositional techniques. John Williams,  Alan SilvestriHans ZimmerDanny ElfmanThomas Newman, and Ennio Morricone as part of the storytelling in the soundtracks.

What DAW are you currently working with? Why do you prefer to work with this DAW?

This is another important point for me to make: during my years of professional experience I have never focused on using just one DAW and leaving the others aside.
Over the years, I have got to know them all a little bit. Today I am able to switch from one DAW  the other depending on the customer’s needs and the type of production.
I regularly use Steinberg Nuendo 10.  Ableton Live 10 and occasionally Pro Tools and Logic Pro X. I firmly believe that the ability to switch from one DAW to another is an essential feature of any professional context.

And what about your room? How big is it? Is there treatment?

For economic reasons and professional needs, I opted for a home studio. The room where I work is about 20sqm in size and is not acoustically treated.
However, the positioning of the desk as well as the monitors has been carefully studied to make the best possible use of the room’s acoustics. In fact, for reasons of room shape, wall materials, acoustic and thermal insulation of the doors and windows I can say that I have reached the best possible acoustics.

What monitors do you use?

Adam A7X.

What are some of your favorite microphones?

When you set up your sessions, what’s your general layout and what would you start mixing first?

Sometimes I start from a blank sheet of paper.
Sometimes I start with an empty session, and sometimes  using a  template based on the type of orchestration I have to produce (symphonic, modern kinematics, chamber music).
If it’s light music, I’ll start from what I consider the most important instrument (if it’s a pop song it will be the vocals, for example).
Besides that, I try to find the dimension around which I build the rest of the song.
If it’s cinematic music the approach varies according to the arrangement of the song itself.

What are your five most favorite plugins?

And what’s the one plug-in that you simply couldn’t do without?

Waves SSL Channel

In your opinion, can some plugins really improve the a track’s sound?

Analog Obsession PreBOX on the master chain.
I love setting “Model 11”.

Which plug-ins do you like to use on vocals?

Do you have a lot of compression going on?

I’d say again, it strictly depends on the genre I am producing/composing.
But I my general answer will be “Nope”.
I generally tend to preserve dynamics and use it as a production and compositional tool.
I confess that I am a lover of the upward compression technique.

As far as EQing goes, are you doing more subtractive, additive or is it an equal amount of both?

I’d say that I equally use both subtractive and additive EQ-curves depending on the needs.

In regard to cutting frequencies, are there areas that you find yourself gravitating more towards?

Surely, I am very cautious and careful in the extreme ranges: bass and sub frequencies as well as high frequencies and “air bands”.
They are all very important and must be valued, however, exceeding in adding or removing them can easily backfire.

What plugins do you typically have on your master bus?

How do you make your mix louder?

Keeping the dynamics in the mix, starting with gain-stage straight away.
I usually enter the master chain with around -18dBFS.
If you’re wise enough during your mixing process, going up and reaching your desired loudness would not be a problem anymore.

In your opinion, what classifies as a good mix and a good master?

A good mix is the one that preserves dynamics,  the overall loudness,  space: stereo-field (panning) and depth (reverbs/delays).

A good master is the one which respects the choices made in the mix optimizing the outcomes in a technical way.

What is your biggest challenge as a music producer?

Working as a music producer with emerging artists gives me the opportunity to bring out their voice and realize myself as a professional musician. Uniqueness is the key factor.

What׳s your advice to producers who are starting out and making tracks in their bedroom?

Find your path, your best way of expressing yourself, don’t overthink about things and just do it.

Would you like to work with Federico?

Here’s where you can contact Federico:

Official Website:
https://www.federico-coderoni.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/federicoderoni

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/federicoderoni/

SoundCloud:
https://soundcloud.com/federico-coderoni/sets/

Apple Music:
https://music.apple.com/il/artist/federico-coderoni/604999927?uo=4&app=music&at=1000l32MX

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/4l7Gr388vk8kcmL2FslINW?si=jHya-flzTzKMJw_zoUxW1Q

IMDb:
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9848948/

Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/federicoderoni/

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