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Jason Gelchen wants to help local musicians achieve their dreams


MusicYouth features

Setbacks in his career did not stop him from producing music for Gentle Bones and Preetipls.

It all started with a simple favor for a friend.

A friend had asked him to help record his band's studio performance. His job was to press the 'R' button on a simple audio recording device. 

To record the performance, they set up a makeshift studio in a vacant room in Jason's house. While watching them perform, Jason found himself fascinated with the whole process of making music.

"I sat with them for 13 hours straight and that was the first time in my life I could do something for so long and be so fascinated with everything," recalled the 23-year-old, who later dropped out of junior college to pursue a diploma in music and audio technology.  

Today, Jason does more than just pressing buttons and recording band performances for his friends. The homegrown music producer has worked with local musicians Joel Tan (aka Gentle Bones) and Jasmine Sokko.

Jason (left) coaching one of his clients, Victoria Chew (right), from The Summer State.

Most recently, Jason worked with local personality Preetipls to produce 'Mei Li', a spoof of Nicki Minaj's hit single, 'Chun-li'. 

"I've always wanted to do a well-produced parody with Preeti so I dropped the idea to Michelle, one of the girls from Youtiao666, who connected us so we could get started," shared the spirited youth.

The parody takes a swing at the local influencer scene. 

But it was not always smooth sailing.

Getting into the music production industry posed Jason several challenges. 

For starters, he found it challenging to get used to the long working hours in the beginning.

During his eight-month internship at Sync Studios, Jason spent an average of 12 hours working almost every day, sometimes even on weekends.

"They taught me how to record and edit music…it was a lot [like] Spartan training. The whole 12 hours thing, that wasn't my personal philosophy," said Jason, who learnt how to use his digital audio workstation, Cubase, during his internship in 2014.

After graduating from Singapore Polytechnic, Jason was eager to start working on more projects. In 2015, he started his first studio, Happy Avenue Studios.

Unfortunately, the venture failed a year later and Jason found himself stuck with unfinished projects involving several clients.

Jason is a fan of Swedish producer Max Martin, who has worked on hits such as Backstreet Boys' 'I Want It That Way'.

Still, Jason was determined to complete the projects even as he enlisted for national service. 

"If I worked from 8am to 5pm in camp, I would reach home by 6pm and work till 3am. That was my daily routine for two years," shared Jason, who used his army allowance to sustain himself during that period. 

He even took on additional projects to beef up his portfolio: "I used every minute of free time I had to churn out work and get my name out as much as possible.

"Nobody cares if you're a young kid trying to make music. Everybody wants to see your portfolio."

The failed venture not only made him more resilient. He also rediscovered his sole reason for making music: "As I kept producing, I realised why I want to do music. I want to help these people achieve their goals."

Jason set up his own music production company, Homeground Studios, in 2016. He chose to operate his business out of his home, because it was where he first discovered his passion for music.

Jason converted the second level of his family's landed house in MacPherson into a full production suite, complete with studio equipment and acoustic treatment.

What has he learnt from working as a music producer for the past three years?

Jason, who is currently working with local rapper Axel Brizzy on expanding his vocal abilities, said: "Always have everything in contract, even if you're working with friends. Once you've proven your services, ask for payment.

"I was confident that my recording, producing and mixing skills were at industry standard, as I had done plenty of work by then."

 Jason only started charging for his services six months after opening Homeground Studios.

Jason also offered sound advice for those who wish to follow in his tracks: "If you want to do music, you have to be ready for your passion to be tested.

"Passion alone won't drive you to the finish line, it's got to be borderline obsession in the craft – that's what you need to get you through."