Judah Banke

How did you get involved with producing EDM music?

I started music production in 2002 when I was 10 years old. My older brother always gave me his old computers and installed music software on them. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been exposed to this wonderful world so early! I didn't start producing EDM until 2012 when I started working for Maranatha music on a Christian EDM EP. This was before Hillsong Young & Free came on the scene, so really if there was Christian EDM at the time, it had to have been extremely underground.

So somehow I landed my dream job--I was paid for 4 months to produce a Christian EDM record for a label. Oh and they bought me a Mac and gave me the latest copy of Ableton and Komplete Ultimate--I mean I was set! Little did I know that those next 4 months would be miserable and that I would hate making music after that. Seriously. Basically there was such a large gap between my music production skill and the kind of quality needed for a label to put out a record that nothing I worked on made the cut. And I had no clue how to quickly grow as a music producer. There were none of the amazing resources that we have today.

So basically I sucked at producing EDM just like everyone does when they start. I didn't know how to improve quickly. And so I just worked on the same 4 songs over and over. Looking back I would have instead tried to start and finish as many songs as possible very quickly. That's how you improve at making quality songs.

There's more to the story including how I got out of the slump I was in.

What are the challenges of been involved with Christian EDM?

I think before talking about the challenges of Christian EDM, it's important to address the difference between (1) making music as a Christian and (2) making music of the Christian genre.

(1) Making music as a Christian means that I believe in Christ and I make music. Now it's likely that my faith in Christ and my belief will spill into my music--whether it's how I write a melody or how I craft the content of my lyrics. But it's entirely possible as a Christian to write music that isn't recognizably Christian, and I think there is nothing wrong with that.

(2) The Christian genre is an anomaly in that it's solely defined by the content of its lyrics. To my knowledge, no other genre is like this.

I think there is an unfortunate amount of pressure felt by Christian producers to create music that conforms to the Christian genre--that is music which "has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith." (Wikipedia) I don't think there's anything wrong with making this kind of music, but I don't think that anybody should feel the pressure to write only this.

What is the greatest challenge of being involved with Christian EDM.

I want my music to reach many people--especially people who don't know Christ! Does that mean I need to make lyrics that are garbage so I can be more relatable? No. Does it mean my lyrics--if I have any at all--should be a reflection of who I am, including my hopes, dreams, fears, faith, doubts and pain? Yes, I think so! I think the most compelling case for Christ is the life I live, not the lyrical content of my music. Anyways I'm sorry for preaching, I 'll get to the next question now XD.

At which places do you perform your music?

On Youtube XD

Although I have DJ'd at a few different church youth events, let's face it my music just isn't up to the quality to bump through huge speakers XD Once in awhile the youth group I serve at does something called Neon Night--basically it's an electronic worship night. I've done a couple of my Hillsong remixes there. It's a ton of fun.

So you tried performing at church a little bit?

We do Hillsong Young & Free stuff on Sunday church and at youth group. I've DJ'ed at youth events. I'm not a skilled DJ so honestly having me on a stage instead of an iPod would be just for hype factor--which I think it somewhat important when making a cool event. It's kind of silly to me.

What is the greatest problem you see in today's church?

The greatest problem I see in today's church is me pointing my finger at other people's problems/other church's problems/my church's problems and saying they should change instead of pointing my finger at my own problems and making the change. Really, this is a revolutionizing concept. Nothing will get better until I address my own problems. Do I wish the church would judge people less?--I need to judge people less. Do I wish the church would be more about reaching people outside church?--I need to reach people outside church. Do I wish the church would be less about itself? I need to be less about myself.

That's a good attitude about it.. Where would you recommend to begin for someone wanting to get involved with Christian EDM?

Forget about making the Christian genre of music--if you have faith, it will find its way into your music. I promise. You don't have to shove it in. Then follow these steps!

A. Get a DAW--FL Studio is $200 and is great. Logic is $200 and is amazing if you have a Mac. Ableton is $450 and good but not $250 better than the other two. Just get one. If don't have much money, get Reaper for free and then when you have $60 buy a license. Don't pirate software. Success is not worth sacrificing character for.

B. Get Serum! There's a rent-to-own plan on Splice for $10 a month until you've reached $190. Then you own it.

D. Set a goal and hit it. Make 1 song a week--start and finish. Don't worry about lyrics for now, just work on song arrangement and making killer drops. If you start a song, finish it or delete it.

E. Make a lot of bad music--this sounds silly but you have to make a ton of music in order to improve, and especially at the beginning it is going to be week. Never be afraid to make bad music. You will learn and grow with each project.

F. Don't try to get on a Record Label--there's honestly no reason to. Don't post your music online until it's good. It will take 1-2 years normally. Make music for the love of it, because you likely won't be famous for it. If you don't love it, don't worry about it. That said, sometimes you won't feel like making music but you need to push yourself anyways. Some friends and I started the hard-core song of the day challenge, where you start and finish 1 song everyday for 30 days. It sucks and is awesome!

7. Your favorite software/hardware?

Bitwig Studio 2.0! Seriously an amazing DAW. I switched from Ableton to Bitwig two years ago and never looked back. Serum--the best synth for EDM right now. $10 a month on Splice until you pay it off. It's amazing. Get it. It's kind of CPU heavy so test the demo first! If it's too much for your computer then use Massive. Hardware--the PC I built. Seriously, build a PC. Bang for you buck it's amazing. Core i7 7700k blows every processor I've ever had away. Headphones! --you'll need a good pair. Get these before studio monitors. Sennheiser HD598. Amazing, clear, comfortable, trendy.

8. Musical plans for the future?

I love making EDM but I'm focusing on some exciting other musical projects right now! I'm working on a Synthwave Christmas album right now with The Synthwolf--it will be out this November. Also I'm working on some cheesy love songs because that's my jam! I'm going to be launching a Kickstarter on Valentines Day 2018 for an album called "Love Songs From A Single Guy".