Arts

Music Producer Nathan Goldthwaite ’18 Mixes Dubstep with Personal Experiences

Walking along the path after class, Nathan Goldthwaite ’18 suddenly turned around in shock. He looked to find a song he produced with his friend playing in the distance. While he had previously played his tracks for other students during his Junior year, Goldthwaite recounted to The Phillipian his surprise and fulfillment upon hearing a stranger play his song.

“I walked over, and it turns out someone had a speaker in their backpack, and they were playing it for the entire campus. It was really gratifying to answer ‘Hey, who is this?’ with ‘Oh, I made that.’ Sometimes it’s the small things that make you the proudest,” wrote Goldthwaite in an email to The Phillipian.

Incorporating ideas from other professional artists such as Diplo, Flume, Madeo, and 20syl in his work, Goldthwaite mixes and releases tracks on SoundCloud under the name “DIVIDE.” At Andover, Goldthwaite is actively involved with W.P.A.A., the recording studio and radio station on campus.

“For me, inspiration can come from anywhere — from old soul records to a Rick Ross track to the sounds of a city street. The beauty of this craft is that you can bring together sounds that [were] previously foreign to each other. Once I have that spark of inspiration, I’ll work at it for hours afterwards, often losing track of time. I’ve lost too much sleep to late nights in the studio, but I think it’s worth the feeling of accomplishment you get when all’s said and done, and you’re happy with the track,” said Goldthwaite.

Goldthwaite was first drawn to music producing by listening to dubstep, an electronic subgenre, on the radio and imagining how he could add his own flair to that type of music. He later found his passion by exploring GarageBand and learning from online forums.

“I opened up GarageBand and just started exploring. I pulled chord structure and theory from my experience as a pianist, and learned the rest from online forums and trial and error. I was inspired by music I heard on the radio, just imagining what I could do to make their songs better. Music production was my way of bringing those ideas to life,” said Goldthwaite.

Over the years, Goldthwaite has become more familiar and confident experimenting with various computer programs and continues to work toward commercializing his music without losing originality. 

“I like to think of [successful producing as] a Christmas present. The musical aspect of my work is the actual gift, but the mix, compression, and loudness — everything that makes the song sound professional — is the wrapping paper and bow. There are plenty of people who get by with mediocre gifts but really skilled wrapping, and [there are] thousands of producers out there who have great ideas but don’t put the time or effort into polishing their product, and they’re unknown because of it,” said Goldthwaite.

Goldthwaite often produces music with classmates Miriam Feldman ’18 and Chase O’Halloran ’18, most recently creating a new song during Winter Break. Using over 100 individual sounds online to produce a wall of harmony, Goldthwaite incorporated Feldman’s vocals and O’Halloran’s raps to add a personal feel to the track.

“I’ve been working with [Goldthwaite] for a while,” said Feldman. “We were in the same music class for the whole year [Junior year]. From the start, I was impressed by his level of professionalism… I really enjoy working with him because we’ve had this music relationship for a while, so he has a good sense of what works with my music style and and it’s so fun to work with someone who understands me as a musician.”

Jan 13, 2017