G Mills Interview

G Mills Interview

G Mills Interview

Hot off the press and saucier than ever, G Mills dropped his 'Saucy Nugs' sample pack last week, treating the world some of those signature drum loops and textures. It felt like the perfect time to sit down with the man himself to chat about the pack, discover more about his creative process, and learn more about how his collaborative project with Birocratic came to pass. Don’t worry, though; we didn’t forget to grill him about some of his favourite plugins (we know what the people want!).


First of all, can you take us on a trip back to the beginning of your musical journey. How did you first discover your passion for making music and what was it that first got you interested in production?

I’ve been interested in music since I was a tiny little guy. I started out by taking some lessons and playing in school bands, which eventually led to playing in metal, punk, and funk bands where I learned how to write songs and work with others to create new music. Since rehearsals were usually at my parents house (I was the drummer), I often was the one who recorded demos and albums. I ended up exploring creating music with software via an engineering route. I also loved hiphop and jazz and was first inspired by artists like Roy Hargrove, flying lotus, shigeto, juj, & elaquent, who could effortlessly blend the two into something new.

A lot of producers I’ve spoken to say that they start with a melody or chords, but as a drummer are you normally starting your tracks with drums?

I think it’s helpful to go back and forth. I like to start tracks in different ways to keep it fresh but what I’ve been enjoying lately is messing around with harmonic samples, playing piano, etc to get a very general idea, then laying down some drums in the same feel/tempo that I was messing around in. Once a drum outline is laid down, I can jam on it for a while to really get the feel locked in (it’s also more fun to jam with drums playing instead of just a click!)

Could you give us a little bit of an insight into your production setup. What software and hardware are you using? What are some of the key bits of gear/plugins that you use on all of your tracks?

Ableton all day! I have some gear like a piano, drums, nord stage 3, & an sp404, but I wouldn’t say any of it is essential. I really believe you can make absolute SMACKERS with just Ableton stock plugins but I do have some third party favorites that I use on a lot of tracks. Everything from fab filter, any clippers (standard clip, t-racks, nani, Saturn 2), all the cradle stuff (especially god particle and the state machine synths). Of course gotta use the classics like rc-20, OTT, ozone, soothe 2, labs, etc etc

And you’ve got such a great drum sound, a great blend of live elements mixed with samples. Can you talk a little bit about your process? And how you’re getting your sound?

I don’t have one specific way of working but I’ve found that it’s fun to record live loops, whether it’s full kit, kit without kick, hats, percussion, literally just hitting random stuff around the house, completely mess with them via time stretching, plug-ins, etc and then adding sampled kicks, snares, etc on top. I also do a bunch of processing to these loops, a lot of saturation, bit crushing, compressing, etc. Messing with pitch shifting/grain delay/spectral resonators is fun too!

Your new pack ‘Saucy Nugs’ just dropped, can you shed light on how you went about creating sounds for the pack? Furthermore, how does the process of crafting samples differ from the process of producing an original track?

A lot of these sounds come from random sessions over the last year. A cymbal swell I recorded for a transition, fx from a sound design session, or a melodic loop I was messing around with but never turned into a track. A decent amount of the loops I made specifically for this pack too.

To me, crafting samples is like making lego pieces instead of a finished lego sculpture. They’re meant to be altered and don’t need to sound a specific way to fit with other things just yet. Of course I’m trying to make them sound as good as they can but it’s also nice to not have to worry about making something “finished”.

And going back to the end of last year, you released a joint project with Birocratic called ‘Ninety-Nine.’ Can you talk a little bit about how that project came together?

This album was a way to challenge ourselves by writing full songs and then sampling ourselves. We both started our production journeys by sampling from YouTube, vinyl, etc so for this album we wanted to create original songs that sounded like what we’d look for in a sample. A lot of the beats on this album are a result of us making songs and then sampling those into beats, although a few of the tracks on the album are those original tracks without being chopped up, such as “Important Work to Do”. We’re currently living in the same building so a lot of these tracks happened as a result of us just hanging out too :)

How do you navigate through creative blocks and find inspiration when you feel stuck? Are there any specific things that you do to help inspire that creativity?

There are a lot of different things I do when I feel stuck. A big one is simply taking some time away from making music or changing up my environment/how I make music. I often like to meet up with homies, which helps me get some new perspectives and get out of my own head. Sometimes I’ll produce when I’m in transit (like a bus or plane), sometimes I’ll have a drink. A new plugin or sample pack (saucy nugs out now 😉) is always an inspiration booster too!

Who are some of your favorite beatmakers/producers/musicians in the scene right now?

Some of my favourite producers right now are bagg, finesto, neighbor, alasen, tsuruda, 2chill, memblem, flofilz, Devin Morrison, vooo

As someone who has been making and releasing music for quite a while, you must have picked up quite a few valuable lessons along the way. What we’d like to know is: if you could share just one piece of advice with someone who is starting their musical journey today, what would it be?

Give yourself time to explore. Whether it’s new plugins, new genres, new ways of making music, or new collaborators, I find that exploring is what leads to new experiences and new music, and is much more fulfilling than doing the same thing over and over again.

And finally, if you could executive produce an album for any artist living or dead, who would you choose? And why?

Will Crooks. I love making the type of beats he usually raps on and I think he’s one of the most creative rappers rn

A big thanks to G Mills for giving us a glimpse into his world. His new pack ‘Saucy Nugs’ is available to buy here. You can find all of his music on Spotify, and be sure to follow him on Instagram.