You may not know Dave Slitzky, but you definitely know his work if you’re familiar with the Skidmore music scene. Dave is currently pursuing a self-determined major in music production, combining his creative abilities with his love for music. In his three years at Skidmore, Dave has helped to produce albums, EPs and singles for some of campus’s most beloved bands including Los Elk, The Artifacts and Skinny White Folk. On top of all that, Dave is also in his own Skidmore band: Bo Peep and the Funk Sheep. Dave is proof that with a good idea and some hard work, anything is possible at Skidmore.
Her Campus: What first made you become interested in music production?
Dave Slitzky: I started fooling around with recording as an eighth grader. My band desperately wanted to record, and as the resident computer geek I got tasked to figure it out. From there my interest bloomed. As a high school student, I was fortunate enough to find a teacher at my school who has a degree in recording arts and the talent of a professional producer. I spent most of my high school years following him around as he produced local bands and learned so much from that experience. I always thought that when I got to Skidmore, I’d do music as a hobby and study something else. It wasn’t until the beginning of my sophomore year that I realized making music was all I wanted to do.
HC: What combination of classes are you taking to fulfill your self-determined major?
DS: I really lucked out with my SDM. Most of my classes come from the music department. I take music theory and music technology classes and do a few independent studies within the department. On top of that, I take classes in computer science, arts administration, and psychology.
HC: How would you describe music production to someone who didn’t know much about it?
DS: Producing music is a lot like directing a movie. You’re handed a script or, in my case, songs and have to work with a group of people to create art. As much as I have to listen to music to understand my craft, looking at other mediums helps me to express ideas coming through the music I work on. As corny as it may sound, I want to produce music the way John Steinbeck and Vladimir Nabokov write novels. I want my production styles to serve the songs and highlight their emotional content.
HC: Who inspires you?
DS: Listening to Rick Rubin’s productions has greatly affected my work. He’s produced some of my favorite albums. Butch Vig, who has worked with Nirvana, Green Day, and Foo Fighters, equally influences my productions. I’ve gotta shout out to Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson too for drumming on and producing two of my favorite albums.
HC: What projects are you working on this year?
DS: Right now I’m working with Los Elk on their record, Camper on a single as well as producing a pair of singles for my own band. I’m also just about to get started working with Harrison Lipton on his record.
HC: What are some of the biggest challenges you face?
DS: While I do enjoy every part of the production process, editing takes a ton of time. The process involves me going through different performances to compile the “perfect” take. I guess it’s not so much the time or the process that’s challenging, but it’s the one process I do by myself. Working with other people on productions is so much fun, so I don’t enjoy the parts I have to do alone as much. Having said that, I love sharing the music I work on with my friends. It gets to a point during the production process that I realize all I want is to listen to this music walking around campus. It’s a great feeling.
HC: When you’re not swamped with producing, what else do you like to do?
DS: When I’m not producing, I love playing the drums both in my band and with other friends too. It’s not so much a hobby as it is an extension of my producing career. Non-musically, I spend time following sports, cooking, and spending as much time with my friends and girlfriend as I can.
HC: How do you see your work at Skidmore evolve into a career?
DS: As long as I’m always intimately involved in making music I’m passionate about, I’ll be happy. I enjoy sharing the music I work on with others and hope to continue having the opportunity to do so. Hopefully along the way I’ll get to meet and to thank some of the individuals who influence my work and future career.
You can check out Dave’s work on the webpages of the following bands, and also on Skidmore iTunesU!