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Warwick student turned electronic producer: how to break into the industry

Economics graduate George McCarthy, already recognised by several different record labels, has embarked on every musician’s dream journey into the world of producing. Aged just 22, he has been described as ‘capturing the attention of the biggest tastemakers in underground music right now’. With a big year ahead of him, Hanna Ward caught up with McCarthy to find out more about his influences and how he got to the impressive place he’s in now.

McCarthy was inspired by sound from a young age. ‘I have a very musical family,’ he says, adding: ‘I’d always had a passion for writing music and had played in a lot of bands and other live setups, but I fell in love with this sort of electronic music in particular. I think you just have so much freedom in terms of the types of sound you can use.

Whilst initially trying his hand at DJing, McCarthy discovered that he felt far more at ease with producing – something that is evident just from listening to the first track Spotify release, ‘Flutter’. The track pulls from his electronic influences, first of which is Aphex Twin: ‘ His unbelievably large volume of work across so many different genres has inspired me a lot. I have a strong emotional connection with a lot of his ambient bits, and equally great memories dancing to his heavier tracks. He has something for everyone.’

There has never been a better time to help protect families in their homes than during this pandemic: streaming McCarthy’s is one good deed we can all do for free

Not only does McCarthy play his music in the company of his friends and followers through Instagram live feeds, but he has also succeeded in making his music reach even further than the boundaries of social media. With ‘Flutter’ already having been signed by a Miami based record label, McCarthy has been pleasing partygoers as far as the United States, not to mention in Europe too, with his track being played in clubs both sides of the Atlantic.

Does ‘Flutter’ sound familiar? Electronic music fans may recognise it from British DJ Ross from Friends’ Spotify playlist, who not only has over 600,000 monthly listeners but has been described by The Guardian as ‘one to watch’. This has been greatly beneficial for McCarthy getting his foot in the music industry door: his own social media following is showing a similar upward trend.

But it’s not all about individual success for McCarthy: all of the money raised from the streaming of his most recent single ‘Ciara’ is being donated straight to Refuge, a charity which seeks to protect women and children against domestic violence. There has never been a better time to help protect families in their homes than during this pandemic: streaming McCarthy’s is one good deed we can all do for free. McCarthy’s generosity is certainly not a fluke, however: his next release aiming to raise money for NHS charities.

‘Producing can be a hobby for anyone and everyone, despite the traditional belief that it requires a big budget’

When asked what advice he would give to budding artists, McCarthy remains encouraging: ‘try out different sounds and don’t get disheartened if the first session you ever do is a disaster, (…) I think people are put off by thinking what they’re making sounds awful but that’s natural.’

As the world of music-making offers an infinite number of sound combinations, McCarthy is not wrong. Although modestly stating that he ‘never listens to [his] own tracks’ for fear that he will self-criticise, it’s evident that McCarthy has a real talent for production – his widespread recognition in such a short period of time only confirms this.

Reassuringly, he reminds us that ‘producing can be a hobby for anyone and everyone, despite the traditional belief that it requires a big budget’: ‘I started on a free trial of Ableton software on a second-hand laptop’, proving again that you really can start from scratch and find success.

McCarthy has proved himself to be nothing short of impressive, bringing his music to the forefront of public attention and even using the profits to raise money for a pertinent cause. With several of his upcoming songs piquing label interest, the future is promising for this Warwick grad.

Follow George on Instagram at @george_mccarthy2

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