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Jace Breaker

Please tell our readers who you are and what you do?

My name is Erick Mynssen, also known as Jace Breaker, and I am a music producer and sound designer based out of Montreal, Canada. I'm originally from a small town in Brazil just an hour outside of Rio de Janeiro. I've been a DJ for five years and I have been producing for two years now. I actually spent most of my life living in Canada's capital (Ottawa) up until a couple of months ago when I decided to move to Montreal to take a bachelor's in electroacoustics.

Right now I'm balancing a day job and production work in preparation for school. Having moved to a bigger city like Montreal has been a very humbling experience so far. I decided to take electroacoustics in university so I can expand what I've already learned on my own and also to allow me to network in the film industry in order to find a career in sound design for movies.

The funny thing is that I wasn't that much into music up until the age of 13. Coming from a non-english speaking country meant that we only got the most pop of international pop music on the radio and even then I grew up not really understanding the lyrics anyway so growing up it was almost exclusively Brazilian pop music.

So when after coming to Canada and having learnt English I spent a lot of time at the library after school since I didn't have internet at home. Whenever all stations were full and I had time to kill I would go down to the CD and tape section and do a bit of "crate digging" for a few hours. After a while of that I got into rock, heavy metal, punk, hip hop and reggae and that was basically my music palette until I was midway through high school. That was when one of my friends invited me to a Halloween techno and trance rave and everything changed.

The music was down right weird to me at the time, edm was something I did not like at all because all I came by had no lyrics and so there was nothing for me to hold on to so to speak. So after saying that during that night my friends gave me a couple of CDs with a few mixes from the local happy hardcore, drum&bass and hard trance DJs and told me to give it a chance.

Then I got hooked, those CDs opened a world of electronic music that I never knew existed. After two years of just being a party goer I decided to take a crack at DJing and so after being a Drum & Bass and Hardcore DJ for three years I decided that a new breath of fresh air was needed and so in the summer of 2015 after I had just spent 8 months in Brazil doing a whole lot of soul searching and listening to a lot of ASOT, I decided to go into DJing trance and produce under a new alias, Jace Breaker.

How would you describe your influences and how have they changed over the years? Do you feel that changing tastes over years as artistic growth? ?

This is where it gets interesting because I've been blessed with being able to find inspiration and influences from every genre on the music spectrum. Like I've mentioned I was really into bands in my mid teens and only got into edm in my late teens/ early twenties so I try to take inspiration from both. I'm not the type of person to only like hard/grungy music or cheesy/euphoric music so I could easily be listening to hardstyle one day and then trance the next day.

Oddly enough, changing alias' didn't have an impact on my influences. Mostly because for me it's more about the composition and the sound design behind it that really makes 90% of the track.

For the past year I've been listening to a lot of artist podcasts, I keep up with ASOT, ABGT, Markus Schulz's GDJB, Solarstone Pure Trance and Monstercat just to name a few. I find that I get exposed to a couple exclusives and most of the new releases at the moment doing that. Whenever I'm online I always check major sites like Beatport and Trackitdown for new tunes that might interest me or if I have nothing planned for a few hours I'll go through a random label's back catalog online to see if I can find anything that I haven't seen yet. All that I know is that I'll need a bigger hard drive at some point cuz I'm a big music hoarder.

What´s new right now?

Having just moved to a new city, I don't have any gigs on the horizon just yet but I do have a release schedule for a few tunes I'm working on right now that I'll be releasing in the next few months. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you'd know that I post a lot of track previews and segments of what I'm producing at the moment. Now that I have a dedicated studio space I'll be looking into collaborations with the local talent and see what kind of opportunities the university will present to me. This year has been a year of discovery and dedication, I've been able to hone in on production and find my sound. Next year will be about expanding what I learned this year and pushing my limits in order to find my place within the trance community.

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What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?

My biggest mistake was trying to learn everything at the same time. I would try to do sound design and learn how to mix and how to master and how to compose and learn theory all in the span of the same week. It was terrible and for the longest time I thought I was progressing as an artist only to realize that I've been spending way too much time on this one element in this one project and meanwhile my soundcloud became a cricket motel.

If I had one tip to give to a new producer it would be this: be patient and be honest with yourself

Music production is a very vast field of study. Music in itself is a language and like any language, you have to learn how to carry a conversation before you know enough to make a speech. If you are a new producer, learn music theory, pick up an instrument and let your brain will do the rest. if you already know theory or just don't want to bother, then learn sound design and composition, I have heard terribly mixed/mastered tracks that sound great to a non-trained ear just because the song was catchy.

On the same tip, maybe production isn't for you, maybe mixing and/or mastering come more naturally to you. If that is the case, then maybe look into making a career as a mix and/or mastering engineering. Always be honest with yourself, and you will find that your heart will lead you in the right path.


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How do you get gigs? Can you share any tips?


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What has been your biggest challenge right now? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

My biggest challenge was making that transition from being solely a DJ to being a producer DJ. Gone are the days where you just had to buy tunes and make mixtapes, now you have to be a business and that means taking yourself seriously and treating it like a job. I was never the most disciplined person in the room so I had to learn how to schedule blocks of time for production, scheduling topics of focus ahead of time for each session to make sure I was progressing in the best way that I could.

Being a bit of a bookworm I turned to books for help and last Christmas my girlfriend bought me this book called Deep Work by Cal Newport that literally changed the way I looked at productivity. This guy talks about how in our society it's becoming harder to produce qualitative work because of distractions that didn't exist before (like the internet and social media). It's a great book and I'd recommend it to anyone that does any type of self-employed work. Another great book is How to Be an Artist by Joanneh Nagler, it's a small 200 page guide on how to have a creative output without being a starving musician. Great reads


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How do you promote yourself? Do you have any specific promotion tips for other musicians?

I came from a relatively small community in Ottawa and so the only promoting I really did was on social media and networking by word of mouth. My focus at the moment is to get my music to where I want it to be and do a bit of promoting to help get it out there but I don't see a point in spending a lot of money and time fully promoting my music when I know I'm not completely evolved as an artist yet.

When it comes to giving people advice on promoting themselves I always say that you have to know when you're ready to take your music out there. Take a hard look at your music and ask yourself if you as a listener would be interested in following yourself if you stumbled across one of your songs online. Music doesn't have the same shelf life anymore and people's tastes change faster than you can say "nobody listens to techno". So if you think that if a stranger could stumble across one of your tracks online and be interested enough to check out the rest of your catalog, then go crazy on promoting and start marketing your music.


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We meet again in one year. What has changed?

My plan's are to continue to grow as an artist. I think that being in Montreal for the next four years at least and being enrolled in an intense sound design program will have a great impact on my sound. I'm super stoked to see what this city has to offer and how it will mold me as a producer. Next year my goal will be to release two original EPs and at least three remixes so I'll start planning for the first EP sometime around November. We'll see what the future holds ?


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