We were recently introduced to Denny White via his artist bro and Studio One fan Josh Cumbee. Denny combines pop and electronic beats, soulful blues vocals, and a singer/songwriter style that takes listeners on a trip! Living in Los Angeles has awarded him opportunities to play alongside acts such as Young the Giant, Dawes, and Tove Styrke. He JUST released some vocal sample packs with our friends at Splice, and he’s currently working on a collection of singles leading up to his debut full-length album coming out soon! We recently had the opportunity to chat with him about his career and his gear.
Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?
I grew up in a sleepy California suburb called Hemet and music was always at the centerpiece of everything we did. I fell slowly into making music as a career, and still find it crazy that I call this my “job.” My freshman year of college, I met my good buddy Brent Kutlze, who produced my first solo EP and mentored me early on. I saw first hand how he wrote & produced for other artists, while also being a full-time one himself in his band OneRepublic. Releasing that first EP led to me meeting a manager, doing hundreds of co-writes, moving to LA, and eventually signing a publishing deal with Warner Chappell.
How has the music industry changed since your early days?
It’s such a catch-22… everything’s changed while nothing has at the same time. I was technically streaming music in high school with Limewire and MySpace, but couldn’t have dreamed it would morph into streaming as we know it today. On the recording side, I’m still producing on a laptop like I was in college, but everything is light years better and faster than anything I could have imagined then. One of the biggest changes is the vast amounts of knowledge and resources available to everyone now. The industry once sounded like some mysterious faraway place that only a few had access to, but now that glass ceiling has been shattered. I’ve written with kids who know about publishing, licensing, producing, and even their own frequency preferences on a vocal, thanks to amazing resources like Pensado’s Place, or podcasts like Ross Golan’s And the Writer is.
My first song was written for a school talent show, and I hope to find a dusty VHS tape someday with a little me on it, most likely singing a mid-tempo Ben Folds-esque piano tune.
Who has been an influence in your life?
Hands down my wife’s been the biggest influence in my life. Musically, I’ve been the benefactor of so many talented friends and collaborators who’ve had an influence on me as well over the years, Brent Kutlze, Michael Brun, David Hodges, Alex Delicata, Steve Wilmot, and Jeff Sojka to name a few!
Have you ever wanted to give up on music? What keeps you going?
I’ve never wanted to give up on music per se, but have definitely contemplated other career paths, as this one has the propensity to drive you mad; you really have to love it despite the wild ebb and flow of the industry and embrace the process daily. My faith and family keep me going on days I don’t want to.
How did you first hear of PreSonus?
I’ve always known about PreSonus but knew little about the products until really hearing about Studio One from my freakishly talented friend Josh Cumbee last year.
What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye?
I remember being in Josh’s studio and was immediately intrigued when I saw the Start Page of Studio One. It felt so unique and custom to Josh. The first feature that caught my eye was the window in the middle where you can upload your own art, that prints on every mixdown. Also, the organization of seeing all recent files on the left, without having to scroll through a list or search your hard drive immediately spoke to my OCD-ness.
What PreSonus products do you use?
What features are you most impressed with in Studio One?
I really dig Console Shaper, and the immediate vibe it can give to any blank start. The hybrid dual buffer engine is insane and makes it possible to work in large projects that historically would have been a cluster cuss, and allows me to use instances of soft synths that are taxing on CPU like Kontact or Vengeance Avenger up until the finish line. Tracklist organization, Fat Channel, and “Candleblower” bass in Mai Tai are a few of the other million things I love in it.
Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One?
Recently I released a Vocal pack on Splice, and Sample One XT made all my vocal chops feel so much more creative and important-sounding than anything I could have accomplished in my sad old DAW’s sampler. First I’d record pass of adlibs, tune with the integrated Melodyne (insanely fast,) then map individual samples across 3-5 keys and quickly explore new melody ideas. Another huge lifehack is I have “W” set to “Locate Mouse Cursor.” It’s insane how much time these things have saved me, and now I’m able to be creative almost immediately.
How easy/difficult was Studio One to learn?
The transition was so easy. I was very reluctant at first, thinking It’d take way too much time, but after doing a few sessions in it I was back at full speed with a whole new perspective on producing.
Where do you go for support?
From the Knowledgebase to millions of videos on YouTube, or texting one of my friends about Studio One, there’s never a shortage of support.
Recent projects? What’s next for you?
Last week I released my first Vocal Sample Pack on Splice that I’m really proud of. Currently, I’m in the middle of writing for my album, while also producing a record for Gabriel Conte!