Stephen Farrow, who goes by the musician name “DotCom,” is a GRAMMY-nominated recording and mix engineer, music industry veteran. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, he has since become a part of the Atlanta music scene, getting his start within the hip-hop genre in the early 2000’s.
His original interest in the music world began at a young age. Having grown up surrounded by music, and with a gospel musician uncle who would let him experiment on mixers and sound-boards, he first began creating his music with friends in high school. Around this time, an experience in a Birmingham, Alabama studio left him hooked and determined to pursue music for a living. From that first taste, he fell in love with the different knobs, buttons, and faders, and all of the effects that they could achieve. He began a deep-dive into music creation, learning about beats, vocals, mixing, and everything in-between. From there he went on to go to Omnitech for digital media, and in 2014 became a recording engineer for Quality Control Studios. He has since worked with artists such as Cardi B, Nick Cannon, Lil Yachty, Migos, and more.
For him, mixing is a real passion, and he views the studio as a sanctuary and a retreat. It is the one place he wants to be, both on good days and bad. Through the music that he mixes, he hopes to form connections to others and to pass on the good vibes and incredible feelings that he gets from being in the studio. He hopes that the music he mixes will encourage listeners to connect to the listening experience; to dance when happy, to sing when inspired, to relax after a long day. Having had the opportunity to work with some of the top talents in the country, these experiences have cemented within him that the music industry is where he is truly meant to be, and he continuously puts forward his best work and strives to break barriers both for himself, and those whom he represents. He knows the cut-throat nature of the industry and has experienced it firsthand. Despite this, he has only become more driven to continue mixing, as it allows him to pursue his dreams while supporting the goals and ambitions of those whom he represents.
Having gone through numerous jobs throughout his life, from banker to warehouse worker, music and his dedication for mixing has taught him never to give up and to work hard to get where you want to be, and this is something he hopes to pass on to his clientele. Currently, he is dedicated to discovering and working with the youth of Atlanta, Georgia. His current project is with seventeen-year-old North Carolina artist, Luh Bri: a talented trap girl artist with a powerful flow and commanding style. He views signing artists and producers as his most significant achievement thus far, and the opening of the next chapter in his book, and he will continue to be entirely dedicated to the music, his craft, and creating the best tracks he can produce.
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How did you become a record producer?
When I was 15, 16 I was in high school. Me and a buddy of mine we had a group I don’t even remember the name. And basically, we found a studio with real studio equipment in Montgomery, Alabama and went there to record the song. We didn’t know what we were going to record we didn’t have a beat. First time in the studio and they had a drum machine playing a drum beat. We went in and did a song. They charged us like $500 for like three hours. And from that period on I just realized that was what I wanted to do because of the money.
What brought you to the entertainment industry and music specifically?
I love music and always wanted to have a creative part. My uncle had a gospel group and would let me go to the studio, and I just fell in love with the different knobs buttons and faders. More equipment in the studios then. So much amazing gear
What and who influenced the sound you bring today?
The youth of Atlanta
What would you tell your younger self to help them get to where you are now faster?
I would tell myself not to get to a point in time when I want to give up. I have to say that in my lifetime I worked the number of jobs from banker to warehouse. To stocking shelves so I’ve you know had my fair share of giving up moments, but I would say don’t give up. Stay loyal. Don’t burn your bridges because that’s what helped me to get this far. “And be an all around good person. Being a good person, a loyal person will get you a long way.”
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What’s happened in your career that makes you feel this is the industry for you?
I’m working with the top artist currently out in the industry. As with any profession you want to be the best at your job so to work with and be requested by the top artists is a great feeling. Plus a few plaques to add to the collection is also an added plus
What was the biggest obstacle in getting to your current career phase?
Who to trust, this is a dog eat dog industry. Friends turn on friends, family the same way and everybody wants the money, so trust is a significant obstacle
What do you want people to get from your music?
Good vibes, a great feeling. If you’re having a lousy day relax to it if you with your love vibe to it dance and sing to it with your kids, Have fun with it.
Tell us about your current project?
Currently working with Luh Bri 17 yr old from NC. Very dope artist. Pretty trap girl type. Powerful flow.
What do you feel has been your most significant life achievement so far?
Signing an artist and producer, this is the first step to the next chapter in my book. I won’t say much, but I’m putting a valiant effort at it.
If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Biggie, he told lyrical stories. Made you feel like you were a part of the situation in the song.
How do you use the studio as your musical instrument?
“Well, I use the studio as my sanctuary, my retreat.” Like I say even though I have this beautiful facility to work here I have set up at home. And that’s the first thing I did when I got home. I run up the stairs and go straight to the studio. Sometimes I don’t even check on my kid because she’s 13 now so I know she’s probably on Snapchat. I don’t know man it’s just the smell and the hum of the studio equipment and only the solitude.
“Knowing that you know I can be as creative as I want to be and not have anybody judge me personally.” ~ DotCom