The heart of the new studio setup: Akai MPC60, Mackie 1604 VLZ and Dynaudio BM6As

The heart of the new studio setup: Akai MPC60, Mackie 1604 VLZ and Dynaudio BM6As

Over the last year or so you released your Different Circles podcasts, which acted as a kind of snapshot of what you were listening to at that moment. What other things have you been listening to more recently and has that had a direct impact on what you’ve been making?

My first phase of making music was all about taking influence from regional music from around the world. I was lucky that I was travelling a lot and got to experience it first hand and gather exotic sounds from all over the place. With Twists and Turns I decided to do the complete opposite and draw influence from all the music that inspired me when I was growing up, which was old-school hardcore, jungle, garage and early grime.

At the same time when I was growing up I used to listen to a lot of shoegaze and guitar-based music so I used some of that as inspiration too. It’s just inspiration though – I’ve used the sound palette as a starting point to create something brand new, as opposed to a lot of people at the moment who just seem to be re-making tracks that were made 20 years ago. I don’t see any point in doing that. You’re never going to better the originals…

With Twists and Turns I decided to draw influence from the music that inspired me when I was growing up: hardcore, jungle, garage and early grime.

Five of the tracks on the album are collaborations with Logos. How do you split the roles when you go into the studio together? What does each one of you bring to the table?

I really enjoy working with Logos and I think we click quite well together in the studio. We have two very different creative visions which luckily compliment each other quite nicely. We both have very different ways in the way we hear music – he has a really good ear for samples and the way stuff fits together and I think I have more of an ear for rhythms, textures and weird audio processing. We’ve definitely taught each other a lot since we’ve been working together.

It’s nice working in two different studios, too – the tracks we make in my studio all have a certain feel to them and the tracks we make in his studio all have a certain sound. On the album you can definitely hear that our collaborations fall into two categories and I think that boils down to whose studio we used. We’ve just signed a couple of new EPs and there’ll definitely be a lot more collaborations between us surfacing very soon, so keep an eye out!

Are you working pretty much entirely with hardware in your own studio now?

Yeah, I’m 100% hardware in the studio now. I just use the computer as a tape machine to record what I make.

Do you think the hardware-based approach has a big impact on the way your tracks end up sounding, or is it just a question of what inspires you and makes it easier to get the results you’re looking for?

I think It makes a massive impact on how the record sounds. Stuff like the sample rate of the samplers, which technology a sound module or synth is using, the converters, the mixing desk, just the whole signal flow really. Whatever tool you use, it’s going to impact your sound in some way or another. Using hardware has definitely made my sound more simple and focussed rather than complex and cluttered and I think that’s simply down to the fact that I only have a 16 channel mixer, so I can have a maximum of 16 mono elements in each track unless I want to record it and then go over it. I don’t see it as a limitation that’s had a negative effect on my music, though. You need limitations in order to create, and the fact that I could only use 16 mono elements or even sometimes 8 stereo elements in each track made the album sound as it does.

One of the collaborations with Logos, ‘In Reverse’, first appeared on the Keysound compilation, This Is How We Roll. Martin Clark has deliberately tried to avoid putting a tag on the music from people like Wen, Beneath and Emma at the moment, but he’s reluctantly described it as ‘dark 130’. Does it feel like you’re part of a scene there, or is it just coincidence that people are moving in similar directions?

I think there’s definitely something building. There are so many really great new producers who’ve come through in the last nine months or so, people with shared ideas and similar tastes. It’s really refreshing to see. Each producer sounds very individual too. It definitely feels like there’s a community building. It’s good to see everyone collaborating, sharing tracks, communicating with each other and enjoying music. I guess that’s what makes things progress, people getting excited about each other’s tunes which then spurs you on to better yourself and improve the music you make. I hope it stays the same when the media shine a light on it and people start making serious money, as that’s usually when things start to fall apart!

4th June, 2013

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