The Freerange boss, DJ and deep house producer extraordinaire has just put out his ‘Dub Come Down’ collab EP with Matt Masters and releases his ‘Soul Spectral EP’ on Freerange on the 26th February – we asked Jimpster to show us around his studio.
I’m not much of a gear fetishist to be honest. I’ve got a fairly stripped back setup in my converted garage home studio in Essex, with just a few selected pieces of hardware which I turn to for quick inspiration. I avoid getting bogged down with too many plugin’s as well as it’s so easy to lose hours just flicking through useless presets. The room sounds nice without having to have any treatment apart from all the vinyl down one entire side which naturally dampens things and my Adam A7’s and Sub8 help me get the sound I’m after.It’s a room within a room too so it’s nicely soundproofed although I still get bleed from lorry’s going past when recording with the mic!
Roland Juno 106
This is the only original analogue polysynth I’ve ever owned and I’ve had it since 1991. I’ve just had to have a major service on it but it’s sounding an absolute dream again and I know I’ll get another twenty years out of it before I need to spend money on it again. It’s simple to use, has a lovely wide, warm sound and it’s surprisingly versatile as I use it a lot for bassline as well as pads. I use the Tal-Uno plugin now and then but much prefer sitting at the Juno and tweaking parts live as I record. You can hear the Juno singing bassline in my recent Jimpster track ‘Echoes In My Head’ (Head In The Clouds Mix).
Radel Taalmala LT15 Electronic Tabla
This is a totally mad bit of kit which I recently got off Ebay following a tip-off from Adesse Versions who also has one. It’s an Indian analogue tabla machine and although it isn’t fully programmable you can still get some mad rhythms out of it and it sounds like nothing else.
Fender Rhodes Mark 1
From the ridiculous to the sublime, this instrument has been with me since around 1998 and it’s my most treasured piece of studio kit. I’m not a great keyboard player but you don’t need to be if you’ve got one of these. You can play one note and it sounds beautiful and I use it on so many productions. I’ve never owned the Fender Twin amp which is the classic partner for the Rhodes but you can get very close using Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig.
Wavesfactory – Trackspacer
I only just discovered this simple little plugin but it’s brilliant and have used it on nearly every track since I got it. I use it in a similar way to side chain compression to duck certain elements of a mix out of the way of other elements, except Trackspacer does it with specific frequencies rather than volume so you can get very natural sounding results. Stick it on your bassline with the kick drum as the side chain or put it on a vocal track with pads or other mid frequency parts as the trigger to help keep the vocal in focus.
Recording your own shaker parts is probably the quickest and definitely most satisfying way to get a bit of a loose, organic feel into a track. I usually try and record my own finger snaps, claps and hit a lot of different stuff for rimshots and snare hits.
I love sampling and you can’t beat grabbing random old records, scanning through the tracks and recording in little sounds here and there which you can go on to cut up and process in the computer. I have a Vestax PDX2000 record deck which lets you play in reverse and also has plus/minus 60% pitch control. I specifically got this deck back in the late 90’s as it allows me to get a good idea of whether a sample is going to fit in my project before recording it in and also lets you try some really extreme effects.
My solar powered Sumo, Samurai and Ninja always let me know if a groove is happening or not. Watching their little heads bounce in time as the kick drum thumps and the bassline bumps can be quite hypnotic.