Prolific Berlin-based producer John Dimas shows us around the studio where he made his debut album.
John Dimas – My Studio
In the studio…
Since I bought this incredible machine it has become impossible to make music in any other way. It is the HEART of my studio and has infinite possibilities. Every time I press play, it is one track that is created whatever the style may be. After buying it, my production went to a level I was always trying to achieve but didn’t know what was missing.
I do everything with it, from ambient to breaks and trip-hop to techno. I could say it’s the perfect machine for me to make music with. Every track from One Against Time was made with it and now I am already in the process of finishing another album with it for the other project I have, Secret Universe.
Korg Electribe ESX
This is a very cool sampler and works well with the other Korg machines I have. Initially I borrowed it from my friend Giuliano Lomonte to check it out as a sampler. I was already using the Korg ER1 and Korg EMX and was curious to see what this had to offer. Ever since then it has stayed in my studio (thanks G!).
It is fairly simple to create drums with and I also load my own samples into it as it’s just faster to create patterns with my own samples. I made the drums for the album track ‘Lost & Found’ in five minutes with this and then I transferred the whole pattern and vocal samples I used to the main sequencer.
I must say that I really enjoy the valves it has, although they do make it a bit noisy but I like it. For example, I used many layers of drum distortion from the ESX valve on the ‘SiKret Universe’ track from the album, then I passed those layers through my Eventide DSP4000 without it affecting the main beats.
Dynaudio BM5A Monitors
I believe the trick to really knowing what you are doing in the studio is knowing your monitors. We got together in 2008 when I first started making music and we know each other very well.
For me these are best of the nearfield Dynaudio range and even compared to the newest model I would never change. I would even buy the same ones from old stock if anything ever happened to them (touch wood).
I have Akito the sushi maker on bassline and drums duty. Every time he likes what he hears, he starts chopping the sushi as fast as he can. That’s how I know whether I should continue the idea or if I should just start a new one: if he doesn’t chop, the track has to stop!
DSI Prophet 12 & Roland SH-101
The Prophet is a synthesiser I had to wait many years to buy because of its price, but it is the best synth I ever had and was worth waiting for. I’m using it in all my tracks, including my other ambient project, and am totally in love with those sci-fi sounds I get from it.
The filters in it and the inbuilt arpeggiator help me to create many tricks in combination with the Cirklon, like in the album track ‘Flying Asteroids’. In combination with my Eventide I create many crazy sound effects also which is something I am interested in pursuing further in the future. Sound design for video games for example is something that really interests me.
The SH-101 needs no introduction and was a dream come true to have in my studio.
Since basslines are my thing I was on the hunt for years to get one in good condition at a reasonable price and on my Australian tour last year I finally found it and it was even better than I could have ever hoped for. Needless to say, I use it on just about every track I produce.
Rennie & The Mixer
I like to record my tracks in one take. I believe if you have a great idea rolling and all the tools in front of you, the track can be finished in just a few hours, so I record everything in one take with my multi-channel mixer. Every night I walk out of the studio thinking I need to go back in the morning for the final mixdown, but somehow magically the track is mixed and ready to bounce when I go back in the next day. I have a funny feeling it’s got something to do with my little camel friend Rennie, but I don’t want to ask just in case he stops doing whatever it is he does and I actually have to do that work in the morning myself. Sometimes I hear noises coming from the studio in the middle of the night but I am too lazy to get out of bed to investigate, so I guess that’s the only explanation. Efcharisto Rennie!