“That is what techno is all about: it has to be a little dirty and smashed!” Tom Hades shares some production tips as he shows us around his studio.
Tom Hades – My Studio
The studio is located at my home. I had a new house constructed about eight years ago and I had the opportunity to get the studio done properly during the construction. I decided to get the floor and walls extra isolated. Inside, special acoustic isolation and improvement using measurement has been installed. It took about one year to get really used to the dimensions and sound acoustics but now I really know how tracks should sound and translate exactly.
Ableton Push 2
Most of my career I’ve worked with different DAWs but the one I always tend to prefer purely for the production and creative part is Ableton. Since they released their own controller some years ago I immediately bought one myself and loved it straightaway. Version 1 still had some minor issues but since version 2 of the device I’m very happy to work with it. I tend to create a lot of Ableton racks which I can then map to controllers and tweak by hand those during my arrangement. Human touch seems to bring a more organic feeling since errors are in there – we are all humans with errors.
When I started to do productions, I bought a couple of Dynaudio BM15As from the first money I earned. I’ve always loved those but a couple of years ago I got the impression that they didn’t translate enough to the current expectations of production work. I did a lot of research and a friend of mine, Steve Redhead, bought his first Focal Twins, which he really loved a lot. Eventually I went to the shop and tried them out, but I was so used to my Dynaudios and especially their big power, so it seemed that the Twins didn’t take what I wanted or needed. The sales guy of the shop showed me the bigger brother and it didn’t take long until I was sold! Up to now I’m super happy with them!
Access Virus TI2
At the start of my journey into sound I worked lots of years together with Marco Bailey in his studio. He had a lot of equipment that I couldn’t afford back then, so I was always super happy to get into his studio and try out new stuff. At a certain time he bought an Access Virus B which we used on numerous releases. The sound this device could deliver and especially those pads which have so much character blew my mind every time. I bought myself an Access Virus C but for some reason or another it never appealed the same to me as the B version. A couple of years ago I bought again the TI2 version, which is easily integrated in the DAW environment nowadays. I very quickly got back that feeling of the B version I used to use a lot back then.
ProCo RAT 2 pedal
This has to be THE device I’ve always been missing to get that raw techno sound we’re all looking for. Back in the days we used to mix everything on a big mixer (like a Mackie) and since those mixers always had a certain character and addition to the sound, if you cranked up the gain or EQs it really could get messy. But that is what techno is all about: it has to be a little dirty and smashed! I’ve been using it literally on every track which I’ve been producing the last year and it seems to appeal to a lot of people because, since I’ve been using it, I got so many responses like: “Sounds so fat!!” So, I guess it does the job perfectly!
TC Electronics D-TWO and M-ONE XL
These two devices have also been a big part of my career and I think they must have defined my perception on how the known effects, like reverb and delay, must sound! They are hardwired to my mixer, so I can use them always and everywhere!
I don’t have much to say about this one except that the moment I saw this little guy on the television I was sold. I just love the simplicity on how they created this character in the Ice Age movie and how you can easily appeal to people with only basic elements. A bit like techno should be: not too complicated and to the point.