“As with all the tracks on the EP, analogue signal-chains and happy sequencing accidents are the key.” Lukas Lyrestam takes us through his new EP “When 2 Bodies Become One” out late summer on Skylax Records.
“When 2 Bodies Become One” was created out of approximately ten demos which had been “rightly rejected by label boss Hardrock Striker during a period of studio transition” Lukas explains. Rooted in classic emotive and deep house, each track was made in different studio environments as the producer constantly moved back and forth London, Berlin, and Stockholm for two years.
We asked him to take us through how he made the album, track by track.
Tech house is a loaded terms these days but I would label this tune Tech House in the most flattering sense possible. I think it’s a case of less is more with only five tracks on the EP and therefore an exercise (for me at least) in not adding or overworking something that’s already got something going for it.
All the Latin inspired percussion and the tom-bass is played (un-programmed) using the Roland Electronic Drum Kit that I found gathering dust in my office. I recorded it via the audio on my laptop for low res audio goodness.
With some significant timing fixes as well as tiny tweaks to un-quantised performances, I was able to capture the organic swing and groove which I was looking for. Serendipitously, the low-res audio via the laptop recordings complemented the rest of the drums I had programmed and the re-sampled flute sounds.
This one came to life very quickly. It took about four hours in the Secret Sundaze studio which was around the corner from my apartment in London Fields. Artistically it’s a nod to Todd Terje: synth-house with a touch of jazz chords for contrast.
It was the studio set up that made the workflow straightforward and thus I was able to complete this track in a short space of time. The multi-MIDI out nature of the studio and the fluidity of the patch bay meant that the whole arrangement, processing and mixing was completed in one sitting.
It’s important to stress that this is not an achievement as such, it just happened to be this way this one time. I can’t emphasise more not to rush when making music but occasionally you can get in the zone and things can magically fall into place.
The Elta Polivoks Mini was sequenced via MIDI and the Roland “Classic Drum-Machine” takes the MIDI clock with the live pattern changing thrown in. All of these elements are sent to the patch-bay and mixing desk where they are bussed to analogue effects and EQ including the unstoppable CopiCat tape-delay.
Check out the video below for a walkthrough on process.
A lot of my material starts as a song in the loosest sense of the word. Then the song and lyrics are stripped back to reveal a track at which point you realise the whole thing isn’t really working at all…
“Strange Beast” is comprised of a large amount of loops and audio ideas that derived from earlier tracks that for whatever reason I didn’t decide to finish. Instead of throwing the work away, I bounced out the best-bits to re-use in another session. Having those pre-made building blocks available can help spark an idea and if I’m travelling somewhere, I can get something together quickly just using a basic clip based set-up.
With this track, I then took one of those ideas and re-processed it through a vintage tape machine that gave the chord/pad sound depth, intrigue and character. The bassline comes from my trusted workhorse the SH-101 which I purchased with my student loan seven years ago.
When 2 Bodies Become One
The title track of the EP and ideal in my mind for after-hours dancing or romancing on an Adriatic beach.
This track kicks off the second side of the EP and I hoped to create a hybrid of Balearic house and golden-era Chromatics. For the record, Johnny Jewel from Italians Do It Better / Chromatics is one of my all-time music-making heroes (and if you’re out there reading this I’m terribly sorry about what I did, I won’t ever sample Desire ever again).
In contrast to the other tracks on the record this arrangement is more free form featuring an indulgent guitar-driven breakdown, loads of filtered reverb audio and a ballsy musical recapitulation. I always enjoy it when a piece of music threads between seemingly different pieces and I’d like to think that’s what this tune does. You can drop this one when you’re looking to throw a little curveball into the mix.
As with Strange Beast, the tape-compression works well with the analogue synth recordings especially when isolating the mid/treble frequencies to avoid over-saturating the low end. As with all the tracks on the EP, analogue signal-chains and happy sequencing accidents are the key.
Bike Ride With U
Guitar in any-type of serious house music is always going to be difficult. Luckily for me the whole melody came together as a result of the reverb / chorus effect on the Roland Jazz Chorus.
This track nods it’s musical head to sample-heavy lo-fi house such as Moodyman and vintage DJ Sprinkles. It blends the darker shades of 80s Indie with straight-up 4/4.
The beating heart of this track, the pads, bass and drums, were all done with audio-samples in the Octatrack which has only eight audio tracks per part. These limitations are actually enlightening and any DAW user should experience it.
The arpeggio comes courtesy of the Roland “JX-3P” sequencer triggered by the signal in from a volatile Korg Volca Beats. This made for an interesting rhythmic counterpoint as I could never figure out how to get it to stop/start in relation to the rest of the instrumental.
I played the guitar part myself using my dad’s old guitar through his old amplifier.