We had Oli take you through the production of one of his new tracks (unreleased and hot off the press might I add) including the actual jam recording that turned into the final track. We hope to do this more often as I think it provides a really nice insight into the way some producers are working. In this first video you will see him recording a jam using all sorts of kit, we have asked him to annotate the video. So yo will notice as he moves around you will get a little hint at what equipment he is using and what he is tweaking in the jam.
There is a lot of old Roland gear on display there as well as a few choice other bits, personally I am also a massive fan of the Alpha Juno, especially for House music it really just fits the bill and is surprisingly flexible in terms of the tones you can get from it. It is easy to program too, even tho it doesn’t have many knobs. He is syncing everything to Ableton using midi, which can sometimes be a bit sloppy but if you keep working at it, trying different routes and software settings you can get it tight enough and get a good enough sync to do your jam. A lot of this equipment is 30 years old half of the fun is working with it to capture the music. I had some joy using Tape Sync with the 909 but it can be quite tricky to work with and definately a load of effort to set up between you and a modern DAW. Sometimes you just need to get a recording in edit it tighter later, he is recording each of the Mackie mixer channels into its own separate track in Ableton for that very reason.
If you watch Oli work here, a lot of the changes he is making are quite subtle and evolving, especially with the pads, even when the track gets quite busy and exciting he is moving things out and changing filter settings quite slowly, keeping a nice direction and feeling going with the music, no need for big builds and breaks in this kind of music, keep things flowing and use the mixers mutes to take things out or bring them back in.
That said sometimes it’s fun to jam down to a stereo file and be done with it, raw. Next up we get Oli to take you through the pieces he used for the track, what inspired him and how he used it.
The Big players in this track are the Alpha Juno which is making that utterly vibey slowly evolving pad, and the SH101 which he is tweaking quite a bit for the bassline, the sound on those filter…ooosh. He also explains how recording the midi in for the pads into Ableton, so he is running those back from the DAW but keeping the audio live ready for recording during the jam session. By keeping everything running as live as possible until he commits to a recording he keeps his options open. Its a good lesson in how arrangement and sound selection are probably the two most powerful mixdown tools by performing his way through most of the arrangement he can naturally work out what works in the track and edit out any mistakes later. Using the live mixer mutes to do the arrangement is a good technique, playing the mixer can be a great way to really add some humanity to your music if you think its lacking when you program an arrangement out in the computer. It might take a bit of practice but getting a good mixer, with good faders mutes and sends set up with your favorite delays and so on is always worth the effort. Especially in a track like this, where you can often just feel when things need to change more quickly than you could program it.
The final video is where we get into the meat of info. Oli talks about how he records and mixes the track including some tasty information about layering and the kind of sounds he chose for specific purpose in the mix. He tells us how he is using the Lexicon MPX-1 to create different variations on the bass for use in the breakdown to create the different textures and vibe. There is a good bit of info on how he thinks about the sound scape and crafting a full image with the song, using percussion with reverb to fill in the sound scape as well as the rhythm. This is vital to giving the listener a good listen, balance and clarity.
Hope you enjoyed this little walk around one of Oli’s Forthcoming tracks, the final step is to hear it in all its glory below. Mr Furness has also kindly included the remix parts for you to have a dig around in, these are not royalty free, but if you want to have a mess around and make a remix, feel free to send it into us! REMIX PACK
So dig in, see how its written and structured, see how thing are layered and how things work together. Hope you found this enlightening.