Studio Talk with Rhythm Operator

studiotalk_rhythmoperator

Hi Cal, thanks for taking the time out for a good old chin wag about music stuff, with releases out now on ‘Let’s Play House’ , Dirt Crew, W&O Street tracks and Needwant, you must be feeling pretty good at the moment?

Hey gents. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Yeah, things have been great lately. Just been really thankful for all the support and love I’ve been getting over the past year and a half or so.

What inspired you to make music that we can hear on the aforementioned labels, has house always been your thing or have other styles guided you in the process? Explain the experience working with such credible labels like Let’s Play House? Did they find you or did you find them?

House has always played a big role for me. I’ve been into house, disco, techno, and all things weird for over the past 10 years so it’s played a big influence on how I see music. Working with LPH has been great. Nik is a stand up guy and it’s been amazing working with a higher calibre label, specially it being based in the states. I had actually emailed them some demos as I was aware they had an idea who I was, and we went from there really.

Love the name Rhythm Operator, and the music isn’t so bad either ;). I only noticed your music quite recently, is this your first act or have you worked on music long before this under a different guise?

Well I’ve been producing music for about 6-7 years now, but was doing it strictly for my own use or friends. It wasn’t until my old buddy Shawn Mac, and Chas Bronz (of Casual Encounters fame) who convinced me that I decided to release music rather than just hoard all of it for myself. This is the only moniker I’ve used so far..

So let’s get a little deeper into how you work as a producer, talk us through the way you lay down a track?

Almost all the tracks I’ve done start off with a main melody or bassline. Once I’m feeling either or, I jump onto drums, and build up a basic groove. From there, comes more of the layering the atmosphere and putting all the pieces together to form an original track.

Are there any idiosyncratic things you tend to do in the studio? Any little funny habits you can share with us?

Well, it’s kinda silly, but when I work on tracks, I picture myself in a dj booth, and playing out what I’m working with to a crowd, as if it’s a live show. Thinking of those elements creates a great working atmosphere and builds a lot of creativity for me, and pumps me up while I’m working alone. Other than that, having a bunch of snacks is something that is quite the occurence. Haha. (I need to burn off those extra calories with some dancing)

I know this can vary depending on what project you’re working on, but roughly how long does it take you to have the nuts and bolts of a track done? Do you have a pre prepared sample library or parts saved to get you going?

Crazy as it is, I do time myself to see how efficient and focused I am when I work on music. It takes between 2-5 hours on average to fully complete a track, including the mix down. I’m not one to over-think it, some I just go with my first instinct and just bang it out. I do have extra drum loops I make ahead of times sometimes, but majority is usually spur of the moment stuff, as I won’t know what way I’d feeling a certain day. That’s what really factors the variety of my sound.

What’s the most important factor for you when working on a track, what has to be absolutely right before you let it go. In other words what do you obsess over?

I don’t really obsess over anything too in particular. I believe that music doesn’t really have to be perfect. And that’s what really drew me to house, cause it didn’t have to be perfect. It could be off beat slightly and sound amazing even. If I had to choose something though, it would probably be the hats. Gotta get that rhythm flowing proper, naw’amsayin!

Writers block can be a common issue for those involved in anything creative, does it happen to you and if so how do you keep yourself working?

I’m really lucky and blessed that I’ve only faced writers block once (for about 2-3 days). I just took some time off and relaxed and listened to other people’s music, and when I got back into the lab, I was ready to go with fresh ideas. It’s been a dream to work with music since I was a kid. So from that time to actually producing, years and years of bottled up ideas are still coming out, which definitely has made it easier on me in that sense.

What would your dream studio consist of? What would you fill it with and why? Not stuff you already have but stuff you would love to get.

I would love to get an original 909 and the Sh-101. The 909 is a pinnacle sound of house music, and samples don’t do the actual drum machine justice I think from my experience, especially with the vast parameters it has. The Sh-101 is really great for basslines and pads, and I would love to incorporate the full sound of that synth. Those two pieces of gear would really make my setup ideal.

When it comes to classification of musical styles, I am intrigued to know what the kids over there in the USA think house music really is? Is the vibe and direction of your music quite niche over there?

Since the states are quite vast, it really varies from region to region, what the kids really think of house. I think with the bigger cities like LA, San Francisco, Miami, New York, Houston, Detroit, Chicago, Seattle, Washington D.C., and all, there’s more culture and variety, and people are influenced to more open ideas, even if it’s by accident. Sadly, from what I see, most kids think techno is EDM, and from time to time I’ll show people what house and techno really is, so they get a real sense of what musical style they are referring to originates from.

I’d have to say my sound is a niche. Not just because it’s underground house, but because, I don’t really stick to one particular sound. Lately, I’ve really got back into ambient vibes, which most kids here have no clue about, so overall I’m still in a niche market in the states.


Tell us about what plans you have coming up for 2014, be it gigs, productions, collaborations or anything else we should all know about.

I’ve got lots of material coming out this year. I have 2 Eps coming out soon on Silence in Metropolis (A 4 tracker, and a split EP with my dear buddy Jackson Ryland (from Holic Trax/Sccucci Manucci/Music is Love), as well as an EP on Abstract Culture, Axe On Wax (with a bomb Liam Geddes Remix), 2 releases on Vicario Musique, my debut LP on Abstract Culture, and some more releases/remixes, so it’s definitely gonna be exciting the next year or so!

Once again, thanks for taking the time out to talk to me, and big ups to everyone that has shown love and support. Couldn’t be possible without everyone, and their faith in me!

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No Dough Music is a place to find some of the finest house and techno this planet has to offer. Enjoy the tunes.