At what age did you get into producing and how did you learn?
I discovered producing from an old PlayStation game called Music. I was only about 11/12 at the time so accessing programs like Cubase and whatever else was out my reach.
I messed about on that for a bit until Music 2000 came on the PC (by then I actually had a PC thank god!) and that’s where I kinda got a little feel to making music properly.
I used to sit in my stepdad Kenny’s studio after school or on the weekends and just sit there, not say anything and just watch what he was doing. He showed me a few things on how to turn everything on in the studio, the basics of how Cubase worked, how to sample in to Halion and use VST’s etc.
So once I felt confident enough, when he was away somewhere, I’d go in the studio and just make music. Even took a couple sneaky days off school with a few fake notes to explain to my mum just so I could go in the studio and make music. It’s all I really wanted to do other than DJ.
How do approach starting a new tune?
Every time is different, I might have an idea for the beats first or I might have riff in my head I want to get down. There’s never really a standard workflow for me, but maybe there should be! Maybe it’s something to work on now I can get in the studio more often.
Does your approach differ depending on which genre you are making?
Nah, I don’t think it does, same with any tune I’m making really. Just all depends what’s going on my head and what ideas are floating about.
Out of the tracks you do start, how many get finished?
I’ll be honest; there are probably about 1500 files of ideas from over the last five years on my laptop. I’ve actually been going through them lately and just seeing what’s worth working on; found a few good ideas but the hunt is still on, haha! A very small amount of that number gets released, not every track you make has to get a release, it’s about choosing what works at the time and just what you’re personal preference is.
Where is your studio set up and what does is consist of?
Right now my studio is just my laptop and monitors! My studio is in a lock-up somewhere deep in Essex with the rest of my belongings! I’m currently looking for a new house so once I’ve moved I’ll be back up and running.
I’m really itching to get my own studio back in action, at the moment I’m using other peoples studios and just working on the road, in hotels and on flights, which isn’t ideal but you got to get the work done somehow.
There’s loads of studio equipment I’m looking forward to buying, mostly vintage keyboards and some new monitors. I use KRK Rokit 5s at the moment and once I get my new studio set up I’ll get a couple of different pairs.
I run Reason 7.2 at the moment but version 8 is about to drop so I’m sure the lovely people at Propellerheads will send it over! Reason has been with me for many years, it does lack some features that would find in Cubase, Logic, etc but I’ve just kinda stuck with Reason because I can use it and pretty much know how to get what I want out of it.
The new rack extensions are brilliant, my favourite one is Antiode by Synapes, they make some really cool stuff. I’ve got loads more racks, maybe in future Reason will be able to serve VST inputs, but until then I’m happy with what I have and I can get the sound I want.
What’s key to creating your own sound?
I think you just need to sit in the studio and be yourself, get the sound that excites you and what makes you feel proud of the music you’re making. Tweak it to sound like something you haven’t heard before. Think outside the box and don’t try to sound like anyone as hard as it might be, it’s very easy to be influenced / inspired by other peoples music.
Tell us about your new release on Technique and what did you have in mind when you made it…
Didn’t really have much in mind, I just got in the studio and that’s what came out, it kinda made itself in a way. It was made around the time when the news about my 1Xtra show was announced, so I just felt I needed to go in the studio and get working on some music. I think the only headache about making the track was mixing it down and mastering, haha!
Got any other releases you can tell us about?
A track under my DeadExit alias called Snake on Fire Power Records is still doing the rounds now on the dubstep/bass circuit. I’ll be working on some more music for DeadExit and, of course, my own name. Loads to look forward to, just watch this space!