Klax In The Studio

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Klax have just released their debut sample pack Klax – Precision Drum & Bass on Capsun ProAudio, a giant 1.2GB collection of 24bit quality royalty free loops and one shot samples ready to drop straight into your DAW of choice. We chat to the trio to find out just how they go about working together in the studio.

At what age did you get into producing and how did you learn?
We all got into production fairly early, around the age of 15 or 16. We’re all self taught so I guess it came from trial and error and general reading up.

What producer or artist were you trying to sound like when you first started producing?
Benny – Dillinja. Ben – Portishead. Joel – Bad Company

How did you get your music noticed in the beginning?
Separately we’d all built up contacts within the dnb scene already with our individual productions so it wasn’t too difficult to get our music to the right ears.

How does the process of producing a track work as a trio?
We all share the process pretty fairly and there isn’t really any specialisation going on between us. Sometimes we start an idea individually but for the most part we just take turns to sit at the computer until a tune comes out.

Talk us through your typical workflow from idea development to conception…
We don’t have a specific workflow as such. We’ll start with something inspiring, be it a break or a musical sample, and use that inspiration to guide us.

What part of the production process do you find the most challenging?
At a push I’d say finishing tunes. It can be difficult to draw a line and mark a tune as finished when there is always more that could be done. That’s when deadlines are useful.

Does your approach differ depending on which genre you are making?
Only in terms of the specifics, like which kind of sounds to use. Generally the approach would be the same.

How do you come up with melodies or chord progressions?
We just play them. Normally we’ll have a sample to guide us in terms of key and vibe and we’ll riff off that.

What are the best tools for beginners?
I’d recommend Reason as a good way to get an understanding of how studios work, signal flow etc, it certainly helped me back in the day. Fruity Loops helped a lot of learning basic drum programming.

What are your favourite plugins and synths?
Molot compressor is an amazing analog compressor emulation that we love, it does exactly what we want a compressor to do and the G VST suite is a great collection of very useful plugins. Best of all both are free! We also love the Virus TI, which sadly isn’t free.

Which bit of kit would you love to have for your studio?
PlayStation 4

Which DAW do you use and why do you use it?
We use Ableton Live for its immense sound design potential. Using racks and chains gives so much opportunity for experimenting and gets you to great new sounds really easily. However, we’re gradually moving over to Bitwig Studio as our main DAW because it’s very similar to Live in terms of workflow but with several improvements.

What audio interface do you use?
We have an Alexis io26 FireWire interface and also an Audiophile Delta 1010.

Any new studio technology or gear you like at the moment?
Bitwig Studio is exciting us immensely right now and the new Xfer Serum synth looks incredible too, can’t wait to try that one.

What’s your monitoring situation like?
We use Adams A7s primarily but our main pair are broken right now so we’re borrowing some Dynaudio BM5A mk2s.

How do you go about compression?
Ultimately compression is just volume shaping. Once you’ve learned to hear the subtleties in sound shaping then compression comes naturally. So compression depends entirely on the sound and how you want to shape it.

Any advice you can give us regarding mixdowns and mastering?
Referencing, A/Bing, whatever you wanna call it, is vital. Test you’re tunes against other, similar music. Be careful of phasing too, we obsess over making sure drum layers are phase coherent and therefore as punchy as possible.

What piece of advice would you give to producers still honing their craft?
Be passionate about making music, obsess over it, give it all your time.

What’s key to creating your own sound?
Make what you wanna make and try to draw influence from beyond the genre you are making.

Whose productions do you love right now?
Alex Banks, Ulterior Motive, Bobby Tank, Kodiak, Spoils, Krakota

What track would you love to have the stems of for a remix?
Anything from the old Metalheadz back cat…

Tell us about how you approached making your new sample pack and what people can expect on it…
Firstly we decided what kind of content we would want in our ideal dnb sample pack, then we spent several months crafting those sounds. We made sure that every sound is one that we would personally use… and some we have used in some of our own tunes. We are particularly proud of the drums in the pack. people can expect a lot of very usable and inspiring samples.

Tell us about your new EP on Critical’s new Binary imprint and what do you remember about the making of the tracks?
Before we made the EP we had made quite a few half time dnb tracks (eg Ask Yourself with Foreign Concept) and we decided we need to get back to some traditional rolling dnb. All three tunes came together fairly easily and were really enjoyable to make.

Got any other releases in the pipeline you can tell us about
We’re in talks with a few labels but we can’t reveal anything yet, watch this space. Plenty of exciting things to come!

Anything else you’d like to tell us about?
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud.

Read all the interviews in our In The Studio series

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About Author

Colin Steven co-founded Knowledge Magazine in 1994. He also runs a book publishing company called Velocity Press specialising in electronic music and club culture.

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