Q&A Session 21: Alix Perez / Sabre

Jan 12, 2009

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  1. Croms

    2,185 posts
    Since May 8, 2001
    North London based DJ and producer Alix Depauw AKA Alix Perez is considered by some to be one of the strongest young producers and DJs in the Drum & Bass scene. Testament to this is the fact that he has been featured on the front page cover of ATM Magazine as one of the "leaders of the nu-skool" and from LTJ Bukem to DJ Bailey, he has been repped as "the one to watch" and "representing the future of Drum and Bass."

    Starting as a DJ at the age tender age of 14, he has regularly appeared at Fabio's legendary 'Swerve' night, Bar Rumba's well-respected 'Movement' weekly and has toured worldwide from Paris to Toronto. Progressing into music production, Alix has so far released on established labels such as: 'Shogun Audio', 'Liquid V', 'Bassbin' and 'Creative Source' and has collaborated with artists such as Jenna G, Redeyes, MC Fats, Spectrasoul, Specific and Sabre. In short: there aren't many D&B DJs on the circuit without a Perez tune in their bag.

    Also a North Londoner, Gove Kidao AKA Sabre emerged onto the D&B horizon when this DJ turned producer enjoyed a spell of well-received releases on 'Jerona Fruits' and 'Emcee' back in 2004. It helped elevate his profile into the ear shots of the biggest names in the genre and helped galvanise his reputation as a twisted yet soulful thinker, bringing a grittier sound to the deeper spectrum of D&B. A balancing act that still lasts on today with a portfolio of projects on labels including 'Virgin V2', 'Metalheadz' and 'Renegade Hardware'.

    Brought up in the Seychelles, Gove moved to the UK in 1989 where, within a matter of years, he developed a passion for Hip Hop and Jungle, engaging in the culture as a bedroom DJ. A few years onwards and the inevitable experimentation with music production had begun, drawing influences from artists such as Jonny L, Kemal and Teebee, but also the ethics of Hip Hop artists like Premier, Diamond D and The Soul Assassins. Successively following a course in Audio Engineering in 2001, a slight detour into the world of television broadcasting with the BBC, composing a film score for cult director Tony Kaye on his first project since 'American History X' and as a director and producer of videos and short films, Gove proves to be a versatile artist.

    Alix Perez' MySpace Page
    Sabre's MySpace Page

    This Q&A is closed!
  2. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007

    Easy All Dogs,

    I'm glad to be here and be part of this!


    I generally use a combination of both. The usual process for those kind of tunes is to work around the main sample, the hook if you like. This could be a piano line as you mentioned. I like to work everything else around this, strings, pads, vocals and so on.

    There are no particular sources as to where my samples come from. I basically buy a LOT of music, preferably on vinyl. As I'm fortunate to be traveling a lot from the DJ side of things, I make sure to check out local record shops abroad and UK in order to find the most obscure / interesting stuff and that applies to jazz, soul and every other genre. More importantly it's finding that one line in the record and "flipping it" that will determine where your track will go.

    As for the processing, the quality of the original sample is just as important.
    "You can't polish a turd" as they say, or if so only to a certain extent. Once again, with old music you may find that there are some interesting approaches to production such as the panning and recording of instruments. I find that utilizing and emphasizing on the ambience of the original is essential to maintain the warmth.

    Kit List:

    * Macbook Pro 2.5 GHZ core 2 duo / 2 GB Ram
    * Logic 8 Pro occasionally rewired with Reason 4
    * Edirol FA 66
    * Mackies HR 824's
    * Neumann TLM 193
    * Access Virus TI Polar

    Vinyl at heart, CD's for practicality. I like to think I play a mix of both during my sets as I always like to draw for a few classics from my collection. The plus side of CD's for me is to be able to test a new tune there and then.

    My best piece of advice to any up-coming producer is to keep persevering. It's a never ending learning curve so keep going and push yourself. Write music for yourself and enjoy it. Don't be so obsessed about mixdowns, vibes are much more important and mixdowns will naturally improve over time.

    I hope this helps,

  3. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    Glad you like the music mate!

    To be honest, I don't listen to much Drum and Bass outside of studio time and Gigs.

    For me it all started with Hip Hop. More so the golden days as opposed to the recent stuff.

    Eric B + Rakim, EPMD, Pete Rock and CL, Tribe, Big L, Jeru, early Rawkus, Mos Def, Gangstarr, Dilla, Common, Planet Asia, Loot Pack, Stones Throw and more recently the wonky stuff, Flylo, Samiyam etc etc I could go on for days. Let's not forget french Hip hop, IAM, Fonky Family, NTM..... That's where my obsession with sampling and production emerged.

    I enjoy a lot of various Bpms, Soul, Jazz, Funk, Techno, some Dubstep. Basically non throw-away, honest music.

  4. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    If I remember right, I only used a couple of high passed breaks and the main kick / snare are part of custom ones I have made over the time I have been producing.

    I don't like to compress so much for beats. I prefer to bus all parts of the beat together and add a slight limiter such as the Logic Ad-limiter along with some EQuing prior to the limiting. For EQuing I use Logic's channel EQ.

    I use Logic's EXS24 for sampling.

    At 0:47, do you mean the main rhodes/piano ? if so it's part of the original sample.


  5. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007

    Thank you, highly appreciated!

    Souls of Mischief's 93 was always one of my favourites, especially in my stoner days :bgrin:

    I came across "Heather" while listening to a couple of Cobham albums and other artists around that era. I had it on loop all week. The next time I went to Sabre's for a collab session I played it to him (as you will find out he's another Hip Hop head) and we knew what was next. Sabre pulled out some Nat king Cole and another record. Solitary was the outcome, it was one of those tunes that just came together.

    I can't remember exactly how long I produced for prior to signing my own tune
    although I remember starting to play around with Logic 5 when I was 16 at college. That's when it all started. From then on I slowly taught myself after undergoing some very basic tutorials.

    When I eventually moved to London, I began to network within the scene by attending nights on a regular basis and handing CDs to various label managers, producers, DJ's and so on. I preferred to do so rather than aim. Eventually I was offered my first release on a small label. I guess it slowly escalated to where I am now.

  6. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    If I'm understanding your question I'm guessing that you mean gated and and sharp ? I would maybe advise to keep the decay high on kicks and snares in order to let space for everything else. I think a common mistake is to have very heavy snares in the mid range frequencies or to layer 10 different snares. This will eat a lot of space in your mix.

    I tend to use 2 maximum. A nice predominant snare for the mids and another high passed to fill in the top end spectrum. Playing with the velocity of each will also help you balance the 2.

    As for the sourcing, I'm generally using the original funk breaks.

    I hope this helps you!

  7. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    For Breaks, the most processing I will do is EQ, Reverb, Limit.

    Logic 8 has the channel EQ. It's the one I use for pretty much everything.
    It has a spectrum analyser which is great. With this you can roughly see where certain frequencies are peaking. I find myself peaking a spike within the EQ and basically sweeping it through all the frequencies. With this method you can find the harsh resonant frequencies and remove them by subtracting that spike that you created.

    I use reverb but in reasonable amounts. I may add some reverb on the top end of a break with a lot of decay to add air and presence for example.

    I mentioned earlier that I bus all my drums together and limit them slightly. You can read it above in the thread.

    I hope this helps you.


  8. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    Hello Batts :teeth:

    Bed time now, will answer more tomorrow.


  9. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    Hey Peeps,

    sorry for not posting thus far - I'm gonna respond to you guys over the next few hours, be back real soon !


  10. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    APPLE G5 DUAL 2.0
    MACKIE HR824’S
    FULLY PROOFED STUDIO ROOM (best investment I ever made !)

    Al the outboard got sold years ago, became obsolete and any stand out saounds had already been rinsed from it. That was a Proteus 2000 and a JV1080

    I’m starting to use serato for my shows because I hate CDJ’s for the most part, never really got used to them. I was buying vinyl solidly from 95-2002 and a lot of that still get spun out (and lent out)

    Find your niche.

    Old Hiphop, east coast mostly, the usual suspects really although Premo and Diamond D get the crown… Same kinda peeps as Perez although I also love the old stuff that a bit more gutter like Bootcamp camp click, CNN, Gravediggaz

    I’m also really into cinematica, Sasuma Yakota, Greg Kawolsky, Brian Eno, Claude Larson, Keith Papworth etc…. And obviously soundtracks…and ofcourse lots and lots of Jungle !
  11. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    The general principle I use is to have most of the gnarly midrange bass harmonics occurring on a bus. The bassline itself will come from a midi instrument, more often than not a fairly saturated bass sample running in EXS24 sampler. This channel will then have an aux send going to a bus with processing on it. The order of this processing is preety much anything goes, the only thing that is essential is a HPF at the end of the channel strip to make sure there is no actual sub coming from the Bus.

    A fairly typical signal flow on one of my bass buses would be (top to bottom)

    RESONANT HPF @ 200-300HZ > Apple Au HPF / Sonalksis TBK etc
    DISTORTION TOOL/FILTER > Camelphat / Guitar Rig / Guiter Amp / Bitcrusher
    COMPRESSOR/LIMITER > Silver Compressor
    NORMAL HPF @ 200HZ > Logic Fat EQ

    The beauty of doing it this way is that you can automate the FX Send(s) and make your bassline evolve throughout the tune. One thing that I’ve been having lots of fun with lately is starting of the bus with a reverb and then distoring/filtering the wet reverb signal , can sound awful, can sound terrific

    Oliver Leib – best drum packs I’ve come across. For the most part though I build beats from scratch, hit by hit. Drums hits is something I have a lot of left over from bouncing during my outboard days.

    generally I’ll never use a break in its original context, perhaps just borrow a snare or kick from one break, the hats from another etc etc … I look at breaks in terms of their frequency content, not really their groove.. the groove can be emulated through arrangement, but absent frequencies cant be.
  12. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    Thanks for kind words fellas

    01./ not sure I have 3 big tips, but one thing I would say is for funky beats, pay lots of attention to the weight and size of the snare, generally the bigger the snare, the less funk a beat will have.

    02./ Favourite bass VST has got to camelphat, the filter section is dead silky.

    03./ bring it on rudey !:wink:
  13. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    Decorum was just a straight 2 min Classical track that I composed from scratch using the Garritan Orchestra. None of the melodies are samples, its was just a personal experiment to have a go at composing something organic sounding….. during a moment of boredom I added some conventional dance music elements, and it turned into Decorum ! I made it because I’d been working on a film score alongside some very competent classical composers and the Hermitage orchestra who inspired me greatly…..

    I really cant speak highly enough of the Garritan Orchestra – truly encyclopaedic patch of sounds with excellent velocity variations and plenty expression !

    I feel a potential for change, but at present the number of nights you can reliably show up to and feel assured you can play ‘off the map’ kinda stuff can be counted on both hands. There is certainly a slipstream that’s been created by people like Instra:mental and Breakage that allows others to utilise the inroads they’ve mde. I think dubstep has played a huge role In this also by setting a precedent for the acceptance of minimal production values on the dancefloor. Things could really change, but I think for the experimental end of dnb to succeed it needs to develop a certain level of irreverence to what works on the dancefloor, which is obviously a tricky thing to manage considering this genre for a long time has been a place where reputations are forged on the dancefloor, not the ipod, or the living room.
  14. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    If it’s the descending wind instrument sounding thing, it’s a sample from a Claude Larson vinyl I have from KPM Music. If it’s a keys , like Alix said its all part of the Billy Cobham sample.

    I started producing in 97/98, put out my own white label project in 2002, and got my first signing to somebody elses label in 2003/2004 where both Jerona Fruits (who listened to a demo I CD sent in) and research recordsings (run by a University friend of mine) put out releases for me..

    The second question is really hard to answer but the no.1 thing anyone can aim for is gathering an interesting pallete of sounds. Trust me, every motherfucker out there has a killer rhodes sample, or amazing guitar lick …. It can partly be said that overuse of this range of instruments within our scene is why I make much less liquid stuff than I used to.
  15. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    I have a similar process to Gove. I would add that really learning your envelope filters and LFO's will definitely add some character to your basses. I don't like layering bass, I prefer bringing out the character of one, as explained by the method of buses and sends.

    Check the Alchemists sample pack for hits. Most definitely been useful to me.

    I use a combination, pick something from one break and something else from another. I may use a break as a whole but generally high passed add some clarity and air.

  16. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    The only pitch correction method I use is the internal pitch shifter plug in as part of Logic. I know it sounds rookie but checking your minors and majors is going to help, they certainly don't like one another.

  17. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007

    If you have enough material to work with one sample it's great but it's not often the case. I do find myself using various samples and methodically pitching them together to harmony although this can prove to be tricky. Pete Rock for example, is the master at this.

    I also like to play stuff in on top of samples, maybe a pad or a few chords to complement the rest.

    Hope that helps!

  18. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    I use Logic Goldverb exclusively. I find Logics’ Platinumverb distorts highend, and the Waves and Sonalksis stuff really plastic sounding. The key to it though isn’t the reverb unit itself, its the EQ you apply to the reverb afterwards. To force reverb to sound like an instruments natural decay and not just an ambient texture, try putting a resonant peaking/HP filter on the reverb bus and move the freq till it accentuates the harmonics of the original instrument, this forces both the wet and dry signals to be harmonically sympathetic to each other, which is something reverb units don’t automatically do very well.

    Couldn’t give a fuck really. I want a slightly squashed dynamic range to stop peaky instruments like chimes and snares popping to far out of the mix, but loudness ? That comes at the benefit of groove and funk so just don’t factor it in most of the time.

    Aux sends to Buses with an unconventional signal flow on them… see my 2nd post about bass busses.

    When I can listen to it start to finish and not feel an instinct to meddle with it.

    At the moment…. Techno, I’m listening to a lot of DJ sets which is great because a lot of them have no tracklisting unlike most dnb mixes, hate most of what I hear but some of the really hypnotic stuff that’s quite syncopated and dead ambient has me hooked

    In the bigger scheme of things though its Films and soundtracks that are my biggest influence. As much as I love old hiphop for me that’s gone back to being a listening thing, trying to transpose the production ethos of hiphop to our bpm is really hard and even with things like Solitary Native or Riverside, as glad as I was with the outcome of the track, there is a certain sense of lazy funk that is largely lost because of the pace of our genre
  19. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    Sorry only just read the question properly, scrap my last response !

    Thats an easy one. Kemal, Teebee and Photek. I'd say my fixation with these three at one point made me very negative producer that looked to make clinical emulations. Its only really in the last 18 months I've learnt to emcompass what they do best with a production ethic that I think is personal to myself....
  20. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    Thanks for all the questions peeps.... After this post gonna have to give it break for today but I'll be back tomorrow answering more of request on page 2 & 3.. bigup

    Loosely, Start with beats and build elements till there are 5-6 strong themes occurring, usually in a 8 or 16 bar loop. Arrange these out, and then go back and elaborate on each section of the tune with appropriate automation, additional instruments or rearranging of Midi parts.

    EXS24. Massive. Guitar Rig. Camel Phat. Fhromage. I’m also a massive advocate of the logic Silver Compressor which is far superior to the more complicated Logic Compressor in its sound quality as long as you don’t plan on sidechaining too much

    Beats is almost entirely Rex Files in a EXS24. Vox almost entirely audio chopped and arranged on the page. Samples could be either depending on how percussive sounding they are. Anything that has a natural bpm will probably end up being done in audio on screen.

    The latter, although I did do that back in the day and still haven’t gone through all those samples I made

    I use a stupid amount of automation. Lots of cutoff and volume automation, FX bypasses and basic midi control info also. Logic has an amazing automation embedding feature which is great for looping sections of automation.

    I’m not a fan of Melodyne to be honest I think it introduces too many ‘T-Pain’ sounding artefacts, especially to complex samples that have more than 1 instrument to them. It’s a bit of trial and error, its also a bit of instinct about what kind of sound is needed and seeking it out by targeting certain genres/musicians/libraries

    My overall drum loop will consist of a variety of layers, most of which have been chosen to fill in gaps in frequency content. This all occurs in Midi within EXS24. this can be anything from 3 up to 10/15 channels ….. a layer of congas, one for a fast shaker, one with a High passed breakbeat maybe, a channel for the kick separate to the channel for the snare etc etc etc blah blah, just keep building but aim not to have too many channels doing the same job (like 3 layers of kicks or multiple layers of hats all with the same groove) . To force the breaks together they’re all routed to a bus (Direct out not an aux send) on which their will be subtle compressor and finally a limiter.

    Studio time for me is very much an evenings and weekend thing, and alongside what all I do within music I’ve long been a freelance journalist for BBC news which has taken up a lot of time over the years… when it comes to sessions itself though, anything over 8 hours and I begin to crack a little ….

    Perhaps not a necessity, but being in an environment where you’re around other aspiring producers is always healthy and music technology colleges are the logical place to find other people who are on a similar level to yourself, people with tips to share. On a personal level, the course I did really helped me out, but when it come to useful tricks and genre specific techniques, its other producers who helped me out the most.

    Label bosses on the whole listen out for the potential to regularly make music that is commercially viable, viewed through each labels own personal perspective of ‘viable’. People generally dont want to sign an artist that don’t feel they can build a working relationship with, and if you are musically, emotionally, or occupationaly unpredictable, it makes it harder for a label to see you as a good signing. So yeah ready to go is perhaps less important then raw potential itself.

    1 or 2 strong sounding tracks will perk up ears, 4-5 is indicative of a consistent talent and may well lead to a signing.

    Personally, I just listen out for whatever, if I like the palette of sounds, overall groove, and its got a competent mixdown I’ll probably be in it.

    The best label bosses I work with are also my friends. They’re people who reciprocate the respect I have for them and generally, they’re the people who aren’t trying to run a label as a conduit to raising more profile for themselves and their own artistic incarnations. Its not an easy balance, and I’ve not always been happy with the way things have panned out in certain deals (no I wont be elaborating !) but my attitude to those situations is one of ‘live and learn’ , walk away with a wiser outlook.
  21. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    Hey man, long time no speak! I hope you're well!

    1. As Gove mentioned, the weight of snares. I explained this a bit earlier in the thread also. Another tip is to not over quantize everything such as shakers / tambourines. Try to keep some of the original funk and looseness.

    2. I don't use a VST to create bass as such but I would recommend the amplitube 2 for distortion and fucking the shit out of sounds.

    3. When the album is done, bring it! :smil:
  22. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    Hi mate!

    I think variation is needed within the scene and I always make sure that I keep it that way in my sets. I'm a fan of the direction guys like dB, Instra:mental, Gove and others are taking because they are respecting the roots of this music and elaborating on it under their own sound. I personally play a "LOT" of their music out, regardless of the reaction I may get. It can be disheartening when you realise that some people will only mostly react to LOUD and over compressed dancefloor music but pushing the deeper stuff can only have positive effect on the scene and open things up for us.
  23. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    Yo dogs,

    I'm going to be away in the US for about 10 days. I will have my laptop with me and will respond to your questions at given opportunities. Keep them coming, this is good stuff.


  24. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    I played the guitar for 6 months when I was 11. That's it for formal music training and I don¡¦t remember most of it really !I started a degree in audio engineering which I quit after doing 75%, In hindsight that was a mistake because I missed out on the music law/industry stuff which would've been real handy, but I'd done all the studio theory and session modules so in terms of preparing myself for the technical stuff I was fully loaded, if not poor from paying the tuition fees !

    The string work in Decorum was set over 8-10 channels to make sure it had quite a grand feel to it, 3 channels of 1st violin, 2nd violin, 2-3 Cello channels, 2-3 channels of various Violas all with different expressions. There's also 3-4 channels of horns, channel of timpani, brushed cymbals, and some ambient wind-like drones that aren't immediately audible but do a lot of textural work in the background. Like I was saying before, all of this originated from the Garritan orchestra multi-patch for EXS24.

    I process them as little as possible, and being honest this is the frequency range I have the most problem with as I really don't like to layer 'fake bass' under using a LP sine wav or whatever, as a layer, Low freq' Sine wavs tend to stick out and float above the rest of the mix which can be a really desirable characteristic for a certain kind of mixdown, but I want a blended feel where instruments mingle and interact with each other, not sit crystal clear and pronounced unrelated to each other. This is all very subjective ofourse.

    There is frankly no comparison. The mac pisses all over my PC. It was cheap to run my PC, and I wouldn't recommend buying a mac as a first production machine because some of the best entry level music production programs are on PC only. Can I also say that if you plan on mastering cubase, getting a mac may not be a great idea.

    The difference I've found is basically : PCs are amazing while editing, hit the play button and they can freak out. Macs are cumbersome while editing (screens tend to take longer to navigate around and switch between), but hit the play button and they rarely freak out.

    The bigger decision is are you gonna be a logic or a cubase guy ?

    Sandy, but only the shaker section really. Love the 'Impeach the president' kick

    I got the gig after being invited by an old friend of mine to submit some tracks towards a compilation demo he was giving to the films' Director. He liked what he heard, This friend of mine (cortex from research recordings) was made the films musical director and we in our various studios all began to compose music to film notes and timecodes. I was making ambient electronica, drones and soundscapes, tension music that kind of thing... The othera were doing all kinds of stuff, more electronica, but also jazz, orchestral composition, ballad style stuff, but then again they were all classically trained musicians with a really broad span of abilities

    So re: an LP........ Its being written at the moment, look out for a autumn release, coming on Critical records. I'm very lucky to be able to say Kasra has given me the thumbs up to go off the map with this one, engage in something conceptual and release a project that should be very personal. More info will flow as and when things emerge I guess :-)

    1/ I've used Isaac Hayes before, stupid amount of bass to his voice.

    2/ I much prefer the Logic Native eq's over 3rd party ones. Generally all the logic plug-ins are preety good.

    3/ I think I've found my sound in the last 18 months, but my ability to compose in that style has been limited by the need to put out 12" singles which don't lend themselves to the ambient spectrum, now this LP is on the cards I feel the freedom to expand these concepts into finished compositions.

    I'm not sure a screen shot will show all that much but I'll try and make one for y'all
  25. Alix:Perez

    32 posts
    Since Apr 13, 2007
    * If I'm working on a sample based track, If I haven't layed a vibe down within 30 mins I sharply move on to another sample / sound. There's no point forcing things into place as it will sound unnatural and you will start to saturate.

    * Loudness isn't my priority on the list, especially if it's going to start fucking with the dynamics of my tune. Yes I tend to try and reach at least a certain level so that it's playable from CD without having to max the gains but nothing extravagant.

    * Buses, Aux

    * When I feel there is enough progression and the mix is finalised.

    * Anything innovative and groundbreaking

    * I usually will start with rhythm (breaks), onto some kind of vibe, maybe sample, bleeps, stabs, pad, strings etc and then bass. That is the most frequent process unless I have a particular sound I want my tune to be based around.

    * Amplitube 2, Wave arts Panorama, Camel Phat, Apple resonant filters, PSP vintage series, Guitar rig / Guitar amp pro

    * Beats through the sampler (EXS24), generally after being rexed, sometimes single hits in audio but mainly sampler. Vocals, samples in audio.

    * Days where I'm not creative, I may spend sampling breaks, samples and record sounds from the virus to build up a library which i can then audition while writing.

    * Yes, I don't know what I would do without it. Logic is excellent for mapping automation. I mainly use envelopes on bass and samples.

    * I try to write everyday but as you can guess I don't always feel inspired. I have found myself square eyed at 9 in the morning still working away many a times but I try to regulate my sessions now. As Gove said, 8 hours is the threshold really. A good tip is to take short breaks and come back with fresh ears regularly.

    * I wouldn't call it a necessity but any kind of experience is always going to be on you plus side. I'm not a classically trained musician, I played guitar and drums as a teen and that's as far as it goes. I mainly write music by ear.

    I did undertake a production course at college which taught me a lot of basics but you will find that you teach yourself a lot by trial and error once you've acquired those first steps.

    * In terms of labels, I believe that they look for a certain standard in terms of mixdown and the production side of things but I guarantee you that anything remotely innovative or stand out will be the first to peak interest in those listening.

    *Now being a mac user for several years I couldn't go back to PC. The main reason being that emagic only produce Logic for Mac now, unless you are prepared to use an old version which I did before moving on.

    Of course I'm going to recommend using Mac / Logic but it's down to you wether you want to do that or go the cubase route.

    Good luck :thumbup:

    * I sure did, good old Exeter college :smile:

    I think your tutors may have changed by now, I had one called Simon (If i rightly recollect) which I recently randomly bumped into in London.

    * Hotpants / Sandy for shaker / tambourine.

    * Made the bass in Allegiance solely from a couple of 808's. I distorted them in different ways to get the variations throughout the tune. I used Logic's Guitar amp pro and Amplitube 2 for distortion.

    Strictly through rewire really. I like a few things in Reason 4. I especially like the new regroove / shuffle unit, it's great for loosening up beats.

    Reason is second to none for laying down quick ideas / beats, I use the redrum a lot aswell as messing around with the new synth "Thor". It's a nice addition and works smoothly with Logic.

    I'm glad you like it :thumbup:

    I believe this is the same one: http://www.alchemistdrums.com/

    I will be back later and answer more of your questions, Thanks for the kind words.


  26. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    Man I may regret this but fuck it. Oxfam on Marylebone High street. It a music and book specialist, no smelly clothes…..

    Thanks man glad ya feeling it.

    Piano sample is Brain Eno, with extra pianos added in midi to make a complete loop The strings are all from the Garritan orchestra…. Theres a lot of mixdown techniques straight out of the Survivals’ book of bass, but the overall arrangement and vibe is very much a collaborative thing, perhaps more of the samples came from my collection, but when working with Steve that makes no difference because he brings so much to the table.

    Reverse sounds are always good, perhaps introduce a 1 bar drum edit, perhaps open up the filter envelope on any Lowpass sounds and then slam it shut really quick on beat 1 of the next 16. Transition effects are key for getting sections to gel with each other and transform, this can be a sweep, a slow attack string that’s decay flows into the beginning of the next section, a delayed vox, something whose presence is in both sections you wish to gel together and is harmonically appropriate to both.

    All the robot samples are individual 2 -3 sec records of hydraulics in the Vauxhall motors plant in Luton. We comped them into loops and sections of foley to give the impression of a robot / mechwarrior thing being switched on and powering up, starting to walk and eventually malfnctioning and shutting down (which happens in the breakdown)

    My feeling is that the attack and release section of the main logic compressor does not respond that well to noise that have sharp transients, nor does it work that well for vox where it tends to push sibilance up quite hard. I just found the silver compressor to be warmer, less ‘breathy’ (which may not be good thing if you’re going for that heavy sidechain effect) and excellent on beats.
  27. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001

    That will embed whatever automation you have happening for the parameter in question into the midi block / audio block sitting above it. copy the block, and you copy the automation associated with automatically, that includes to other channels with the same fx signal flow.
  28. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    Thanks for the kind words mate,

    Afro Infinite has gone back to the drawing board, we’ll see what happens with it but at present there are no plans to put it out….That survival track I believe was called ‘the right way’ , think it maybe L.I.S actually.

    The answer to the final questions is preety much the Bussing technique mentioned a few pages back in a post about making basslines. I actually find massive quite hard to control because it eats processor and often slows shit down to a halt, but generally I’m exporting and then resampling into EXS24, just to make things more stable.

    1/ If I got an invitation I would sure why not !…. I’ve already made some music to go on ‘Music for TV’ Library compliations, this would just be a logical extension.

    2/ Personally ? Neither, I’d get midi turntables and Tracktor or something like that. There’ll be purists out there moaning that its cheating or some shit like that, I prefer to see to see as the natural progression of a technologically dependant genre. I still prefer vinyl to any other medium, but buying technics right now could leave you a hostage to fate. CDJ’s are shit also, I’ve been relying on them for a couple of years now and am over the moon to have dumped them for Serato, although they’re supremely reliable (especially CDJ1000’s) in a live situation.

    3/ Some of my very first experiments with music were with Fruity loops, I actually think it’s a great bit of kit… Brilliant for introducing some of the basic principles, terminology and practises of working on more complex ‘midi-style’ sequencers

    4/ Been a quiet year aint watched all that much, gotta be honest though as soppy as it was I did love Atonement. Great script, loads of attention to detail, set in a really charismatic era…… perhaps not so much on a narrative level, but I really liked the stylistic approach to Cloverfield. Really gripping shit, pretty awful acting unfortunately.

    Bigup ! thanks for the q’s !

    The first paragraph, yeah man, if you aint surrounded by peeps willing to school you about the techy stuff then I think a course (or better still some private tuition) into how to use your setup to its full potential is needed for sure. Online tutorials can be good, I’ev been doing some for VDMX lately and have been surprised how good they are…. And I get to do each module at my own pace.

    I actually think it’s indicative of a job well done when you can happily endure a loop for ages. The trick at that stage is to not squander the potential of what you have made by trying to expand on it with more instruments, the next stage has to be doing an arrangement. Loop every instrument out for 4mins ,5 mins whatever, go back and do some crude deletion to create a sections of intro, breakdown, 2nd etc. Then go and tackle the track 16 bars by 16 bars. Try to get the most of the instruments that are already on the page by using automation, or sequencing in edits or alternative melodies….. Once you’ve exhausted that possibility then go and start adding more new sounds if needed. The temptation is when creating new layers while looping is to create more loops, and quite often that isn’t what a track may need. What is often needed is occasional / incidental sounds, noises and phrases, whose creation is much easier once the barebones of an arrangement have begun.

    Not if I can avoid it, but there’s certainly something to be said about A/B’ing using headphones to check bass levels, stereo width and the strength of the reverb table. Headphones are a great tool for establishing whether the lowest notes of your bassline are too low for domestic systems to recreate.

    Doing drums in REX / Midi format means you can pitch each individual hit to be in tune with the track. Sure nowadays there some kit that must allow something similar when working in audio.

    1/ Probably overusing reverb to be honest, and using too many reverb units all with different settings… another reason to advocate the Busses scenario where all wet signals in a given track have the same parameters, or perhaps two sets of parameters.

    2/ I still go as standard to EXS24 and then reference my sample library.

    3/ Can’t remember her name, but this pro-tools engineer I met last year in Air studios who was comping multitracks for an orchestra, just so fuckin quick at what she did, using the software to its maximum most professional capacity.

    4/ Loosing stuff on a mono system isn’t a huge concern of mine, when it does happen, as long as its not to the most charismatic elements of a track then its no big loss, after all this is in clubs most of the time and anything subtle gets hidden a lot of the time anyway
  29. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    pfff, bit overwhelmed by the quantity of questions but i promise I'll get thru em all ! soon come :-)

    few more :

    Nah its in logic 7.0 – Under the Apple plugins you’ll find the ‘AU Hi-Pass’ , the low pass is okay, not quite as accurate

    I’ve had my ear open for dubstep since it came about, but its only really in the last 6-12 months that its really got interesting for me, now that its getting quite techno inspired and a bit more hypnotic…. I’m making a couple of things, aint planning on doing the big bass dancefloor stuff though, aint really for me.

    It can be a good thing, it can also cause you to get caught up in nerdyness and over-emphasis on complexity… I like to call it ‘pandering to the guest list’ . That can sometimes be really unhealthy

    1/ I use the Garritan Personal Orchestra for Logic (soundfont format)

    2/ Stage by stage it was :

    - Strip the room down, removing all framing from doors and windows so they are flush with the walls.

    -Lay down thick rubber under-screed on the floor, on top of that 2 layers of acoustic membrane, above that tongue-n-groove chipboard flooring (leaving 2cm sill at the edge of the room so that it isn’t touching the original walls at all)
    - Attach new studs to the original wall using a small steel brace to cause an air gap (600mm apart from each other), and also to the ceiling. Fill the gaps between studs with mineral wool (in this case 100mm thick, 60 kg/m3). Attach Plasterboard to studs using a second layer of steel bracing.

    - Cover the plasterboard with a really thin layer of acoustic foam, then cover the foam with a porous fabric, I use fire treated hessian, same properties as Cara but much much cheaper.

    -Got some secondary glazing fitted to my exiting 19th century sash window, got the glass ordered at 6mm thick to maximise the proofing.

    -Bevel the door, embed a rubber a seal, extra hinges (to support the weight of the sound proofing) and then fit more minerl wool to the inside of the door..

    That’s all a bit over simplified but the principles are there.

    A bass sample that has a lot of Mid and High frequency contentl, preferably quite distorted High Freq content. Its hard to magic HF content out of thin air from a sample that has no natural HF present, plus these a saturated sample sounds wicked low passed with filter automation

    The lessons I learnt in my first mastering session back in 2001 changed my entire outlook on production, sadly I’m no so able to do sit-in mastering sessions anymore, they’re not always convenient to attend but they’re always a real pleasure, after all how often does one get to listen to your tracks on speakers worth 15k ?

    Hey bro,

    Have a look through some of the previous pages, there is some good detail from both of us about shuffle in beats… just as a quick one, dunno if you use logic at all, but have you tried quantising to snap with shuffle ? like 16b or even 16c ? Another good trick is not quantising any of the break, juts moving the kicks and drums to be on beat and leave everything else with full shuffle.

    Re: Dojo. The actually plucked string is written from scratch, it originates from a free logic EXS24 refill called ‘Koto String’, comes included in Logic 7 …. I just played in the melody using a midi keyboard. The midrange chimes are from a Sonoton music vinyl called ‘Abstract percussion 3’ . Any sword swipes or high-end chimes were recorded using kitchen utensils, like metal bowls being scraped against with a serrated knife….. sometimes reversed….. sometimes resonance and reverb added etc etc . I’ve got a singing bowl but its really hard work to get it to sing, just wont play ball, think it may have a dent in it.

    Re: Unreleased tracks….

    Papazarri may not get a release, not really had any progress on it and the mix down is really weak, well the beats are at least so its best left unreleased unless I work out a way of getting phatter beats without compromising the groove. Pity cos its probably one of the best things I‘ve ever made…. And the lethal Bizzle remix got dropped by the label, think they put out a Gallows remix instead, don’t blame em that must’ve cost a fair penny !

    Hey man,

    Speaking for myself, I’ve always been into tech, for instance I own more renegade hardware stuff than any other label, its just that a few years ago (2001 I’d say) the whole tech thing got a bit too loud and ‘shock-factor’ driven, but most importantly for me the beats lost their funk and natural sense of pace in favour of monster snares, so I got into another area of DnB that did have very funky beats, ie liquid. Ironically I think its actually come full circle in the last few years, so many big liquid tracks these days are quite rigid with blocky beats, and some of the new tech stuff is exceptionally funky.. so basically my current preference can be categorised by which ever area of dnb is making those really quick funky beats…. I feel that Noisia and Break have a large part to play in that conversion back to funkier grooves.

    I don’t think Alix and mines preferences will stop us from working together, and I know that Alix is really into the tech stuff also is has been building stuff like that already (Genetic, I’m free with kemo, Storm chaser & Untitled with Survival) . There are no rules when in the studio with perez….. we’ve made liquid, upfront tech, rufige style stuff, photeky scientific shit, moody experimental shit – whatever goes.

    Re: me listening to techno, yeah I do, not as a DJ though, just as a punter…. I love the instruments they use and the confidence their genre has to employ a ‘less is more’ mentality,…Don’t really like the big festival beats, more the minimal Detroit/acid tinged stuff….think ‘Nu Groove’

    Theres a little tip abouit this further up in this post.
  30. Sabre London Zu Family

    1,716 posts
    Since Dec 13, 2001
    leaving all the obvious shit behind me, dont wanna go into it because it was just basic stuff that being honest I was little embarressed not to be getting correct (stereo width on bass, too much dynamic range on plosives, not enough low mids in my beats, distortion and artefacts that weren't audible on my crap speakers) ... then again this was a long time ago, Id only been producing with professional kit for a year or two at that stage

    also can I say in the digital age some of these 'considerations for vinyl' are obsolete and I for one plan on making some really havily stereo basslines real soon... some swirling movin round the room bass
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