Interviews

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FunkNaughty SW4 Interview

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FunkNaughty DJ Workshop in association with Red Dog Music, returns for the 5th year.

The DJ workshop, hosted by FunkNaughty, in association with Red Dog Music the friendly music store, is run by local London DJ’s Adam Metusa & Phil Robinson aka DJ Sid Canaga. As it’s the 5th year they’ll be running the DJ Workshop, we thought it was a good time to find out what they’re up to.

1.  So guys, tell us a bit more about the DJ Workshop, how did it all get started?

Adam and I had both been DJing for years before we started FunkNaughty. We’d djed at places like Turnmills and Ministry of Sound as well as hosting some of our own parties around Clapham, under the FunkNaughty name.

Around 2005 I got interested in Ableton and Traktor and started DJing using my laptop. I persuaded Adam to do the same but we both initially struggled to get our set ups properly sorted. There wasn’t much information on the net about digital DJing so we set up FunkNaughty.com to be a portal to share information about digital DJing.

We were fortunate enough to get interviews with a lot of top Industry DJs like Carl Cox, Demi from SOS and Danny Rampling, discussing their DJ set ups. It was through this association with Danny Rampling that we came to write the Digital DJing section of his successful Everything You Need To Know About DJing book.

Off the back of this we approached SW4 about organising a DJ Workshop; that was 5 years ago.

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2. What can people expect at this year’s DJ workshop?

Plenty of tech as usual and friendly, knowledgeable people on hand to show you how it all works.

We have industry experts from Ableton and Native Intruments running Demo’s throughout the weekend, as well as providing the latest midi controllers and software for everyone to try out.

We’ve also arranged for Kiss DJ’s to come down and show off their skills so watch out for that.

All in all it’ll be a couple of action packed days, it’s all free and everyone is welcome to try out all the equipment for as long as they like.

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3. What’s next for FunkNaughty?

We always try to make the next DJ workshop better than the one before, which takes up quiet a bit of time, but things are going well and we plan to take it on the road to more festivals. Apart from that we’re both writing tracks and hope to release something early next year.

We’re always mixing and currently working on performing out in Ibiza, that’s a really big aim for us so we’re putting loads of effort in to that.

Keep mixing everyone and we look for to meeting as many of you as we can in the DJ Workshop tent.

Red Dog Music are an award-winning independent, friendly music store with a 2 boutique pro audio showrooms in London, and Scotland’s largest instrument shop based in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
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Video – Danny Rampling’s Best & Worst DJ Moments

danny rampling best & worst dj moments

With a career spanning over 20 years Danny Rampling has certainly a tale or two to tell. In this latest video from our ‘Interview Series’ Danny gives you an insight into his best and worst moments as a DJ.
For all of you out there that have had problems with setting up Traktor and similar programs, don’t worry it happens to even the pros! Check out what Danny has to say……?

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Marco Nastic Interview

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We catch up and interview Marko Nastic the head honcho of house and techno labels Recon Warriors and Traffica.

Marko discusses his DJ set up, his essential pieces of studio kit, what to do if you are getting into digital DJing and what to do if you are producing your own tunes plus much more!

What’s does your DJing set up consist of?

My performance components include records, cds , c – loops sampler and delay, boos digital delay dd-7 and Traktor Scratch Pro. Depending on the performance, I do make variations to my set up, including extra fx , like corki, which happens to be one of my favorites. Specially because of the noise it produces and as it is so easy to use.

How has digital technology changed your DJ sets?

The digital technology movement actually totally stopped me from buying records. I used to buy lots of records, experimenting with them a lot. However now because of the move across to digital music I only buy really good old classic records.
When recording my “Music is for a Body and Soul” radio show I don’t use vinyl anymore mainly using cd’s and Traktor.

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Which midi controllers do you use and what do you like about them?

I love the Native Instruments X1 controller, but i also use a Faderfox controller a lot, where i actually have customized my own setup. So it’s now really easy to work with. It’s also a really good size for producer/dj traveling on the go 24/7

Do you have a piece of DJ kit that you can’t live without?

Turntable!

You’ve been producing and releasing tracks quite frequently over the past two years, how would you describe your sound at the moment and where do you see it heading in the future?

I am trying to find myself between techno and house, also in the same time not to be to trendy, trying to avoid fx and noises and to make simple stuff with big beats. I like to use old school beats with analog sounds.

I’ve actually just had two releases in recent weeks.

“Morocco” – Marko Nastic Drumpunch remix on Estrada Records. On this track i collaborated with one (in my eyes) of the new wave of upcoming producers – Igor Krsmanovic. The 2nd release “Meltin Point”. This is ia an original track of mine and is being released by Amazing Records on their 2years Amazing Compilation album.

Can you give any advice to any up and coming producers on how to get their music heard and signed to a successful label like Recon Warriors?

Recon warriors was really successful in the era of tribal techno and in that time it was a bit different to today’s scene because we printed a whole lot of records and we would send those records all over the world to promote the track, the artist and the label.
Now a days in my eyes with the digital music culture and how easy it is to make music, lots of people are setting up labels selling the dream to producers and artists; however aren’t putting any or very little time, work or money promoting the releases properly.
I would suggest in today’s market if you are getting music released on a label don’t just leave the promotion to them, get out and about with the tunes, network with other DJs give them a copy to play out. Put (un-downloadable) snippets of the track on Social media platforms like Souncloud.com and Facebook. Help promote the track yourself. If you do that, other bigger labels will take notice of you.
At present the direction of Recon Warrior and Traffica label, we are open and growth minded to new music but in same time its hard to listen to the multitude of demos we receive on a daily basis. Our main focus now is on our niche crew and network of upcoming and accomplished producers and their referrals of new producers or more or less a friend of ours :)

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What are your key bits of studio kit and what is your most essential piece?

I have become totally digital lately! I have only kept a Fatso compressor. As of late, I was and am still testing lots of Summing mixers and to be honest i still have no clue on which one to make a collective action to buy. I always liked analog eq and distortions and mostly now use software plug-ins like Universal Audio’s UAD, Waves, TC Powercore, SSL, Duende and off course Native Instruments. I am very grateful to Native Instruments, the Serbian branch of the company as they have
been very supportive and a huge part of the Marko Nastic brand. I am very much in gratitude for the partnership in working with them and look to build on this relationship going forward!

When you are in the studio making a new tune what process do you follow?
Usually i start with laying down a beat and than start sampling sounds. Sometimes it can be the other way around. I now use a lot of machines to help me craft the different sounds.


What projects are you currently working on?
At this moment I’ve just finished in Ibiza, Spain and have been developing lots of different beats and ideas. I finished most of my latest projects in late June.
My new forthcoming project “Sake &Vinyl Only” on Traffica will be out, hopefully by the end of the year.

What’s your top tip for anyone getting in to digital DJing?

Craft your music folders slowly and concentrate! If u loose that focus on the style you are after it will end in a big mess like no other. Be very careful with the quantity of tracks and sounds you use in a set, make sure they suit the style you are after. An old habit of mine was that I used to find myself cramming in too many sounds into a mix and that actually resulted in me loosing the feeling that i was looking to create. That is why i like vinyl records so much! :-)

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Who is your favorite DJ at the moment?
Marko Milosavljevic, he is my long time buddy from Serbia. His unbelievable sense of music and ambient good touch especially with vocals. He is top notch! When we play together we just hook up easily and Rock like no other Tag team you can imagine! Also i need to mention Dejan Milicevic who in my eyes has some of the best technical DJing skills on this planet!
At this present moment having just been in Ibiza, I would say Ricardo Villalobos at Amnesia has been the best. Smashing the dance floors, making crowds jump off the balcony! His style is like no other and he is at the forefront in my eyes in moving the crowds when he performs!

Marko Nastic & Dejan Milicevic @ Dance Valley festival in Amsterdam Part 5
June 29,2011

Who are your favorite producers at the moment?

Koze, Den Anderi, Ricardo Villalobos

Do you have a pre DJ gig superstition?

I always, (after years of looking for the best solution) try to find the best way to spend my time creatively while in hotel’s, plane’s etc. I watch a lot of movies to relax and because of being able to take time out I can relax and find my focus and peace. Which helps me to be purpose driven and allows me to create and plan (like no other) a magical presence with the exact right music for the people on the dancefloor.

What do you like and dislike about DJing?

I really dislike it when i can’t provide what actually i do best. Playing at parties that have horrible sound systems, bad mixers etc is terrible. I can get super irritated and pissed when these things are not working as they should be. Note to all promoters, if you want to run a successful party you need to make sure your equipment is in good working order and allows the DJ to perform at the top of their game.

The best moment I love is when i can be at my best to show what i am made of, taking my fans on a musical journey.
I totally love the best tropical gigs. You can’t beat the atmosphere as they are always great fun; Ibiza, Brazil and Columbia. Hint to all!!!! :)

What is your top tip when making a mixset?

My advice would be to really recognize the mood of the dance floor or style you are trying to create for a mix set and then play what u feel feels right at that moment in time!

You can check out Marc Nastic and his music productions at these sites:

http://www.djmarkonastic.com
Beatport

Myspace
Listen To

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Interview with DJ &Producer Mr G

Interview – Ross Evana, Omerta Recordings (Formally KOS)


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Interview with DJ and Producer Mr G

An interview with DJ and producer Mr G, courtesy of the team at Sounds To Sample

Mr G interview

A stalwart of house music for more than two decades with releases on Defected, Skint and Rekids and with remixes of everyone from Roger Sanchez to Miss Kitten, Mr G is a genuine house legend. Now he talks exclusively to S2S about his studio methods.

The term ‘legend’ is often banded around willy nilly in the dance music realm, but Mr. G, aka Colin McBean, is one of the few who can rightfully lay claim to this accolade. Having been in the game for around two decades now, Mr. G is widely considered to be one of the most under-rated artists about – with only true music fans appreciating his vast contribution to dance music. We caught up with the living legend to talk shop…

1.What is the prognosis for the music industry: terminal decline or steady recovery?

Terminal decline. People aren’t going out there and digging for new beats. They’re relying on being spoonfed instead of going out there and looking for a sound of their own like my peers always used to do. It’s not good that so many people don’t dare to try and do things that are out of the box.

2.Does the industry these days dictate that artists need to be both creative artists and businessmen in equal measure?

Definitely, and for people like me that’s hard because I’m not a business man – I simply love making beats. So for people like me who don’t have the time or understanding to do that it’ll seem like we’re not at the top of our game, which I find sad. You work so hard as an artist and go through so much but if you’re not that way inclined you can go unnoticed. That’s why I’m grateful to both Rekids (James and Matt) and Bass Culture (D’Julz) for believing in me and working so hard to put me out there.

3. As an international touring artist who can regularly find themselves on different continents in the same week, how do you strike a balance between your touring schedule and time in the studio?

I’m not on the road as much as I should be so finding a balance is easy – it’s a way of life and I’m just built that way.

4.Who’s currently rocking your world as a producer and why?

The greats are always rocking my world – Jeff, Joey, Luke, Matt, Moody, Theo, Moritz, Carl. These guys love or hate ‘em have all been around a good while and they still continue to evolve while still retaining their own sound.

5.What one piece of kit or plug-in can you not live without?

My dear mpc200xl that’s been modified to the way I work and sound.


6.When building a track how do you normally work? Do you start with the drums and build from that?

It’s just whatever I’m feeling on that day. It can start anywhere – it’s the final destination that rocks me. If I’m dancing away in the studio then that’s me and I’m happy. Oh, and don’t forget the workings off a great RUM. ?

7.Do you prefer to use loops or one-shots? Do you use samples or sound design from scratch, or a mix of both? Do you like to record your own sounds?

Make my own sounds then sample and mangle them. It’s all good. I just make ‘em fit the way I feel and if it sounds right to me it’s good. Also I don’t make the sounds fit too tight, it needs that swing.

8.Any advice on monitoring? Quiet? Loud? Do you prefer flat and boring speakers, headphones or big, phat and chunky monitors? Do you reference on multiple systems?

What! You’re asking a lot here, can’t give it all away… ha ha! No but really, I’m using a bit of every thing. Quiet when building a track, loud when checking the weight and sound and I sometimes mix down using two sets of flat monitors which make me work sooo hard to get things right. I want hear what’s really there unenhanced.

9.What are the biggest barriers new producers face?

There are no barriers in the music world if you’ve got the money. It’s now a place you can do just what you like. Only one thing though – you’ve got to make great music and try to find your own picture to paint. And even then you can’t be sure you’ll get your due rewards…

10.What three pieces of kit / software could you not mix without?

Good old analogue synths my MPC and a great set a monitors. Also, all my mixes are done live on the board, cuts and all. Whether it’s mix one or mix 101, I work until it’s right. Oh, and I also need rum to get me going , haha!

11. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you started out in music, what would it be?

That’s a tough one. You’ve got to really love what you do above any fame or money and stay true to yourself. Don’t follow fashions – make your own path. Be humble. Start well, end well. Good in, good out, as they say!

12.What do you find hardest to get right when making a track?

It’s always the balance between the drums and bass, and the weight in the two. I’m an old skool sound boy so the low end is what I’m all about.

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Interview: The UK House Legend Steve Mac


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Interview: The UK House Legend Steve Mac

Steve Mac House Legend

Article courtesy of Sounds To Sample

The UK house music legend talks about his analogue-packed studio, offers up an EQ tip and explains why the artist should always read the contract.

He has remixed for the likes of Michael Jackson, INXS, Jamiroquai, Junior Vasquez, David Morales, and Roger Sanchez, released records with Paul Woolford and Todd Terry and has also scored a UK Top 20 single. Now the UK house stalwart takes to the S2S hot seat.

What is the prognosis for the music industry: terminal decline or steady recovery?

It’s not in decline or recovery. The music industry will always be here but there’s no denying it has changed beyond recognition in the last ten years. Long gone are the days of the local record shop and many of the bigger music stores are on their way out too – the main market place for music is online.

While it might be easier for people to get their music out there I think the flip side has been that it’s become harder for artists to get paid. One search of Google and reams of music show up for free on blogs and torrent sites – it’s almost impossible to keep up with where the music is being illegally shared. This is just other thing that the industry will have to come to terms with. On a personal level it means I have to work that much harder to make a living.

Does the industry these days dictate that artists need to be both creative artists and businessmen in equal measure?

It does help if you know the ins and outs because there are a lot of sharks out there that will take advantage if given half a chance. Always make sure you know what you’re signing and try and follow a few basic rules like not signing your music away for life and making sure that the master rights always come back to yourself.

As an international touring artist who can regularly find themselves on different continents in the same week, how do you strike a balance between your touring schedule and time in the studio?

I take time out of touring throughout most of the winter to spend time in the studio making new music. However, now the summer is coming and I have an album to promote I will be out on the road a lot more!

Overall I’d say I ‘m more of studio person, as that’s where I spend most of my time, but I still love the buzz of the party and playing my records on an amazing sound system.

Who’s currently rocking your world as a producer and why?

Sirusmo, I find what he is doing very interesting. Musical and clever.

What one piece of kit or plug-in can you not live without?

I have so much kit so it’s difficult to say because I don’t like to be without any of it!

I use a lot of vintage analogue outboard gear – I’ve got a rack of Neve 1084 originals that I use on just about everything I produce. I also have a stack of Urei compressors, 2 1176 Revision A and a Revision D – the A is amazing for vocals and tracking.

Recently I’ve just started tracking all my sounds through my Studer ½ inch tape machine and it gives bottom end like you wouldn’t believe! It’s a long process but for me the results justify the extra effort and time.


One great unit I use on the mix buss is the SSL buss compressor – they call it the magic button. It just glues the mix together like nothing else. In fact I have 3 of them as I use one for the mix, one for drums and one for backing vocals.

Analogue kit is still fundamental to what I do in the studio. I’ve got about 17 analogue synths, I still mix on a big analogue desk, I track through tape and I EQ mostly on outboard gear. That said, I’m a fan of plug-in technology and I’m not an analogue purist – get the best of both worlds because they’re both completely different and they both have lots to offer.

When building a track how do you normally work? Do you start with the drums and build from that?

Drums always come first. I like to mess around on a drum machine for a few hours to try build a good rhythm. I feel that if you get a good beat then your track is half way there and a good rhythm gives you musical ideas.
Sometimes I use my old Emu SP-1200 which just has a sound like nothing else. But lately I have been using Native Instruments’ Maschine. It’s so cool. I build all my drums with one shots. Sometimes I like to sample records, it just gives you another feel, but I also like to make my own drum sounds with synths. I have an Arp 2600 which is just brilliant drums, you can get one hell of a kick drum out that synth!

Any advice on monitoring? Quiet? Loud? Do you prefer flat and boring speakers, headphones or big, phat and chunky monitors? Do you reference on multiple systems?

I like a bit of both depending on where I’m at in the mix. I go loud when I’m working on the bass – that’s when I want to really feel the track. Then I’ll lower the volume for the more detailed mixing.

I own a few pairs of speakers, I have a pair of boring flat Yamaha ns10s which I love to mix on. The great thing about them is they sound crap so If you get a good mix done on those you know it’s going to sound good almost anywhere. I also have a big, big pair of Genelecs and some smaller Aura Tone Genelecs.

What are the biggest barriers new producers face?

Dance music is becoming a bit like the X Factor, everybody thinks they are a DJ or record producer in the digital age. It’s the market saturation that results which is the biggest barrier for new producers. That said, I think if you’re good and have something special, people will find out about you sooner rather than later.

What three pieces of kit / software could you not mix without?

Sony Oxford EQ, L1 limiter and Sound Toys effects.

The oxford EQ is just an all round good sounding digital EQ. It’s a workhorse and the cut frequencies on it are great.

I love the L1 for over pushing and distorting everything, you get a great sound out of the L1 using it like that.

The Sound Toys FX bundle contains some of the best plug-in effects I have ever heard. The guys making these use to work for Eventide, the analogue FX company.

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you started out in music, what would it be?

Listen to the people around you and learn from them

What do you find hardest to get right when making a track?

The mix down, it takes longer than making the record in some cases but in a way it can be the best part of the process, but it can also be the worst when its going wrong!

I always try and get the frequencies right on the sounds in the first place, and I try and set the levels as I go.

My best mix secret is cutting with EQ. Most people add on the bottom and the tops, I cut them. It makes more space for the entire mix. The mastering engineer will only cut the frequencies anyway but if its already done, your mix will be much louder. For instance, when you get a sub bass, it’s good to put an EQ cut on it (everything under 45), because you can’t hear that those frequencies anyway. This should tighten up your mix, and doing the same on the high frequencies can really help too.


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Interview: Paul Ritch & his new ‘Circus’ EP [SCI+TEC Digital Audio]

Article courtesy of  Dubfire

Almost three years have passed since Paris techno producer Paul Ritch released his first EP on Dubfire’s SCI+TEC Digital Audio label. Judging from his new ‘Circus’ EP, his sound has moved on quite a bit.

Whilst 2008’s ‘Crazy Madness / Aquarel’ and much of his earlier work revolved around bleep-driven techno sounds, arena-sized synths, and percussion explosions, the Frenchman’s groove today is much more rooted and refined.

There’s a real funk quality on the ‘Circus’ EP that firmly pushes Ritch into house music territory. With SCI+TEC’s first release of 2011 hitting Beatport today, we called Paul Ritch in Paris to find out more about the EP, his studio techniques, live set up, and continued funk-fication.

Your last SCI+TEC release was in July 2008. How would you say your sound has changed since then?

I would say it’s a bit groovier than previously. I’ve been working a lot more with bass. Before, my music was more minimal with a shuffle techno vibe but for this release I didn’t do any shuffle. I guess you could call this my new sound. It’s in between tech house and techno. The bass is more housey anyway, but the energy is still techno.

Why have you switched sounds?

I’ve always listened to a lot of house and a lot of techno. I can’t really explain how this new sound came about, as I just create music based upon my feelings at that minute. When we finish this interview, I will probably try something new in the studio and you can never really predict how that will turn out.

Also, another part of me didn’t want to get locked in a cycle. I didn’t just want to be about techno.

‘Shake It’ is definitely different to some of your early tracks like ‘Samba’.

‘Samba’ was the first track that exposed me to people and the club scene. Almost every big DJ played it, and it was a massive opportunity for me to show the club world what I could do. That was my first big track. Then came ‘Murder / Nordbanhoff’, and five or six other releases in a row that really blew open the market and helped raise my profile.

I still get people coming up to me at parties who began following my music right at the beginning, and they know everything I’ve done. They continued to follow me, even though my sound has changed.

Tell us more about the ‘Circus’ EP.

I’m very happy with the release. It’s in between techno and tech house. Ali [Dubfire] asked who I wanted to remix ‘Shake It’, and I chose Daniel Stefanik, who I think is the perfect choice. I love his music. He fits into that nice area between techno and house. His remix is great.

The B side of the ‘Circus EP’ is quite unusual for you and SCI+TEC – ‘Common Sense’ has vocals.

I do vocals every now and then. The vocal on ‘Common Sense’ is very hip hop, which probably came from my past life as a hip hop sound engineer. From the age of 10 to 17 all I listened to was hip hop. I still probably listen to more hip hop or soul than techno. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a hip hop track and I’ll hear a cool vocal that I end up using in a techno tune.

How did you get into engineering hip hop?

I worked as a hip hop engineer in Paris after I finished school, where I studied audio engineering. I did it for about a year and then I stopped to make techno.

There’s actually not that much difference between techno and hip hop in terms of sound as both rely heavily on bass, which I learnt how to do properly whilst engineering hip hop. The way you mix down a hip hop record is very similar to a techno track actually.

What producers or labels are you currently digging?

I like the Ilian Tape label, from Munich. They do great tracks that always have a good sound, with very raw, very fresh grooves. Right now, I love the raw, dry techno sound that is kicking around – the tracks that don’t have many FX. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to sound as I studied audio engineering.

So which producers would you say consistently have a great sound?

Carlo Lio really impresses me, and I would also say Jerome Sydenham and Alan Fitzpatrick. Those guys are really, really good.

Can you describe your normal studio workflow?

First I start with the kick and bass, and then after that comes the drums. Then I edit the rhythm, add the breaks and everything else, and then finally I work on the atmosphere before finishing with the lead melody.

You do the lead last? A lot of producers would start with the lead.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always done my leads last. I just like to have my track and beats all finished, before I work on the musical aspect.

How long have you been producing?

I started at around 18 or 19. I’m 27 now, so that’s about eight years. I didn’t actually graduate from my audio engineering course, because I was offered the chance to work in a studio before the end of the year. I’d learnt everything that I wanted to learn from school, so the certificate didn’t matter to me.

I never planned to work in a studio my whole life, I just wanted the knowledge to produce my own music.

When did you first start DJing?

I started out as a DJ, playing in this tiny place in Paris. And then after I studied audio engineering, I realised I loved making tracks more than anything else so I said ok, from now on I’m going to focus on that and playing my tracks out live. Then about a year later, I stopped DJing as people kept booking me to play live.

What’s your live set up like?

I’ve tried to simplify it as much as possible because I travel a lot and it’s not easy to fly with lots of equipment. I use Ableton Live, and have all the loops and parts to my tracks controlled by an Evolution U-Control UC-33e MIDI controller.

Do you think you’re treated differently from DJs, because you play live?

It’s funny, but a lot of people don’t really understand what I do. Even big DJs ask me if I’m really playing ‘live’. The thing is, these days I think people don’t really dont care how you play, they just want to dance to really good music.

Most of the time I play after a DJ. I generally play peak time, as my music doesn’t make sense at 1AM, it is more suited to 4AM. You can’t start a party with my music anyway! So for the people on the floor, it doesn’t really make much difference if I’m DJing or playing live.

Can you explain a little bit of your live process and how you have it all set up?

My laptop is pretty complicated when I play live. I break each of my tracks into eight individual parts, and that allows me to drop into breaks, intros or outros whenever I want. I can then focus on one particular percussion noise or loop.

I don’t just play one clip after another clip, like you would do in Traktor. I have two big blocks of parts that I move and play when I want, how I want. I find it flexible and powerful.

I do all of the work internally. I never use hardware. However with my album coming up, I will probably incorporate some hardware into my live shows as the album will be a lot more musical.

How’s your album coming along?

Very slowly! I’m trying to find the time to do it, in between building my new studio. Once that’s built, I will focus on my album. For the moment I’m in a small studio in south Paris, but soon I’ll be able to work with live musicians in my new studio.

I really want to do something mellow but intense for the album. It will still be techno, but it will have more leads, more atmosphere, and some nice deep bits too. I want to record some live instruments played by musicians, but Ableton is not the best for working with real instruments so I may switch to Cubase.

Don’t get me wrong, Ableton is great for producing techno and I’m really fast with it, but I will probably use Cubase in my new studio.

What about plug ins?

I use all the WAVE plugins, Rob Papen’s Albino for bass, and I also like the D16 Drumazon, Amplitude, and some of the PSP Audioware and Sonalksis plug ins.

What’s your most productive time of day to write music?

I never work at night. I work from 12 to 9 every day. I’m not obligated to work those hours, but I love making music and try to be in the studio as much as possible. PLus all my friends work, so what can I do every day? [laughs]

What monitors do you use?

I’ve got two Genelec 1032A monitors, and a pair of KRK RP5s, which were my first monitors. I made all of my big tracks on those small monitors.

How’s your label Quartz Rec going?

The label is very good. I’m very happy with all of the releases so far. We’ve got our 16th release coming out soon from Steve Parker, and it’s exactly what we like at the label – a balance between techno and tech house. It’s got a filtered house sound actually.

Why did you decide to launch the label?

I launched it in 2008 because I wanted the opportunity to release my own tracks without approval from anyone. I wanted the freedom musically, and to be able to choose the graphic design and do vinyl too.

How many records do you press per release?

We generally press 500 vinyl per a release, although it depends on the release. Sometimes we sell 250, sometimes we sell 1200. We’ve also found that some releases work really well on Beatport, but don’t do well on vinyl, and vice versa. I’ve never understood that!

Finally, what’s your relationship like with Dubfire?

I always send him my tracks to play them out and test them for me. It’s really important for me to get feedback from DJs about the tracks before their release. He’s really great for that. The way he runs SCI+TEC too is admirable.

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Interview – Ross Evana, Omerta Recordings (Formally KOS)

ross evana

One of FunkNaughty’s favourite producers over the past few years has been Ross Evana, formally KOS. For 7 years KOS rocked many a dancefloor with his productions and dj skills; producing many tech-house and techno club hits that had dancefloors shaking in their wake. However 2010 saw the start of a new artist project and KOS become Ross Evana;  a new exciting sound was born.

FN caught up with Ross to find out what he has been up to since that start of his new artist project, whilst getting his views and top insider advice on digital djing and music production.

Towards the end of 2010 KOS became Ross Evana. What has Ross been up to since then?

Well, i’ve been very busy, i went straight into the studio and started work on a new sound. The 1st track i released as Ross Evana was ‘Ouija Board’ – I wasn’t sure if people would get it, but it came out on Get Physical and did really well. That was the test, and since then I have gone on to release on Saved, Rawthentic, CR2, Time Has Changed and I have now just finished writing my album.

What was the reason for changing from KOS to Ross Evana? We’ve noticed your sound has changed from a techno/tech house sound to more of a house, tribal infused sound. Where you bored of playing techno or are you following in the steps of other dj/producers such as Cajmere who has an alter (Techno) ego – Green Velvet?

The problem was that there were a few other DJ’s around the world with the same name – KOS. It was causing problems both with gigs and productions. In the end I had to back down and revert back to my real name – Ross Evana. (KOS was a nickname that I was given in school at 5 years old!) It was a tough decision but I felt that I couldn’t go any further with that name.  Also my sound had started to evolve so I thought that it was a good time for a new beginning. I see it as taking 1 step back to take 2 steps forward. It was the best decision that I ever made!

So what does your djing set up consist of at the moment and why?

I use Traktor Scratch with CDJs. I’ve used this set-up for 2 ½ years now and I’m happy with it. I really love the looping and effects of Traktor. They have added a new dimension to mixing.  There are also many new exciting pieces of equipment out now like the Allen & Heath DB4 mixer which I will have a look at soon.

How has digital technology changed your dj sets?

I was actually thinking the other day how limited we all used to be in the vinyl days. We couldn’t really do much except mix records. Unless I am doing something to the track that is playing – looping, effects or whatever I get so bored!

I see young DJ’s these days trying to be cool by suddenly playing vinyl. I’m not knocking vinyl as the sound is warm and you can still get some great music on vinyl, but the DJ’s who are playing it just to be cool are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you have grown up with digital then why revert back to vinyl?

ross evana

Which midi controller is your prefferred weapon of choice and why?

That would have to be Native Instruments X1 controller. It is absolutely perfect for Traktor. It’s logical, you  just plug in and play. It’s really easy to see what you are doing in the dark , and it doesn’t take up too much space like many controllers.

Do you have a piece of DJ kit that you just can’t live without?

My ear plugs!  If it was not for them then I would not be able to play anymore due to problems with my ears. I could use any piece of DJ kit to play, but without my ear plugs I won’t go near the club!

Here at FN  were not massive fans of the new wave of midi controllers hitting the streets, such as N.I’s S4 and Pioneer’s DDJ series. This is mainly due to their size and clunkyness and not what the controllers offer. How do you feel about these type of midi players?

Well some of them look like Early Learning Centres for kids!  All those wheels and things to play with. I don’t think that I will ever use one. I saw a DJ in Paris recently carrying one around and it was so big and heavy that he couldn’t even walk straight! The main advantage of them is that you can just plug into 1 channel in the mixer and you are all set, which is handy.  However I prefer to use the mixer and CDJs as they have never let me down before.

What’ would be your top tip for anyone getting into digital djing at the moment?

Invest in an Apple MAC – it will be your best friend and your whole life will run through it. Then decide which software is best for you by looking at the demo’s on youtube. I recommend Traktor but there are so many things available to the new digital DJ. Pioneer’s Rekord Box to use with the CDJ2000’s is also a very good option.

You’ve been producing and releasing tracks for many years now, how would you describe your sound at the moment and where do you see it heading in the future?

The new sound is more housey with punchy drums and based around the groove. My new album has a lot of live keys and vocals and i’ve been working very hard to make sure each track is best it can be. As i want each track to be memorable and not just a standard track that people forget after 6 weeks.

What is your preferred  D.A.W. (Digital Audio Workstation ) of choice?

I use Ableton Live and Logic equally. Ableton for the drums and to work with any  samples. Logic for the rest of the track.

Legacy m1 korg

What other key bits of studio kit do you use and which is your most essential piece?

I mostly work with soft synths and loop libraries, but for my album I used the Dave Smith Prophet and the classic Korg M1 synthesizers. I used these throughout my album, and I will definitely be using them again for future tracks. The sound is so raw and has much more body that using soft synths.

How do you like to work in the studio, what process do you normally follow?

Well, If I have found something to sample, I will generally play around with it in Ableton first of all, using plug-ins to manipulate it and create my own sound. After that, I will I start by making the drums, as these are the backbone of the track. Everything else will come naturally come after that – melodies, hit sounds etc.

Can you give any advice to up and coming producers on how to get their music heard / played in clubs by pro DJs and signed by top record labels?

I believe that if your music is good enough then it will eventually fall into the right hands. My advice is to send your tracks to your target labels by email, but also get ‘out there’ face to face and give to the big DJ’s who you think might like it. If they give it to the labels then the labels will listen. If the music is good then people will take notice.

What has got to be your top piecec of advice for anyone getting into music production at the moment?

When you finish making your tracks, don’t get too excited and immediately send it to DJs/labels. Keep it to yourself, listen again after a few days with fresh ears and 99% of the time you will realize that it needs more work.

Musically who has inspired you the most and why?

Recently I have been inspired by Butch, Nick Curly, Nicolas Jaar, Leon, Martinez, Tim Green, Marco Resmann. These guys are the ones that are pushing boundaries, taking risks and not trying to copy others. There are so many more to mention here.

Who is your favorite dj at the moment and why?

Gregor Tresher.  He finds the perfect balance between House and Techno, and always with the groove.

Who is your favorite producer at the moment and why?

Butch – always top quality productions and never 2 the same.

When you are DJing do you have a pre gig superstitions?

I am not superstitious but I can’t DJ unless I drink at least 2 vodkas! I do suffer with nerves – when I used to play vinyl, my hands used to shake so much at the start of my set that I often couldn’t get the needle on the record! But vodka is the answer to that. :)

And lastly but certainly not least what would be your 3 tips for making a top mix tape?

a.     Grab the listeners’ attention from the start.

b.     Plan it carefully so that it flows.

c.     Remember that people listening to a mix tape are usually in a certain mood, so don’t suddenly change style halfway through.

Ross it has been a pleasure, you’ve provided some great tips and advice here, thank you. Good luck with the forth coming album release. We’ll certainly be looking out for that when it hits the shops!

You can follow Ross on his Facebook and twitter pages and keep up to date with everything he is up to.

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Video – How To Get Your Music To DJs & Signed By Record Labels

danny rampling photo

Continuing our series of interviews with Danny Rampling, Danny serves up some invaluable advice on how to get your music productions out to DJs and signed by labels. As well as defining his role as a producer.

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