D.VICES’ TOP TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES FOR PRODUCING ELECTRO
Tell us a little bit about your background
Hi! My name is Jack Coleman. I’ve been participating in electronic music culture in the Pacific Northwest U.S. for 20+ years as a raver, DJ, producer, event organizer and record label boss at SubSensory Recordings. My current project, D.Vices, explores a mutant blend of classic and modern electro plus a touch of techno and breaks for labels like Resource Records, UKR and IIDEO. I’ve also released extensively under the moniker JAK and have been lucky to get signed on some great techno labels like Illegal Alien, Trapez and Advanced (Black).
What is your favorite piece of hardware gear and why?
At the moment it’s a toss up between the Novation Peak and my Roland TR8S. The Peak is an amazing synth. I’ve only had it for a couple of months but it has incredible versatility and resolution. And it’s very hands on. It’s a powerhouse!
The TR8S on the other hand is the backbone to all of my D.Vices output. It’s great for essential drums like hats, snares, claps and the like. I use it in a sort of on the fly way that allows me to jam and create interesting patterns and fills without spending too much time programming little details.
Is there a specific VST plugin that radically changed your workflow?
I don’t use many VSTs, but the one exception is the D16 Punchbox. I use it on almost everything these days. It’s great for creating custom kick and bass drums, and building the perfect kick to fit any tune. As far as kicks are concerned I’ve never had a device, hardware or otherwise, that stands up to the D16Punchbox.
Do you have a specific process when it comes to creating D.Vices tracks?
I’m interested in otherworldly keys, sounds and alien-esque soundscapes and starting there with my synths like the Peak or Nord Lead 3 often gives me some inspiration. Many times I’ll start by trying to create some interesting textures, keys or ambiance using one of my synths. On the flip side, I’m all about beat-driven music, so getting a groove going with the Tr-8s and the Punchbox is often a good launching point.
How do you approach space in production as it relates to delays and reverbs?
I do a lot of bussing from individual or groups of tracks to delay and reverb devices, sometimes in the box using Ableton 11 and sometimes bussing out to one of my guitar pedals. The pedals are great for a raw and authentic texture. I also like to automate my send volumes to create transitional splashes of reverb or delay. You’ll hear that a lot in my most recent D.Vices and JAK releases.
Which aspect of music production do you feel you excel at?
Finishing tracks! I know a lot of producers struggle with this. I guess I’m pretty patient in the studio. And once I have something going that I like then I am willing to see it to completion, even if it’ll never see the light of day.
Your best advice to get those big electro-style kick drums?
Creating a great kick requires really dialing in the tuning, length, decay, and so on to fit the rest of the track. Sampled kicks are really limiting in that regard, and I find it way too time consuming to build a great kick with layered samples. The D16 Punchbox makes it much easier. Careful equalization is also essential, but if the kick is shit your EQ can only do so much.
Out of all the productions you have made, what would be your personal favorite?
For D.Vices I would go with the track “Mysterium,” which is quite new. There were several happy accidents that led to a really pleasing result. It recently hit the #2 spot on Beatport’s top 100 electro releases, so I guess others are enjoying it too!
What is the best advice you have for other producers in the game?
People have been making great electronic music with crappy gear and in terrible studio conditions since this music’s beginnings. Get your hands on whatever your budget allows and just get moving. Don’t wait for the perfect machine, space, speakers, computer or whatever else. Just make music!
Where can people find you online?
Get the gear here: