THE FAVORITE MUSIC PRODUCTION TOOLS OF RANDOM LOOP GENERATOR
Please tell our readers a little bit about your background
I started teaching myself how to play keyboard at the age of 8 after being inspired by the Electro music coming in from the US, in particular Herbie Hancock’s Rock It! Seeing the video for that on Top Of The Pops in 1984 made me feel that maybe with the right instrument I could do the same. The following Christmas I received my first ever keyboard, a very noisy plastic organ from Bontempi. While this was a particularly limited instrument, it presented me with the opportunity to prove to my parents that I was serious about learning and as a result I would soon find myself moving up the ranks with various Yamaha keyboards.
By the time I was 14 I found myself in a band at school performing The Doors Light My Fire, the same year I auditioned for an Industrial Techno group called Transworld Siren and while the guys liked what I was doing they told me that I would require a proper synthesizer in order to be taken on. Two years later I got my first synth and joined the group with a Korg Polysix.
As the 90’s moved on I would find myself in and out of various bands as keyboard player and at one point dropped the keys to become lead singer/frontman for Rock band Derailed.
Eventually I figured I ought to “grow up” and let life get in the way of any musical aspirations I was still clinging onto during which time I used nothing but software to create the odd track here and there. Obviously the calling was still there and before long I found myself with more hardware and thus, almost 20 years ago, Random Loop Generator was born! The gigs I played early on were for a promoter who instilled in me a “No Laptop” rule, something that I was happy to work with and to this day I will only use the laptop in the studio.
Over the past year while in lockdown I have focused more on my studio and Random Loop Generator than ever before and as a result have been signed to Stockholm based dance label When Disco Goes Wrong who totally get what I’m about as an artist and have presented me with some fantastic opportunities for collaboration resulting in an EP entitled Darkest Days which is slated for release this August and sees me return to microphone duties. My first track for them, Random Rock sees me come full circle as it is my love letter to those Electro tracks that so inspired me to begin this crazy journey all those years ago, a remix from label regular Hogt I Tak is available to download from the When Disco Goes Wrong Bandcamp page, absolutely FREE!
What is your favorite piece of hardware gear to work with and why?
This is a tricky question for me as I have taken a very considered approach in building my studio and live rig so as to avoid that cycle of buying and selling that so many of us fall into. I finally decided to try Novation and last year got the Bass Station 2 and MiniNova and have to say that both are absolutely fantastic! I think it’s important while building a set up to occasionally isolate kit and spend quality time with it as you’ll often find something you’ve overlooked. For instance, having fully indulged in the AFX Mode of the Bass Station 2 I returned my attention to the drum editing mode of the Roland SH-32 and the results when combined were most pleasing.
Is there a specific VST plugin that radically changed your workflow?
When it comes to software, I’m a bit of a cheapskate to be honest, other than my production enviroment (Acid Music Studio, Acid Sound Studio and AudioMulch) all my software tends to be of the free variety. Some of my favorite go-to VST instruments are the TAL synths, I’m a big fan of the Tal Bassline, Tal Elek7ro and U-No-62 as they always deliver the goods when needed. The Arppe 2600VA from Volt Kitchen Group is also a killer, honestly, I was shocked at the quality of a lot of the Freeware stuff and am forever thankful to all those developers out there for their hard work and dedication.
Do you have a specific workflow when it comes to creating tracks. For instance, do you start with a beat or with a melody?
I have various options hardware wise but I’ve found the method that gives the best results is to start by jamming out an idea, gathering possible bass and melody combinations before switching on the Korg Electribe Sampler 2. I have this sending tracks to the Korg Micro X and clock to the Behringer TD-3. I’ll then start putting rhythmic ideas together and applying the melodic ideas to see what works best. While I’m doing that I’ll be considering a possible theme for any dialogue samples to be thrown in via the Korg KP3 before programming my Acid lines on the TD-3. Once all my tracks are locked into the Electribe I’m then free to jam them in and out while playing any additional sounds/melodies/vocoder on the Roland SH-32, Yamaha DX-21, Novation Bass Station 2 and MiniNova and applying those all important tweaks to the Acid lines.
Which aspect of music production do you feel you excel at?
Another tricky question, one day it may be rhythm programming, another it might be writing lyrics. Ultimately though, since playing keyboard for so long now I think I’m a fairly intuitive writer of melody and counter melody.
Your best advice to get that kick drum pounding?
If the track you’re working on requires a heavy kick then experiment with whatever options you have at your disposal. Sometimes it’s as simple as layering multiple kicks, other times you may want to look towards your favorite mono synth to provide that something extra. Or perhaps you have a track by a favorite artist that you can get a clear sample from. Ultimately, if it works for the overall track you should feel free to do whatever is comfortable for you.
Out of all the productions you have made, what would be your personal favorite?
Hmmm, I think I’d have to say they’re all my favorite, each track is a step closer to me being the best I can be and I’ll always be working towards being better than the last track.
What is the best advice you have for other producers in the game?
Figure out what kind of music you want to make and research the best equipment (hardware AND software) for your own personal approach. Once you have what you need be patient, focus, be prepared to make mistakes (some mistakes yield fantastic results) and don’t stress about “making it” (whatever that means). Ultimately this should be about fun and expressing yourself, other people enjoying your music is a bonus.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I’d like to take a moment to thank all the team at Graffiti Kings Radio, Lockdown Radio, The URL, The Clown Army, Miss C @ Waffle Hostage, Mindbender and Hogt I Tak @ When Disco Goes Wrong and last but by no means least my extremely supportive partner Jayne for helping bring Random Loop Generator to life. Big love to you all!
Where can people find you online?
You can find Random Loop Generator @ SoundCloud, Facebook and Bandcamp (When Disco Goes Wrong).
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