IN THE STUDIO WITH... SOLOMUN | DJMag.com Skip to main content

IN THE STUDIO WITH... SOLOMUN

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How have you developed as an artist during your production and DJing career?
“That’s a tough question right away from the start, how have I developed? I was already a DJ for some years when I started to produce music, so I guess my perspective on producing has been more from a DJ's perspective, especially at the beginning. Because I have been a music lover for many years, all musical directions, I have been collecting and buying music for sometime, so after DJing for quite a while my wish was to do my own productions and to become stronger and stronger with that.”

Are you constantly looking to redefine your sound?
“Yeah for sure, I try to evolve as much as possible, taking risks, which I am not afraid of because sometimes this works, sometimes not, you always have to try it to find that out. What I don’t do is to produce under different pseudonyms; I do everything under my name.

“I think it's this way maybe because I always say 'music is moments', and every moment is different to the other — and that’s the same process I adopt when I record. Either it is a melody in my head or a bassline, or I hear something on the radio or from a complete other genre, and then I think — you should try to bring that into your sound. These are inspired moments.”

Is this the process you adopted for your last EP, ‘Yes, No, Maybe’?
“Making this record was an experiment for me, my manager invited an R&B singer who had a few hits under his belt to come into the studio, as I was really curious to try working with someone out of the R&B world. We recorded the sessions at Stimming’s studio (one of the artists on my label). Of course it was a venture, but very interesting because I didn’t have to explain to him what I wanted, he simply gave me five different variations of the track. I grew up with funk and soul, R&B and hip-hop, so this influenced me especially when I was younger. Later, techno and house came into my mind-set, so it was for me quite interesting to combine all those styles together.”

What is a typical studio session like for you?
“Normally I do most of my production stuff alone on my computer. But when I get the feeling the melody should be developed or needs some extra push, I invite musicians to come over and try to implement the ideas that I have in my head. This can be something like a bass player who can play the bassline that I did on the computer again with his instrument. It’s also very inspiring to have singers in the studio and to engage yourself in their energy. And then, at the end you have to find the best arrangement, and this is like when the real works starts, and then you are alone again.

“With remixes it’s another thing, I always need two or three days getting to know the track before I say that I’ll do the remix, because I need to take some time to feel the vocals of the original track. If I don’t feel them, I can’t do a remix.”

Give us a breakdown of your current studio set-up?
“I am currently using a MacBook Pro Quad Core with 2.66 GHz running Logic as my main Sequencer. As a soundcard I am using an RME card feeding my Lynx Aurora converter. On the inputs of the Aurora I have connected some synths and the output feeds the Gain Train monitor controller from where I control the level of my Barefoot MM 27 monitors. For my mobile on the road set-up I use a retina MacBook Pro with an RME Babyface soundcard, Genelec 6010 monitors and a UAD satellite card. Since I am on the road all the time, I do lots of stuff on my notebook.

“I only use a small selection of hardware nowadays, don’t have to go overboard with lots of kit. For example, the Nord stage delivers anything from Rhodes to piano and string sounds. I also like to use real bass guitars. Some weeks ago, for example, I had to travel to Hamburg because of the wedding of my best friend, and I had in mind that Roisin Murphy and I talked about how much we like slapbass, when we were discussing our new collaboration. I had a track that was almost finished but still on my computer, and the day after the wedding I invited a bass player to adapt the melody of the synth-line with a slappin bass and fired it over directly to Roisin. This has now become the first track of our new collaboration, which will be coming out sometime soon.”

What bits of kit are doing it for you at the moment?
“U-he Diva soft synth and several bits from Native Instruments, as I have the Komplete package. I really love the UAD Quad card, those plugs are always my first choice as they are by far still the best option when it comes to software emulating the hardware classics. Also this saves on CPU power for other plug-ins. Talking about plug-ins, I love Equalizer and SPL Transient Designer, especially for bass and drums.“

Was the intention of starting your own label a platform to release your own productions?
“About 10 years ago, we started to put on parties in Hamburg. We called them 'DIY', because this was the spirit of doing things on our own, then almost three years after that we (Adriano and I, with our good friends and partners H.O.S.H. and Stimming) decided to start to our own label. We all had quite the same feeling for music, though we all have different tastes, for sure. It’s like that in a family, we have different opinions but in the end we only pick what everybody likes. The construction of Diynamic is much like family — it’s part of our DNA, and so it was quite clear that after we produced our first tracks we would found our own label as a platform for our own music. True to the motto: 'Do it yourself'. And now we’ve got the two labels: Diynamic is our musical home-base, 2DIY4 is Diynamic's little sister, but stands for its own profile. Its sound is open to new styles and a playground for every kind of style and music.”

How do you find time to get into the studio as well as DJing, running your own club and looking after the two labels?
“For me, this means a new situation and I have to learn for the future to create free space so I can do all these things. I took two months off at the beginning of this year for some holiday and for some concentrated studio-time. And in that time I developed a few tunes, but you are right. It’s not easy to schedule all of this especially with the touring, but if I don’t produce I’m not happy, so I have to make time to make sure I do this.”

 

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