Innovative dubstep and grime producer turned mix engineer, Joker’s always felt at home in the studio. As a kid he’d ask to tweak the EQ settings on his mum’s friend’s car stereo, spent his teenage years experimenting in Fruity Loops and collecting speakers. In 2008, his track ‘Gully Brook Lane’ on Terrorhythm blew up, supported by the likes of JME and Skepta, and opened the door for the young producer to start his influential label Kapsize. More recently he’s been focussing on mixing and mastering, honing his skills in his Bristol studio and providing the sonics for artists like Stormzy, Hudson Mohawke and Swindle.
We spoke to him about his favourite studio tools, and his five bits of kit he can’t live without.
“Anything that goes through this thing comes out sounding better. It’s amazing at tone- shaping and the transients stay spot on. The top-end sounds like diamonds, that’s the only way I can explain it. 100% desert island EQ.”
“A new toy in my arsenal – it’s a 500 Series lunchbox with built-in converters and a summing mixer. It’s really easy to use my gear that’s in the [lunch]box – [you can] load it like a plugin in Logic with no patching at all and the converters are really clean with an amazing internal clock. The preamps are maybe the cleanest I’ve ever heard and I’m pretty sure they read the cleanest on paper – plugging my synths into this makes them come alive [with a] super clean big 3D sound.”
“I’ve always wanted a reverb unit, especially this one! It’s not that plugin reverbs are not good, they are but this shit is special. The ability to put sounds in spaces and actually believe the spaces you are hearing is sick, I’m yet to get bored of it and waiting like a crackhead for the version three upgrade to come.”
“Throughout the years this has mainly done my vocal work until recently. It’s got two limiters built in; ELOP and FET. They sound great used subtly and, no pun intended, slammed. It’s my new old favourite loudness box. The preamps are very nice and quite clean for tube gear.”
“Obviously we gotta be able to hear what we are doing, along with a decently treated room that’s still being worked on. These monitors in my room sound so amazing, it doesn’t feel there are two speakers in the room, it's more like a wall of sound right in front of me, up, down, left, right, back and forth – you can pretty much see sound and place things wherever you like. They are so dynamic, easy to listen to for very long periods and because of the way they are built, they don’t take up much space for how much speaker there is. Possibly monitors set for life…”