One of our hottest producers has shared some of his production secrets. Yes, we’re talking about the bad boy known as Hemoglobin. He always seems to combine some sick basslines with a deadly groove so effortlessly. Check out his production procedures, equipment, and attitude.
Hemoglobin's EP entitled Diversity will be released 17th of december 2012.
What’s your approach to production? Do you usually have a certain sound in mind or do you just play around?
I don’t have a recipe for music production. My tunes are usually shaped by my current mood but the process is usually the same. I’ll start with a beat, follow it with a bassline and build the rest of a tune around that.
I like to be inspired by other genres as well as by other producers. Sometimes I can be captivated by drums or a certain sound. In that case I’ll try to recreate it and use it my own way.
Are you more of a synth guy or do you prefer sampling?
I used to work with samples a lot but in the last few years synthetizers became my core focus. I still like to create my own samples and build my own libraries. When I work with synths I tweak interesting presets as well as create new ones completely from scratch.
Presets are usually made when I work on a specific tune. I even had a pretty extensive package of my own settings for various plugins but I lost it due to a disk error. And that’s not very pleasing.
Could you describe your approach to beatmaking?
I usually start with a kick because kicks and basses are one of the most important elements of any tune. Sometimes I try to make individual hits perfect, other times I just layer. It depends on the groove of the beat or the loop I am working on.
Kick is usually done in layers where i focus on low, mid and high frequencies. However sometimes I manage to find a sample that fits a tune perfectly. These samples usually don’t need much of tweaking or layering.
After finishing a kick I usually work on a snare that I tend to layer. I like industrial sounding snares layered with a clap or some decent percussion. Then I’ll add hats, crashes, rides and what have you. Sometimes you can liven things up with traditional amen break and the right kind of equalization.
How do you usually compose your tunes? Do you try to have somewhat unified style?
I always start from scratch which makes it hard to have my own sound. Maybe I am using certain characteristic elements that make it possible to distinguish my tunes.
Do you finish each tune?
I definitely do not finish each track. I have tens or maybe even hundreds of unfinished tunes. I often get stuck during work on a second half of a tune or during mixdown phase. If a tune doesn’t sound right I usually start working on something else.
I try to focus on a single project. Sometimes it’s exhausting and it can be better to work on several projects at once. At least you’re not getting tired of a tune so quickly. When I have a vision for the whole tune I can usually make it within a week. Normally it takes me two to four weeks though.
You previously produced fairly hard drum’n’bass. Did it influence you somehow? Do you use those skills in current production?
I did like hard music and I still do. There’s not much of good hard music nowadays but there are still a few bright exceptions. I really rate highly names such as Tech Itch or current Value but that’s probably about it.
Other producers are trying to make hard music but it’s not something I’d call home about. This is probably why I shifted to the deeper side of music. I am definitely influenced by hard drum’n’bass though and those production experiences are still useful.
If someone asked you to compose an album, what would it mean to you?
I am fairly lazy and album work would most likely be tough. I probably wouldn’t turn down labels such as Critical or Metalheadz. :) One day I would definitely like to compose an album consisting of various tempos.
What software and hardware do you use?
My sequencer of choice used to be Cubase 5 but I recently switched to Ableton 8. Everything seems so well arranged, faster and it’s easy to use my MIDI controllers with it. I don’t have to map anything and things can be controlled by hand. I still really enjoy working in Cubase. Mainly for more detailed audio edits and mastering. Cubase is still one of the best DAWs.
My hardware: sound card T.C. Electronic Studio Konnekt 48, studio monitors Adam Audio A8X, headphones Beyer Dynamic DT990 special 2005 edition, sub by KEF and MIDI controllers such as MU Xboard 49 or Novation Zero SL MKII.
What are your favorite plugins?
I really love my Massive by Native Instruments. I like to process beat with PSP Vintage warmer and enjoy using various DSP plugins provided by my soundcard. I am a big fan of M40 Reverb, Fabric R, C studio and others.