DSF Q&A 21: Objekt

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Postby hutyluty » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:55 pm

OBJEKT

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A regular on the forums under the name static_cast where he was often found in the production section dispensing advice, Objekt was one of the breakout producers of 2011- his two white label releases selling out and gaining second place in the best new producer category at the DSF awards last year.

An employee at Native Instruments, Objekt has released sparsely since then, with only the Cactus/Porcupine release on Hessle Audio and remixes for Call Super, SBTRKT and Radiohead yet when a tune does drop it is anticipated greatly, as evidenced by the wildly hysterical reactions on this forum everytime a release is announced.

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See him mix on boiler room here http://boilerroom.tv/objekt-60-min-mix/
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Postby hutyluty » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:59 pm

I'll get the obvious ones out the way..

What's your set up like- hardware and software?

What is your musical background?

Favourite dance move?
[+] Spoiler
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Postby wub » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:04 pm

Your drums have a lot of character, particularly recent like your Radiohead remix. Is this a case of careful sample selection, processing (i.e. overdriving through some sort of analogue desk to get some character), or layering with additional sounds to get that top end crunch to them?

When starting a tune, do you have a premise thought out first then work towards that end or do you start the tune without a plan then have it grow in to itself?

Given the influence in your tunes, how do you feel modern day 'techno' holds up against earlier Underground Resistance style tracks?
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Postby hasezwei » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:21 pm

favorite 303 pattern?

whats your workflow when writing techno? jamming patterns and kinda dubbing them with lotsa sends and riding the faders, or is everything pre-written/automated?

since you work at NI (jesus that used to be dream of mine), do you use reaktor and if yes how do you incorporate it into your DAW?

pick one of the following: autechre, the flashbulb, venetian snares

ever been to münster?

favorite beer? (inb4becks)

@huty: maybe put this with a READ FIRST in the original post so we dont have double questions http://keinobjekt.tumblr.com/post/22678 ... 2-unedited


bigups from bremen
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Postby Divane » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:08 pm

The Goose That Got Away and Tinderbox are so damn good!

When can we expect to hear something new from you?

Other than that I am interested in your setup as well!
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Postby jrisreal » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:23 pm

Objekt = static_cast ????????!!!!!!!!!!! :o :n: :corndance:
I love CLK Recovery and Unglued. Listen to those all the time on my phone, in the car, on headphones, etc. :4:

A question that downlink didn't get around to:
If you got home and saw a slinky lying around, what's the first thing you would do to/with it?
...in my opinion
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Postby static_cast » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:47 pm

hello everyone, thanks for all the questions so far

i've got a busy week but will try and check back in as often as i can. please bear with me!
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Postby Climax » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:51 pm

do you have different versions of tracks and special loops and builds and such for live playing?

-What are you able to get away with that you wouldnt normally, on a regular commercially released track, when making "system music" for playing out live? Do you just edit your arrangements of your original tracks or are you literally changing your EQ's, Gain structure, etc....

-Do you feel like you have much more room in the low end or anything like that?

-Also just any general advice for someone who wants to make productions that translate well onto large proper systems
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Postby ehbrums1 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:23 pm

Where do you start a tune? Drums, leads, vocals, pads?

What genre/style influences you the most
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Postby skimpi » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:42 pm

How did you get into working for NI? Were you doing like computer programming of some sort beforehand, or have you got in there purely from a more audio aspect, like knowing how synths and effects/signal path works? Or is it a bit of both?
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Postby jrisreal » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:49 pm

skimpi wrote:Were you doing like computer programming of some sort beforehand?

This. Your username (static_cast) suggests computer programming, because static_cast is what you use in C/C++ to convert data types, like this:

Code: Select all
int nValue = 5;
double dValue;
dValue = static_cast<double>(nValue);
std::cout << nValue << "  " << dValue << std::endl;


This would just print "5 5"
...in my opinion
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Postby static_cast » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:22 pm

hutyluty wrote:I'll get the obvious ones out the way..
What's your set up like- hardware and software?


macbook pro (with a big monitor and keyboard etc), ableton suite, KRK VXT8, RME fireface 400, roland jupiter 6, waldorf pulse, revox b77. a bunch of mics (SM57/58, D112, D6 and a couple of others) which i rarely use except for a pair of cheap MXL condensers. a beautiful old sonor rosewood drum kit from the 70s which i also sadly rarely get a chance to play these days. ummm... a fender strat and jazz bass, which actually found its way onto the radiohead remix but otherwise don't see much use these days. some very old sennheiser headphones (hd580 ovation i think?) which i use a lot. i've got a couple of controllers which i use occasionally but not that often (maschine, bcr2000, launchpad).

the synths were acquired pretty recently - the first two objekt 12s were all in the box i think. almost all of that was ableton, but i made a tape emulation for NI which i used a lot. there's also a minimoog clone in some of the more recent stuff.

hutyluty wrote:What is your musical background?


i started on piano aged 5 or 6, took up drums around 11 and gave up piano not long after. i used to play in bands (mostly drums but sometimes bass and guitar). range of stuff from post-punk and noisy scuzzy rock to jazz (i used to do quite a lot of small-group gigging as well as playing for a couple of big bands, though in general i find big band jazz a bit bait).

started recording my own (and friends') bands around 15 or so... my mum was a composer so she had a little bit of gear (a MIDI home studio with an atari ST, a few samplers, a multitracker and a soundcraft desk). the rest i borrowed, or saved up birthday money etc and bought. i made coffee and lugged flightcases around at a couple of studios and read loads of good and bad advice on the internet, back when usenet was still a thing.

caught the dance music bug around 18 and started DJing and producing around 19 i guess (i'm 25 now). i gave up being in bands around the same time. went to uni and studied engineering (not audio engineering) so i guess you could say i'm self-taught as far as production is concerned, albeit with a very mathy background.

hutyluty wrote:Favourite dance move?


handstand

wub wrote:Your drums have a lot of character, particularly recent like your Radiohead remix. Is this a case of careful sample selection, processing (i.e. overdriving through some sort of analogue desk to get some character), or layering with additional sounds to get that top end crunch to them?


almost everything is layered. in some cases, individual drums are like a collage - the first 10ms "tock" of a 707, the boom of a resampled reverbed 909, a sine sub underneath, the pre-attack of a very fast 606 hat... the difficult bit is knowing how best to arrange them. layering has to be done right otherwise you'll end up worse off than when you started. you need to know exactly what it is you want to add to a certain sound, and whether the sound you intend to layer will work at all.

sample selection is obviously key, but it also helps to learn how to tell whether or not a sample could be useful as a layer even if it's not adequate on its own.

processing wise, i'll invariably process each layer separately. different envelopes, different EQ (sometimes drastic filtering), compressing if necessary, often adding (or subtracting) a delay offset. i can't imagine doing this effectively in any DAW other than ableton because its instrument racks are so powerful and fast to work with. racks inside racks inside racks inside racks.

subtle tape saturation (has to be quite accurate rather than the fake "compression"/"warmth"/"squash" style plugins) followed by slow attack compression is really nice for gritting things up a bit

quite a bit of subtle bitcrushing - not really bitcrushing per se (as in bit reduction) but more like sample rate reduction ("soft" mode in ableton redux). it's nasty if you overuse it but great for very subtle crunch.

important: know when less is more. sometimes all you need is a 606 snare, compressed and EQed, bam.

wub wrote:When starting a tune, do you have a premise thought out first then work towards that end or do you start the tune without a plan then have it grow in to itself?


any given track of mine will have been through at least 20-30 saved versions. over the course of these versions it will probably have passed through at least 2 or 3 completely different tracks. most of the detailing, the incidentals and the "bits and pieces" in my tracks come from what's left over from previous versions - a lead synth in version 7 might have been resampled and end up as nothing more than a little squelch in version 30.

so i guess in the end it doesn't really matter what my initial idea was, since i rarely stick to it. still, from a workflow point of view it is always good to have a sense of direction.

wub wrote:Given the influence in your tunes, how do you feel modern day 'techno' holds up against earlier Underground Resistance style tracks?


ooft. loaded question. it's hit or miss. i think 90s revivalism has to be approached carefully - for example, not enough people bear in mind that one of the great things about old acid tracks was the rawness that came with using certain bits of gear outside their ideal operating range. in that sense, a lot of what's being made now is just a blander version of what came before. on the flip side of the coin, there are people now doing things which would have been totally impossible 15 years ago. or you get people like surgeon, whose productions have always been raw as fuck AND totally at the knife-edge of technical possibility.

hasezwei wrote:favorite 303 pattern?


haha. god. so many. off the top of my head, three o three by public energy


hasezwei wrote:whats your workflow when writing techno? jamming patterns and kinda dubbing them with lotsa sends and riding the faders, or is everything pre-written/automated?


definitely closer to the latter. sometimes i'll play patterns in and then edit them heavily, but not much is "live" apart from occasional filter/effect automation. i'm a keyboard and mouse warrior, for better or for worse

hasezwei wrote:since you work at NI (jesus that used to be dream of mine), do you use reaktor and if yes how do you incorporate it into your DAW?


i didn't until recently, but i do a lot now, usually for instruments and effects rather than all the crazy sequencer shit. i ALWAYS separate programming (which i generally get to do during working hours, which is nice) from music making. the two are totally incompatible workflow-wise.

usually i'll save a completed ensemble, load it into an instrument rack and then assign all the parameters to macros in ableton so i can control it without opening the reaktor GUI. then i'll save the instrument rack for future use.

hasezwei wrote:pick one of the following: autechre, the flashbulb, venetian snares


ae

hasezwei wrote:ever been to münster?


yep. a friend of mine runs schaltkreis - i played there a couple of times as tj hertz.


hasezwei wrote:favorite beer? (inb4becks)


i'm not really a beer snob but if the späti's got em i'll usually go for a tannenzäpfle or augustiner.
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Postby Hircine » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:16 pm

How do you compose your atmospherics and incidentals?
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Postby hasezwei » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:22 pm

static_cast wrote:
hasezwei wrote:ever been to münster?


yep. a friend of mine runs schaltkreis - i played there a couple of times as tj hertz.


really? heron, jon or nicetry? i remember one of my first 'proper' techno nights was schaltkreis, it was insane. sweat dripping from the ceiling and all that.
where'd you play, triptychon, favela or fusion? my dad used to own fusion in the 90's (back when it was called x-floor/cosmic club), i actually grew up on the hawerkamp. too young to remember but mom told me ive been jumping around on the stage when people like jeff mills did sound checks[/brag] :lol:

too bad i dont live there anymore... i know a couple guys in bremen who'd love to see you play here but their club has been shut down :/ music scene round here is pretty shit tbh

well back to topic: any favorite reaktor ensembles or do you code all of it yourself?
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Postby skwiggo » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:08 pm

firstly thank you for doing this. secondly your mixdowns are unbelieveable!

do you mixdown as you go along or after you've finished the arrangement process of the track?

how do you manage to make your mixdowns sound clean but also quite raw and warm at the same time without much outboard gear? i can get either sterile sounding boring digital mixes or raw crummy fake lo fi sounding shit mixes but nothing in between...

your tracks are also crammed with lots of different changing elements but each element still has a sense of space and clarity. can you give any tips on the arrangement process when dealing with lots of different parts that may clash?

are you going to sell out and make a trumpet house record any time soon? :6:
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Postby static_cast » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:16 pm

Divane wrote:The Goose That Got Away and Tinderbox are so damn good!

When can we expect to hear something new from you?


thank you very much

i have one track coming out soon, which is on my EE mix, but apart from that nothing scheduled. i have very little time to make music outside of work and gigging. i do what i can though, whenever i get a chance.

jrisreal wrote:I love CLK Recovery and Unglued. Listen to those all the time on my phone, in the car, on headphones, etc. :4:

A question that downlink didn't get around to:
If you got home and saw a slinky lying around, what's the first thing you would do to/with it?


thanks!

probably shove it down the stairs

a friend of mine wrote a paper on modelling the impulse response of a slinky as part of a phd at aalto in helsinki. sounded interesting - the math is actually different from that of a spring, but i can't remember why or how. the impulse response itself sounds like a lazer gun. pretty cool.

Climax wrote:do you have different versions of tracks and special loops and builds and such for live playing?


no, not really. occasionally i edit other people's tracks that i'd like to play out, but only if they need it (e.g. they're 2 minutes long). i have a couple of DJ tools which i use here and there but they're mostly from other people's releases.


Climax wrote:-What are you able to get away with that you wouldnt normally, on a regular commercially released track, when making "system music" for playing out live? Do you just edit your arrangements of your original tracks or are you literally changing your EQ's, Gain structure, etc....

-Do you feel like you have much more room in the low end or anything like that?


everything i've released so far has been produced with club systems in mind. i guess when i write for home listening i don't have to focus so much on making sure the drums hit as hard as possible, but the overall frequency response is basically the same.

Climax wrote:-Also just any general advice for someone who wants to make productions that translate well onto large proper systems


listen to them on a proper system. A/B them with tracks that you know sound good. bounce your mixdowns and play em in da klub. show up early for soundchecks so you can stand in the room and listen.

ehbrums1 wrote:Where do you start a tune? Drums, leads, vocals, pads?


totally varies. no set answer. generally i'll try not to start anything unless i have an idea in my head, but that could be rhythmic, melodic, textural...

ehbrums1 wrote:What genre/style influences you the most


allsorts. techno, house, electro, EBM, industrial, post-punk, no wave, noise, disco. even though i don't listen to much jazz anymore, i think a lot of my riffs (and the way i use automation) have been pretty strongly influenced by playing in jazz groups when i was growing up, and listening to how soloists construct their solos. a good MD will coach the horn sections on how to shape certain phrases in the most musical way - witnessing this was a hugely transferable learning experience that i wasn't really aware of at the time.

skimpi wrote:How did you get into working for NI? Were you doing like computer programming of some sort beforehand, or have you got in there purely from a more audio aspect, like knowing how synths and effects/signal path works? Or is it a bit of both?


i studied engineering, eventually specialising in electronic engineering and information engineering (e.g. signal processing, image analysis, machine learning etc), but not really much to do with audio - the audio side i learned initially by reading DSP shit on the internet and putting 2+2 together with what i'd been taught as an engineer, and subsequently by working at NI). i applied to NI straight out of university and have been working here ever since, though only part-time now. i was fairly competent with matlab and C from uni, but had to learn C++ from textbooks and coworkers. in my field (DSP development) it's more important to have a pretty solid applied maths background and to understand audio principles than to already be an amazing programmer; C++ syntax is something you can learn on the job.

it also depends on the job itself - the application developers here don't necessarily need to know anything about signal processing but they do need to be very good developers. likewise, as a DSP dev, i didn't know anything about application development (i.e. being a "proper" developer) when i started but i did know how to do a fourier transform by hand.
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Postby SKIN E » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:00 pm

Bigup, love your tracks (especially Tinderbox), how do you go about programming your percussion? What's the process that gets you to these grooves :)
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Postby static_cast » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:04 pm

Hircine wrote:How do you compose your atmospherics and incidentals?


you mean how do i make the sounds, or how do i arrange them?


hasezwei wrote:
static_cast wrote:
hasezwei wrote:ever been to münster?


yep. a friend of mine runs schaltkreis - i played there a couple of times as tj hertz.


really? heron, jon or nicetry? i remember one of my first 'proper' techno nights was schaltkreis, it was insane. sweat dripping from the ceiling and all that.
where'd you play, triptychon, favela or fusion? my dad used to own fusion in the 90's (back when it was called x-floor/cosmic club), i actually grew up on the hawerkamp. too young to remember but mom told me ive been jumping around on the stage when people like jeff mills did sound checks[/brag] :lol:

too bad i dont live there anymore... i know a couple guys in bremen who'd love to see you play here but their club has been shut down :/ music scene round here is pretty shit tbh


ha, awesome. how old are you now?

felix nicetry and martin heron - felix was one of the first people i met in berlin. i played triptychon once in 2010 and then the second room of sputnikhalle at one of the schaltkreis birthday parties. i'm not sure i really played the right set for the crowd to be honest, they seemed to REALLY want banging 4/4 techno at >132 bpm - which is a shame seeing as that's mostly what i play these days, haha. but at the time my DJ sets were a lot more noodley.

hasezwei wrote:well back to topic: any favorite reaktor ensembles or do you code all of it yourself?


ummm. well, a great deal of the NI stuff is prototyped in reaktor, so i often end up using the reaktor prototypes of effects that are now in other products... for example, i've got the ensembles of all the maschine effects, which i use sometimes. coworkers sometimes build prototype synths and effects that i'll play around with... and i've made a few drum synth modules recently which i use here and there.

skwiggo wrote:firstly thank you for doing this. secondly your mixdowns are unbelieveable!

do you mixdown as you go along or after you've finished the arrangement process of the track?


thank you!

i almost always mix as i go along, getting increasingly detailed as time goes by.

skwiggo wrote:how do you manage to make your mixdowns sound clean but also quite raw and warm at the same time without much outboard gear? i can get either sterile sounding boring digital mixes or raw crummy fake lo fi sounding shit mixes but nothing in between...


hmmmm... there's definitely no easy way. i bought the revox thinking i could bounce to tape and that would suddenly make my mixdowns sound wonderfully warm and full, but was actually disappointed by the results. in the end, either you go all analog (which is arguably the easiest way), or you have to learn a lot of individual tricks and work out how to emulate some very specific artifacts of very specific machines.

here are a few...

- use the right synths. ableton's analog is not bad, but not spectacular IMO. i use a moog clone for almost all my mono synth parts.

- use the right distortion and saturation. i mostly use my tape emulation but have been getting into izotope trash recently.

- very clean delays make very clean tracks. use a tape echo, real or emulated. i use the one in guitar rig, which isn't bad. it's nice that you can set the tape headroom and therefore the amount of disintegration per delay. the UAD tape echo looks amazing but i haven't got it myself. you can actually make your own (real) tape echo with a 3-head cassette deck and some clever routing in ableton without having to actually make any tape loops or anything like that.... maybe i'll post a how-to sometime (i've done this quite a lot with my revox when the GR tape echo isn't gritty enough).

- spring reverb

- a good tape emulation, used in the right places. i use it this the time, on like half my channels. it's nice on hihats if you compress them afterwards with a slow attack and fast(ish) release to bring out the transients again - adds a fair bit of subharmonic content so they "thwack" a bit more. i guess in layman's terms it "makes hihats sound thicker and makes other shit sound warmer", but used excessively it makes the lows sound "honky" and indistinct, and can butcher the sub frequencies if you're not careful. the one i use is the one i made for NI, which eventually found its way into kontakt (and i think battery?) so you can check it out there if you like. it's not perfect (the UAD studer is miles ahead) but it's more authentic than many of the cheaper tape emulations out there. the fact that it's quite subtle makes it good as a tool.

- the "soft" shaper in ableton's sampler is very basic but so effective. it's pre-envelope, so it's very good for saturating samples without destroying the dynamics.

- saturate cymbals or noise together with the kick or sub and you get a really nice "pffffffffhthfhfhthfthffhtt" sound

- resample constantly. layer, process, then resample again and layer.

- try adding some background noise, sampled from a noisy bit of equipment... but compress that shit with the drum bus or sidechain it, otherwise it'll just sound like you added a bunch of noise on top. and add only a Very Small Amount.


skwiggo wrote:your tracks are also crammed with lots of different changing elements but each element still has a sense of space and clarity. can you give any tips on the arrangement process when dealing with lots of different parts that may clash?


don't be afraid to scrap something that isn't working. just because it sounds good doesn't mean it's right for this track.

here's a post i made a while back which suggests a workflow method that i still use now. i think it's quite relevant when it comes to thinning down a track to the necessities and avoiding clashes, because as you listen to a mixdown you can write down the exact points where you feel the energy isn't at quite the right level, or certain things are clashing, or something is missing (or too much), etc.

http://www.dubstepforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=184861&p=2243834

skwiggo wrote:are you going to sell out and make a trumpet house record any time soon? :6:


ha! i actually considered it for a long time. probably not though. i still get so many offers to play dubstep nights off the back of objekt #1.

SKIN E wrote:Bigup, love your tracks (especially Tinderbox), how do you go about programming your percussion? What's the process that gets you to these grooves :)


thank you :)

listen to some steve gadd. that's tinderbox in a nutshell
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Postby jrisreal » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:16 pm

static_cast wrote:
jrisreal wrote:I love CLK Recovery and Unglued. Listen to those all the time on my phone, in the car, on headphones, etc. :4:

A question that downlink didn't get around to:
If you got home and saw a slinky lying around, what's the first thing you would do to/with it?


thanks!

probably shove it down the stairs

a friend of mine wrote a paper on modelling the impulse response of a slinky as part of a phd at aalto in helsinki. sounded interesting - the math is actually different from that of a spring, but i can't remember why or how. the impulse response itself sounds like a lazer gun. pretty cool.

Hehe. Somethings wrong with my stairs...no slinky I've ever played with has gone down my staircase like slinkys should. And yeah...not too knowledgable about the math, but the main difference I can see between slinkys and springs is that springs expand and slinkys contract.
...in my opinion
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Postby hutyluty » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:19 pm

In your mixes, theres a load of really raw techno and stuff yet your mixdowns are often very clean and precise, like in your fact mix when it goes from porcupine to drexciya t. Is it a conscious decision to make music which is different to the stuff you play, or is it your take on it?

What's it like to play at the berghain? (i'm assuming youve done this haha, if not tell me what its like to dance there as they wouldnt let me in :6: )
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