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DSF Q&A Sessions Vol. 18 - Threnody

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Postby legend4ry » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:46 am

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Stafford-based producer Threnody is one of the handful of new-breed dubstep producers exploring the dark hinterlands beyond beyond the genre’s margins, with a characteristic sound that’s deep, techy and brooding, supported by clued-up DJs across the board from Radio 1 (Mary Anne Hobbs), Reload FM, Sub FM and React FM.

Threnody has ran his own SubFM show since 2007 where he has used it as a platform to push new and excited breakstep and forward thinking Dubstep artists as well as running his own Label UKTrendsMusic where he has been signing new talent such as Paradigm X, Hellfire Machina, Full Spektrum and Succulent C.

As well as being a innovator in his own right Threnody also is a music teacher and lecturer by profession which is why, he is my pick for this Q&A!


Discography

Malicius EP : Rottun Recordings
Noiz / Threnody - Vehemence / Sound : Rottun Recordings
Tags & Throw Ups Vol. 6 : Urban Graffiti
Don't Give A Shit EP : Creative Space Records
No Hype EP : UK Trends

Listen

[video][video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew3kcla9m-Q[/video]


http://soundcloud.com/threnody/threnody-into-night

http://soundcloud.com/threnody/threnody-no-sound-of-any-kind-vip


This Q&A will run for one month, any questions asked after that may not be answered.
Soulstep wrote: My point is i just wanna hear more vibes


https://soundcloud.com/legend4ry/untitled
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Postby deadly_habit » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:49 am

get it out of the way.
kit list, software and hardware.
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Postby legend4ry » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:54 am

Whats your musical background?
Soulstep wrote: My point is i just wanna hear more vibes


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Postby Debaser1 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:47 am

Cheers for doing this.

Ok, so how did you know when was the right time for you to push your stuff and try and get releases And how did you go about it?
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Postby nowaysj » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:13 am

Are there musical and nonmusical people, and if so, are the nonmusical ever capable of producing quality music through hard work and dedication, or will there always be something lacking in their work?

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Postby threnody » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:22 am

Ez all and big up to Ledge for asking me to do this. I'll pop back frequently to answer questions as they appear but some excellent ones to start off......
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
Big Dada / Slime / Red Volume / Creative Space / Urban Graffiti / Dubkraft / Rottun / Combat / UK Trends / L2S / Furioso / Yellow Machines


http://www.threnody.co.uk
http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby threnody » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:40 am

deadly habit wrote:get it out of the way.
kit list, software and hardware.


This has changed a lot over the years... I started off on a kind of tracker/sequencer called Making Waves and then got into Cubase. From 2008 everything has been built in Cubase. I did use Reason rewired until I got the Native Instruments Komplete pack which did away with the need for the Redrum & NN-XT. So my current setup is

1 x MacBook Pro (my latest addition)
1 x Studio PC
Cubase 5
NI Kompete (which i mainly use Kontakt, Absynth, Massive & Battery)
Focusrite Saffire Audio Interface
Tannoy Reveal Monitors
Various old radios which pick up obscure stations & interesting static
Various old guitar FX

Quite a few plug ins too.... My holy trinity of plugins are
1. Buffer Override (used on every track to varying degrees)
2. MDA dubdelay
3. Monsterbag Shiva Shifter

I also tend to use a lot of delays & reverb generally for my sound.

I also do my Sub FM show from that studio so I have Traktor Pro, 2 x 1210s & a Vestax mixer for that.

For me producing is all about spending time creating sounds & FX chains to compose with. The two go hand in hand.... Making music is all about rhythms, melodies & sounds for me. I always tell my students that they are best off learning how to use synths & FX creatively...knowing how to create sounds really well with a few synths or developing chains of FX which work for them. Apart from the obvious melodies, rhythms & harmonies your sound is defined by what happens beneath the obvious surface... the little incidental atmospheres & sounds which spring out of a number of FX being automated on top of each other are what gives tracks depth....

Sometimes the best sounds can come from accidents through abusing FX. To see what i mean try getting a dubdelay, whacking the feedback up to full and then automating the rate...put that effect through another delay & a reverb then compress the resultant sound and you will get almost a whole ambient track out of 1 effect. These things add atmosphere, depth & incidental complexity to music outside of the obvious melodic & rhythmic elements.
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
Big Dada / Slime / Red Volume / Creative Space / Urban Graffiti / Dubkraft / Rottun / Combat / UK Trends / L2S / Furioso / Yellow Machines


http://www.threnody.co.uk
http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby threnody » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:05 am

legend4ry wrote:Whats your musical background?


I started writing music when i was 9...in those days it was a case of shouting along to the demo songs on a casio keyboard then recording them on a tape player and doing cover art and playing it endlessly to my parents & friends. Although the music obviously doesn't stand up to the test of time it was an important introduction to the process of making music.

I started playing cornet & guitar when i was 10 and took lessons in these until i was grade 8 guitar and grade 7 cornet. At the same time i spent my teenage years making music.....After a few years of band practices with my mates I decided i wanted to be a solo artist as I couldn't cope with other people having creative input(!). For my solo stuff i used an old tape 4-track, my guitar & old radios + broken keyboards. I worked under loads of different names but the main one was 'Disrepute at the Hands of my Idol'. I was also playing in orchestras and jazz band which gave a good grounding in different traditions.

Under the Disrepute name i would spend hours in my room working on tracks having to overdub tapes. I have boxes and boxes of tapes from these recording sessions. Naturally Disrepute got more experimental as I grew up and I got into computer manipulations around 97. All i had back then was an audio editor but i was splicing together tape recordings on the computer and then messing up the entire audio with destructive FX (time stretching an entire 30 minute track to 5 seconds and then back to 30 mins etc...).... As things got more computer based I started exploring computer music. For me it was all about experimental electro-acoustic artists (Trevor Wishart, Dennis Smalley, Diego Garro, Stockhausen) and Jungle, Dnb & Breakbeat music.

Around 1999 i was making dnb and putting it about on the drum & bass arena production forums and learning computer music techniques then i got decks in 2001 and started DJing at uni lots (Tom from Hellfire Machina was at Uni with me & we played at the same student bar every week). Around this time i also discovered grime & dubstep as I was disillusioned by dnb and how closed doors were in the genre. I started working at 140bpm and almost instantly was getting phonecalls from Distance & emails from Paul Rose. My early tracks got showcased on the old dubplate.net (pre-DSF) and it was an exciting time with a new genre just beginning to grow.
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
Big Dada / Slime / Red Volume / Creative Space / Urban Graffiti / Dubkraft / Rottun / Combat / UK Trends / L2S / Furioso / Yellow Machines


http://www.threnody.co.uk
http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby Matthew-B » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:08 pm

How do you make your midbass and sub? What VST, how do you resample it (in Kontakt?), what effects do you use?
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Postby djake » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:57 pm

how do you keep a balance between life, work and music?
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Postby threnody » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:02 pm

Matthew-B wrote:How do you make your midbass and sub? What VST, how do you resample it (in Kontakt?), what effects do you use?


Like i said previously my mantra is get to know synths inside out and 90% of my basses are made on the Monologue synth (it comes free with Cubase). Obviously I use compression and EQing etc to beef up the sound. Really each track requires a different approach to bass. Some tracks I will use 2 synths playing the same line at different octaves but EQed so they don't interfere sonically....others may need several different sounds playing an 8 bar bassline. Others 1 synth does the trick. I have just started using Massive and i'm sure it will succeed Monologue now but i think learning how to use a synth properly is the best practice...developing your own sounds rather than going to 'Chainsaw bass 01' preset or 'Techno Stab 04'.

So VST instrument wise Monologue is used lots, Absynth, Massive, A1 & then a few others for little sounds here and there (FM8, V station Chip32)
For drums I used Battery and for samples I use Kontakt.... I have been using a lot of orchestral sounds over the last year for my album tracks and Kontakt has a nice orchestral library which sounds great when you put additional reverbs and delays on the instruments. I think orchestral sounds contrast really nicely with electronic bleeps & atmospheres.

As for FX like i mentioned Buffer Override, MDA dubdelay & Shiva Shifter are my favourites but I also use EchoLive, other Monsterbag FX (Madshifta), DB Glitch, other Destroy FX plug ins, lots of the Tobybear FX (they are all available for free from KVR Audio (http://www.kvraudio.com). I also use the Waves plugins for EQ, compression & limiting and the Native Bundle reverb and EQs.
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
Big Dada / Slime / Red Volume / Creative Space / Urban Graffiti / Dubkraft / Rottun / Combat / UK Trends / L2S / Furioso / Yellow Machines


http://www.threnody.co.uk
http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby threnody » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:30 pm

Debaser1 wrote:Cheers for doing this.

Ok, so how did you know when was the right time for you to push your stuff and try and get releases And how did you go about it?


This seemed to happen quite naturally. I had been putting tracks out to people like Distance, N-Type & others since 2004 and had tracks featured on dubplate.net (which at the time was the only place to find out about new dubstep). I had some airplay from N-Type at DMZ (when it was at 3rd base), the whole scene was very open in those days as there weren't many people making bass music at 140bpm so it was easy to get your stuff heard - unlike these days!

Despite this early airplay it wasn't until 2006 that things started to take off.... I had spent a year in Preston lecturing & running some studios and that gave me great insight to how to structure music. I had MCs coming down and spitting on my beats and then they would send the vocalled tracks out to their mates....whenever i got on a bus there would be some kids listening to my tracks on their mobile phones! I think some of those tracks stood up to what else was around at the time but i didn't really send that much out to labels, mostly out of laziness. Then during that year (2005) i started writing Malicious, Sound, India and Killer which were all my first releases on Rottun....I got the basic bass, drums, vocal samples and atmosphere down and then used these tracks to develop my sound. I worked hard on structures and then EQing and then the mixdown (to obsessional levels) and then I thought that something was missing and i realised that there were no melodies really so i worked on that aspect for a while and wrote melodies on all the tracks. Then I learnt how to use Cubase so i got those few tracks and exported the parts to cubase to use those FX.... this is over the course of a year and a half.

So for 18 months or so i worked on just a few tracks really developing them and applying everything i learnt to them and then starting new tracks and ideas using what i had learnt. Finally they were finished and i sent them out to a few places and everything went crazy.... Literally every track i had worked on got signed up in the space of a month or 2. There wasn't a particular method for this it was just a case of sending the 320s to a few people and everything was signed up and Mary Anne Hobbs was playing my tunes. This was around 2006 and then it took a year or so for the releases to start coming and then they suddenly seemed to come out every week in 2008!

So to answer the question of how did i know when it was time.... well i had worked on the tracks to the point where i could play them in the mix with anything else and they would stand up....i knew there were enough layers, edits, production values and ideas to say they were complete and ready....

and how to go about it... well this is different now as dubstep has reached saturation point in the same way dnb did in 2002 when i was trying to break in with my early tunes. I think really there are 2 approaches,
1. you can get into stuff deeply. Listen to a few key people's radio shows and constantly be in chat and network + enjoy their shows and get your name seen and known and then after a while send some tracks to the DJ and he is likely to listen to it...always keep your contacts list fresh and updated!
2. Find a less saturated genre and be with it from the start as it grows around you and you grow with it. There will be less people to send your stuff too but if you are lucky the scene will take off... We are at a point now where everyone is looking for the new sound and really i think we are at the stage where dubstep is like where Hardcore/Rave music was in 1992... it is going to have so many offshoots (breakstep, future garage, wonky, UK Funky, drumstep, filth whatever) it will be similar to Rave music going housey, breakbeaty, garagey, jungley. I think dubstep has got enough different elements that it can morph to lots of different things.... it is just a case of making what you are feeling and seeing who will play it now.
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
Big Dada / Slime / Red Volume / Creative Space / Urban Graffiti / Dubkraft / Rottun / Combat / UK Trends / L2S / Furioso / Yellow Machines


http://www.threnody.co.uk
http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby legend4ry » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:41 pm

Best Q&A yet already. Its really good to hear someone who sees dance music for what it is and makes sure what they bring to the genre is their best work.
Soulstep wrote: My point is i just wanna hear more vibes


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Postby threnody » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:18 pm

djake wrote:how do you keep a balance between life, work and music?


Haha this is a constant battle! Really music has always been central to what I do so I have always prioritised it. I'm fortunate that my job is lecturing music as it helps me learn and get inspired on a daily basis.... also there are long holidays which are perfect for getting lots of ideas finished. Really tho i am quite sneaky about things - i always have my Laptop on in classes and a lot of my sessions are mainly students working on tracks and me listening and giving advise so I can get away with updating Soundcloud, website, doing label (Uk Trends) admin, uploading my radio shows and stuff outside of the producing which is so important these days.

At home my house is on 3 floors so the ground floor is the studio so it is easy to escape there and be focussed in the evenings. Obviously there haqs to be a balance of making music and being a husband (and dad) so I find a couple of nights a week to go to the studio and then use my laptop to do little tasks in the front room when my wife is on the phone or doing her stuff etc... It has been made slightly more difficult as we had a baby in the summer so time has been at a premium!
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
Big Dada / Slime / Red Volume / Creative Space / Urban Graffiti / Dubkraft / Rottun / Combat / UK Trends / L2S / Furioso / Yellow Machines


http://www.threnody.co.uk
http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby phenlight » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm

Thank you for your time and effort answering the questions. :D:
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Postby threnody » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:49 pm

phenlight wrote:Thank you for your time and effort answering the questions. :D:
...

No problems. I could spend all day talking about music.

Keep the questions flowing.
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
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http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby nowaysj » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:56 pm

Think maybe you missed a question up there?
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Postby Fbac » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:30 pm

Thanks for the read =) great questions and answers.

Where do you see vinyl going? What do you think could be inproved about traktor or digital djing / or what are you looking forward to about digital djing?

Do you belive the general quality of sound is going down in the world?
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Postby threnody » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:30 am

nowaysj wrote:Think maybe you missed a question up there?


Don't worry i have seen it. Great question and thinking of how to word my answer.
To book for a live/DJ please email threnody@threnody.co.uk

Releases on:-
Big Dada / Slime / Red Volume / Creative Space / Urban Graffiti / Dubkraft / Rottun / Combat / UK Trends / L2S / Furioso / Yellow Machines


http://www.threnody.co.uk
http://www.uktrendsmusic.co.uk

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Postby nowaysj » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:34 am

:4:
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