Exploring the studio with Khen — progressive’s rising star

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Exploring the studio with Khen — progressive’s rising starKhen Live Credit Facebook

Khen‘s name is synonymous with quality. Throughout the last half decade or so, the progressive house magnate has proven himself to be one of the greats after being taken under Guy J’s wing and releasing on virtually all top labels in the subgenre including Lost&Found, Bedrock, Vivrant, Sudbeat, and beyond. His track “Children With No Name,” which Dancing Astronaut premiered, ended up becoming an anthem that was has been rinsed far and wide across the progressive sphere. His releases on Jeremy Olander’s Vivrant and John Digweed’s Bedrock have earned similar success, earning him further acclaim in the producer sphere. Outside of that, he’s well-proven his excellence behind the decks, continually hypnotizing his audiences with complex mashing and bootlegging on the fly through Ableton—and of course, with his keen curatorial and storytelling ear.

The end of 2018 brought along a particularly momentous occasion: the release of his highly sought-after “Closing Doors,” which Anjunadeep had been fighting for since the track emerged in his and others’ sets well over a year ago. It’s a hugely emotive and melancholic piece, simultaneously catalyzing introspection and somehow, joyful nostalgia underneath its bittersweet melodies. “Burgundy,” a sultry afterhours weapon, follows. No surprise here as to why James Grant and his associates wanted to snag both for a landmark output that broke the label’s status quo.

Obviously, Khen produces from the heart and soul; the passion he pours into his work is palpable in each of his tracks. However, there’s a certain technical brilliance to each as well, and we were determined to get a glimpse at this side of the spectrum as well. We sat down with the Tel Aviv native to discuss gear, with him kindly pointing out some of his favorite studio pieces that help make his releases so well-rounded and ethereal.

 

Order a copy of ‘Closing Doors’


Roland JUNO 60
Exploring the studio with Khen — progressive’s rising starJuno 60 I 2 2
My precious baby. Warm and overall amazing sound that I use for basslines, pads, and crispy leads. I used it on both ‘Pecas’ that came out on Lost & Found and ‘Closing Doors’ that just came out on Anjunadeep. I use it to layer melodies to make them sound warmer; this is another thing it’s really good for. In essence it’s a very simple synth, but the sound is very rich, even to the extent that that I usually don’t need to add any delay or reverb.


Dave Smith Prophet 12
Exploring the studio with Khen — progressive’s rising starProphet 12
My main studio hardware synth. Analog and digital hybrid. This one has a very broad and varied capacity in terms of sound output. I mainly use it for melodies, pads and as a sequencers. It sounds different from any synth in the world I’ve tried, and you can find a very different, crazy sounds with relative ease without the use of distortion and modulations. This one was key in the making of ‘Closing Doors.’


MFB Tanzbar
Exploring the studio with Khen — progressive’s rising starMFB Tanzbar Drum Machine
The Tanzbar is an analog drum machine and one of the best I’ve every worked on. This is where I get a lot of my kick drums from. I actually like it so much I sometimes use it to make a bassline out of a kick drum. Sometimes I add a second bassline on some tracks for that added groove.


Pedals(Strymon Tape Delay and DOD Envelope Filter)
Exploring the studio with Khen — progressive’s rising starPedals
I use two different pedals. One is the Strymon tape delay and the other is a DOD Envelope Filter. Both usually work great with the top loops to make them more sparkly in sound. Also, using the delay with a long feedback on different sounds, recording it and then chopping and cutting it up can make for cool FX using existing parts from the track.


Padshop Soft Synth (Steinberg)
Exploring the studio with Khen — progressive’s rising starPADSHOP SYNTH
Very much my go-to synth for pads, atmospheric and hypnotic sounds. It’s a granular synth that used samples of stuff like strings, guitars, vocals and other stuff and transform them to make them sound way cooler. I also use it to layer melodies, which gives added depth to the regular lead sounds.

Photo credit: Facebook/Khenmusic

Seeing into ‘The Future’ with Tom Flynn [Q+A]

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Seeing into ‘The Future’ with Tom Flynn [Q+A]Tom Flynn Press

House music caught Tom Flynn‘s ear at a young age. Internet radio brought the sounds into the Birmingham native’s bedroom, quickly catching his attention with its grooves and its inspiration from disco and funk with which he grew up. By 16 years of age, he found himself at his first-ever gig: a new year’s party in his home town. It felt like destiny to the young artist, who’d already been set on learning decks and turntabling from childhood. With his adoration of cutting edge dance music and hypnotizing crowds with expert mixing and selection sealed, his lifelong career in dance music had officially kicked off.

Years behind the decks eventually bred curiosity in Flynn to try record production himself. Taking his DJ instincts into the studio and studying hardware intently, he was soon outputting a steady stream of singles that caught the ears of Pete Tong, Steve Lawler, Roger Sanchez, and many others. A few accomplishments to the quiet juggernaut’s name are being named “Breakout Artist of the Year” in 2013 by Pete Tong and Radio 1, his own radio show, and releases on Innervisions, Mobilee, Hot Creations, and of course, DIRTYBIRD. Not to mention, he’s got a number of discreet aliases whose records are appreciated across the underground.

His relationship with the label and its owner Claude VonStroke began nearly a decade ago. The two bonded over their likeminded beliefs in life and music. Shortly after, Flynn signed his first record onto the label. Now, after quite some time apart, he’s made a triumphant return with “The Future.” The sultry deep house record tapped Amp Fiddler’s help on vocals, resulting in a standout piece that breathes diversity back into the DIRTYBIRD fold. VonStroke remixed “The Future” as well, taking inspiration from across the pond for an open-air tech house piece with a nuanced edge.

Curious to know more about Tom Flynn, we sat him down for a chat about his methodology in DJing and production. An outspoken mental health advocate, Flynn also provided a couple key things he’s learned on his journey that can also help others.

 


It’s been nearly a decade since your last DIRTYBIRD release; what brought you back to the label?
Wow really? Actually i had a release in that time but we had to pull it down due to a sample. What brings me back to this label is always the fun positive vibe the put out. The music is always on point, and as a label and crew, they are on it, professionally, they account properly, do press properly, the whole nine. That speaks volumes for me.

How have you evolved artistically since that last release 9 years ago?
I think I’ve just become more well rounded to be honest. I’m always writing different things and i think that helps you as a producer. I think its important to be able to write all sorts, you learn so much from different genres, from film scores to ambient to techno; you’d be amazed how much crosses over.

Expand a bit on your relationship with Amp Fiddler; how’d you meet and begin working together on “The Future?” Did you guys send each other stuff back-and-forth when making the song, hop in the studio together, etc?
For this one I actually sampled Joseph and chopped it up, sent it to him and he loved it, pretty simple really.

Can you pinpoint an exact song or record that got you into dance music, or was it exposure to the club/party scene at a young age? When you were DJing as a teenager, could you tell that early on that you were meant to do this for a living?
I knew from about 11 or 12 when I first heard turntablism that this was what I wanted to do. I remember listening to Tim Westwood’s Radio 1 rap show and I was just so into the whole scratching and turntablism stuff. I think I heard someone like Mix Master Mike, or someone on there. After that i found Pete Tong and then the dance wave had full engulfed me.

As a teenager yeah for sure, I was obsessed. I saved for decks, practiced religiously on vinyl, everything. I was mixing cassettes to cassettes or mini disc.

You’ve advised in the past that you like to listen for the key in a song rather than using software to ID it. This is quite hard for the average Joe; are you trained in music theory? Seems like you might know your way around the piano? Tell us about your musical upbringing.
Someone taught me when I first got into DJ’ing that you need to know your records properly, so the key and the BPM. So I would sit there and count the beats in 60 seconds then times it by some figure, I forget now, and that gives you your BPM. I cant remember what the calculation is now, ha! And for the key, you just play the record, then sit at a piano or keyboard and play the scale up and down until you hear the note that sits with the record, that gives you the key. Then i would write those on the vinyl sleeve in big letters so i could see in clubs. Now its a bit different. Everything is done for you: BPM, key software, etc. so it saves time.

But to be honest, I think you should know your records that well that you just know what’s going to work next. Mixing in key isn’t everything — selection is king. It’s no good playing the next record in key if its the wrong vibe for the party.

Is there a ‘method to your madness’ when it comes to producing? Do you like starting in a certain place while writing tracks, for example?
I have loads of methods, but I rarely do the same thing twice. I have 3 artist names, and they each have very different approaches.

Any new and exciting toys you’ve been playing with in the studio?
Cable guys have been doing some good stuff, but I’m not really one for buying loads of things, I believe the less you have the more creative you are. You don’t need 6 synths, you can make a damn good track with a drum machine and 1 synth.

One of your off-kilter, but successful tips is to take your gear out of your studio and play it in different rooms/locations around the house. Is there a particular room in your house where you feel the most material ends up spilling out? What about some other bizarre locations you might have traveled to for this reason?
I wrote a track on a balcony once in Ibiza before I played — stunning view, chilled vibe, everything was great, but the track sounded terrible. I’ve done great things on trains and planes, my couch is often great for sketching ideas out. I go to our sun lounge at the back of our house when I bring hardware home. My fiancee hates it as I end up with cables and stuff everywhere for ages, but you would be amazed how much you learn from this.

You’re pretty outspoken about mental health in the music industry; how do you find balance and sanity amid a busy tour schedule, and what’s the most vital thing you’ve learned in terms of dealing with fatigue/anxiety/depression?
Balance comes with age. I used to go hard, now not at all. I took a break from playing myself because of anxiety, so I’m actually looking for a new agent and manager right now. But, simply, its all just in the mind, its nonsense. I’m no expert but for me, gym, eating healthy. Its pretty simple really. The one thing I struggle with is rest. I don’t stop much at all, so I’m learning to try and have a day off here and there.

On that note, what are your tips for overcoming social media addiction?
Delete the apps. Seriously. Delete them and get into real life! I did this a while ago. I just deleted all social media apps and found my productivity went up so much. It’s so easy to look at people on Instagram and think, “oh wow look how amazing their life is” – its a fake world you’re looking at and comparing yourself too, which dents your confidence. Who cares how many likes you got? Look at Helena Hauff — no social media at all, yet one of the biggest artists in our scene, and rightly so. She’s awesome.

I also think that showing everyone every little detail of your life is bad for an artist. Think about it, if you know what your favorite artist had for breakfast, then saw where they go to the gym, then saw them in their studio, etc etc…eventually the magic is lost. You no longer look at them or listen to their music like “oh wow i wonder what they’re doing now, or I wonder how he wrote this track?” The magic is gone because you’ve seen everything they do in their private life and studio life. We are over sharing.

Any big plans for the upcoming year that you’re able to share?
New EP’s on HotTrax, Soul Clap records, Sci+Tec, Ovum, Culprit, Circus. I’ve just released the first Last Train To Brooklyn record on Kompakt and I have another psuedonem for more fast, raw electro techno that will see EPs on Maceo Plex’s label and R&S and a top secret, invite only label run by one of the worlds finest DJs.

 

Pick up a copy of ‘The Future’ here

 

Photo credit: Supplied by Tom Flynn

Diplo reveals upcoming John Mayer collaboration

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Diplo reveals upcoming John Mayer collaborationDiplo Dame Dash

Diplo and John Mayer are reportedly working on new music together. At first thought it might seem like an oil and water combination, but the more one repeats it in their head, the more sense it actually starts to make. It’s one of the world’s foremost pop producers and EDM’s designated stepdad matched with one of the most prolific musicians of a generation, who both seem to have a genuine knack for not taking themselves too seriously while also dominating their respective crafts.

The “Close To Me” producer revealed the upcoming collaboration in quintessential Diplo fashion, remarking on the collaboration with a photo posted to Instagram… not a photo of him and Mayer — but it still gets the message across. There aren’t any concrete details yet on when John Mayer and the Mad Decent head honcho are set to debut their impending new music, or how much of it exists. Between his work with Major Lazer, Silk City, LSD and the former Jack Ü, perhaps a joint effort with Mayer could even turn out to be Diplo’s next super group. Who knows?

Listen to Justice’s live-inspired studio masterwork, ‘Woman Worldwide’

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Listen to Justice’s live-inspired studio masterwork, ‘Woman Worldwide’Justice Julian Bajsel Coachella C014875

Its hard to believe that it has been nearly two full years since Justice‘s seminal comeback record, Woman blasted through the EDM consciousness. Perhaps that’s because in that time Xavier De Rosnay and Gaspard Augé have maintained an exceptionally busy itinerary, touring their third album across the world, from massive arena shows to international festival circuit headlining slots. Now, aligning with the band’s decade-long strategy, the pair of French electro icons have returned with the “live”rendition of their latest album, offering a reimagined Woman Worldwide, out now via Because Music and their longtime home of Ed Banger Records. The new concept is an intriguing take on the live album format, coming together in the studio rather than a performance recording, melding together the greatest elements of Xavier and Gaspard’s live show.

The album comes after months of stage notes, piecing together a live show with a proper album feel. Justice’s Xavier De Rosnay described the album’s complexion to Dancing Astronaut, 

“After maybe 6 months of touring, we were really feeling the music we were playing on stage every night, and we just wanted to share it with the people who are interested in it. So we thought to record it and make another live album, but because we already made A Cross the Universe and Access All Arenas, we wanted to find a way to make this one different.”

Woman Worldwide is inspired by the live show designed around the duo’s latest LP, but the album proves to be much more than that. It’s a sonic retrospective that spans ten incredible years of Justice, from canonized classics like “D.A.N.C.E.” and a revamped “DVNO” crosscut to the pair’s nu-gospel opus “Safe and Sound” and disco-rock belter “Randy.” The new live/studio hybrid album pays homage to Justice’s legendary catalog, but for those who have seen a Justice live show, it proves to be ever faithful to their live performance. For those that haven’t, it serves as a clean cut studio album that paints an incredibly accurate picture of the real thing. Enjoy.

Steve Angello officially confirms, ‘Swedish House Mafia is in the studio again’

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Steve Angello officially confirms, ‘Swedish House Mafia is in the studio again’Swedish House Mafia Studo Credit Rukes

The Mafia can no longer move in secret, and it appears perhaps they’ve given up on trying. The cat’s out of the bag.

Swedish House Mafia‘s 2019 comeback is imminent, and now Steve Angello has confirmed the trio are in the studio together working on new music. Rumors of a reunion started the moment they took the stage at Ultra in March, and now with mysterious ads, possible big brand partnerships looming, and festivals already lining up to host a potential Swedish House Mafia performance, it looks like Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello are aiming to pick back up right where they left off. The only thing missing was confirmation of impending studio work and now Angello has put us at ease. The Size Records helmer recently told Swedish news publication Dagens Nyheter

“Yes, absolutely, Swedish House Mafia is back. Now during summer everyone is traveling a lot, but we’ve entered the studio. I can’t really say much more, but we’ve decided that: ‘Here we go.’”

During the trio’s comeback performance earlier this year, fans had already spotted unidentified originals placed throughout the set — perhaps a fully fleshed-out Swedish House Mafia release is also underway in 2019.

H/T: Dagens Nyheter 

Featured image: Rukes

What are Lady Gaga and Boys Noize up to?

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God bless Twitter. It’s a lawless breeding ground for the Internet’s worst moments, but among many other uses, it has become a powerful vehicle for speedy, viral marketing grabs and not-so-subtle distribution channel for our favorite artists. Whatever Lady Gaga and Boys Noize are up to with the recent exchange of some very juicy tweets — we’re already salivating for more. In just three tantalizing sentences between them, the day’s reigning techno don and pop megastar respectively may have confirmed the collaboration we’re likely not yet worthy of.

“And it spit out beautiful weirdness afterwards.” 

Yes, of course it did, but what could this mean? Perhaps BNR‘s head honcho is writing a new track on Gaga’s next project? Is the Perfect Illusionvocalist lending her iconic vocals to a dark, industrial masterpiece? They each sound like a long shot, but the writing is on the Twitter wall for us to relentlessly pick apart. Who knows what came from Lady Gaga’s rather careless episode in Boys Noize’s studio? Whatever they’re up to, Lady Gaga and Boys Noize sound like a strange match made in electro heaven, and we’re already hooked.

It looks like a Zhu and Tame Impala collaboration may be in the works

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As far as strange sonic pairings go, sometimes musical opposites really do attract — just ask Elton John and Eminem, Kanye West and Bon Iver, or Aerosmith and Run DMC, among many others. Now, possibly the next artistic convergence to to join the odd collaborations ranks could be Zhu and Tame Impala, as they’re rumored to have linked up for an upcoming project. This set of rumors reignited speculation that first began circulating on the internet in late 2017.

Zhu took to Twitter to fan the flames, leaving a perfectly nondescript message that will either leave fans scratching their heads, or salivating for a first listen. If this materializes, will Zhu’s enigmatic electro-noir style complement Tame Impala‘s buzzing psychedelic rock fare? Only time will tell, though all signs point to a hit waiting to happen. Fingers crossed.

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The Chainsmokers Show Off Their New Studio

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It may very well be every music producers dream to one day build their own home studio. By now, you’re probably very familiar with deadmau5’s incredible home studio. You might have even seen Danny Tengalia’s studio or Hans Zimmer’s breaktaking one-of-a-kind studio. After the year that The Chainsmokers have had, it’s only right that they’d

The post The Chainsmokers Show Off Their New Studio appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Watch Deadmau5 Getting Frustrated In His Private Music Studio

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Music production isn’t easy, even if you’re one of the best music producers in the game. During one of Deadmau5’s latest live streams, Deadmau5 shows he is indeed human after all. As seen in the video below, Deadmau5 gets frustrated after struggling to come up with his latest writing. Watch as Deadmau5 proves that he

The post Watch Deadmau5 Getting Frustrated In His Private Music Studio appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Skrillex and G4SHI are cooking up a new collaboration and it may be dropping sooner than you think

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Cutting his teeth in the world of post-hardcore screamo and then UK-born bass music, and now celebrated as one of pop’s most in-demand producers, Skrillex makes an unlikely candidate for rap music’s favorite beat maker of the moment, yet still he’s managed to firmly plant his flag in the hip-hop game, aligning with some of the genre’s brightest up-and-comers and most formidable veterans. He has joints with Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper, A$AP Ferg, and Rick Ross, with rumors of collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, D.R.A.M., G-Eazy and more underway. Now, the latest rhymer to join Sonny’s growing hip-hop hit list is emerging rapper G4SHI, as the pair were spotted in the studio working on new material together.

G4SHI already has some crossover in the dance space, previously delivering versework on DJ Snake‘s “Oh Me Oh My” alongside Travis Scott and Migos on 2016’s EncoreNow the burgeoning Albanian rapper seems to be cooking something up with Skrillex, and by the clip teased on Snapchat, it sounds like melodic R&B with a heavily saturated auto-tuned hook in the works.

With recent reports of potentially fresh Dog Blood material and recent upload tests from Skrillex on Discord and the new studio footage, perhaps a Skrillex release is not as far off as we think.

H/T: EDMSauce
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