Hey FatRat how do you make your kicks? I can make nice claps but kicks are difficult for me. What samples do you use? How do you process/layer your kicks in general? How long does it take you to make them?
Usually I make one kick for a certain style and then use it for the next 6 months. This takes me a little time. Like 2 or 3 hours.
I have no certain plug or sample collection that I use. Just everything that I can get my hands on.
Hey, I was listening to your ratnest mix, and felt compelled to write a short poem as I did: "This uncomprehensible noise, it gnaws inside. Sounds reflected from the beats of my beating heart's voice, makes my blood rush like the crushing tides. With every moment filled with silence, my ears look for the lack of crazed acoustics. Tying the notes, bits, odds and ends, is this what I comprehend as music?"
What's your preferred method for adding stereo width to a track? Do you find it better to do spreading and stereo enhancement on individual busses (bass, synth etc) or on the master?
Sometimes I use a plug to ad stereo width on a certain sounds. But that’s pretty rare. I try to have sounds right away that have the right width but also sound good mono. IMHO it’s much more challenging to have a track that sounds good mono on laptop speakers than having an ultra wide stereo field.
I've been producing EDM for close to 3 years, and like you I was in Logic for the longest time. Now that I've switched to Ableton, I'm finding that it is a lot easier to produce a full track, but I only have a limited library of my "own" homemade samples. I've started working more and more on sound design, but my question to you is: do you spend time exclusively on designing an instrument? Do you have any tips that you've discovered that might help with creating sounds quickly and efficiently?
Ableton FTW! Yes I spend quite some time on designing sounds. Not only while I produce a track but also just sit down and do sound design. But I don’t have a way to do it efficiently. To put it in a poetic way: it’s more like a journey into sound for me. No need to rush it.
Mixing: The overall sound on your tracks is superb and you said you rarely bother much with mastering so I have to attribute the clarity of your sound to your mixing. How/where did you learn the basics of mixing? Do you use any specific monitors or even headphones that you think help you mix more accurately? (Hey man! it's Bryce from coyote kisses :D )
Yo Bryce! YOU are asking Me? I feel honoured but I’m not sure if I can tell you anything new…
Thanks for producing your awesome music, you've been one of my favorite producers for quite a while now (since Somebody That I Used To Know in fact).Just wanted to know if you have any plans to tour to Australia any time soon? That'd be awesome :)
Nothing specific yet, but I’m sure I’ll stop by soon.
Which one would you recommend between the Pioneer CDJ's or NI Traktor Kontrol S4? I'm considering to start dj'ing seriously, but still don't know which one will give me more elements and make my performance better. What mixers/software do you use for your live shows?
I use Ableton Live with an APC 40. But I would not say it’s perfect for everybody. My suggestions would be to get your hands on the stuff you are interested in and choose what you like the most.
The release of Splinter is a little more than one week ago now. There were a lot of great reactions and it immediately made it into the Dubstep Top 10 on Beatport. But at the same time a lot of people were confused. Some longtime followers were sending me emails asking “Why Splinter is so different from all your other stuff?” The reason rests in the story behind this track and I would like to tell it to you on this wonderful afternoon :-)
A long time ago…
Almost the entire track was done in the middle of 2011. Long before the “Float” remix, long before “Don’t Wake Me Up” and “Somebody That I Used To Know” and even before “Next Levels”, “Don’t Stop” and “Brightside”. I had just started a soundcloud page and was getting in touch with other producers. One of them hit me up and asked if I’d like to do a remix of his track. I agreed since I had nothing else to do and he was a nice guy. The remix was quite a challenge though. The only thing that stuck with me was a crazy, hard, and heavy guitar-build-up that was mainly made out of distorted noises. Although I was already hooked on making glitchy disco-electro-house, there was absolutely no chance of making a funky remix with those dark guitars. So I decided to make this heavy dubstep track which later became “Splinter”.
Some people pointed out recently that Splinter sounds a little like Noisias “Earthquake” remix. That’s true. Noisia was actually an inspiration for me at that time. But I never felt like “ripping” someone. I was a complete nobody with not even 100 plays on soundcloud overall, just making music that I liked. And it’s funny that nobody pointed out the other track that inspired me far more than Noisia: a track named “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites” from a guy named Skrillex that I had discovered a few months before. Guess that comes from the fact that so many other producers got inspired by him that nobody notices it anymore (people might just call it Brostep).
So I submitted the remix and the producer I made it for liked it a lot. He wanted to shop it to labels to release the whole package on Beatport. Unfortunately it took him a long time and his response time to my emails got longer and longer. In November 2011 he didn’t answer any of my emails for weeks and I finally decided that I didn’t want this guy to put out my track. And so “Splinter” was sleeping on my hard disk. 2012 came and a lot of great things happened. Two of my tracks hit #1 on hype machine in just two weeks, I made my first official remix for Martin Solveig and my remix for “Somebody That I Used To Know” became the most played remix of this song on Soundcloud.
In April I was spinning a few records on turntable.fm (For those who don’t know it: it’s like a virtual club where different DJs can play music for an audience). All the other DJs were playing pretty dark and heavy stuff and I felt like my music was a little too bright for that occasion. That was when I remembered this crazy remix I made about 9 months before. Since I didn’t want to give promotion to a guy who didn’t even felt the need to answer my mails, I named the track after a YouTube comment that I read about one of my tracks before: “Dirtier than Hagrids Asshole”. And the reactions were crazy. You can measure the feedback on tracks pretty well on turntable.fm, because you get statistics about “likes” and “hearts”. And every time I was playing there, “Hagrids Asshole” got better responses than everything else that anybody played (including all my other tracks).
Although the reactions were great I didn’t want to release it at first cause it’s so different from all my other stuff. But there were more and more requests coming in on all social media channels. And finally I thought I’d just give it away to those who want it. Of course I could not put out the remix, so in summer 2012 I exchanged the heavy guitar parts against some orchestra and sent the new version to my management. I think you can guess what happened next: they sent it to record labels and Spinnin Records picked it.
So this is the (long) story behind this track. Thanks for reading. As you can see, I didn’t “change the style”, and the big majority of tracks in the future will be funky-indie-glitchy-disco-electro-house. Just that feel-good-music that I preferably describe with “fuck the genres”. And if I’m ever gonna do a hard dubstep track again, I’ll try to get it out faster than in 18 months, I promise ;-)
What sort of effects do you use on your drum line to get it to sound the way yours do? It always sounds similar from song to song, and it sounds awesome! I am experimenting with Ableton and I don't know what almost any of the effects sounds like.
Too much to write it down here :-) really depends on the sound. But the most important thing imho is that the sample already sounds good without effects.
Do you ever use FM synthesis for your basses or are you strictly using additive synths? Also, do you use Live's native drums or do you have a sample pack you recommend?
My basses are mainly done in Gladiator2. It’s a mixture of wavetable and subtractive synth. I think I never even tried the drums that came with Live cause I was on Logic before and already had my go-to-drum-libraries.
Do you master your tracks yourself or do you let someone do it for you? If you do it yourself, which tools/plugins are you using? If you let someone do it for you, could you tell us who?
I master the stuff by myself. Usually I use “FabFilter Pro Q” and “FabFilter Pro”. Little EQ, little limiting. That’s it. Overall, I think mastering is overrated. The sound is 60% production, 30% mixing, 10% mastering.
Hi TheFatRat! I often find myself making too many volume automations? Do you automate volume or you find it smarter to compress more ?
Hum… hard to say what is too much. I often have 3 versions of the same sound in a project depending on what part it plays in. For example: Synth lead breakdown, Synth lead drop, Synth lead drop 2. Same sound but different volume and EQ.
So I really want to start producing electronic music. I love all of your music, and you are very inspiring. So it is only fitting that I would ask your advice. You already said that Ableton is a good starting place. Besides that and my computer, do I need any other hardware or software (recommended plugins maybe?) to make music? I do not mind investing some money. Thanks and keep making awesome music!!
For the start I don’t think you need much more. Maybe you wanna get some more plugins at some point like Sylenth, Nexus, FM8 or Gladiator2. I like producing just with a laptop and headphones btw :-)
Why did you start making music and what is your biggest drive?
I REALLY get bored easily. Music is one of the few things that never get boring to me. Probably because you just can’t really understand what it does and how it works. Guess that’s the main thing that keeps me going.
Could you upload a complete (new, old or aborted if you want) project for ableton for us ? It will help us to understand why we love aaallllllllllll of your tracks, and it will let us try to become fatmouses. Thank you for your support and for these wonderful tracks !!
Yes, I wanna do that at some point. Just don’t want to only upload a project but also explain a little bit what I’ve done.
Hello TheFatRat, what tools (samples/drumkits/loops) do you use for your drums? Are you doing any editing to make them fit your songs?
All sorts of stuff! Instruments like Stylus and Nexus, sample libraries like Zenhiser and Vengeance. Sometimes I also sample from other tracks when I like something. Then I layer the sounds, put effects on them. Whatever sounds good :-)