For the fifth edition of Studio Talk, we introduce Paul Moore “Purveyor of the deep sound, educator and sound designer" He is one of those guys who knows the roots and culture of electronic dance music with over 27 years behind him, He can see beyond the hype within the scene and knows exactly what the music is. With his acclaimed deep house productions Paul is a respected member of the global underground community. Furthermore, he is the founder of abitdeeper, the sample label primed for underground producers. We caught up recently to chat about music production, take a tour of his studio and discuss his top tips & tricks and go to bits of kit.
1. Talk to me around your studio set up, what are your go to pieces of Software & Hardware and why?
My studio setup constantly changes one day to the next. One week I might have 3 drum machines and 5 synths plugged into a mixer going direct to tape then the next week I will just have a MacBook on a desk with barebones Ableton Live.
The go to gear used to be the Akai MPC2000XL and a Roland Alpha Juno but these days I am using Elektron instruments more.
Over the years I have acquired more gear than I can comfortably use all together in the studio so the majority of the vintage gear only comes out for sampling.
I do love the Roland Boutique stuff too as it lets me have all my favourite drum machines and synths on a single table at once all working together with just a single USB cable for each unit.
Software wise I love Ableton Live for its non-linear approach and the flexibility when it comes to delay compensation which is essential for keeping things tight when working with different bits of hardware.
My favourite plugins at the moment are Diffuse & Modnetic from Surreal Machines, they are definitely worth checking out if you are looking for interesting reverb and delay effects.
Check out Surreal Machines - Diffuse & Modnetic --->
2. You have been publishing & creating sample packs for a long time via your abitdeeper website. How did abitdeeper come about? and what advise would you give to a producer wanting to get into the sample pack game?
abitdeeper was born out of my frustration of spending a small fortune on sample libraries over the years and only ending up with a handful use useful sounds. One rainy afternoon I looked over at a stack of floppy disks next to my Akai S950 sampler and thought “My sounds are much better than the ones I just bought!”.
I also thought it would be a great opportunity to provide producers with limited budgets access to great sounds and maybe even raise the bar of the quality of music I was hearing around me.
My advice for anyone wanting to start out producing sample packs would be to make sure they have a solid “Why” before they start as it will take a sizeable amount of focus away from your own production schedule.
3. With DAW’s becoming more readily available as the years roll on and new producers starting to make music digitally at the beginning. What advice would you give to a producer wanting to break away from the box and delve into some hardware?
I would say be aware that not all Hardware has a “sound” in many cases a plugin will sound just as good so spend your money wisely on something that is not easily produced in the box. A good example of this is Elektron gear as their sequencer is unique and can introduce a very interesting workflow.
4. How did you first get in to music production? and what was your first purchase for the studio?
It was December 1991, I was 13 and knew I was getting an Amiga computer for Christmas so I bought a Magazine all about the new model I was hoping to get whilst I was in the newsagents. It came with two cover disks one with a Blues Brothers game and the other disk had this thing on it called OctaMED for making your own music. Christmas morning came and the the Blues Brothers game was terrible and I don’t think I have missed a day making music ever since!
5. When it comes to studio day, ready to start a new project. What would be your structure for making a track? and how do you manage your workflow?
These days I usually start by sketching something out on the Analog Rytm or the Octatrack then record separate stems into Ableton Live by unmuting each part one after another, then I just build layers upon layers with different ideas. Previously I was doing everything in one take which was great fun but didn’t often end up as a finished track.
6. You have had some tasty vinyl releases on the likes of Godzilla Kebab and 12Records with your trademark low slung deep house sound. The track that has always stood out for me is your ‘You can feel it’ track which was part of your ‘Alpha to Gemini’ EP on 12Records. It is those deep atmospheric pads and cosmic synths that define that track for me. Could you talk me through the process you followed to create that track?
All of the tracks on that EP were completely unintentional hardware jams. I did You Can Feel It on a restless morning after being out all night before. From what I remember I used the Akai MPC 2000XL for the sequencing and drums, Yamaha DX21 & Roland JV1080 for most of the sounds and a X0XBOX for the acid line. Like most of my tracks around this time the whole thing is just 4 bars with bits being muted and unmuted on the mixing desk in real time direct to tape.
7. Percussion is a topic that always comes up with my students. What tips and tricks have you got for producers wanting to get creative with their percussion and make it sound full and punchy in the club?
Layering is key, a good technique is to make multiple rhythms on different days then extract the individual parts then mix them into a full complex part.
Careful selection and sequencing of sounds is the best way to get real punch but failing that the new Drum Buss audio effect in Ableton Live 10 gives life to just about anything you throw at it.
8. For someone new music production with £1000 to spend, what advice and recommendations would you have for them?
Don’t scrimp on the basics. I would recommend Ableton Live 10 suite as it provides all the instruments and effects you will ever need, a decent pair of studio monitors and of course some abitdeeper sample packs! Sure there are cracked versions of software out there but making an investment of £500 will commit you to learning it properly to get the most out of it.
Haze Present Patrick Topping 28-04-18, The Point, Sunderland