For the fourteenth edition of Studiotalk we introduce Kenja Records bossman Ronnie Spiteri. Signed to labels like Alan Fitzpatrick’s ‘We Are The Brave’, Hot Since 82’s ‘Knee Deep In Sound’, Adam Beyer’s ‘Truesoul’, Steve Lawler’s iVAV / VIVa, and Anja Schneiders ‘Mobilee’, Ronnie’s music is being spun week in week out by the scene’s most respected tastemakers. The Southampton born Dj and producer has just kicked off his second bi-weekly residency for Don Not Sleep Ibiza amongst his busy international touring schedule. Ronnie's inimitable blend of precision techno with a smattering of house, drawing on a passion for the old school warehouse parties which are a clear inspiration throughout his productions. We caught up recently to chat about the music production side of his artistry and take a tour of his studio. Ronnie has as kindly shared some of his top tips & tricks and go-to bits of kit.
1. Talk me around your studio set up; what are your go to pieces of Hardware & Software?
I’m a Reason man and use a lot on the plugins you get with the software. I’ll always add the ‘Scream’ Plugin on all my drums! This is a distortion plugin that beefs everything up!
Hardware wise, I have a Roland SH09 Synth which is what I use to make my hooks with, it is always a lot more fun using this and would recommend it to any other DJ.
2. For a producer with a 300 Euro budget looking for a new piece of hardware, what would you recommend them checking out?
The Roland Sh-09 if you’re lucky you can buy this on eBay for around that price.
3. Kenja Records is the label you started back in 2015 You have released a great amount of your own work on Kenja and signed some big tracks from artists like Manuel De La Mare, Mihai Popoviciu, & Markus Homm plus remix work from heavy weights like Nick Curly.
What do you look for when you are signing new music? and what tips would you give to producers wanting to make their work stand out at first listen when it hits your demo inbox?
I always like to find those tracks that stand out from the other whether it be bit deeper or maybe even going a little tougher. Of course, it always have to be something that I would play.
Never send anything out if you’re not 100% on it as sometimes that could be the one chance you get for someone to listen to it.
4. The hardware vs software debate has been a topic that has circled through social media for a while now. With you being a producer working from a hardware packed studio. What are your views on this topic?
To be honest with you, it’s all a personal preference and what you feel most confinable with using as long as your happy with the end result and into it I don't think this should matter.
5. You have been have had a packed out release schedule for the last 5 year, one of the highest out of all the artists I've had the pleasure of interviewing. What tips have you got for battling creative block and keeping the momentum going?
Yes, it’s been a very long/hard time keeping up with the demand but I love making music and still get really excited when the bigger labels accept an EP I have sent to them! I’m always 6-8 months ahead of what’s going on or coming out and like to keep it that way, as it keep you on the front foot with everything.
6. One track I love is ‘Riverside’ which is part of your Knee Deep In Sound EP released this summer, Them rich chord stabs really give it that Spiteri signature touch. Talk me through the process you followed to create that track? What tips and tricks have you got to achieve that sound?
Yes, I’m so excited about this release! Its coming out at the beginning of July. I was working on a follow up EP for some time for Daley so I wanted to make sure it had that Knee Deep sound but still with a Spiteri edge to it, of course it has to have that big kick drum and stab. I then decided it needed a sexy vocal with percussion to fit the label.
Ronnie Spiteri - Riverside (Original Mix) [Knee Deep In Sound]
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7. ‘Track arrangement' is a topic that comes up a lot with the students I teach, especially with Techno. They find it hard to break away from the loops and structure a track. What tips & tricks have you got for techno producers wanting help with arranging their tracks?
My tip would be to always think that little bit more about the breakdowns and don't give everything away in the first part of the track. Make sure you strip sounds in and out at all times and try to be a bit more creative with a stand out sound that your track represents.
8. When it comes to studio day, ready to start a new project, what would be your structure for making a track? How do you manage your workflow?
My structure for making a track is always starting with a kick drum in an 8 bar loop then I always start to build the low end with bass notes and sub bass’s.
Next I get into all the drums to get it all rolling with the bass and always add a percussion or a hat loop in the background to feel the frequency out.
Next up, I jump into making the main sound for the track whether it’s a vocal or a big hook (this is my favourite part about making a track) ☺
9. What advice would you give up & coming DJs and producers wanting to break into the industry?
Be prepared to work hard and be patient, you’ll take a lot of knock back’s in the right way and use it to better yourself in being a better artist/DJ. Never follow the crowd and be your own person.
10. What’s next on the release front for Ronnie Spiteri?
Next for me is my ‘Riverside’ EP on Knee Deep as I mentioned, this is out on the 5th July. After that I have an EP on Stereo Productions in August. Alan’s label We Are The Brave is one which I have become part of, and love the team. I’ll have another EP on it later this year, which is called ‘The Empty Eye’ This is actually my first full vocal track with an amazing singer called Liz Cas, so I am really excited, as it's a bit new and different. That's all I am going to give away for now! ☺
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