With a UK chart hit under his belt and a slew of big name remixes, Otto Knows is yet another young Swedish DJ to enter the big-leagues. We chatted to him to discover some of the details behind the making of his track A Million Voices and what plug-ins he couldn't work without.
Were you a DJ or a producer first?
"I was actually a DJ first, but a bedroom DJ really. Then I got into production later. I sold my DJ gear and bought an iMac and Logic and went from there. I'm totally addicted to Logic, I can't even imagine putting down a kick and a clap in any other program."
You've just had a massive hit with A Million Voices, tell us about how it was created.
"Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso were sat in the studio next to me and they were finishing their track Calling and I could here how good it sounded. I thought to myself, I needed to do something and had all this inspiration. I started with the voice samples from a sample pack and the idea was finished within a day I think."
What are your go-to plug-ins that you can't live without?
Native Instruments Massive is always a favorite, because once you get in to that plug-in you can practically make any sound you want and build some very cool stuff. Plus, the Logic's own synths are great. Then I guess it's essentially the Waves plug-ins for mixing and production. I use the Logic plug-ins of course, especially forside-chainingand the Vengence Stereo Bundle. I'm not an analogue freak at all, it's all software.
Any particular unique processes used on A Million Voices?
"You can hear I used a kick drum that was really fat and left it pretty high in the mix. I always EQ my kicks and might make a custom kick by using the top end from one kick sample and the low from another. Sampling your favourite kicks from a record is always the best place to start before tweaking. I put a lot of time in finding the right sounds from the start and listening to other tracks that sound great to compare the mix. I think it just takes time to get the big sound in software, for me anyway. There's no secret really, just time and hard work."
At 23 you've become part of this second wave of Swedish dance music stars. It must be an exciting time…
"Yes, but I'm not here to be called 'the new this guy or that guy'. We all work hard and I get a lot of support from Seb Ingrosso, Avicii and Alesso. It helps with everyone supporting each other here in Stockholm and it's really inspirational when you see people like Avicii having this huge career from nowhere. It prove you really can make it without a big studio now. It's about how hard you work and the time you put in."
A Million Voices peaked at 14 in the UK chart, which is quite something for a track that is basically an instrumental.
"Yeah, I didn't expect that at all, but I it's a great time for making this kind of music. People seem to be really open minded right now and want more."
"I'm finishing my new single, Always. It's still got a few tweaks that are needed for the mix. It's another instrumental and I don't really feel any pressure to make vocal tracks right now. I still need to make tracks to play in my DJ sets."