Producer Sessions Live: 11 questions for Nu:Tone

We quiz the drum 'n' bass hero on his studio and technique

Since signing to Hospital in 2003, Nu:Tone has risen through the ranks to become one of the most highly respected producers in the scene, with everyone from LTJ Bukem to Sub Focus busting his tunes.

Nu:Tone remixes include the retro soul of his Spread Love anthem, the junglist wobble of his Strictly Social re-rub and his reworkings of Adele's Rolling In The Deep and Emeli Sandé's Heaven.

The past year has seen Nu:Tone continue his remix work as well as team up with younger brother Logistics to produce under the Nu:Logic moniker.

Nu:Tone will be hosting sessions at both legs of Producer Sessions Live, which take place at SAE Institute in London on 7-8 September and SSR Manchester on 28 September. This hi-tech music event is brought to you by Future Music and Computer Music and offers tutorial sessions, gear demos and essential advice for up-and-coming producers.

Retail partner Absolute Music will be in both cities, offering some amazing gear deals to Producer Sessions Live attendees.

Ahead of the event we asked Nu:Tone to tell us about his gear, working methods, musical heroes and what he'll be focusing on during his Producer Sessions Live session.

Producer Sessions Live tickets are available to buy on the event website.

What's your studio like?

"I work out of a glorified shed in my garden. I mix everything in the box, but have a steadily expanding collection of hardware as well."

What's your favourite bit of kit and why?

"It's hard to pin it down to a single piece of equipment, but right now, it's probably my Roland RE-501 chorus echo. Anything that runs through it ends up sounding so much more real, whether I'm actually putting tape echo onto it, adding chorus, or spring reverb."

What's your favourite plugin?

"Gotta be Saturn by FabFilter. It's a really innovative way to approach distortion. It allows you to divide a signal up into different frequency bands and distort those independently of each other. Added to that, you have really flexible modulation possibilities, so you can have an LFO sweeping the crossover frequency and an envelope modulating the distortion amount. You can really get creative with it."

Which DAW do you use and why do you use it?

"I use Cubase and Reason ReWired together. I find Reason really immediate in terms of getting ideas down and starting things off, and I find Cubase really suits me for the more in-depth elements of production. I always run my vocals through Cubase as I like to have all my plugins to hand. That said, the introduction of Rack Extensions has really made Reason a force to be reckoned with."

Which bit of kit would you love to have for your studio?

"It would have to be vintage keyboards - I'd love a Fender Rhodes Suitcase, a Hammond B3, a Hohner D9 Clavinet and a Roland Jupiter-8."

What was your 'eureka moment' as a producer?

"It was a really gradual process for me. Technology has really changed a lot since I started producing, so there have been lots of small steps along the way. When I first started producing, sampling involved playing a record into a hardware sampler and then editing it basically by ear, with only a very basic visual representation on the screen. It's amazing to think how far things have come since then."

What producer or artist were you trying to sound like when you first started producing?

"I like to think that I was trying to sound like myself, but in all honesty, I idolised Dillinja back when I first started. Nobody could engineer like he could."

Whose productions do you love right now?

"The producers that really get my attention are often among the least technical. Calibre has always been a huge inspiration, and is the original champion of music over technique."

What piece of advice would you give to producers still honing their craft?

"Try not to produce with a master buss full of compression, EQ and limiters. Get your track sounding as great as you can manage without having to resort to squashing and pushing it. You can always put a mastering chain on it later - in fact I would recommend it - but don't produce with all that processing in place. It can hide a multitude of sins, and sometimes you can have a significant problem with a mix that is being compensated for by the mastering."

What track would you love to have the stems of for a remix?

"Brand Nu Funk by Adam F. It's an amazing piece of music that almost made me give up production. It was the closest thing I've ever heard that reflected exactly what I wanted to be making at that point in time. Thankfully I stuck with it though!"

And what will you be showing our readers at Producer Sessions Live?

"I'm going to break down one of the tracks from my most recent release on Hospital, the Nu:Logic album. I'll go from the writing process and arrangement, through to mixing and mastering."

NOTE: tickets for Nu:Tone's sessions are selling out fast, so order now to avoid missing out!

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