Producer Sessions Live: 11 questions for Sharooz
Over the past three years Sharooz has remixed some of the greatest artists in the world, including Moby, Robyn and Kings of Leon. He has also collaborated with Mylo and Julien-K on original productions and mixes.
In 2011 he established the La Bombe label, on which he continues to produce and remix both original tracks and the crème de la crème of up-and-coming artists.
Sharooz will be hosting a session at the London leg of Producer Sessions Live, which takes place at SAE Institute in London on 7-8 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. A second PSL event will take place at SSR Manchester on 28 September.
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 Sharooz 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?
"About 50% of what I use is analogue or classic vintage gear, the rest in the box. I have and use all the old Roland drum machines and synths - the TR-909, TB-303, TR-606, TR-707, Juno 106, SH-101 and Jupiter-6. There's also some less popular stuff which still gets used like the Nord Lead 3, Yamaha DX7, Akai MPC60 and a whole bunch of outboard going through the Focal Twin monitors.
"It all runs off a MacBook Pro running Cubase with a bunch of soft synths - NI Komplete and Sonic Charge stuff probably being at the forefront plugin-wise.
"It's always growing. I never stop collecting and will basically snap up anything if it sounds good and I have space for it. Recently I've been getting into the less popular drumboxes like the Roland TR-626 and Boss DR-55. Most of them are so crap they're good. I'm still holding out for a Roland Jupiter-8 or a Yamaha CS-80 though."
What's your favourite bit of kit and why?
"The SH-101 has consistently been my favourite synth. For me there's nothing warmer. It's so thick that it's really hard to EQ in the lower mid-range, but I've used it at least once on virtually everything I've done in the last four years. It's used on the bassline of my latest EP - 90907 - and on all the old stuff like Get Off. I wouldn't sell any of the Rolands because I still get a massive buzz every time I use them andthey're getting rarer and more expensive to buy."
What's your favourite plugin?
"Sonic Charge make really cool stuff. Synplant is amazing because it's just so different and the timbres so much warmer than anything else I've heard. And the presets are awesome. I used it on the bass and lead for FFlash and on so many other projects."
Which DAW do you use and why do you use it?
"Cubase - because I know it inside out and it's very good for audio editing. Using all the vintage synths as I do, sometimes I just play stuff in and quantise the audio, so I need something that really performs and has flexible editing.
"I have a close relationship with the Steinberg guys so additional features I've requested have sometimes ended up in updates!"
Which bit of kit would you love to have for your studio?
"A Roland Jupiter-8. It's one of the most desired of all the vintage synths and it's the Holy Grail for pads and leads. The Jupiter-6 is amazing but a very different beast. It's better for FX and arps but the Jupiter-8 is a solid all-rounder. Warm analogue is lacking from so many tracks nowadays, and when you hear the real thing there is no comparison."
What was your 'eureka moment' as a producer?
"I don't think there was one in particular. It's been a steady learning curve but one that constantly evolves. Actually finishing tracks is 99% of the battle and the arrangement phase was always the hardest to get right for me.
"So I would say learning to arrange a track over a sustainable period of time was when it really started to come together."
What producer or artist were you trying to sound like when you first started producing? Who is your production hero?
"Not anyone in particular. I was chasing styles more - trying to keep up with how electro had evolved and morphed into techno. Each week it would be a different record that inspired me.
"As producers go there are too many to choose just one. Quincy Jones would be an obvious favourite across all genres. In dance music, anyone who has evolved and stood the test of time has my respect."
Whose productions do you love right now?
"There are so many - right now it's probably Riton, Oliver, Lone, Amtrac, Maelstrom, Mumbai Science, Noob, Phonat, NAPT… plus anyone I release on La Bombe, naturally!"
What piece of advice would you give to producers still honing their craft?
"Pay attention to your listening environment and get the sound reproduction gear you can afford, be it in your soundcard, monitors or room treatment. Oh, and don't overdo the DIY 'mastering' - so much is overbaked and saturated at the top-end nowadays."
What track would you love to have the stems of for a remix?
"Probably any early Vince Clarke stuff. You can melt those raw synth runs into such a beast with just the right kick, snare and arrangement."
And what will you be showing our readers at Producer Sessions Live?
"I'll go through a commercially released track from scratch. I'll start with the choice of sounds, then go into how the audio was edited and processed, the programmed parts, the arrangement, and finally look at the mix buss and how it forms the overall sound. I might even bust out an impromptu jam on some of the old boxes!"