In our new video series The Breakdown, we shoot artists and producers in the studio showing us the gear and techniques behind some of their best tracks.
For this edition, we packed up the video cameras and took a trip to Richard Fearless' Thames-side studio in a shipping container, where he showed us how he made some key elements of a track from his latest record, Future Rave Memory, and dropped some essential tips for producing ambient techno.
Richard also opened up about a favourite track that he wishes he'd produced, Movies for the Blind by XVII. "It's everything that I love - it sounds like it's been buried underground and dug up. The tapes are all stretched, it's one of those songs that sounds like it's fallen apart", Richard said of the track.
"With what I'm trying to do in music, I'm searching for a broken beauty, that's what I'm striving for. This song ticks those boxes. It's a really powerful song - it just builds and builds and builds. I did this song years ago, Dirge, and with that, the idea was that every four bars something would come in, and it would get more intense, and reach a peak. This song's definitely got that element, it just builds up and up."
Richard Fearless on his SAM-16 sequencer
Richard also picked out his favourite piece of kit in the studio, the SND SAM-16 step sequencer. “As a non-musician, someone who’s not really trained on any instruments, I do find sequencers are the easiest way to work. It’s a really fun way of working too. It can be frustrating and you can spend hours not getting anything, but sometimes things come quickly."
“This sequencer is made by Sebastian Niessen at SND. It’s a great piece to use. Normally I’ll start with one note and then use the ACME-4 so I can mess around with the timing. Pretty much every song starts with that sequencer. It’s the main brain in the studio.
“Unfortunately the manual is incredibly complex. I have an English translation from the German version. You can do a lot of creative things with it, but I think I use it in a fairly standard way and haven’t really scratched the surface.”