Me in my studio: Dead Fader
Dead Fader - the hiphop, dubstep and noise-informed project of producer John Cohen - has so far given birth to one full-length album, 2010's Corrupt My Examiner (as a duo with Barry Prendergrast), and three EPs, the latest being the finely crafted, yet highly intense new EP Work It, No.
Here Cohen - who currently resides in Berlin - invites us in to his home studio (and favourite café!) to show us the minimal setup behind his unique, experimental productions.
Work It, No is out now via Robot Elephant. Listen to a stream.
“Working out some ideas in Reason, with the Thor synth, on a tiny keyboard just to jot the ideas down. Reason is the primary software I use, great now that I can record into it, whereas before I used to have to make samples in Ableton live.”
Small monitors, big sound
“I have tiny speakers so I can work at really low levels. I find that making loud music is easier when working at low levels, as you tend to pump everything up.
"There’s not much bass on these though, so sometimes I reference on friends’ speakers, and also use my headphones as a reference.”
Controller, laptop, starmix...
“This is usual setup, with the [M-Audio] Trigger Finger I use for beats, and triggering samples and such, and some Haribo there.
"It’s a pretty minimal setup, but it’s proof that you don't need ultra expensive gear to make music, these days you just need a computer, some speakers, but ultimately just good ideas is the most important thing. Your brain is the most important tool, it's just about tapping into that.”
“My favourite café, the Pink Umbrella café (that’s not its actual name, I can't remember its actual name, it’s of no significance though.)
"Working on some ideas in Reason - working in a different environment can give some interesting results, not always good, but can focus you in a way that being in your comfort zone at home can't.”
“Working on [Native Instruments] Reaktor with Skrewell, this is a wicked little noise maker. Fun to play about with, get some ideas going. Reaktor has a little tape recorder on it so I can save the sounds and ideas I'm making.
“Very cool as you can see how the visual reacts to the sound, and visa versa, you can make visuals and see how that equates to sound. I'm not sure exactly how it works :)”
“Time to play some ideas to Mark, he looks interested in this shot. It’s always great to play your stuff to friends and peers, see what there reaction is, I feed off peoples reactions a lot, because most of the time when I'm making tunes, I never know what are the good ideas and the bad ideas. It’s very hard to tell when your wrapped up in the process of making music, especially alone.”