UK-based Punjabi DJ & production trio RDB - aka brothers Kuly, Manj and Surj - have spent the past decade producing crossover tracks that mix Bollywood instrumentation with urban influences from hiphop and UK garage. In the process they have performed alongside the likes of Snoop Dogg, Elephant Man, Public Enemy and Ludacris.
Here they show us inside their studio to talk us through their gear and explain how they put their tracks together:
“Being Bollywood and mainstream producers we have to be very versatile with our production - the Bollywood industry now wants more of the western feel along with the traditional Indian instruments."
Next: Software and plug-ins
Software and plug-ins
“We do all our arrangement on Cubase 6 which is full of great tools, from pitch correction like Melodyne to a great set of plugins.
“Needless to say that Cubase does the job for us but we also use the SSL plugins which we love and a whole host of the Waves package.
“In the studio we have a set of Genelec 8260A monitors with DSP that give us a close to perfect sound."
Focusrite The Liquid Channel
“For outboard gear we have the Focusrite Liquid Channel preamp that has a great emulator and the bonus thing about that is that we can save all the setting for each individual instrument recorded and vocalist, this saves a heap of time.
“The preamp is complemented with a Neumann U87 Ai, which delivers an unmark-able recording. We also have a host of other mics for recording, such as Rhode NT2, SM58, SM57 and a bunch of drum kit mics too.”
“Making a track begins with a rhythm we lay down first, starting with a beat that we manually punch in using a MPD24 linked to Battery which gives us a lot of options for drums.
“Then once the beat is laid down we record some synths using Sylenth or Supernova , which have some great sounds.”
“Based on this basic beat and synths we start to add some Indian instruments, from flutes to tabla to dhol.”
“The tabla and dhol are placed carefully in line and behind the kick complementing each other. The flutes or other wind instruments are recorded live onto track using the chords to pick out the keys.”
Arrangement via Euphonix Artist MC Control V2 touch screen
“Once this basic structure of arrangement is made we then lay down a melody for the song, once the melody is in place we then bring in our secret weapon.... our father!
“Our father has written 90% of all our international hits, so with him sitting in the studio we give him the melody and a concept for the song and let him do his magic. Of course we guide our father with the lyrics and after several hours we come out with a hit.
“Once the song is written we lay down the vocals and add in all the harmonies, layering around 11 channels for vocals alone - panning left, right, centre and keeping a nice wide range in the vocal is essential for making a Bollywood track.
“Majority of the time it takes a few days to complete a track but occasionally we make a hit in a few hours if everything is falling into place.”