To round off 2015, Future Music caught up with a selection of our favourite producers and DJs. See more in issue 300 of Future Music, which is on sale now...
The past few years have seen Hot Creations affiliate Richy Ahmed steadily carve out a space at the very heart of the UK's burgeoning House scene, topped off by the release of this year's x0x-driven Can't You See.
Your tracks tend to sound as if they were created in quite an 'old school' way - with hardware drum machines, sequencers and analogues synths - is that representative of how you work in the studio?
"Yes, for sure. Most of the tunes I make in the studio use hardware. Having the actual machine is in front of us is easier and feels a lot more organic and natural when creating music. In my opinion using the actual hardware - be it a synth, sequencer or drum machine - gives you a better sound that instantly feels warm and fast without having to tweak it in any program."
Tell us about your current studio
"My current studio I share with a friend of mine in north London. We have both contributed to the hardware in the studio and both share each- other's machines, samplers and the like. We have a lot of the basses covered when it comes to hardware: we've got loads of synths, 808s, 909s - in fact tons of synths! We have sequencers, and all the Roland drum machines. They are all linked using this amazing piece of kit my mate brought back from Australia.
"This piece of kit links them all up and keeps them timed - almost creating one big instrument, making it a lot easier to create as well as freeing you to just jam and play. There is no more running around plugging this into that, so our studio is super user friendly."
What one piece of gear in your studio could you currently not do without, and why?
"Moog voyager and Arturia Beatstep Pro - these are my two favourite bits of kit. These two connected at the minute seem to make magic for me and it's great! I love it."
What sort of set-up do you currently use to DJ, and how much do you stay in touch with/adapt to advances in DJing technology?
"At the moment I use memory sticks and a Pioneer recordbox system, and vinyl when I play the right place. It works for me and it makes traveling a lot lighter to be honest. As for mixers I use a Pioneer 2000 or an Allen and Heath DB4 as they are the best for the effects, but I think the sound quality of the 2000 has a far more superior quality compared to the 900 or the DB4."
What are you currently working on?
"I'm busy working on lots of new original material: a new Hot Creations EP, plus I've just finished the a-side for an EP for my new label 4ThirtyTwo. My remix of New Order is upcoming plus a few other things in the pipeline."
Richy Ahmed's essential production advice...
"For me the most important part of producing a track is the kick. Getting the kick right is essential in making it sound good. Once you have the kick sounding right, and the drums sounding good along with the bass - then it just all falls into place.
"This may be done by giving the kick more weight or laying it with different kicks to get the right sound and the right texture to match the bass. You can even try giving the mids a bit more EQ - allowing it a bit more room so it doesn't clash with the kick. All this sometimes makes things slot into place. By getting the kick to sit nicely with the rest of the track is the most important bit for me for sure!"