In our video series The Breakdown, we shoot artists and producers in the studio showing us the gear and techniques behind some of their best tracks.
UK-based producer Turno – real name Franko Moliterno – has been steadily making a name for himself in the D&B world for the past decade. Marked out by his intricate yet impactful production, his career to date has seen him land releases on labels including Playaz and Charge.
In more recent times, he’s also launched his own learning platform – named Ethos – aimed at creating a community based around production tuition and the sharing of ideas.
His latest project is particularly fascinating. Following a chance online link-up, Turno partnered with viral freeclimber George King, aka The Shard Climber. The concept behind their collaboration was simple: to create a soundtrack to accompany George’s next big freeclimbing challenge, Barcelona’s 31-storey SkyMelia hotel.
The resulting single, Melia, is appropriately both inspirational and atmospheric, combining euphoric pads, driving beats and atmospheric textures – including recordings of George’s own breath. You can see the track and George’s climb come together in the official video for Melia.
We headed to Turno’s studio in Bedford, north of London, to find out how it all came together.
Tell us about the new single Melia…
“It’s a new project between me and someone you probably wouldn’t put me working with, George ‘Shard Climber’ King. He’s a freeclimber, and we linked after he used one of my tracks on a climb. We got talking and found out we had a lot in common and decided to do a piece of art that could be appreciated from all angles.
“We were originally going to do a livestream with him climbing, but we decided to make something bigger. We ended up making a track to represent the journey he goes through when he’s doing a climb. The preparation, the mental state, onto the actual climb and the danger of it. Then to the elation at the end. It’s completely unique and because we’ve got visuals to go along with it – drone footage etc – it all fits together. I’m hoping people can feel some kind of emotion about how you climb a building.”
Did he come along to the studio?
“Twice. First time we just got samples of him breathing, in a concrete jungle kind of environment. He was a big part of the creative process, I didn’t want it to just be featuring him. I wanted to get inside his mind a little bit, like a psychiatrist, and get his input as much as possible.”
How did you start making music?
“I was just in my mum’s bedroom with an iMac and a pair of Behringer Truth monitors. And then when I moved into my studio now – my dad owned the premises – I didn’t have a lot but I built from there. I think now you can do a lot in the box. I wanted to learn the craft properly.”
And you’re using Logic?
“Yeah, that’s what I learned at university. I’ve veered towards Ableton Live a couple of times and there are good features about it, but if it ain’t broke…”
What’s changed in your process over the years?
“The main thing has been using analysers. When I first started – and I was a DJ first – getting the volume to stand up against industry standard mixdowns was always boggling to me. Emulating other peoples’ tunes and seeing where they were hitting made me understand things much quicker. I know where my kicks have to hit and my snares have to hit.
“Also, workflow wise, preparation has made a big difference. Having a template and sample folder with your sounds that you know work. Any way that you can just make the creative process quicker, ready to go, especially if you collab with people. It’s about treating it more like an actual job, although I hate to say that [laughs].”
What led you to DnB?
“A friend from London got me into it when I was still in my walkman days. And I got some decks and decided, yeah I want to do this man! I got into music tech at school and it was a natural progression. It’s very technical against some other genres, particularly when it comes to sculpting sounds. For example, finding a snare sound that’s adequate to use – these days you just Google it and get loads. But coming through the era before that, I think I have a lot of technical skills that I’m proud of.”
Do you think your DJing feeds into your production?
“That’s the beauty of it. You get to test stuff at the weekend. You get to clock certain sounds that seem to work, trends like fake drops. Because it’s predominantly club music, you get so much from it. It has a massive impact on what I make. ‘Is this going to go off in a club? Get a reload?’. It’s on my mind when I make club music.”
Tell us more about your Ethos learning platform…
“I set it up in lockdown. I have been doing one-to-one tuition for seven or eight years, people coming to my studio. I know how to relate music to people. So I thought, why not set up an actual platform? Because of lockdown, a lot of DJs were out of work, and I wanted to do something positive. It was mainly for myself.
“We’ve got a Patreon but more with a community feel, with Discord and all that. We set missions for the members, eg, complete a track with just these elements in. It’s built to the point where we have other artists involved. It is mostly DnB but we have plans of expanding.”
Turno on why he loves resampling in Reaktor
Turno uses Native Instruments' sample-tracking synth Form inside their modular software studio Reaktor to manipulate samples he's produced using soft synths like Serum.
"I love resampling, I've been doing it for years. I love the fact that you can take one sound and then manipulate it further in another plug-in and continue that journey. For me, it keeps things interesting and exciting."
Turno's latest single Melia is out now.
Find out more about Turno's music production tuition platform, Ethos, on their website.