Harvey Carter, better known as Tutara Peak, produces enchanting electronica for labels such as Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder Records. After taking us through how he created one of his latest tracks, he's given us five bonus tips for giving your productions a creative boost.
1. Making unpredictable sounds
“One thing I’ve been having a lot of fun with is using sounds where you’re not sure what they’re going to sound like. For example, taking a melody, reversing it, delaying it, and then automating the left and right delay times separately. Then bounce it to audio, reverse it, and see what crazy stuff you get. You can never tell what it’s going to sound like until you’ve done it!”
2. Ambient textures with pitchshifting
“I’m a big fan of PaulStretch, the timestretching algorithm which you can now get in plugin form. I’ll play a chord progression, put some reverb on it, and bounce it to audio, then take just the tails of the reverb and put them into PaulStretch. There you can use the Ratio pitchshifting to make some really nice ambient textures out of it.”
3. Tame drums with dynamic saturation
“If I’ve made drums that sound too punchy, I’ll use a technique that I call ‘dynamic saturation’, where just the attacks of the drums are saturated. This works particularly well with tape saturation, which nicely rolls off the high-end of transients. That’s something I’ve done quite a lot on this EP.”
4. Creating a song-starter
“If I’m stuck in a rut with starting an idea, I’ll just play whatever I want for half an hour.
"If I’ve got an ambient pad but it’s not doing anything for me, I’ll record some guitar over it, then maybe add some drums. I’ll export that as a sound, then resample it into a new project and do something with that. Then if I do something like pitching it up, I can often find new rhythms in that sound, and get three or four new ideas just off that one song idea.”
5. Restarting from scratch
“If I’ve got a project I’m working on that I’m not really sure about what to do with, but I can see there’s potential there, I’ll take three or four of the sounds in the project that I really like, put them in a new project, and start again. When you’re faced with a relatively blank slate, you actually have a much clearer frame of mind to work with. That’s something you can do when you feel like you’ve tried everything.”