Nik The Mute x Touch Loops
We recently sat down with the incredibly talented Nick Chalntoupis. Chatting all things music (including his amazing Twisted Modular pack), we dug deep into his inspirations and explored his hybrid production techniques.
Hi Nick, How are you? Thanks for letting us in on your production world!
Hi guys! I am Nick Chalntoupis (TheMute), composer and sound designer for films, T.V, games and companies like Touch Loops, Native Instruments, Dreadbox, Foundry, Steinberg and Inertia Sound Systems, to name a few.
I also work as a mixing and mastering engineer for SoundCave Studios Athens.
My latest production project is called Stutter Monk. That is going to a more dark techno, modular and atmospheric pallet.
You're able to seamlessly integrate modular synths and gear into your productions. Have you also worked with hardware?
Yes! in the studio i like the hybrid approach - it's the best of of every world. I don’t have a big mixing desk, but i have very good AD/DA converters and a LOT of outboard gear and synths. I also have an extensive modular rig which came in handy when making my last Sentient Techno pack for you guys!
Do you play any instruments? If so, what was the first?
Indeed I do. I'm a classically trained pianist and studied advanced theory and composition. I'm also a self trained bass player and synth addict.
Are there any artists that really inspired you to create?
There are a lot but to name a few, it ranges from Iannis Xenakis to Aphex Twinn, The Stranglers to Bad Religion and from Debussy to Sakamoto.
What's your process like in the box and when integrating hardware (DAW of choice, processes, mixing live sounds with synths etc)?
I always have a sound design approach to everything as for me, mixing is also sound design.
DAW wise I work with Cubase and Ableton, but everything at the end point is mixed and mastered in Cubase.
If a project has a tight deadline I'll often stay ITB but when I'm aloud, I reach for the hardware!
Have you established any workflow hacks or tricks for ensuring a smooth workflow, thus not losing a special moment?
Yes! For me, the best thing in the studio is to have everything plugged in and ready to rock in one or two clicks. Software wise, I love to use templates.
Why would you chose a piece of hardware over a plugin emulation?
Every time is different. I may open Reaktor or Massive and some of the U-he plugins are excellent but on another day, I might go pure analogue. The only place that I always use hardware is on my 2buss or when mastering.
Gear wise I process using some nice compressorss like an SSL clone, a special stereo LA Audio for the 'mixbuss', my Ibis EQ and hitting the converters on my Studer A820.
Could you tell us about some of your favourite plugins/ what they do?
Plugins for mixing and mastering I usually search first for transparency. I'm using Fabfilter & the Cubase Frequency.
Sound design wise I lean on Glitch Machines, Freakshow Industries and NI.
For synths it's usually Reaktor, Massive, Padshop, Diva, Kontakt and Vital.
What are you listening to these days?
Bad Religion ,The Clash,Asian Dub Foundation, Hiro Kone ,Hildur Gudnadottir King Crimson,Lars Horntveth,Plaid
Do you use sample packs in your own music? If so, what role do they play?
For sure, I have two different approaches to that.
One is inspiration! I have made a big library over the years of samples, loops and presets so I go there for digging.
The other one is when I search for something specific for a project. I often go a little bit random and not in the right folder - Let's say i want a pad, ill go to the kick folder, find a random kick for the project and i'll make a pad out of it. It's all about being creative!
Feeling inspired? Why not read about our favourite techniques when using samples in Ableton live blog?
Keep up to date with Nik's movements HERE