The Making Of Blue Tones - Interview
Tell us a little about yourself! Projects, styles etc. -
Aside from creating sample packs(Jazz Hip-Hop Samples preferably) , I also produce artist driven music for tv, film and radio. I’ve had sync placements ranging from Love Island to Nika nominated independent film, Messa. Guitar is my main instrument but over the last 5 years or so I’ve grown fond of Synthesizers, be it hardware or software! The main body of my work is creating content for music tech brands. This involves writing music for product campaigns, reviewing new tech, tutorials and demonstrations of plugins/software and written editorial on some notable pro-audio media outlets (Production Expert, Reverb, Sound on Sound etc.)”
You play a number of instruments on your records and in your packs to a high level, what was your first instrument? Was there any particular artists that you aspired to sound like?
Guitar was my first instrument of choice, I’ve been playing it for 15 years now. Starting out my influences were mainly rock driven, as most kids are at that age! I’d say my biggest guitar influences are what I like to call “part players”.
For me playing lines that serve the need of the song is way more important than songs based purely around guitar. I think Nile Rodgers is a great example of this.
What’s your process like both ‘in the box’ and when integrating hardware (DAW of choice, processes, mixing live sounds with synths etc)?
I use PreSonus Studio One as my DAW of choice. Side note, I also create all of PreSonus’ Studio One Content - but for me it’s the ultimate DAW. I was a pro tools guy for a long time, and also dabbled with Ableton and Logic. I found Studio One has the best cross platform integration for producers, composers, mix/mastering engineers and even performers. I try and use as many live instruments as possible.
If I can’t play something I’ll try and sample It into Kontakt, from here I’ll proceed to program MIDI parts around the sample. I don’t use a great deal of outboard gear for mixing, just due to the slow workflow and recall is a pain. I do track with outboard though, I always find committing to a sound is much better and reduces the steps later on in the process. I usually track through a pre, and quite often apply some compression when tracking.
Learn more about Brent and the rest of our great team who create industry leading guitar loop packs!
Have you established any workflow hacks or tricks for ensuring a smooth workflow thus not losing a special moment?
The biggest workflow hack for me is using my Apple Watch’s voice memos feature. I use it everyday! I find that if I have an idea, taking a quick recording and coming back to it is much more efficient than loading up my template. On a similar note I also like to use templates. I have ones for mixing, mastering, composing and even a voice over template.
Why would you chose a piece of hardware over a plugin emulation?
They sound so close these days it’s hard to say. For me hardware is about printing and getting a sound you can’t go back on. It makes a big difference if you have a stem you can’t keep changing EQ or compression settings on, and that can really affect the vibe of the entire track.
Could you tell us about some of your favourite plugins/ what they do?
I review on average one plugin a week, so this could be tricky! Over the last 12 months my favourite plugins have been from companies that like to push the envelope. I don’t fear AI within music technology, I think we can use it to our advantage. I use Gullfoss from Sound Theory on every mix, along with Soothe from Oek Sound and also a lot of the iZotope plugins. Gullfoss and Soothe are both smart (or ‘intelligent’) adaptive EQ’s that make a lot of the decisions for you. I really like the Arturia FX collection too. I have all the UAD plugins but I honestly think the Arturia 1176 is better. It has a lot more features, and the GUI is resizable so I can see better.
What are you listening to these days?
I recently discovered a new artist via a Twitch stream, called ‘Robotaki’. For me his music encompasses all the genres and styles I love so perfectly. He’s a super talented produced and up-and-coming artist and has inspired me a lot when creating Touch Loops jazz hip-hop samples.
Do you use sample packs in your own music? What role do they play if so?
Yes I do. I usually look for things I’m not good at/can’t play. So drum’s and percussion is the first thing that comes to mind. Also vocal samples and phrases can be super handy.
Be sure to check out Brent's amazing work in our latest Jazz Hip-Hop collection titled Blue Tones - HERE