Down the Production Hole with Timo Garcia

Words by: Lisa Loco
Posted: 30/6/10 12:40

Timo GarciaDJ, producer, engineer and Berwick Street Records' boss, Timo Garcia joins us for a trip Down the Production Hole to talk about how substance, character, content and clarity in music can help set you apart from the crowd. Timo has signed material to such labels as Cr2, Nervous and Afro Acid Plastik, and remixed artists like Coldcut, Justice, DJ Pierre and Danny Howells. His debut album, Wonderlust Bug, rolled out in 2009 and showed his versatile output had reached a new level of maturity, as he worked with real musicians like hang drummer Manu Delago. In 2010 his album underwent a metamorphosis into a remix project (Wonderlust Bug - The Remixes), attracting a range of producers, including Eric Kupper, Lützenkirchen and Justin Harris.

Of course, standout songs from his debut prove that Timo can channel those big tunes - just see 'Lady Luck (City Lights)' featuring vocalist Amber Jolene, which Sharam included on his Miami 10 mix for DJmag, due soon with more remixes on Yoshitoshi. However, on a more underground tip is his new release on Veryverywrongindeed Recordings, 'Gonna Be'/'Mississippi Disco'. Anyway, from making music 'back in the day' to forging a future the digital way, here is what Timo had to say... 

First, can you tell us something about your frames of reference/what you think makes for a high quality electronic sound recording?
Content and clarity. For me the music has to have some kind of theme or strong idea behind it to make it work. There's way too much bland, unexciting music out there at the moment which is knocked up on a laptop in Live just using loops from sample packs and then stretched out into a six-minute track without much thought, care, love or attention to detail!

There has to be clarity in the mix where the bottom end is doing its job, pulsating and providing the groove, the mids play their own part with percussive effects and melody and the highs have to be crisp and clear to make a song sound perfect for me.

What's your current music production set-up like?
'Back in the day' we used to have a Novation Supanova II synth, a Yamaha CS6X synth, a Yamaha RM1x, Roland MC-303, a Behringer 48-track mixing desk and a whole rack of samplers and effects units, which we ran through Cakewalk on a PC! But then one day my production partner in crime Alvaro Garcia who I started out making music with (and yes it's his name I 'borrowed') moved back to Spain to start a family and took all the studio equipment he owned with him. So I made the switch and bought a Mac and a copy of Logic and got busy with all the soft synths it comes with. I still have my 303 but mainly use third party plug-in soft synths with Logic and use Ableton as a re-wire instrument to experiment with ideas using the sample bank I've built up over the years. 

What is/are your most essential tool/s of the trade within that set-up?
I love the Moog modular V, the Minimonsta, all the Rob Papen gear, Camel Space/Phat and the PSP VintageWarmer but now couldn't live without Guru to program my drums.

Can you reveal a secret about your production technique/s?
To keep my percussion close and tight I run all the different tracks (claps, snares, hats, percussion, atmos. etc) through a separate bus with extra compression, verb and processing on it.

Do you have a general top tip for budding producers?
Learn more about less... ie: find a few synths that you like the sound, look and feel of and learn to use them to their maximum potential, rather than having too many synths that you only know how to select the presets of. Experiment.

Finally, what's your take on the future of electronic music production?
The way things are going it won't be long 'til sample packs come with full ready-made songs that people can release as they are! Some sample packs already offer loops that sound amazing and full with kick, percussion, bass and a hook, so all inexperienced and dull producers need to do these days is stretch it out into a full looped track and send it to a small label or just upload it themselves and they can call themselves a 'producer'...

It's scary really how easy it's become now, which is why I hope musical trends lean towards music with more substance and character rather than monotonous loop based tracks which could have been rustled up in half an hour with a couple of samples and a laptop! Having said that, this accessibility will mean that a lot of people who wouldn't normally have got the opportunity to experiment with music are now able to do so and some might just turn out to be the next big thing. So it's open to a much wider audience now and where everyone used to want to become a DJ perhaps everyone will soon want to be a producer too (or has that happened already?)...

Timo Garcia
Coming Soon
Timo Garcia - Mud Skipper (+Pol_On remix) [Dieb Audio]
Timo Garcia - Blakkout (+Presslaboys remix)
Timo Garcia - You & the Shoehorn (+Cashmere remix)
Timo Garcia - Mutualism (+Andomat 3000 remix)
Timo Garcia - Fuse (+Michal Ho remix)
Timo Garcia & DJ Pierre - Phuture Flashback
Michal Ho - No Time (Timo Garcia remix)
Presslaboys - Freestyle (Timo Garcia remix)
James Harcourt - Proton (Timo Garcia remix)
Cashmere - Jalapeno (Timo Garcia remix)
Danny Howells - Too Far Gone (Timo Garcia remix)
Filth & Splendour - Technique (Timo Garcia remix) [Baroque Records]
Hoxton Whores - Give You (Timo Garcia's Balearica remix)
Sander Kleinenberg - My Lexicon (Timo Garcia's Balearica remix) [Little Mountain Records]
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Welcome To The Pleasure Dome (Timo Garcia & Leo Zero remix) [Southern Fried]

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