Down the Production Hole with Fabrizio Maurizi

Words by: Lisa Loco
Posted: 11/10/10 17:37

Italian DJ, pianist, techno lover and M_nus label affiliate Fabrizio Maurizi (aka Roger) holds much faith in the future of electronic music and believes when it comes to production talent and a good ear will always be indispensable.

His own music often tremors with stomach-rumbling bass, penetrating consciousness with dark incidentals and tripped-out vocals and similarly his latest release - Chronicles  (Minus97) - takes no prisoners. What's more, as that project circulates, other events on his horizon include a string of gigs across his home country and later on this month he hits ADE to play at the M_nus party, in the Netherlands.

Naturally open and generous when it comes to sharing his knowledge, Fabrizio's also got a tonne of fantastic tips for up-and-coming producers, as we found out when we joined him for a very informative trip Down the Production Hole...

First can you tell us something about your frames of reference/what you think makes for a high quality electronic sound recording?
I think there are several ways to make a good/high quality electronic sound. I'm a son of the digital era and I'm growing with it, and then I tried to work more with analogue devices. I'm convinced that if you stay in the middle, breathing the best of both sides (hardware and software) you can achieve a good level. I love to build my music in a DAW [digital audio workstation] but that's undoubtedly a limit: an outboard or a summing mixer could help you to make the difference and give a deeper impact to your productions

What's your current music production set-up like?
I started using Logic but at the moment I honestly write almost everything with Ableton - that is an amazing platform for any kind of creativity. Sometimes I rewrite it with Logic or, if I don't, I finish the rough version in Ableton and then I mix it with Logic to have a better quality and a bit more headroom. I'm addicted to Waves for FX, EQ and compression (even if I'm not a big fan of compression), and I pass everything through an SSL clone compressor made by a friend of mine, giving an analogue warmth.

Recently I tried to mix with Pro Tools and the result was really really good (as all my musician friends have told me for years), so I think for the future it will be my next step. I manage all with a Mac Pro and an RME 800 interface. Monitors are Genelec 8050 and Mackie 824 (yeah, I know, but they were my first monitors and it's definitely not nice to abandon them!).The Evotions Weekender: Minus  -  ADE 2010

For the future I'm thinking about moving to Adam monitors and UAD, which I was quite late discovering the potential of; at the moment they seem the only way to get the analogue touch mixing in the box.

Within that set-up what is/are your most essential tool/s of the trade?
I literally love all the Native Instruments products; I'm addicted to them, especially my Maschine and Reaktor - that is an incredible platform to create your personal sound. Spectrasonics and Rob Papen's stuff are always very useful as well.

I also use some lovely synths, like Nord Lead 2 (that is extremely versatile), Studio Electronics ATC-Xi, Vermona Perfourmer and Juno-106 for bass sounds, and Yamaha's DX7 and the Korg PolySix for whatever.

By the way, I always love to change and challenge with devices, so it's not rare to find me going to a friend of mine, telling him: 'Hey man, what about if you lend me your Elektron for a couple of weeks and I give you my Studio Electronics for the same period?' I think it's the best way to keep your sound fresh and to always get yourself excited, like a kid with a new game.

Can you reveal a secret about your production technique/s?
There is not much of a secret about it. I mean I've learnt that the secret of the best producers is their ear... that's it. I can tell you how I build a track (but it's not a secret at all!): I usually start by building a beat, drums and bass, and I develop the idea on it. Sometimes I've got something in my mind; sometimes it happens by manipulating the sound itself. I usually like to record voices or get crazy with some vocal samples with FX.

The real secret is in your creativity. I see people doing an amazing track with a couple of tools and people producing bad music with the best studio ever.

Do you have a general top tip for budding producers?
Buy good monitors, treat your room, and get used to them. Then, when you choose the basic sounds of your track (usually drums and bass) meld them in a way where each sound has its spot and frequencies are not in conflict with each other.

Fabrizio MauriziTry to avoid the loop mania that has invaded electronic music in the last two/three years. All tracks sound the same and it is def. not good.

If you're a real beginner and a loop could help you, try at least to personalise it with a fade, FX, cuts or even better try to de-construct it in order to build your own personal loop. Take your time to find 'your' sound.

Buy some hardware but step by step... don't get crazy with it in a week... it will take time... buy a drum machine and a synth this year, buy a summing mixer or an analogue EQ next year... Above all find your chain, no matter how crazy it is, if it sounds good, it's a good chain.

Get inspired from your idol, but don't copy and don't try to be another them. We need you and not a copy of them.

Finally, what's your take on the future of electronic music production?
The future will be for sure about some tools that will help producers to finish the full job with a computer, or will help producers make things earlier and easier (technology should do that!).

On the other hand the future will be the music itself. Large accessibility to music production at the moment is a good thing, because it allows everyone with a laptop to create a track.

But I think the quality of the music is not improved, well maybe the quality of the sound, but not the music. Good producers are always few, like in the past. So, talent will always be the key.

Fabrizio Maurizi
15. October @ Rex Club, Paris, France
16. October @ Fram Marleen, Viareggio, Italy
22. October @ Minus @ ADE, The Powerzone,
23. October @ Fluid Club, Bergamo, Italy
29. October @ Hangar, Florence, Italy
06. November @ Tag, Mestre, Italy
13. November @ Cocorico, Riccione, Italy
20. November @ Minimarket, Parma, Italy
27. November @ Amnesia, Milano, Italy
10. December @ Rave on Snow, Saalbach, Austria
18. December @ Club 178, Sanremo, Italy
28. December @ Beat Culture, Cosenza, Italy

Last Release
Fabrizio Maurizi | Chronicles EP on Minus


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson