Down the Production Hole with Robert Babicz

Words by: Lisa Loco
Posted: 14/2/11 10:49

Down the Production Hole with Robert BabiczDoes tripped-out acid lover and underground techno overlord Robert Babicz dream of electronic Holodecks? Yes he does, so prepare to be beamed up as he takes us deep deep down into the heart of his studio and his sound. En route we get a 360-degree view of his set-up through another type of simulated reality. And it's here, in a very special bolt-hole that's a real picture in purple, that his creative magic reigns as he conjures up music through ‘mind looping technology' - keeping it real with a vintage Studer A80 tape machine!

Germany's Rob runs his own label, Babiczstyle, and has released music across a plethora of others such as Treibstoff, BPitch and Systematic, where he released his acclaimed Immortal Changes album. Next for this month is Robert Babicz Volume 001, an intimate album of old and new gems out on Babiczstyle, an imprint he describes as ‘a platform with the highest possible audio quality'.

Anyway, get an uber-real flavour of Rob now as he does it Babiczstyle 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 this is not so easy to answer; I can only say this from my own perspective. For me a good recording is something where you can sit down, close your eyes, and take a walk inside the track with your mind. A good mixdown will let you go into a track, will play with your subconscious, and will help your brain to imagine things. A good track will not hurt your ears even when you hear it on a 20,000-watt system.

What's your current music production set-up like?
The best way to show this is to take a look at this new interactive 360-degree picture of my little studio... Studio 360-degree View »

I have a lot of outboard stuff, ‘cause I think the software synths these days are very good, but they still lack a bit of warmth, so I can give this to them through my EQ/Compressor collection.

Stuff I love using here includes: Chandler Curve Bender, Chandler Ldt2, Daking FET2, HCL Varis, Sontec, and my API Lunchbox - to name just a few. Then I record every track on my Studer A80 tape machine, which for me is the ultimate FAT machine. Real tape does so many magic things at once. And, believe me, I've tried every fucking tape emulation on the market. Really nothing, and I mean nothing, comes close to this tape theme like real tape. All of the plug-ins are nice EFX, and sometimes do not sound bad, but they are NOT tape. Ha-ha, just to make things clear!

Another important part for every Babicz production is the reverb sound, and here I have two weapons of choice: my Eventide Orville and the AKG BX20E. My monitoring is KRK Exposé E8B, I really love them, they are just fucking honest speakers - and that is what you need. You want to hear every little mistake slapping you in the face.

The basis of my studio is Logic Pro, as I mostly do all tracks there. (I'm loving the built-in synths sooo much.) I still use my analogue synths sometimes, like the SH-101 (used for the big lead ‘boooow' sound in ‘Remote Kiss') or my Korg MS-20 (I love its dirt).

 Within that set-up what is/are your most essential tool/s of the trade?
It's the room itself and the speakers, then my D/A converter and the computer. Later on all these little tools in there... But maybe you can spot my Studer A80 tape machine? This is really essential.

Can you reveal a secret about your production technique/s?
A secret is to use all these EQs and Compressors just a little bit and combine different technology to get a much bigger sound. Use the parallel technique, which means sending sounds on AUX to the compressor and mixing them back to the sound.

You know, there is a thing that people maybe don't know: my mixdowns sound almost ready before mastering, so in the mastering stage I need to do very, very little for my own tracks. It's so important that you take your time in mixdown, and work on the details, ‘cause they will make a track sound interesting even after you've heard it thousands of times. Sometimes it's good to go out of the room while the track is running and hear your track from the toilet, and think about what is missing. Just to get a new view on the music. I like to use a very cheap radio, so I can control what is missing if you only have simple speakers. Use the mono button, if you have one, to control how your mix is sounding in mono. You will not believe it, but the there are so many clubs out there using their BIG sound system just in mono! Horrible, but we need to deal with that...

Do you have a general top tip for budding producers?
Try to concentrate on what you have first. There is always something ‘better' you could own, but it's important to know your weapons that you already know. Go and fuck them, misuse them, try things out...

I can imagine how hard it is to get attention these days with this flood of productions coming out every day. But try and believe in yourself and be honest with yourself. Don't give up. For me music is almost a ritual, it's alive. It's way more than air just moved by a speaker. Like for me it's very important to give my tracks an emotional aspect every time. Telling a story with the music, not just having the ‘best' bass drum or being the loudest, because you know where the stupid slider is in the limiter plug-in.

SoundCloud is a good thing to promote your music and so is Facebook.

Finally, what's your take on the future of electronic music production?
I am still very curious about what will come next. Right now, the old school gear is there already as plug-ins, so hopefully the guys will use the knowledge to produce new things, not just remix old things. My dream is, and this is since I was a kid, I want a Holodeck like in Star Trek, were I can touch sounds with my hands and work on them, killing them, fucking them... doing whatever you could imagine.

Robert Babicz

Latest Release:
Dr. Motte & Robert Babicz - Nono EP - Praxxiz
Robert Babicz Volume 1 LP - Babiczstyle
Pink Trees EP - Bedrock
The Feeling LP - Babiczstyle
Remote Kiss EP - Babiczstyle
Immortal Changes EP - Systematic
Rob Acid - Remember EP - Treibstoff
Immortal Changes LP - Systematic
Astor EP- Systematic
Next Dates:
Feb 19 - Skandalo Bordeaux, FR
Feb 26 - Warehouse Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Mar 19 - Pasaje america Mexico City Mexico City, MX
Mar 26 - Berghain Berlin, Berlin, DE
Avr 21 - Palace Melbourne, Victoria, AU
Avr 22 - Boat Cruise! Brisbane,Queensland, AU
Avr 23 - Chinese Laundry Sydney, AU

Robert Babicz Online
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