Down the Production Hole with Rui Da Silva

Words by: Lisa Loco
Posted: 8/3/11 10:55

Down the Production Hole with Rui Da SilvaIbiza-loving Portuguese producer/DJ and Underground Sound of Lisbon destiny driver Rui Da Silva is currently shaking the tree with a funky new disco project - and it has come out to play on his label, Kismet.

Rui's new nom de plume Junkie Wife (which thankfully has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen's 'sobriety lodge' project!) has delivered unto us a new tune called 'Gotta Move On'. This single, his first in quite some time, borrows heavily from 'Funkytown' (by Lipps Inc) and sounds as vintage as his formidable synth collection here on the island but with a typically eccentric Da Silva twist, ice and a slice of summer fun.

A good time then to take a trip Down the Production Hole with the man with a million aliases, a whole lorra history, and a mountain of toon-making talent, not to mention big bottom end - introducing Mr Rui Da Silva... 

First can you tell us something about your frames of reference/what you think makes for a high quality electronic sound recording?
For me, the thing that is most important in the creation of electronic music is the room where you work. It must be a room with the 'golden ratio' and that means it must have the right size, weight, width and length, and the appropriate mixture of reflective and absorbent surfaces. This alone will help the music that you create translate correctly to the outside world. Second is to get your monitors calibrated so they will be able to reproduce accurately the sounds you will be creating.

Also, it is vital that you pay attention to the signal path from the source to the end, be it an acoustic instrument, an electronic one or a virtual one. Inside this framework you can then 'fire' your creative instincts.

What's your current music production set-up like?
At present, for me, I like to use a hybrid of old machines and new ones, and also virtual instruments.

I've been collecting sequenced instruments for many years and I do love them so I'm always changing what ones I'm using depending on what I'm producing. At present my current setup involves the extended Roland family of 101, 202, 303, 808, 909, MKS-50 and MKS-80, an E-MU SP1200, a Yamaha RX5 and the extended Elektron family of machines, the Monomachine, the Machinedrum, and the SID. I was also fortunate enough to get the Roland Super Jupiter with its Programmer a couple of years ago and since I had it serviced last month it's finding its way onto more and more productions.

Rui Da Silva Recording StudioFor sound processing I like the Soundtoys suite of plug-ins and the classic Eventide H3000. For reverbs I love the Lexicon stuff. Inside the computer one tool of choice is Reaktor for all sorts of stuff; it is an infinite world of instruments and effects and some of the more off the wall ones are just bonkers. For the jamming sessions I record everything onto a 24-track HD recorder from the Mackie 32-channel desk direct outs and then load into Logic to do editing and more overdubs.

With the mixing I have the possibility to mix it 24-track analogue onto the desk, so the sound you get is just much bigger and comes loaded with all sorts of noise you only get from an analogue desk.

Within that set-up what is/are your most essential tool/s of the trade?
My most essential tool is Logic Pro. I've been a user of Logic Pro since version 1.8, and before that I used Notator. I've also just finished my graduation to do one-to-one training for Logic Pro and from October onwards I will be opening up my studio here in Ibiza to give private one-to-one training in advanced techniques to those who are looking to learn the tricks.

My second preferred tool is Reaktor. Ableton Live is also a great tool for quick vibes...

Can you reveal a secret about your production technique/s?
It really depends on the sort of track I'm doing. If it's dancefloor stuff then you've got to get the bottom end working. By using a spectrum analyser you can really see what is happening to the sound in the bass area - especially if your room is not treated acoustically or you are working with headphones. It really is vital to know what is happening there and with time you will learn how to read those meters properly, use your DAW tools, and carefully sculpt the bottom end of your track using a combination of level, EQ and compression; Transient Designers can also do some interesting stuff.

Once you get that bottom end working everything else just falls into place very easily and the track almost writes itself. Another thing to look out for is the size of the notes, as this is as important as where they fall in time, something that can be corrected with quantising the start and the end of them.

Another great trick to build your arsenal of knowledge is to learn with The Masters. In the days of rock musicians, they learned songs from their peers. You should do the same in electronic music, so go and choose the idols that you admire, listen to their music, and try to re-create their music in your studio; how close can you get to it? How about starting to change it and make it better? What would you do? Picasso did it with his paintings, Michael Jackson did it in his music, so did The Beatles and so does almost everyone else. As Eno once said, music is 90% copying and 10% innovation... Learning with The Masters that came before you will help you to learn valuable techniques. It will teach you respect for those who came before you and will make you grow as an artist.

Do you have a general top tip for budding producers?
Yes, treat your room acoustically and calibrate your monitors, study about the business side of your work and learn all the tools you have in the studio before you go and get new ones. Also learn to play an instrument; it always helps with your music to know how to play an instrument. And learn two things about making music: one is always finishing your songs as this will make you move forward to your next project; secondly, do not release a track just because it is finished and it's so easy these days to put it out. Instead choose wisely what you want to release. 

Finally, what's your take on the future of electronic music production?
Technology-wise, I think we will see a much more hands-on interaction with software; the i-Pad has changed the game upside down. Once we get total integration in apps like Logic (hopefully with Logic 10)... where the piano editors and plug-ins actually show up on the i-pad instead of the main monitor then we will be creating music with our hands and not with a mouse.

Rui Da Silva

Latest Release

Junkie Wife - Gotta Move On EP - Kismet
Junkie Wife - The Road of Life Edit - Kismet
Rui Da Silva, Craig Richards - Be There EP - Motivbank
Rui Da Silva - Escaping My Mind EP - Kismet
Rui Da Silva - Spreading Isolation / The Regressors EP - Kismet
Rui Da Silva - The Whole Room Dematerialized EP - Kismet

5 Key Rui Da Silva tunes
1 Rui Da Silva - Touch Me
2 Underground Sound Of Lisbon - So Get Up
3 Rui Da Silva - Pacman
4 Rui Da Silva - Fire/Earth
5 Coco Da Silva - Saudade

Rui Da Silva Online
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