Down The Production Hole with Elio Riso

Words by: Lisa Loco
Posted: 7/9/11 10:07

Down The Production Hole with Elio Riso The unassuming DJ/producer with Argentinean and Italian heritage Elio Riso joins us as we trip back Down The Production Hole. This sunset star has played at Space Ibiza for over a decade and you can catch him this summer at ‘Be’, among other nights.

He is also known for spinning at Carl Cox’s parties, and Carl is one of many major players around the world who supports Elio’s productions – as he did recently with ‘Free Hugs’, a track Elio produced with Ramon Castells (on Monique Musique).

Over the years, Elio’s productions have touched labels such as Push Push, Bend, Vendetta and Stealth; he’s remixed the likes of Roger Sanchez and Sonique, and mixed albums for Cr2 and Space.

Standout tracks like ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ have made Essential Mix status, and he’s still as passionate about production in 2011 as he’s ever been.

So, read on to find out more about Elio’s methods of music making, his partnership with fellow Buenos Aires’ producer Juan Porada, and his advice for all those who are new to the scene…

First can you tell us something about your frames of reference/what you think makes for a high quality electronic sound recording?
Well, we can divide it into two parts: first, there is the artistic and then the technical part. On the artistic part, it all depends on the creative moments; to know where you want to go and to know very well what style you want to do.  

On the technical part, I tend to pre-produce and then collaborate with different technicians and musicians to put the finishing touches to the final project. To produce by myself is kind of boring and I am also noticing that, for me, it is best to get new people to participate. 

I am the type that does not judge if a producer uses ‘loops’ or if they are big musicians; a good song or a good track is determined by the people on the dance floor or it is reflected by the record sales.

I try to do tracks that leave you with a melodic tune, remembered by their melody and harmony. When I have an idea that is in my head, I try to musically reproduce it. I tend to write it on the plane. I do not know why I find inspiration on the flights. If it is a vocal I like to produce it in a studio with a singer until I get what I want. If it is musical I tend to hire musicians so they could do it with real musical instruments.  If you listen to the ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ track, it was created by a jazz pianist, who within one hour knew what we wanted, then the melody was created by a violinist, while sharing all this with Raffunk. I only have one rule with my tracks and that is that it has to have a musical structure.

Once the track is finished, we do a couple of secret techniques to make it sound good with lots of groove.  I test it in different clubs around the world to see how people react to it and then I master it. Once completely finished, I give it to no more than four DJs.

Carl Cox tends to play my tracks, for me it is a very good feedback. Knowing that Carl believes in my work gives me a good feeling and lets me know that I am on the ‘right track’.

What’s your current music production set-up like?
With today’s technologies you do not need a lot to have a home studio. My first track, which was edited 10 years ago for one of Steve Lawler’s label – Harlem Trax – was completed in an Ibizan apartment.  The whole thing was done with a laptop and two small PC monitors. I tested it in Space’s main room to see how it sounded and then I went back home to do the finishing touches, obviously with a new vision on where I wanted to take it. After lots of work and with the biggest love that I have for this career, I have been able to get my studio in Buenos Aires up to date and to have a home studio in Ibiza.

My studio consist of: a Mac Pro, Logic 8, Abelton Live 8, 1 PC, 4 Core Duo, Allen & Heath mixer, Handsonic Roland electronic drums, KRK 8, KRK 5, Roland 909 / 303, Juno-60, Access Virus, Apogee Ensemble, Arturia Minimoog, Arturia Jupiter-8V, Yamaha NS10, and 2 Pioneer CDJ-2000 amongst other things. Then I finish the project in a Juan Porada’s studio, with Control 24, Avalon Pres Petrungaro, Dynaudio, Distressor and more.

What is/are your most essential tool/s of the trade within that set-up?
It is not that essential for me but my last technical acquisition was a UAD-2 Satellite DUO Flexi Firewire DSP Accelerator.

Can you reveal a secret about your production technique/s?
Mmmm, then it will not be secret...

Do you have a general top tip for budding producers?
Some good advice for those who are starting out is to study music and take a production course, if they can. Then it will all depend on their good musical taste and developing the talent to make people dance.  In addition, they have to showcase their work. Showing work only to your friends is not enough. You have to take the initiative and showcase your productions. You never know who could be listening and who would like to edit it.  

Finally, what’s your take on the future of electronic music production?
Today, we have big producers that only think about making music that could be considered commercial, just because that is where the money is, but this way losing the essence of the electronic music scene.  The future is on the microchips that every day are getting smaller and more powerful... With good ‘plug-ins’ and a MIDI controller, you can make very good songs. Every day there are new things coming out and one must adapt to all new technologies.

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