We take a peek Down the Production Hole of the knob twiddling, mouse clicking transatlantic triumvirate Wildkats (aka Corey Baker, Scott Dickie and Stuart Sandeman) to discover more about how they create that loopy, groovy, synth-ridden, bass-heavy, retro-future disco-house sound for y’all...
Although a relatively new collective, currently in their third year, the trio has been quick to build a loyal fan base who have felt the Kats’ freaky feral yell roaring out from a number of influential labels and dancefloors. Imprints to sign their tracks include the likes of Lower East, Hot Waves, Hourglass, Nëim, and Hot Creations, which is home to their fierce club growler ‘System Crank’ (with Russ Yallop) – and where they’ll also release a new EP later this year.
Meanwhile, the number of artists and labels calling on their remix skills is growing every year as the lads continue rattling those bass bins as DJs on tour from the UK to the US of A.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s crack on with some tech-related studio talk. However, despite what you might expect, it’s not all about 80’s synthesisers for these cool Kats. Oh no. (Although in their studio pic you can case out a cheap ‘n’ cheerful monophonic box, the Mopho, beneath their pad packing Akai keys.)
Like all good fellas, these wise guys place more importance on great ideas, rather than tonnes of gear. So read on now as we go Down the Production Hole with Wildkats…
What’s your current music production set-up like?
Although we each have our own basic set-ups, we mainly work out of Corey’s studio here in London. It consists of an Apple Mac running Ableton and Logic, Apogee Duet audio interface, KRK VXT 8 studio monitor speakers, Mackie Big Knob audio control, and an Akai MPK49 keyboard.
We are mainly Ableton users. I know many producers will tell you the sound from Logic is superior but we feel we can get good results from Ableton a lot faster and with pretty much the same quality as Logic. We have a few outboard synths like a Dave Smith Mopho and things like Native Instruments’ Kore 2 and Maschine, but we love our plug-ins. Our favourite are the Rob Papen plug-ins like Predator for their bass and synth sounds. We’re big fans of Arturia as well and have some great Sonalksis filter plug-ins we tend to use too.
What is/are your most essential tool/s of the trade within that set-up?
I would say that something essential to our production is the Waves’ plug-ins for mastering and EQing. These are necessary in every production to get that polished, professional sound. We most definitely believe in quality and without these our production would be missing that extra ‘umph’.
Can you reveal a secret about your production technique/s?
There is no real secret to our production... We use a pretty basic set-up so we don’t do anything that most people don’t already know. I suppose we would say that a key ingredient to every production is having a good idea. Without a good idea and direction you will find yourself stuck.
Our process is pretty simple; we tend to go into the studio with a couple of different ideas, sounds and samples. Create a loop or groove and build the track around that. The finished product is often very different from the initial idea.
Do you have a general top tip for budding producers?
One thing is to remember that you don’t become a producer overnight. To become a great producer you need to put in the time and learn the software. There is loads of help out there too, online tutorials, YouTube, etc, so take your time to put in the hours and have fun! You also don’t have to spend a load of money on production software to start developing cool sounds either.
Finally, what’s your take on the future of electronic music production?
Electronic music production will continue to evolve. There are more and more producers coming out with new interesting styles and sounds. Music software is so accessible and mobile these days too, so it’s an exciting time for electronic music. It seems to us that electronic music is growing and has no signs of backing down.
Stranjjur Records EP
Hot Creations EP
Hourglass Records EP
Lower East EP
26 January: Teknicolor, Mint Club, Leeds, UK
28 January: War and Peace, Solyanka, Moscow, Russia
04 February: Krankbrother, London, UK
11 February: If… Afterparty, Birmingham, UK
03 March: Data Transmission party, East Village, London, UK
16 – 31 March: US Tour and WMC
05 April: Potty Mouth Disco, London UK
28 April: Schtumm, Brighton, UK
26 May: Source Bar, Maidstone, UK