ON TRACK 734 DAYS OF CREATION, INSPIRATION & COLLABORATION
Step into the Red Bull Studios and feel welcome. This is where the magic happens.
Upon entering the Studios you can see a twinkle in the artist's eyes. All the sounds are available right here at your finger tips.
Inspiration can be found everywhere and anywhere, but being able to listen to the words of a legendary artist helps as well.
The Gaslamp Killer ft. Jungle By Night
Dennis Ferrer & AndrĂŠ Hommen 104
Mr. Probz 42
Gene Farris 106
Worldwide connections 30
Clone & Rush Hour 110
Red Bull in Music
Gerd & Dexter 112
Guerilla Speakerz 64
Detroit Swindle 114
Henrik Schwarz 116
The Partysquad 74
Surinam Music Ensemble 82
Roland Juno 60 120
API 512 122
Full Crate 96
Emperical Labs Distressor 124
Oberheim Xpander 126 Urei 1178 128 20
Forge alliances, invite guest musicians and combine the best of both worlds. You are not alone and everyone is welcome to join.
Step out of the Studios. It's now time for the artists to show the result of hours of blood, sweat and tears.
A closer look into everyone and everything that makes the Studios a unique place.
Dubstep Academy 132
Behind the lens 174
EIGHT magazine 136
Studios Connect 166
SAE Institute 175
Metro 54 148
Artist Appendix 176 Gear Appendix 180
WELCOME TO THE STUDIO 23
STORM THE STUDIO. THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS. WHERE CRAFTSMANSHIP MEETS ART. WHERE EXPERIMENTS TURN INTO POP HITS AND MISTAKES TURN OUT TO BE BRILLIANT MOMENTS.
The place where you spend day and night for weeks on end, where your drummer pukes on the snare after a late night session, where you throw away all your demos and start over from scratch. The studio plays a pivotal role in the life of an artist. Whether it’s just you recording in your bedroom with the curtains closed and the door locked, or your band being flown out to the Caribbean to record the instrumentals for your next record in the most expensive studio in the Bahamas. The studio is an instrument, a tool for building empires out of your ideas and stories. The Beatles even named their legendary album ‘Abbey Road’ after the studios in London, the place where they recorded ninety percent of their music. It was a second home for Paul, John, Ringo, George, and their producer George Martin.
Sometimes you don't need a producer. You think you can do it all on your own. And it turns out you are right. Then your name must be Prince. The lights were always on at Paisley Park during the ‘80s and ‘90s and, for all we know, it has not changed since. Prince reportedly still contacts his bandmates to come in at three in the morning because he has a brilliant idea. Sessions might go on forever as his Royal Badness jams away at his bass guitar for hours in a row with only the Linn Drum as a partner. This is how Erotic City came alive. One hundred percent musical dedication. Speaking of sparks. The Doors were no strangers to interesting studio behaviour. During the studio recording of ‘You’re Lost, Little Girl,’ Jim Morrison needed to soften his voice for a certain part of the song, but his voice was just
too deep. Life in the studio presented them with an idea: Pamela Courson, Jim’s on-and-off girlfriend at the time, came in and gave him a blowjob while he performed that part of the song.
“FLEETWOOD MAC RECORDED THEIR BEST-SELLING ALBUM ‘RUMOURS’ AMID A TERRIBLE DOUBLE BREAK-UP SITUATION” Or take Rick Rubin’s ten-bedroom house, The Mansion. Sound a little scary? It is. Red Hot Chili Pepper's drummer Chad Smith chose not live there during the recording of their
classic album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The mansion is rumored to be haunted. The Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler has reported doors opening by themselves. Guitarist John Frusciante considered the ghosts friendly, so he decided to masturbate in front of one. Like everything, life in the studio has its ups and downs. Like in the Record Plant in Sausalito in 1976, where Fleetwood Mac recorded their best-selling album ‘Rumours’ amid a terrible double break-up situation. Band members would come in separately to play their instruments or sing about their former lovers in the next room. They swore they would never go back there again. It turned out to be the one of the most brilliant break up albums ever. Of course, you can always go a little bit further off the beaten track. 25
Like the members of Killing Joke, who decided to record the vocals for their 1994 album ‘Pandemonium’ in the King’s Chamber of Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Gaza. The band spent a thousand dollars for three days of recording time, although they could only record for 20 minutes each day due to a mysterious draining of their batteries. Spending time in the studio makes for an interesting pastime. Maybe you’re spitting out rhymes from the top of your head and suddenly figure out the missing piece of the puzzle, something that was with you in the recording booth all along. And remember, sometimes maybe all you need is a little more cowbell.
THE RED BULL STUDIOS AMSTERDAM HAS BECOME A MUSICAL PLAYGROUND FOR ARTISTS FROM THE NETHERLANDS AND ALL OVER THE WORLD.
A home away from home and a hub for the Dutch Red Bull music projects. In the first two years, the Studios has hosted an incredible amount of talent. From bedroom producers to nine piece afrobeat bands, music ensembles, cutting edge dance producers, legendary jazz musicians and hiphop crews. Giving them the opportunity to work on their projects and giving them wings. With the Studios comes expertise and coaching from the well-trained and experienced studio managers, who can guide the artists toward the goals they set for themselves.
The influential role of the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam has quickly become apparent, with multiple releases published and brought to the publicâ€™s ears. Zwart Licht, who successfully experimented with solo projects, singles by Guerilla Speakerz and even unique collaborations, like Jungle By Night working with The Gaslamp Killer.
THE RED BULL STUDIOS SUPPORTS MUSICIANS BY FILLING IN THE HUGE GAPS NOW PRESENT IN THE TRADITIONAL MUSIC INDUSTRY, GIVING THE STUDIO A UNIQUE ROLE.
For Dutch band Rigby, the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam proved to be of great help. After leaving a major label, the band decided to do things on their own terms. That meant artistic freedom, but also an empty bank account. This is where the Studios helped out. Rigby was able to record their new album in two weeks for free. One of the unique features of the Studios is its collaboration with the SAE Institute. A group of well-trained audio engineers, each with their own field of expertise, are available for the musicians and producers. The Studios reside in the MuzyQ building, a music center with more than 200 different studios and a vibe that is alive and kicking. Hundreds of musicians flock to the building on a daily basis to practice and work on their music. 29
The Studios is also equipped to showcase different projects. Like the monthly radio show One Foot Under, in which Sander Kerkhof invites an up-and-coming Dutch artist for two hours of talk and music, with plenty of room for improvisation and DJ sets. There are also workshops and lectures by national and international names like Dennis Ferrer, Legowelt and the founders of Rush Hour and Clone.
A TOTAL OF TEN STUDIOS EXIST WORLDWIDE, WITH LOCATIONS IN LOS ANGELES, CAPE TOWN, LONDON, MADRID, COPENHAGEN, PARIS, AUCKLAND, NEW YORK, Sﾃグ PAULO AND OF COURSE AMSTERDAM.
Created in Amsterdam, with experience worldwide - that is the role of the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam. The global network of the Red Bull Studios, with a growing collective of musicians, producers and other artists, provides coverage both online and offline. With every project highlighted on the blog and promoted on social media, the Studios help generate buzz. Artists from all over the world have their second studio at arms reach, a place where they know they can jam or listen to music whenever they want. Diplo spent an afternoon with The Partysquad to check out new music. The Partysquad in turn collaborated with Ms. Dynamite in Amsterdam and London. Same goes for Dutch producer Full Crate, who worked on new music in both the London and Amsterdam Studios. 30
RED BULL HAS AN IMPRESSIVE TRACK RECORD IN THE MUSIC DOMAIN. THE RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY, INITIATED IN BERLIN IN 1998 AND TAKING PLACE IN A DIFFERENT CITY EACH YEAR, HAS EXPANDED OVER FIFTEEN YEARS TO A GLOBAL GATHERING OF EMERGING AND ESTABLISHED ARTISTS.
Artists who have participated in the Academy come back to give lectures and work with the next generation, sharing their knowledge and offering inspiration. The goal of the Academy is to initiate unique and special musical activities and get artists to step out of their comfort zones. Spectacular events like the Red Bull Soundclash harness creative competition by setting musical acts against each other, letting them battle it out in music for the crowd. Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, The Roots and Cee Lo Green have participated in worldwide events, while De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, Go Back To The Zoo, Dio and Skip&Die battled it out in energetic Soundclashes in Amsterdam.
JUNGLE BY NIGHT HAS TAKEN EUROPE BY STORM WITH THEIR ENTHUSIASTIC BLEND OF AFROBEAT INFLUENCES, WHILE THE GASLAMP KILLER - AKA WILLIE BENSUSSEN - HAS CREATED A BUZZ WITH HIS ENERGETIC AND ECLECTIC DJ-SETS.
What would happen if these two forces were locked in a studio together? Nine young men working together with a musical director who jumps around the control room like a madman. The Dutch group covered some of the California based DJ/producer’s favorite songs. The result is the ‘Brass Sabbath 7’’’, released as an exclusive on Kindred Spirits during Record Store Day 2013. Jungle By Night and The Gaslamp Killer first met when they both performed at the Pitch festival in Amsterdam’s Westerpark. “He came up to us after our gig and wanted to do something right away”, says Jungle By Night saxophone player Pieter van Exter. “His idea was for us to cover a few of his favorite tracks, including one by Black Sabbath. To be honest, we thought ‘why the fuck Black Sabbath?’ We usually listen to funk, soul and jazz. But we liked the idea anyway.” 36
The group recorded at the Red Bull Studios for three nights. “We had decided on the tracks beforehand, together with The Gaslamp Killer. But otherwise it was all very last minute.”
“THERE WILL COME A DAY WHEN YOU’LL BE JUST AS EVIL AND DARK AS THEY ARE” There was a different kind of energy in the studio. “We are used to deciding between the nine of us, but now we had a tenth man on the other side of the glass. We had to adjust to that, but it was a lot of fun. He has a very infectious energy that gave us good vibes too.”
To work with The Gaslamp Killer, the Jungle By Night guys had to get out of their comfort zone. “It sort of went against what we’d been doing as a group at that moment, but we figured it would be a good experience. We were given the opportunity and we had nothing to lose, so… why not? The biggest challenge was turning existing songs into Jungle By Night songs. Of course there are differences in taste, but you try to get on the same level and create something unique.” Their shared love for The Budos Band helped. Willie told them, “They are quite a dark afrofunk band. There will come a day when you’ll be just as evil and dark as they are.”
In the spring of 2013 the band and producer got back together in Amsterdam for a very special gig on the Dutch Queensday. Jungle By Night played a set at the MC Theater in which the new songs were incorporated, and The Gaslamp Killer joined them on stage for some serious knob twisting. After the gig, the producer gave one of his signature dj set performances to finish the project in style.
“I’ve always wanted to hear a brass version of a heavy metal song. I figured it would be better to do a classic heavy metal song, and Electric Funeral is the Black Sabbath song I find to be the darkest and most evil of them all.”
“This is a special song for me, because I sampled the original for a ‘Gonjasufi’ song that later became a bonus track on iTunes. I wanted it to be on the actual ‘A Sufi & A Killer’ album so badly, but it didn’t make the cut. This was my way of revisiting this classic Turkish gem.”
IN THE SPRING OF 2013, MR. PROBZ RELEASED HIS SINGLE ‘WAVES’. THIS RAW AND EMOTIONAL SONG TOUCHED MANY HEARTS IN AN INSTANT. THE SONG LAUNCHED THE ARTIST TO THE TOP OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHARTS.
Dennis Princewell Stehr, a.k.a. Mr. Probz, is a Dutch singer and producer of Danish and Antillian descent. Successful in the Netherlands as well as abroad, he was nominated for Best Artist at the BNN/State Awards in 2010. Over the past few years, he has worked with American artists like Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Raekwon. While working on his album 'The Treatment', Mr. Probz had the intention to release the song ‘Waves’ as a single, a one-off teaser of things to come. Yet, when he released the song at the beginning of May, it immediately became clear that he had gold in his hands. At the same time, he also lost everything, as a fire burned down his house and studio. He looks back on the events with mixed feelings: “It was probably a little bit too much to handle for one person. But it’s like when you 42
are bench pressing at the gym: it’s the moments that are too hard to handle that count the most. So I see the setbacks as chances to achieve bigger things.” In retrospect, Mr. Probz reflects calmly on a very turbulent two weeks that marked the start of an emotional rollercoaster.
Mr. Probz’s single, ‘Waves’, storms the charts. Without any publicity or promotion, and without the backing of a record company, the song enters the Dutch charts. “To be honest, I was not that surprised that it did well in the first week. The sky is the limit you know. But I’m very grateful that it happened. It felt right to do a soft release. I already learned that the best way to do things is to do them yourself.
“TO GIVE IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN TO GET”
I do my own videos, I produce my own records. I only have to answer for things to myself and that gives me a lot of freedom.”
The video for ‘Waves’ premieres online. It was shot on location at the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam. “I had a good vibe with the people at the Studios. There wasn’t a big concept for the video, it’s just a bunch of musicians playing. The music speaks for itself. I spent a few days more in the Studios to mix the music.”
In the midst of this week of positive vibes, something terrible happens. After a fantastic night at Paradiso, where Probz performed with
The Opposites, a fire breaks out in his house in the middle of the night. He and his roommates are caught in the fire but are luckily able to escape. The fire destroys his piano and in-house studio. Probz manages to grab his laptop with most of the tracks of his soon-to-befinished album ‘The Treatment’ on it. Probz reacted soberly to the fire. “I thought: Ok, I’ve lost everything, now I have to start over again. And with the studio in ruins the process of finishing the album did slow down a few weeks.”
Mr. Probz performs ‘Waves’ on the popular Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door, and within a few minutes the internet goes nuts. “I walked outside the studio right after the show to smoke a cigarette and checked out the iTunes chart on my phone and boom, there it 48
was at number 1. Then I realized that things were about to change a little bit.” Obviously the next step was the release of the album ‘The Treatment’. It had been two-and-a-half years in the making. Probz tries to set new goals with every new project. “I try to act on my gut feeling and do stuff the way I want to. The rest is just noise.” He decided to give the album away for free online. “I just like the idea. To give is so much better than to get, you know. I don’t want to sound idealistic. If it comes straight from the heart then isn’t it just a great thing to do? Just as long as I can continue my mission.”
SHARING A SPACE RIGHT NEXT TO THE RED BULL STUDIOS TOGETHER WITH HIS OCCASIONAL BAND, THE EXPERIENCE, AKWASI IS ONE OF THE MANY OTHER RESIDENTS IN THE MUZYQ BUILDING.
Akwasi and The Experience joined forces for the successful live XL version of his group Zwart Licht: a genuine hiphop meets dubstep tour de force that took Dutch clubs and festivals by storm. Over the past years, MC and actor Akwasi has spent a lot of time in the Studios. First with Hayzee and Leeroy, to work on new Zwart Licht music, and since the beginning of 2013 to focus on a new solo project: ‘Daar Ergens’. An album with the same title will be the musical portion of a play inspired by the songs of the late Dutch artist Bram Vermeulen. “It’s not a covers record. I would take a few sentences from one of his songs and build my own thing around that, so these are all my interpretations.”
On the song ‘Testament’ he asked two great Dutch singers Giovanca and Charly Luske to help him. “They both normally sing in English and I really wanted them to do something in Dutch for a change. I think the combination of those two voices works really well.” Akwasi has done a couple of tryouts. The play premiered at the Oerol festival and the album released shortly after that, with reactions unanimously being positive. Working in the Studios has been a novel experience for the MC. “I was used to working in small spaces. Here we had the opportunity to work on several things at the same time. The live sessions were great, people were so inspired. There was one moment in particular Akwasi will remember for a long time.
“THIS COMBINATION OF LIVE AND DIGITAL SOUNDS LIKE J.U.S.T.I.C.E. LEAGUE MEETS JUST BLAZE MEETS DELIC”
“Drummakid was playing live drums and he just went crazy. He then started moulding that live sound on the computer and out came a beat that just sounded fantastic. It felt like I was in the studio with some crazy American producers. I am used to working with just MIDI sounds, but this combination of live and digital sounded like Justice League meets Just Blaze meets Delic!”
A handful of fans received the opportunity to hear the new songs in an exclusive listening session at the Studios. “It was quite an intimate experience. We did three songs in the live room and I played them a song I recorded just the day before. It sounded so fragile.” Akwasi has grown as an artist. His songs have become more personal and represent his take on such universal themes as friendship, trust and unattainable love. His lyrics and music are not strictly hip-hop anymore. 57
Work on the new Zwart Licht is on the back burner for the time being. It will be a raw and no-holds-barred album, on which the trio flirts with grime and perhaps even afrobeat. “I hope we can return to the Studios to work on that stuff”, says Akwasi. “But I’ve already spent so many days there and I know there are a lot of other people who would like to have the same opportunities I have had.”
AS YOU MIGHT GUESS FROM SOME OF THE OBSCURE SAMPLES HE USES, OR THE ARTWORK FOR HIS RELEASES, JAMESZOO’S FAVORITE ANIMALS ARE BIRDS.
Under the moniker Jameszoo, Mitchel van Dinther has been steadily working on his career, with releases on labels such as Rwina and Kindred Spirits. With his unique brew of jazz, hip-hop and tropical beats, Jameszoo has already been a frequent guest at the Red Bull Studios. In the summer of 2013, he landed an invitation to the Red Bull Music Academy New York in 2013. The application for the Red Bull Music Academy is always a big event, with producers and musicians from all over the world taking part. The Netherlands has, throughout the years, supplied a steady stream of participants, including Cinnaman, I-f, Nuno Dos Santos and many more. Jameszoo was part of the 2013 delegation, together with producer Krampfhaft. “I know a couple of the guys who participated in the RBMA in the past, and they all came 58
home with wonderful stories. It was exciting when I applied, because I knew some other Dutch producers who were working on some really cool projects had also signed up.”
“I ENDED UP ON STAGE WITH ?UESTLOVE! IT WAS NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING AND VERY CONFRONTING, BUT IN A GOOD WAY” But good news finally arrived over the summer: his ticket to New York had been booked, alongside friend and fellow Rwina signee Krampfhaft. ”I was in the changing room at the swimming pool when I read the news on my phone. I called Krampfhaft right away. We just couldn’t stop giggling.”
In the lead-up to the Academy, the list of events in New York was getting longer and longer, including the ‘Night of Improvised Round Robin Duets’, where artists improvise on stage in spontaneous duos. Jameszoo had secured himself a spot, alongside artists such as ?uestlove, Andrew W.K. and Thundercat. Nothing could prepare Mitchel for what New York had in store for him. "At first I thought that I was booked to play a set before the actual improvising sessions, eventually that changed into participating in the improvising sessions. At first I would be linked with Matana Roberts, but I ended up on stage with ?uestlove! It was nothing short of amazing and very confronting, but in a good way.”
Aside from sharing the stage with ?uestlove, other highlights were recording together with Thundercat, shaking hands with Bernie Worrell and making music and partying for two weeks straight with like-minded people. “Once I came back home I was completely saturated. Once that feeling finally came down, it was a pity to find out I was back in the Netherlands again.”
NEVER ONE FOR BEING TIED DOWN, THE AMSTERDAM MUSICIAN KAI HUGO, BETTER KNOWN AS PALMBOMEN, IS ALWAYS ON THE MOVE.
In the past few years he has moved and relocated his studio between Amsterdam, Berlin and most recently Los Angeles. With his collection of analog synths, sixties preamps, AKG BX20 (spring reverb), drums, tape delays, vintage Eqs, moving studios is not an easy job. “I actually don't use that much software and really appreciate working outside of the box. I sequence using computers, but the rest is analog outboard.” The synths used most by Palmbomen are the ARP 2600, Korg, Roland Jupiter 4 and his modular synth set-up. “This kind of analog versatility is not something I can expect to find in any other studio but my own.”
For about a year and half, while Kai Hugo lived and worked in Berlin, he spent a lot of time on the road. “While on the road I only had my headphones for mixing. But whenever I was back in the Netherlands I could pass by the Red Bull Studios. Here I was able to take my time, sit down and listen to my tracks on the best speakers possible.” The Studios proved to be the perfect place for creating final mixes for his tracks, but has also inspired Kai Hugo to think about what to do in the near future. Working on the next step for his live show, “I want to record the complete live show and look together with my engineers at how we can make everything sync with each other even more. The set up of the production and live room at the Studios is perfect for this.”
THE STUDIO HADN’T EVEN OPENED ITS DOORS YET WHEN GUERILLA SPEAKERZ, BEING TRUE TO THEIR NAME, TOOK UP RESIDENCE.
Guerilla Speakerz are Amsterdam duo Marlon Yasol and Daniel Scholtens. With a string of solid releases to their name on a number of labels, they’ve won praise for their ‘Holla’ EP, released on Trouble & Bass label. “Our two releases, ‘Holla’ and ‘Wiseup’ (Top Billin), were at least partly recorded or mixed at the Studios. But all the releases that are coming up now – including things we’ve got lined up for this summer – have been created at the Studios from start to finish.” Lately, the two have joined forces with producer Krampfhaft at the Studios to work on new tracks. “We honestly think Krampfhaft is one of the best producers in the Netherlands. We’d been bugging him forever about working together, and he finally gave in. We’ve had three sessions at the Studios so far, and the sounds are beginning to 64
shape up. Right now we’re working on two tracks. Though we don’t know what exactly we will do with these tracks until they’re finished. We’re still trying things out.” Further plans for the future have been made as well. In addition to their work with Krampfhaft, the duo has collaborated with Full Crate on two tracks. “We’d love to plan some more days with Full Crate, because we haven’t been able to finish these two tracks yet. A lot of our producer friends are visiting from all over the world, and we’d love to work with them at the Studios. Working with vocalists is also on the agenda. “Choices will have to be made, but let’s call it a luxury problem.”
DUTCH LIVE FAVOURITE DIO IS ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST POPULAR ‘HIP-HOP MEETS POP’ PERFORMERS.
With numerous club tours to his name, appearances at festivals such as Lowlands and Solar, and hit singles including ‘Baby’, ‘Tijdmachine’ and ‘Dansen In Jou’, the Amsterdammer has become one of the most successful artists on the Top Notch label. To finish his album, ‘Benjamin Braafs Festival’, Dio, producer Sir OJ and musical director Tjeerd Bomhof (Voicst, Dazzled Kid) spent a week at the Red Bull Studios. “After my first album Rock & Roll, I didn’t want to focus on hip-hop for this project. I wanted to make music from scratch with live instruments. I needed a new challenge.” The process proved to be quite difficult. “Of course making a record like that takes a lot more time. I think the mixing alone took about three months. But it was totally worth it. In the Studios, we worked together to figure out what 68
was missing from the record and if we needed to get some more live musicians or add certain sounds in a song.”
“YOUR SONGS HAVE TO HAVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A FEW MUSICAL TRICKS UP YOUR SLEEVE”
“I WANTED TO MAKE MUSIC FROM SCRATCH WITH LIVE INSTRUMENTS. I NEEDED A NEW CHALLENGE”
In June 2013, Dio took part in the Red Bull Soundclash. He faced up-and-comers Skip & Die. A tough opponent. “I have done a Soundclash before at the Valtifest festival against Nobody Beats The Drum and they totally killed me! I was doing a lot of shows at the time so I hadn’t really prepared well enough. And at that time, people weren’t really that familiar with the concept yet.” This time around, though, the situation was different. “Now I know what kind of show works best in this set-up. The thing is, you have to win over the audience and get them on your side. Your songs have to have entertainment value. You have to have a few musical tricks up your sleeve and I’m well aware of that.” 73
IT’S AN EXCITING TIME FOR THE PARTYSQUAD, WHO HAVE ENJOYED A GREAT DEAL OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS IN THE NETHERLANDS, BUT ARE EAGER TO CROSS OVER INTERNATIONALLY.
Ruben Fernhout and Jerry Leembruggen have played every club in the Netherlands with their full-on energetic DJ-sets and shows. “I think our sound was a little bit ahead of its time a few years ago”, says Ruben while enjoying some Thai-style spare ribs. “Then Jerry had a serious accident in Ibiza and that meant a long pause for us career wise. By the time he came back, you had cats like Chuckie and Afrojack already blowing up with the style they called ‘Dutch House’. We didn’t really want to try the same. We feel more comfortable in the realms of Mad Decent, Dim Mak and Fool’s Gold. More experimental and not limited to any particular style.
That is exactly how we started out in Holland. We did hip-hop, R&B and house.” For The Partysquad, it’s all beginning to move in the right direction. “The number of people who reached out to us for collaborations and remixes, it’s insane! Some big names too. We did a remix for A-Trak and we worked on a Daft Punk remix. So a lot of stuff has been going on.” The goal of the London trip was to take home Ms Dynamite’s vocals on two tunes for a new EP. “Back in the Netherlands we will finish the tunes around the vocals”, says Jerry. “She’s already heard one or two that she really likes, but we brought some more. So we’ll see, you never know what the vibe is.” Ruben: “We really wanted to do some tracks with singers, so Jerry got in contact with her manager.
“I THINK OUR SOUND WAS A LITTLE BIT AHEAD OF ITS TIME A FEW YEARS AGO”
We talked about working together at the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam before. We recorded some stuff, but she had a cold that day. That’s why we are here. We especially wanted to do a song with Ms. Dynamite because we’re really into mashing up reggae vibes with electronic music, like we did on ‘Original Don’ with Major Lazer. We did two EPs for Mad Decent with that kind of stuff.” The second one, the ‘Badman Rave’ EP, got the duo a lot of international attention for their blend of reggae and hardstyle kicks. “Wherever we play, they seem to really like it. The best comment we got was on YouTube, where someone wrote: “Hey I like this song, and I know the original they sampled it from.” But it’s all new stuff that we made ourselves. So it must sound pretty authentic.”
Ms. Dynamite has arrived with her DJ, Nappy, and they get to work. Jerry plugs in the hard drive and fires up the first beat. “Sounds great!”, says Nappy after a few snippets. “We not only want to hear the reggae stuff, but also the more banging club sound.” Another folder is opened on the computer and seconds later a trap beat is pumping on the stereo. They start pulling out music from all over the spectrum: ‘nineties europop with a hint of drum ‘n’ bass, moombathon, dancehall stuff, dubstep and some hardstyle kicks. One beat that Nappy and Ms. Dynamite are really into is called ‘Flying Dutchman’. Ms Dynamite starts humming something that could be a chorus for the track instantly. Pretty soon she has her writing pad out and begins putting words on paper. While she works on her lyrics, Ruben talks about the continuing 79
“MS DYNAMITE STARTS HUMMING SOMETHING THAT COULD BE A CHORUS FOR THE TRACK INSTANTLY” relationship they have with the Red Bull Studios. “We spent some time with Diplo in the Amsterdam Studios last year too. It’s really cool that we have the chance to use the Studios without feeling too much pressure. The vibe is relaxed. So if you invite other artists to come over, they feel that too and it brings out the best in both of you. Red Bull understands artists and gives them time and space and even a professional engineer to do their thing. You can totally focus on making music.”
After two hours of writing, Ms Dynamite decides to call it a night. She takes home the beats she liked most to work on. “Tomorrow I’m going to write in the afternoon and come back to get in the vocal booth and sing some stuff.” At the start of the second night, the vibe is great and more relaxed. “It always takes a little time to get used to each other. You know, she is someone I look up to as an artist, so maybe you hold back a little.” But tonight, Ms Dynamite really wants the guys to work with her 80
on the track and asks for their input. She has selected three tracks to work on and it looks like she’s really into it. First up is a proper crossover: dancehall meets moombathon. Before we know it, it’s almost four o’ clock. At the end of the night, the duo take home their hard drive with countless takes of Ms Dynamite vocals. “We are going to work on these back in Amsterdam and really build our tracks around her vocals.” Mission London accomplished.
THE SURINAM MUSIC ENSEMBLE IS BEST DESCRIBED AS A ‘DREAM TEAM’, AN ALL-STAR FORMATION OF MUSICIANS WITH A STYLE THAT IS COMPLETELY THEIR OWN.
This unique style would later be dubbed ‘Paramaribopop’, a genre of improvised music drawing from AfroSurinamese and Caribbean traditions, mixed with jazz and bebop influences. Now, 23 years after they recorded their last album, the Surinam Music Ensemble reunited at the Red Bull Studios to record a new album featuring a special guest: jazz legend Bennie Maupin. The music career of the Surinam Music Ensemble spans more than three decades, having started in 1981. However, it’s actually been 23 years since they recorded their last album. Filled with a desire to give a new pulse to the genre they single-handedly developed, it was time to get back into the studio for the musicians of Surinam Music Ensemble. “The younger generation is not aware enough of its musical heritage. We are trying to 83
pass on this heritage to the stars of the future.” And what better way to do so than by reuniting the finest artists that Surinamese improvised music has to offer, topped off with a special guest who’s a jazz legend in his own right.
“THE YOUNGER GENERATION IS NOT AWARE ENOUGH OF ITS MUSICAL HERITAGE”
“WHILE PLAYING IN THE STUDIO TOGETHER, EACH MUSICIAN VIBES OFF THE OTHERS’ VIRTUOSO PERFORMANCE” 84
Bennie Maupin can be counted as one of the legendary American jazz musicians. He is probably best known for being part of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi sextet and Headhunters band. Maupin also played on several Meat Beat Manifesto albums and can proudly claim to have been part of Miles Davis’s seminal record ‘Bitches Brew’. His repertoire includes the tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. The collaboration with jazz legend Bennie Maupin didn’t come out of nowhere. Pablo Nahar, the bass player of Surinam Music Ensemble, is an old friend of Bennie’s. “We’ve tried numerous times to work on a production together, but busy schedules on both sides always got in the way.”
Eventually the stars aligned and they performed together at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and Lantaren Venster in Rotterdam, to great success. After the double concert, the North Sea Jazz Festival approached them to play together again, at the festival later that summer. This provided the perfect opportunity to go into the Studios, right after the festival, where they recorded the new CD ‘Surinam Music Ensemble feat. Bennie Maupin.’ With the improvised style of the Surinam Music Ensemble, the interaction between the musicians is a vital part of the recording process. Having a large live room is perfect for the improvisation. “While we were playing in the Studios together, each musician vibes off the others’ virtuoso performance.”
DUTCH GUITAR POP BAND RIGBY HAS SEEN IT ALL. FROM PLAYING SHOWS IN A LOCAL BAR TO SUPPORTING KAISER CHIEFS IN FRONT OF 5000 PEOPLE AND SCORING MULTIPLE RADIO HITS.
The Dutch three-piece band, which takes its name from the Beatles classic, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ spent two weeks at the Red Bull Studios, recording their new album. After leaving a major label, they took the decision to make music on their own terms.
all by ourselves.” Times have changed. In the old days, the record company had a budget of hundreds of thousands for a record and a band could be in the studio for months. “Brian Wilson recorded Pet Sounds in 19 different studios, you know?”
“The band was at a difficult crossroad”, says singer Christon Kloosterboer. “We decided to take our destiny into our own hands again, just like we did when we started out as a band. No more big bad label business. U2 and Lady Gaga are important artists for a major label, but a small band like Rigby has to fight for attention. Don’t get me wrong, we have been given a lot of opportunities. But we are also the type of band who can manage on our own. We know each other from school, our friends do our artwork. We have a good team. Which means we can do it
“We got in contact with Red Bull through friends and they offered us two weeks in the Studios. We had our doubts at first. I mean, we are still a band in the traditional sense, so the studio had to be equipped with gear that measured up to our standards. We went over to check out the Studios and recorded the single ‘Take A Chance’ by way of experiment, to see if we liked the vibe of the Studios. That worked out well. The live room sounded great! And the cooperation with the SAE engineers, coming from a different musical background, was great too.
When you see them nodding their heads to your song, you know you’re going in the right direction.” The band is fully aware of the fact that they need to put in a lot of their own time because they don’t have a big budget anymore. “We still want to be as good as the best band in the world, that’s just the way we think. We recorded the last album in a few days at ICP Studio in Brussels, where we had risotto for lunch and a glass of wine by the pool. That’s all changed. We wanted to have a longer recording process this time and we were very lucky to get the chance to work in the Red Bull Studios.”
“The songs were almost finished in demo, so we worked very strategically. Because of that we had some time left to let the magic happen on the spot. We worked from 10 AM to 6 PM each day and I kind of liked that idea. It worked for us. I can imagine people thinking you
“YOU ENTER A WHOLE NEW WORLD. THE DIFFERENT SURROUNDINGS GIVE YOU FRESH INPUT” won’t get into to the “vibe” in that way. The old rock cliches, you know? But it’s not like you can’t write a song at nine in the morning because you need to be in 92
a room with pink light and five scantilyclad girls sitting around. We have kind of an artistic mentality anyway, so we just set our minds to doing it in another way. Sometimes it’s nice to go home early and come back in the morning to make a fresh start.” The guys quickly warmed to the vintage synths in the Studios. “I mean a Juno 60, if you have that in the studio you definitely have to use it, you know? It started out as a joke, but in the end it has quite an important role in the song ‘Suitcase Full Of Dreams’. It quickly went into the Deadmau5 direction. When we play it live now, I sometimes think back to how we recorded it in the Studios. Don’t get me wrong; we didn’t want to make a dance record, we didn’t want to be deliberately hip. But it just fits right in.”
‘Fire & Ice & Sugar & Spice’ was released in October 2012 on Rigby’s own label, FAM Records. The album revolves around a summer romance. “We’ve tried to make it lyrically upbeat but not superficial. It’s an ode to positivity.” The title and artwork also represent the contrast between the organic and the electronic musical vibe. “People had to get used to the new sound, but it also meant that a wider audience became interested in us. And our fans seem to have evolved with us. It has to do with the fact that we are a pop song-based band. It’s the same DNA in the end.”
surroundings give you fresh input. It’s a very sympathetic idea. Red Bull knows what they are doing. Nowadays it’s brands that create possibilities. Whether it’s a major label or a brand, what difference does it make? Of course you think about the impact on your band’s image, and how to deal with the commercial aspect. But Red Bull never pressured us about anything.”
Kloosterboer warmly recommends the Red Bull Studios to artists and producers. “You enter a whole new world. The different
“U2 AND LADY GAGA ARE IMPORTANT ARTISTS FOR A MAJOR LABEL, A SMALL BAND LIKE RIGBY HAS TO FIGHT FOR ATTENTION”
FULL CRATE IS ALWAYS AT WORK. COLLABORATING WITH MUSICIANS ON VARIOUS PROJECTS, SOLO RELEASES OR WORKING ON HIS LONG-TERM COLLABORATION WITH LONGTIME FRIEND MAR.
His work ethic - and of course musical talents - got him invited to the Red Bull Music Academy. A musical partnership was born. In the summer of 2011, Full Crate headed down to Madrid for the Red Bull Music Academy. Amongst all the participants there were people that Full Crate knew personally already, or had been playing their music for some time. During his two weeks at the Academy, Full Crate ended up working together with like minded people such as Mark Pritchard, Krystal Klear, Canblaster, Nguzu and Seiji, to name just a few.
Full Crate explains that it was a crazy trip: “It was a life-changing experience for me. I could go on forever listing all the things that were great about that trip. I haven’t even mentioned discussing music with Erykah Badu! I’m telling you, if I could enter every year, I would.” The actual creation of the music usually happens in Full Crate’s own studio, but putting the finishing touches or re-recording some parts he prefers to do in a bigger studio with the right equipment. “Sometimes it’s great to start right away with that equipment around you, and to layer and record live instruments.
But most of the time, I lay down the main idea in my own studio and then go to Red Bull Studios to re-record parts, such as the drums, if there’s a need to go bigger. Also, if there is a great artist in town I want to collaborate with, I call the Studios and see if we can just dive in and record.” Even before going to Madrid, Full Crate worked on many different projects together with Red Bull, and the RBMA has made the relationship only better. One of the projects Full Crate created the soundtrack for, was the short film ‘A day in the life: Skating with Sewa Kroetkov’. “The reactions to my music on this short film have been great, especially seeing that on YouTube every other comment was ‘Where can I buy the songs in the video?’”
OVER THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS THE RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY HAS BEEN HOSTING WORKSHOPS AND MASTERCLASSES ON A WORLDWIDE SCALE.
Artists like A-Trak, DOOM, Erykah Badu, James Holden and many others have participated in these inspirational and motivational sessions that are meant to make the musicians open up for an eager audience. Sharing knowledge, experience and tips and tricks. In Amsterdam, these sessions of inspiration have continued, and the list of artists is getting longer and longer. For each session, a worldrenowned producer is invited to the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam to host their masterclass in an intimate setting.
For nearly twenty years, Dennis Ferrer has been the right man at the right time. The American DJ/ producer is best known to the general public for his Grammy-nominated hit ‘Hey Hey’, but anyone with more than a passing interest will also be familiar with his deeper records. Ferrer makes house music in the widest sense of the word and has released records on Ibadan, Objektivity, Defected and Strictly Rhythm. He sat down with André Hommen to share his studio secrets. “I believe that as an artist, you have to give something back to your audience every now and again. That is why I’m here today.”
"I play a lot of tracks by Dennis Ferrer,
"After the session, everybody was invited
so I was keen to find out more about
along to Club Trouw. But I thought to
what kind of production techniques he
myself: fuck it, I’m going home right
uses. The session concentrated mostly
now to make tracks all night long with
on how Ferrer became a DJ, and there
all that new inspiration. On the train
was relatively little tech-talk, so I asked a
ride home, I opened my MacBook and
couple of questions myself. I wanted to
started researching everything we had
know more about the balance between
talked about during the session. I called
kick and bass and how to equalize them.
up friends who work as audio engineers
It’s always very inspiring to see a legend
to gather even more information. I didn’t
at work and be able to talk to them.
sleep that night. For me personally, the
Especially when it turns out we use the
drive that somebody needs in order to
same software and plug-ins."
make it was the most important subject. Here, I was given confirmation of what it means to really want something. Now I’m living the dream. Surviving on peanut butter sandwiches is going well for me so far! Love for music is the basis of my diet."
THOMAS BRUGMAN Gene Farris is a living dance legend. With more than a hundred soulful house productions to his name, on labels including Defected, Cajual, Soma and of course his very own Farris Wheel Recordings, he conquered the world from his home town Chicago. From the midnineties and onward, he scored big hits with tracks such as ‘Summer Affair’, ‘Sanctified love’, ‘Black Satin’ and ‘The Big Doobie’. At the Red Bull Studios, Farris worked on new tracks and gave his masterclass to ten lucky participants.
"I signed up for the session with Gene Farris to get to know more about mixing tracks. I was hoping to pick up some hands-on tips and tricks for my own productions. What I ended up taking away from the session was how important it is to really follow your own instincts. And that you should try out and play your own tracks every chance you get. Although the session wasn’t as practically focused as I had hoped, it was very good to hear Farris speak from his own experience. I met some like-minded people there as well, and Facebook and Soundcloud links were being passed around freely."
MARCEL VOGEL A continuous output of releases since 1996 makes Danny Wolfers - also known as Legowelt and many other aliases - one of the most active and respected producers from the Netherlands. He’s got gigs around the world, a weekly radio show on Intergalactic FM and his, now-defunct, own record label called Strange Life to back it up. Although Legowelt has a reputation for working with analogue equipment, he hasn’t tried to hide the fact that he’s actually mostly working in the box with Ableton. For the occasion, Legowelt brought a Yamaha DX100 and during the session he demonstrated how he would sample different sounds from the Yamaha into Ableton and start working from there. What followed was a unique insight into Legowelt’s world.
"What I gained from the session was encouragement and motivation for my own work. In a sense, it was about de-mystifying the music you hear on a record or in a club: it’s not magic, it’s just a matter of working hard and being able to listen. Legowelt was very funny, and his rather erratic approach to making music really took me aback. He’s very good at spreading myths and concepts about his work and creating a Supernerd-aura for himself. But instead of coming across as this super serious musician, Legowelt demonstrated more of a hit-and-miss approach that can be quite liberating for up-and-coming producers."
Although music is always the red thread, the focus of this session was not on its production but on the role of the labels. And who better to represent the labels’ perspective than the go-to guys of electronic music in the Netherlands: Serge from Clone and Antal from Rush Hour. What had started out as humble record stores, expanded into labels with worldwide sales and great critical acclaim. These two label heads and crate diggers extraordinaire talked about temporary sublabels, seperate 12-inches, market research and selling music in the midst of a crisis.
BART VAN MANEN
"The masterclasses are always on point,
"I signed up for the studio session with
with the interesting guests invited.
Serge and Antal because these two
Red Bull knows what is the right way
have been so important to the house
to invest in electronic music. I’m a
scene in the Netherlands. I hoped to
DJ myself and on my way home I felt
get some insight into their thoughts
inspired by Serge and Antal’s passion.
and into how and why they’re doing
I have stayed in touch with both of them
what they do. In his role as moderator,
after the session, and I’ve been able to
journalist Job de Wit made sure to
ask them for help and information on my
ask the right questions. On several
own projects. I would like to see more
occasions, he sparked an interesting
female guests though; I was the only
discussion between Serge and Antal,
woman in the sessions with Serge and
which brought out their opposing views.
Antal. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing,
Thanks to the session, my respect for
but I know there are more than enough
these guys and their labels has grown
other girls out there who have their own
even more, and this in turn has motivated
ideas about dance music, or who would
me again. They are two prime examples
like to know more about it."
of hard work paying off."
A mainstay of the Dutch underground since 1991, Gerd runs his own label - 4lux - and has been active as an artist under many monikers, including Geeeman, Literon, Machine Shop and White Knights. The name Dexter made his entrance in 2001 with his track ‘Intruder’, which he released on his own label Klakson. It didn’t stop there, though. Dexter has put out a steady stream of releases ever since, on Clone and other labels. Even though both producers are part of Clone’s inner circle, they had never worked together. The masterclass offered them the perfect opportunity to build a track together on the spot, while talking about logic tips & tricks, synths and ‘The NY House Track’ from Gerd.
QUENTIN VAN HONK
"I have great admiration for Gerd’s work
"I’ve been following both Gerd and
on the production side and his DJ skills
Dexter for many years. By listening
and status. I attended the session with
to what they went through and what
an open mind and tried to let myself
to watch out for, I was hoping to get
be surprised by his experience and
some insights I could use for my own
methods. Along the way I picked up
career and productions. The mood was
some useful little tips that I took home
very laid-back, and everybody had the
with me. Gerd explained, for example,
chance to ask whatever they wanted
that while certain plug-ins are meant
to know. Because there wasn’t a set
for ‘A’, he will use them for ‘B’. I had
program, we weren’t forced to watch
thought about this before, without really
and listen to whatever they had to say. It
getting into it. But after hearing Gerd
was a great way to find new inspiration
talk about this, I immediately started to
for my own productions. For future
experiment myself. He also showed us a
sessions, I would love to see somebody
list of some of the plug-ins he uses, and
like Xosar – or perhaps a real Detroit
I bought a couple of those myself. These
legend like Theo Parrish or KDJ. I would
might seem like minor tips and not very
love get an in-depth look at how they
relevant or interesting to most people,
but they have really helped me improve my skills as a producer." 113
VINCENT-PAOLO CORPUTTY Although their name may suggest otherwise, Lars Dalen and Maarten Smeets are two young and upcoming producers from our own Dutch backyard. Their heads and hearts however, are deeply rooted into the soul of the former motor city. With their debut coming out on Huxley’s imprint Saints & Sonnets, they haven’t remained quiet and put out other releases at Dirt Crew, Murmur and the immaculate Freerange Records. Their session focused on the track ‘Brotherman’, by breaking down the vocal loop, the guys explained how they go to work and add that ‘something extra’ to their productions.
"I was one of the lucky few to get invited to the session with Detroit Swindle. I signed up because I think their sound, mix and effects are very well put together. Because I’m working on my own music as well, I wanted to know more about the technical part of their productions. The guys are a little bit older then I am, so it is a great motivation for me to try and match their level. Although I was mostly interested in the tech part of their production, I also got a lot of inspiration from their stories about touring and performing live. By now they have become frequent flyers, I mean, who doesn’t want to do that? Traveling the world for your passion and work."
SIETZE RADEMAKER Henrik Schwarz is one of the most illustrious names in the house and techno scene. The German producer exploded into the scene in 2002 with his ‘Supravision’ EP on Moodmusic, and continued putting out quality releases over the years that followed. But rather than limiting himself to being a producer, Schwarz has also toured with a live band, A Critical Mass, teamed up with jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft and released a software plug-in he developed himself: the ‘Schwarzonator’. Before playing at Awakenings, Schwarz sat down in the Red Bull Studios to share his tips and tricks.
"Henrik Schwarz has been one of my heroes for many years. I was very interested in hearing what motivates him and where he gets his inspiration and knowledge from. I wanted to know more about the set-up he uses for his live sets, and how he is constantly working on ‘sound’ in general. The session struck a good balance between talking about his past and the beginning of his career on the one hand, and the technical aspects of his productions on the other. I walked away from it with the feeling that everything is possible, as long as you work hard and meet the right people."
IT IS THE GEAR THAT MAKES THE STUDIO AND THE RED BULL STUDIOS AMSTERDAM HAS A LINE-UP OF VINTAGE GEAR THAT WILL TURN EVERY STUDIO HEAD.
We all know the future is digital, but you just know everyone likes to twist a real knob or play a real keyboard once in a while. When producers enter the Red Bull Studio Amsterdam you see their eyes light up. An Oberheim Xpander and a Juno 60 together in one room? With a collection of the best analog and digital synthesizers and the best sounding compressors and amps in studio history the Amsterdam studio offers a state of the art place to create. We handpicked five pieces of gear that we think deserve a little extra shine.Â
With its very 80’s sound, this machine was used by many famous musicians including Depeche Mode, Wham!, Erasure, Eurythmics and The Cure. And what about that lead synth sound of A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me?’ That is a Juno 60 hooked up with its successor the DX7. But you don’t have to be a synthpopper to make great use of this one. Its sounds have been popping up in modern techno records and Animal Collective has used the Juno 60 on almost every record in the last ten years, primarily for mid-range or high-end melodic lines. Legowelt is a Juno 60 fan too. He used it heavily on his atler ego Smackos’ ‘Waiting For The Red Bear’ album and the
Legowelt soundtracks of Elefanten Boots and Duneman. Other contemporary artists like Twin Shadow, Neon Indian, and Tame Impala are heavy users too. The Juno 60 is a real classic synthesizer well known for its beautiful warm tone and playability. This thing almost always sounds great and it looks the part too with it’s shiny red, blue and yellow buttons and menus. The Juno 60 is one of the first analog Roland synths, a 61 key six-voice polyphonic synth introduced in 1982. Originally without MIDI, but the studio version is able to hook up digitally. It has a punchy and raw sound and produces incredible basslines. 120
A hands on machine that is plug and playable by everybody. The Juno 60 roars; it roars and it rocks, sounds warm and fat, analog style. Part of this is thanks to the chorus circuit which gives its sound real dimension and is particularly good for strings and pads. The name Juno comes from Roman mythology. Juno was the queen of the gods and wife of Jupiter which is the name of another famous Roland synth.
Do you want to record your singer’s voice as clean as possible, without distortion and noise? Then this is the way to go. The API 512 is a legendary mic pre-amp. This nifty little machine is a direct descendent of Saul Walker’s original 1968 design. The legendary API (Automated Processes Inc.) sound has been a studio mainstay for over three decades. The analog warmth of API’s discrete circuitry is something truly special. It is a high quality and handmade pre-amp. Super sensitive and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Every studio should have one or more of these. Not just for recording that pitch perfect voice, but also guitar and bass guitar sounds. Expensive, but totally worth your money. API is not only know for it’s pre-amps. Up until 1978 the company built a lot of input consoles for legendary studios like The Record Plant and Sunset Sound. The latter was in fact famous for its API consoles. The early Van Halen records were done there. Meanwhile, one of the Record Plant's APIs was part of Oceanway's Studio A for years, where Lionel Richie used it for much of his solo work.
To be completely honest, it looks a little scary. Those four knobs are almost as tall as the height of the rack. This overwhelming rack-mounted beast emulates the sort of distortion that you get when you work with tape or tube amps. The Distressor is able to boost and overdrive everything you want. It sounds great on vocals too. Gives them a little edge with compression and harmonic distortion. Often used for hip-hop vocals because it adds depth. But things really start to get interesting when you start putting stuff like Korg’s Groovebox through this monster and boost it up to nuke setting. Gabba kicks galore! Everything sounds completely
over the top. Put a kick drum through this and turn a DAF into a Sherman tank! The compressor makes the dynamic reach of sound smaller, it adjusts the differences in volume and intensity (amplitude). Twist the massive white knobs and feel the power. Extra added value in the form of the British Mode. which stands for OVER THE TOP. Renegade recording engineers, always on the look out for more, found that you could make all four buttons stay in if you pressed them right. The result was an extremely agressive sound. Somewhere along the line, someone called it British Mode and 124
the name stuck. Born of founder Dave Derr’s love of classic compressors, the Distressor incorporates sonic characteristics of his favourites the Urei 1176, Urei LA-2A and Gain Brain. It has become a staple for engineers all over the world. In fact, it’s one of the best selling. There’s probably not a Top 40 record made in the past five years that doesn’t have a Distressor on it. A large part of its distinct sound derives from the three modes that color the signal, even without compression. Warm and vintage feel, but also able to scare the hell out of you. Ask techno producer Speedy J, who has got two of them, he knows. It just makes shit sound better.
What do Technotronic, Stockhausen, Chemical Brothers, Josh Wink, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and Orbital have in common? They all love(d) jamming on the Oberheim Xpander. Sasha’s track Xpander was even written in homage to the instrument. It’s the desktop version of the Matrix 12. So that means no keys, just knobs. ‘A fantasy realised’, says the original ad for the Oberheim Xpander. Launched in 1984 and discontinued in 1988, only 2000 were made and that makes it a very sought after machine. Upon seeing an Xpander for the first
time, one can be slightly intimidated. It’s a beast of a machine and it’s quite hard to understand. It may take you a week to figure out how to make a sound that you actually want to make. Programming is difficult, which may be one of the reasons you don’t hear it so often anymore. But if you put in the work then it turns out to be an incredible versatile instrument. And the preset sounds are famous in their own right and offer a good starting point. The Xpander sounds wonderful, and is capable of thick analog basses, pads and textures. Life for an analog synth in 1984 wasn't always easy. 126
‘Digital’ had become the magic word, and Yamaha’s DX7 dominated the synth market. But despite the competition, and costing three times as much as the DX7, the Xpander flourished, thanks in particular to the modulation possibilities. Utilizing Oberheim’s Matrix Modulation technology, the Xpander combined analog audio generation (VCOs, VCF and VCAs) with the flexible logic of digital control. The Oberheim Xpander has shaped synth history: from the Ensoniq in the mid-80s through to today’s Alesis, Emu and Kurzweill machines, its influence can clearly be seen in most American designs.
Ask any producer from Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) to Steve Albini about his favourite compressors, and this one is sure to be in the top three. Famous producer Bob Clearmountain has used the Urei 1178 peak limiter on lots of occasions, for instance on records by the Stones and Christina Aguilera. A truly legendary American stereo compressor: a solid classic that is standard material in most studios. Works particularly well on drum overheads.
The Urei 1178 is essentially the stereo version of the equally influential 1176. It adds that extra edge and excitement to your track. The ways in which people use the compressor vary, particularly when it comes to the 'ratio' setting. So do experiment with this aspect of any emulation. And don't forget to try out the unusual 'all buttons' mode if it's on offer.
COLLA BORATE 131
IT'S NOT EVERY DAY YOU GET THE CHANCE TO MEET YOUR IDOLS, LEARN FROM AND WORK WITH THEM. BUT FOR A SELECT GROUP OF NEW GENERATION DUBSTEP BEAT MAKERS, THIS BECAME A REALITY.
Stichting Nowhere is a production house for workshops, masterclasses, festivals and other youth events in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam-Oost, it hosts a variety of workshops ranging from yoga to photography to lyrical hip-hop dance. Each season, a new program of workshops is presented. The attendees of the Dubstep Academy workshop had the privilege of visiting the Red Bull Studios. With the help of Gomes (Oi! Recordings), Hayzee (Nebulon), Mike Mago (Boemklatsch), Karimooo and TheBobby6Killers (Vage Gasten), a total of 10 young producers were schooled and trained in the craft of producing and putting on events. Gomes explains that a lot of the participants were quite advanced in the technical aspects of the process already. “But in the workshops, we've also talked a lot about 132
the business side of things, which I think was very interesting for everyone. And of course there was a lot of room for everyone to ask all the questions they wanted.” One weekend long, the young producers worked hard on their productions, receiving feedback from the workshop masters, listening to their rich experience in the field. Thomas Nijhuis, from Nowhere, explains that a few of the young producers really impressed the workshop masters. “It wouldn't surprise me if we hear a lot more from some of these kids very soon.” Gomes was even more outspoken about the future stars. “With two of the guys I'm still in touch, and with one of them I'm going to release two tracks on my label Oi! Recordings very soon.”
“IT WOULDN’T SURPRISE ME IF WE WILL BE HEARING A LOT MORE FROM A FEW OF THESE KIDS VERY SOON”
EIGHT MAGAZINE IS A YOUNG CONTEMPORARY ART MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO SHOWCASING ART AND ARTISTS IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE.
Over the course of one week, EIGHT magazine invited eight visual artists to bring a musician or producer to the Red Bull Studios for a unique collaboration: creating art and music at the same time, one inspired by the other. Without any restrictions or limitations aside from spending eight hours, the creatives had all of the Studios' facilities at hand. The results of these creative sessions were published in the fourth issue of EIGHT magazine. The artists emerged with eight beautiful and diverse works of art turning each page of the magazine into a poster suitable for framing and
hanging on any wall - while the musicians and producers delivered eight equally diverse tracks. The EIGHT magazine collaboration was launched during the Amsterdam Dance Event, with an exhibition of both the artworks and the tracks.
Listen to all the tracks at: www.eightmagazine.nl/redbullstudioamsterdam
â€œAll the shapes in the art I created are based on the equipment they used for the track. From the Juno 60 and Watkins Copi Cat to the interface of Logic.â€?
“Working together with a musician is a completely different way of working for me. It’s very different from when I’m working alone. I was actually dancing as I worked on my drawing.”
â€œI always try to let myself be guided by the music, to focus more on the feeling and atmosphere of the music than on my own mind. This is the moment new images are created.â€œ
â€œJameszoo is a big fan of birds and especially owls. I happened to be in the middle of an owl phase, so we could get to work right away.â€?
â€œThe main issue in working together with a musician is how to share your visions. What I hear in a certain track, might not be the same idea the musician had in mind."
“When you collaborate, it means the two of you are both involved in a creative process, but it’s the interaction between the two that creates that extra element.“
“The Studios is the opposite of my own workspace, where I can make as big a mess as I like. Having to adjust to different circumstances isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.”
“As you’re working together with a musician, you can see the song slowly come together right in front of you. The whole process takes a couple of hours, making you land in a sort of trance.”
METRO54 IS A PLATFORM FOR MASH-UP CULTURE, HIGHLIGHTING THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN EUROPEAN URBAN YOUTH CULTURE.
In September 2012 the Metro54 Festival featured more than 150 musicians and artists from all over the world. One of the festival’s projects was 'Boom Africa', which brought together Kalaf (Buraka Som Sistema), Gery Mendes (GMB), Baloji and OkmalumKoolkat (Hyperdub). These four talented African-European artists joined forces to create a contemporary and unique mash-up of African sounds. “We had invited the four musicians based on their musical background, but before their Amsterdam adventure none of them had met,” explains Amal Alhaag, the festival curator of Metro54. The musicians were sent into the Studios to record their take on new African music. Together, they found a theme in reinterpreting old school love ballads, because, according to them, there’s a lack of classic love 148
ballads nowadays. Along the way, guest musicians and vocalists were invited to come over and jam at the studio with them to create the new music. In total, six tracks were created during the three days of studio time. Even with all of the musicians working at their most productive, there just wasn’t enough time to put a proper mix down and fine-tune the new tracks. After all, they were creating the music right there on the spot. Amal Alhaag explains the experience at the festival: “Three of the six tracks were performed live during our festival. The response was amazing, partly because of the unique yet accessible sound.”
“GUEST MUSICIANS AND VOCALISTS WERE INVITED TO COME OVER AND JAM AT THE STUDIOS WITH THEM TO CREATE NEW MUSIC”
THE RED BULL SOUNDCLASH IS A UNIQUE FORMAT WHICH INVITES TWO BEFRIENDED, YET RIVALRY, BANDS FOR AN INTENSE HEADON COLLISION IN MUSICAL FORM.
The Netherlands have a high reputation to keep, because the first ever Red Bull Soundclash was hosted in Amsterdam in 2006 and quickly thereafter travelled the world, only to strike down in Amsterdam six years later, keeping true to the original concept. Two bands, two stages, and only the audience to decide which band walks away with the endless glory. Although two befriended bands are invited for the Soundclash, the bands are each other complete opposites in musical style. In four rounds they take on the challenge to win over the hearts of the audience. The night exists of the bands playing their own reportoire in a different musical genre, react on each other's performances, and performing with a special mystery guest, the ace up the sleeve. The bands go deep, and their passion, creativity and stage 156
presence create the decisive factor, when the audience is asked to applaud the rightful winner. The band with the loudest audience response walks away with all the glory. Since returning back to Dutch soil, two clashes took place - lining up the Dutch hiphop group De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig versus Go Back to the Zoo, and Skip&Die versus Dio. Both clashes started out in the Studios, where the acts rehearsed their sets and put the finishing touches on their performance. Finally Dio and Skip&Die came face-to-face in one of the iconic clubs in Amsterdam, de Melkweg.
“THE NETHERLANDS UPHOLDS ITS REPUTATION AS HOST OF THE FIRST EVER RED BULL SOUNDCLASH, KICKING OFF IN 2006” 158
In a highly energized night, sweat was dripping from the ceiling while the two bands battled each other. While Dio brought his close friends and collaborators The Opposites along as his mystery guest, Skip&Die surprised everyone when they brought out Dutch legend Trafassi including a complete brass band to fill up the entire stage. Even though Dio managed to get the entire crowd jumping from left to right collectively, he proved to be no match for the tropical funk and madness that Skip&Die unfolded. Game, set and match for Skip&Die.
BEING ON THE COME UP MEANS FORGING ALLIANCES, CREATING COLLABORATIONS AND BEING INSPIRED BY THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.
The Studios Connect project aims to bring all of these factors together in the Red Bull Studios and then take them into action during a club tour and the Mysteryland festival, with unique backto-back sets. Talent meets inspiration when Dutch artists are given the opportunity to invite their international counterparts. Seven Dutch artists have been invited to take part in the Studios Connect project, Full Crate, Detroit Swindle, Architecs, de Sluwe Vos, Know V.A., Chaiba and Mudde. The artists were each asked to invite an international artist who has been a source of inspiration. Motor City Drum Ensemble, BREACH (aka Ben Westbeech), Bok Bok, Jordan Peak, Om Unit, New York Transit Authority and Mosca were invited by the Dutch artists, making for an exceptional roster. 166
The project kicked off in the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam, where the Dutch artists got to collaborate with their invited counterparts. Getting acquainted with each other, playing around with new ideas and working on new tracks together – all with the main goal for the tracks to be played at unique back-to-back sets during the club tour and at Mysteryland festival. Sluwe Vos explains that before going into the Studios, he had already talked with Jordan Peak about putting some loops together. “Once we got to the Studios we worked on the loops and created a complete new track. It turned out to be a very productive session.”
“IT MAKES FOR TWO HOURS OF VERY CHALLENGING AND HARD WORK, BUT IT IS SUPER FUN”
The artists took part in a club tour at Toffler and Bird, two Rotterdam based venues. During these club nights, the artists worked on their back-to-back sets and got familiar with each other in a live setting. For the guys from Detroit Swindle, adding a third person behind the decks was an extra challenge. “It’s very intense, because you don’t know each other’s records. You’ve only got a very short time to listen to how the track goes and feel the vibe, in order to choose your next record. It makes for two hours of very challenging and hard work, but it is super fun.”
The project’s big finale took place at Mysteryland, one of the leading music festivals in the Netherlands. Throughout the years, Mysteryland has proven to be a breeding ground for upcoming talents, and the unique and creative atmosphere makes it the perfect fit for the Studios Connect format. Talent meets inspiration, and at the end of it all, the artists have the chance to give back to the people.
ONE OF THE CORNER STONES OF THE RED BULL STUDIOS IS THE PHOTOGRAPHY, DOCUMENTING THE CREATIVE PROCESS FROM THE START OF DAY INTO THE LATE HOURS OF THE NIGHT.
As the lead photographer, Arenda de Hoop has seen nearly all of the musicians coming through the Studios. While the musicians are crafting their bassline to perfection, trying to hit that exact right note or jamming away with their friends, Arenda has been a fly on the wall, capturing the magic with her unique vision. Arenda stresses the importance of being as invisible as possible in the Studios. “I want to document the situation in the most natural way. I don't want to disturb anyone in their creative process, people are working so it is important to let them do their thing.” The time spent at the Studios depends from session to session for Arenda, who feels the situation out and judges how much space and privacy the artists need. “If people need their focus and I feel like I'm in the way, I try to wrap up 174
and leave as soon as possible. But more often then not I'm staying longer then I planned. There are simply so many inspiring moments.” Since the opening of the Studios Arenda has been one of the most frequent guests in the Studios, but of course had to miss out on some days. “Sometimes I hear that somebody passed by the Studios that I would have loved to have captured, or that I missed a great moment during a session, which is a pity. But every day that I'm taking photos in the Studios I realize how lucky I am to be able to capture the unique energy and creativity in this place.” Arenda de Hoop is a freelance photographer, documenting music and musicians in all shapes and forms.
ALL OF THE ENGINEERS IN THE STUDIOS ARE STUDENTS OF SAE, AND BELONG TO A SELECT GROUP OF ELITE ENGINEERS THAT GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO PUT THEIR THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE INTO REAL LIFE ACTION.
For the Red Bull Studios Amsterdam a unique alliance was forged with the School of Audio Engineering (SAE), who provide students with a unique educational system. Combining practical and theoretical curriculum in audio engineering on location. Frank de Jong, Head Engineer at SAE, explains that the Studios provide his students with a working experience that cannot be matched with regular school classes. “One of the most interesting aspects of the Studios is that there is a completely different approach as opposed to a regular studio. It is more then just audio, everything has to be picture perfect, styling is a key ingredient, podcasts have to be made and film crews walk in and out. This demands a lot more from the engineer, and is what makes it a great learning environment.”
One of the elite engineers, Felix Postma, has by now worked with a wide range of artists. His official title is engineer, but in reality he is able to do anything to support the artists. This can go from recording, editing, mixing, mastering final mixes, even co-production or sometimes to being more of a consultant. “A very special collaboration for me was working together with Awanto3 (Steven de Peven). I was present during three of the four studio days he booked and eventually he also needed an engineer to play around with the recordings. I ended up working on most of his 'Opel Mantra' album, as an engineer and sometimes as co-producer. A collaboration that I'm very proud of and which still enriches me musically.”
OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS COUNTLESS OF ARTISTS HAVE PASSED THROUGH THE RED BULL STUDIOS AMSTERDAM. THIS ARTIST APPENDIX GIVES A COMPLETE OVERVIEW OF ALL THE ARTISTS THAT HAVE RECORDED THEIR TRACKS, PLAYED THEIR SONGS, PARTICIPATED AT ONE OF THE INSPIRATIONAL SESSIONS OR SOMEHOW CONTRIBUTED TO THE CREATIVE SPIRIT OF THE STUDIOS.
Abstract Adam & The Relevants Adje Admiral Freebee Akkachar Akwasi André Hommen Architecs Aron Friedman Ashtraynutz August Rosenbaum Awanto3 Axel Boman
Bakermat Baloji Barre Tijden Beat Butcha Ben Saunders Ben Westbeech
Birth of Joy Boeboe Boris Werner Brand Breach Brian Kennedy Burt Control
Cardboard Motel Carlos Valdes Chaiba Charly Luske Che Pope ChildsPlay Cinnaman City Hollers Clairvoyance Cleavage Coco Bryce
D-Felic De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig De Sluwe Vos Dennis Ferrer Detroit Swindle Dexter Dio Diplo Dirtcaps Dollkraut
Elias Mazian Elle Bandita Eprom Eric Corton Eric de Man Esperanzah
Faberyayo Filosofische Stilte Francesco Robustelli Full Crate Furlan
Gene Farris Gerd Gery Mendes Ghostface Killah Giovanca Girls Love DJs Go Back to the Zoo Goldfish Gomes Guerilla Speakerz
H-Sik Hamertje Tik Hayzee Hef Henrik Schwarz Henzel & Disco Nova
I Am Oak Illesnoise INT Interstellar Funk Isis
Jameszoo Jarreau Vandal
Jasper Wolff & Maarten Mittendorf Jeremy de Tolly Joëlle Smidt Jonwayne Jordan Peak Joshua Walter Joya Mooi Julien Mier June Jungle by Night
L. Parker L’atelier Labyrint Lars Vegas Leeroy Legowelt Lil Kleine Lucky Charmes
Made In June Mar Marike Jager Mark Buning Maurits Max Hormeijer Mayer Hawthorne MC Fit Medlar MF Doom
Kajan Chow Kalaf Karimooo Kinkobra Know V.A. Krampfhaft Krankrvk Kris Berry 178
Mike Mago Mitchel Brunings Mosca Motor City Drum Ensemble Mr Probz Ms Dynamite Mudde Musclefarm
NoizBoiz NT89 Nymfo
OkmalumKoolkat Olff & Berend Kirch Olivier Boogie Onkel Omar OneManWolfpack
Palmbomen Patrice Bäumel Perquisite Pete, Jason & Hector Morales Pete Philly Petite Noir Pink Oculus Presk Process Rebel Prunk
Quentin van Honk Quinten909
R-A-G Rara Aves
Rauwkost Reggey Stortion Rigby Rogier van Kralingen
Steve Mensink Subp Yao Surinam Music Ensemble Szjerdene
Sam A La Bamalot San Soda Sandrien Saux Sef Shimla Pinks SHMLSS Shoe Simon Weiss SirOJ Sjaak Skip&Die Sotu the Traveller Soulsearchin' Soundcane South London Ordnance
TB6K The Child of Lov The Don’t Touch My Croque Monsieurs The Gaslamp Killer The Opposites The Partysquad The Prince of Beatz Thomas Martojo Tim Akkerman Tim Knol Tom Ruijg Tom Trago Torus
Will & Ink Wooden Saints Wudstik
Avalon U5 Radial Stereo (1x passive, 1x active) Radial REAMP BOX
(April 2014 â€“ current)
SYNTHS / PIANOS
Tascam 5000 (January 2012 - April 2014) Audient ASP8024 36 Channel DLC
Dyn Audio Air 15 monitors + Air 12 Sub
Api Rack 512 (3x) Great River MP-500NV (3x) Universal Audio LA610 MKII Universal Audio 4710-D
UREI 1178 Emperical Labs Distressor SPL PassEQ 2595
TC electronic M-One TC electronic M-3000
Native Instruments Komplete 8 Ultimate iZotope Ozone 5 Fabfilter Pro
Apple Mac Pro: Mac Pro 8core + 1TB Harddrive + 27inch LED Cinema Display Digidesign 192 expanded (x2) Pro Tools 10 / Ableton 9 / Logic / Reason / Cubase 7
AKG 271 (5x) AKG 171 (5x) Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro 250 (3x)
Korg - SV1 Korg - Microkorg XL Korg MS-20 mini Korg - Kronos Korg King Korg
Native Instruments - Maschine Beat Thang Beat Thang Korg - Wavedrum oriental Korg Electribe SX Korg Electribe MX Korg - Monotribe Roland TR-8
Roland - Juno 60 (synth) Roland - Jupiter 6 (synth) Oberheim Expander (synth) Sherman Filterbank Novation - Drumstation (808/909) WEM - Copicat
LIVE ROOM MICROPHONES
AKG 414 (2x BXLS, 2x TLII) AKG 451 (2x) Sennheiser 421 (3x) Shure SM58 Shure BETA 52A Shure SM7 (5x) Shure SM57 (x4) Coles 4038 (2x) Neumann U87 SE Electronics reflection filter Shure S pop filter
Furman box on mic stands (4x)
GUITAR & BASS AMPS
Marshall - JVM full stack (JVM410h, 1960A, 1960B) + pedals Mesa Boogie â€“ head + top (Mesa Boogie Bass Cab + M3 Cabinet) ZT - Lunchbox Vox - AC30c2 Aguilar bass amp + tone hammer 500
Vox - Tonelab EX
Natal Jim Marshall 50th Anniversary Kit Limited Edition
Quik Lok mic stand (4x) Quik Lok overhead (2x) Quik Lok overhead with cabels 181
Quik Lok sheet music stand (1x) Quik Lok small (8x) K&M mic stand (4x)
STAGE PIANO Korg SP-280
Arenda de Hoop
Sander Kerkhof and Jeroen Smeets
De Swart, Den Haag
Charl Bos, Colorprofile
YOUR:OWN, a young contempoary creative agency from Amsterdam.
Joost Stokhof & Jorgen Koolwijk
Arenda de Hoop
Sander Baks - Dio Athena Anastasiou - The Partysquad Christelle de Castro - Jameszoo Raymond van Mil - Jungle By Night Live Dan Wilton - Red Bull in Music, Jameszoo
WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO
Tess van Zwol, Mounir El Ghouat, Ramon Govaars, Red Bull Netherlands, Blueprint Media.
A WHO'S WHO OF THE ADDITIONAL PHOTOS INTRO
Bakermat & Goldfish 4 Ben Saunders 5 Ben Westbeech / Breach 6 The Don't Touch My Croque-Monsieurs 7 Kris Berry 8 The Opposites 9 Giovanca 12 Jordan Peak 14 Detroit Swindle 15 Mosca & Mudde 17 Perquisite 18
Mr Probz 185 Diplo & The Partysquad 186 Hef 187 Full Crate & Mar 188 Labyrint 189 Charly Luske 190 MC Fit 191 Ghostface Killah 192 Ben Saunders 193 Tim Akkerman 194 Bamba Nazar 196 Detroit Swindle 197 Jungle By Night 198 Serge 201 Ben Westbeech / Breach 202
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All images in this book are available (free of charge) for editorial purposes on the Red Bull Content Pool www.redbullcontentpool.com
First published in 2014.