An architect of sound first visualizes then realises, making something out of nothing, making sure that not only the object itself shines but also the space around it. The sound is moulding, shaping and morphing at the hands of DJ Ink.
Ink landed his first release 16 years ago as The Architex (together with J.Dub and DJ Kwest). This was on the monumental label Basement Records back in 1995. Since then it’s been a journey.
His music has been released on labels such as Renegade Hardware, Metalheadz and Shogun Audio – not to mention his own imprint Architecture Recordings. Besides being a producer he also sees the scene through the eyes of a label owner and veteran DJ.
With his new album “Last Scroll” fresh out on Renegade Hardware, this was the perfect time to catch up with him. We spoke about the LP, his studio setup and his thoughts about music production.
Times have changed a lot since you first started. Can you bring us in a little bit on your studio setups?
“Currently I am fully digital at my main studio with a Mac quad core, Mackie HR824s and an M-Audio keystation pro 88. My other studio based at J.dub’s house has various outboard gear. To give you a general picture I have listed the various pieces of equipment that I have used in my production career.”
EMU E64 sampler
EMU E6400 sampler
Mackie 8 bus mixing desk
Yamaha 01 mixing desk
Akai S01 sampler
Roland Juno 60
Oberheim Matrix 1000
Roland TR-808 drum machine
Alesis compressor 3630 dual channel limiter
TL audio valve compressor
TC digital mastering comp
Morpheus Z-plane synthesizer
Virus B digital synthesizer module
TC mastering compressor
Avalon vacuum tubed pre amp
Optical compressor and eq
Manley Massive passive eq
Toft series a tb16 to 8 channel mixer
CS60 Yamaha analogue synthesizer classic rare
Korg Triton keyboard
Roland JV-1080 syhnthesizer
Korg Kaoss pad
Line 6 pod guitar amp modeller
Zoom guitar fx processor
Commodore Amiga 500 running Sound Tracker (Old Skool!!!)
What programs/plugins are your favorites and why?
“I have always liked how Cubase deals with wav files, but I am currently using Logic‘s newest build. I also am a fan of Nomad plugins and of course Waves plugins.”
Last Scroll LP
Last Scroll is a very special album in many ways. First of all it’s the first ever artists album on Renegade Hardware – and they’ve been in the game for 15 years! The album spans across two CD’s. The first one, titled “The Palette” is smoother, melodic and goes deeper. The second CD, “The Papyrus” is more geared towards the dancefloor with harder beats and basslines.
Can you name one of your personal favorite tracks from the LP and tell us a little bit about the production process of that track?
“-Hidden Dreams” is one of my favs on the LP. This track was made on my digital set up and took less than two days to complete as the vibe was set almost immediately by the first chord I composed.
Over the years my production has focused heavily on breaks, so with this particular track I wanted to move away from the norm and flesh out a beat made from random various parts. Compression played a major part in balancing all the elements of the beat in order for it to sound as fluid as possible and not too staccato.
As there is a ton of low end frequency pushing in the tune, low cutting was essential to bring out the character of the bass, which was also constructed in the same methods I used for the beats.
The final ingredients were added to the track after I had bounced the entire tune in order to stop the processor crashing because of all the plug ins performing simultaneously.”
I have to agree with Ink on this one – “Hidden Dreams” is simply beautiful. It’s a carefully constructed track, full of vibe. It’s one of them hypnotic ones that just take you on ride.
Music lovers go get Last Scroll LP from all good record stores, you won’t be disappointed!
The new LP was a huge project and involed a handful of people with collaborations but this is nothing new to Ink. He’s played a strong role behind Renegade Hardware managing projects and putting together their classic V/A albums. He’s obviously an achiever who doesn’t like to dwell on things. Successfully pulling off projects with a lot of people involved is no easy task.
“-Working as a team is absolutely essential in these circumstances. Without that helpful mindset of all the guys involved many of the projects could never come to pass. The first and most important thing is to have a plan of action or a concept and then build from there, much like the work we are doing with the Horsemen project on Renegade Hardware. Plan, map then execute!!”
What is your typical work schedule like?
“-My work in the past between 1995 and 2005 was rather like a 9 to 5 job as we hired studio spaces around London which are very expensive, so it was important to get our moneys worth.
Now that I have a home based setup I can work more on the particular mood I’m in, which I find works far better for me.”
What kind of artists/people do you like to work with?
“I have worked along side J.Dub, Digital, Loxy, Btk, Perpetuum, Konflict, R.Johnson, Gremlinz, DBR UK, Khanage, Friske, DJ Kwest, Genotype and a number of others. The main thing for me when working with any producer is versatility. Once you have this, anything is possible.”
The main thing for me when working with any producer is versatility. Once you have this, anything is possible.
What would be your advice for someone getting into music production now?
“Start with some studying. This will help you avoid long and tiresome studio sessions in the future. Once this has been done then just do “You” in the studio and define your own style.”
Another big project is finished and released – what’s next for Ink?
“As mentioned earlier Renegade Hardware is releasing another LP entitled “Horsementality” which has been commissioned by myself and Loxy – the two founders of the Horsemen. I am also exploring my other music interests in order to keep things exciting as I have been rolling the dnb beats out for almost 20 years!!”
Without a doubt Ink will continue to tear it out as always. It’s a very interesting time for this music as things are more versatile than ever before. Big up the man for the interview and all the best with future endeavours!