Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Some Advice From Dennis Ferrer

As I said before Deep House Page are running this Q & A with Dennis Ferrer and I have seen some interesting stuff, im gonna post below a few, so check it out.


Pain in the ass significant others. When you're working you don't exist to them except in an emergency. Put your foot down...Running to the store for freakin' milk IS NOT AN EMERGENCY!!!

Mobile Phones...look...it's not that important that it cant wait. If the cops ain't at the door then turn the thing off. I can't count the number of times i'm working and someone calls, tells me some bullcrap, and then i'm pissed off and i've forgotten the amazing riff I had. Now some peeps see that as a sign...and I concur..but it still pisses me off!


Sleep deprivation: nothing good has ever come out of listening to the record for the 2,000th time on 4hr's of sleep and writing a cheesy synth line....NOTHING.

Big Meals....a case of Itis is definitely not cool when your trying to work....snack here and there so you're not starving.


Sex: I swear....really...for some reason this works. Not for athletes...but Oh well LOL!

Musical Journeys: anything but house...get your hands on...I've been listening to John Mayer lately ...I know...but look the guy can write. This will expand your musical vocabulary and you tend to draw from it when inspiration hits.

Walking Away: If that record or synth line doesn't come to you in 5 minutes...then walk away. I have a hard drive full of records that will never see the light of day. Just because of this. You don't have to put out everything you do. Just cuz you finish it...doesn't make it a good record worthy of a release. I'm just sayin.....

Balancing Bass Lines w/Kick Drums

big boomy kick? then you have to use a mid rangy bass with the extreme low end rolled off to give that kick space.(subtractive eq is your friend here)

Subby bass? well then vice versa.. use a short kick with plenty attack and watch that decay and extreme low end (subtractive eq is your friend again)

now to find the right sweet spot......

play just the kick and bassline ..reach for your volume knob, hope you have really small speakers, turn the volume all the way down to off...then bring the volume knob one notch up until you can just barely hear the kick. Adjust the bassline while your at this volume until the bassline just barely sits underneath the kick. The idea here is that you should hear the bassline at this volume but it should not by any means overpower the kick. It should sit right. Now you ask why so low?

BECAUSE if it sounds right this freakin' low then guess what? It'll sound phenomenal when it's loud.

This is probably the simplest thing someone will ever tell you..and in reality it seems stupid..especially to people who are watching you work. But trust me...it'll change your game REAL quick in a hurry.

Now that you've done that...there are some instances where the above technique still doesn't work because the bassline falls onto the same time as the kick. This is where sidechaining/multiband comping comes into play.

To make a long story short..what your attempting to do is this. Whenever that kick hits and the bassline falls at the same time..your telling the comp to duck the bassline. Sidechaining will get this done for you. There are a bunch of techniques but my favorite seems to be splitting the bassline into 2 sets of frequencies. One consisting of just the low end and the other the high end. I strap the sidechained comp unto the low end so when the kick hits it'll just bring down the low end of the bassline thereby not affecting the high end. So your mind gets tricked a bit better into not noticing the amplitude dip.


nowadays mixdowns are a mix as you go affair. Generally as i'm writing i make sure i get the sound i want from the jump. Tweak it and continue writing. The idea is that when you're finished writing the tune all you need is a tweak here or there when you switch to different listening mediums.
Multiple sets of different sized monitors are not a necessity but it's an amazing time honored method of working and checking your mix by having them. I personally use 4 different pair. A pair with 15" drivers, a pair with 9", a pair with 6", and one speaker(for mono checking) with a 3" driver. The idea is that if the mix sounds correct on all those speakers without tweaking...then your mix is dead on. You've basically covered your ass.

I personally love to make sure that the mix is thumping on that 3". If you can make bass come through on that thing then you can be sure that mix is on point. Hint: mix and adjust volumes at the lowest possible volume setting without the monitors being off. Try a kick and a hihat at first. Make sure the hihat volume is all the way off and slowly begin to mix it in. You'll notice immediately when the hi hat is too loud. The idea is to sit it in there just barely below the kick. Once you're done switch to the main monitors and turn the volume up. It should sound right on point. People fight with this because they try for hours while the mix is blazing not noticing that ear fatigue begins to sit in and messes with your perception of sound and high end.

Production Workflow

There's never a set time. Every song i've done has been a different process and has had different timing issues. I've had songs sitting on my drive for 4 years before they finally made sense to release. So I don't really worry to much about time. I wait until it makes sense in our genre to let it go. For example "son of raw" was a loop i had made and never finished for a year. Just sitting there until Jerome Sydenham came over while i had reopened it and bam! 2 days later it was done. Some of the best records ever made were done in 1 - 2 days. Some of the worst 6 months lol!. Creating, finishing and mixing is a feel process. Each step is based on that. It's done when it feels right. Take your time and don't fret. I'd rather take my time and get it right then rush and put out bullcrap.


Mastering is best left to the professionals who specialize in it.

Here's the one thing everyone forgets......and one you should make sure never leaves you.

If it has been mixed correctly then there is no need for someone to come in and FIX it!!!

The mastering engineer just makes sure my low end isn't running away and my high end is not piercing. He makes sure I'm within redbook cd spec which is -0.3 db. And if i'm going to vinyl he makes sure that low end isn't rumbling so much as to overtly expand the groove into the next groove when lathing.

Thats it. The end. I'm always suspect of someone who wants to master their own stuff or their friends do it.


I can't emphasize this enough...and mastering isn't an issue.

Now...don't get me wrong...there has been the odd case/rare event of a half deaf mastering engineer doing our record and making it sound like crap when all he had to do was leave it alone. Haven't had an issue since we switched though.

No comments:

Post a Comment