In The Studio w/ Atjazz & Jullian Gomes
Pretoria-born Jullian Gomes grew up alongside a record junkie of an older Cousin in Michael G (together they’ve recorded as G.Family – and picked up a SAMA nomination) and was absorbing the midtempo sounds of Tshwane’s vibrant club scene before he was a teenager. Little wonder he graduated to represent South Africa at the Red Bull Music Academy in London in 2011, had a subsequent smash hit with “Love Song 28” (also remixed by Ewan Pearson and Charles Webster) and ended up remixing the likes of Black Coffee, The Layabouts and Omar.
Anyone with a passing interest in house music has heard of Atjazz. The north-eastern Englander has been producing since the mid-90s, and is responsible for hundreds of remixes, including ones for Bob Sinclar, Jazzanova and SA’s own C.9ine. When he toured the country in 2011 he met Gomes at the infamous House 22 in Sunnyside, and the two struck up a relationship that’s been blossoming ever since. The two ended up collaborating on “Overshadowed” in 2012, and the working experience and success it achieved lead to them continually working together.
With their new release out now on Traxsource, Martin & Jullian gave us an Exclusive tour of the newly created Arco Labs studio along with an interview about their kit, production methods & more in the next instalment of ‘In The Studio’.
Out of My Life ft Bucie is available now on Traxsource.
1) What equipment do you have in your studio? (full studio kit list).
Martin: We mainly used Cubase 5 as our DAW and this was mostly for recording sounds and arranging them. We also ‘paint’ our beats in there too as the audio engine is just amazing. A lot of analogue synths and equipment was used which was then pushed through valves so the saturation on the album is very thick. Overall, we did this quickly and made music rather than sitting for hours tweaking plugins to no avail. We had an Idea and we now work this way every time we get to be in the studio together. ‘‘Out of my life’‘ is the last single from the album and was produced about 1 year after we had finished the album but yet we were in the same mind frame with the techniques and equipment used.
NOTE: Click the images for large versions
2) What is your favourite piece of equipment to use in the studio & why?
Martin: Well that’s a hard question as not one piece of gear can do everything, If I was to be really into one thing it would have to be the DAW as without Cubase, we can’t write music and finish our productions. Only last week I started and got half way through a song without the aid of any ‘instruments’, I was playing with an FM radio and got from that what I needed at that time.
3) Give us some insight into your production process. How do you typically begin constructing a track?
Jullian: When working with Martin I feed off of his energy and he does the same with me. We normally agree on where we want to go with the vibe and idea, that’s because we always present a good direction in where we would like to take the music and we’re both quick to say if we’re feeling a certain vibe or not and It’s always about the music first and foremost. When working alone I just start wherever the emotion of what I’m doing wants me to start and let it evolve from there.
Martin: Pretty much what Jullian said, it has to be instant, the ideas are not allowed to get stagnant with the two of us working, I’m a bit of a studio control freak and need to get things right quickly, Jullian soon learned to also be like this with me too, in order for us never to loose direction. I think when I work alone, I use the same ideal, if it’s not working, bin it then start again and go with whatever idea gives you goosebumps. The key for me is to produce my music as I write so when I’m done, it’s done too.
4) What piece of studio equipment or production process defines your sound?
Martin: Again I think this can’t be answered easily as there are so many instruments that are what our or my sound is based around. I think the mind is a powerful instrument in the studio as when it gets creative you know you’re onto a winner, with few sounds & little production – you know it’s a big tune. On the other hand, we can sit for hours and come up with nothing. Currently though, I’m personally digging the ARP 2600 which is on loan from YSE or Rhythm Plate as you may know him. This thing is just crazy, it’s basically a modular ARP Odyssey with extra bits n bobs, it’s a very creative piece of kit and is not to be taken lightly. I also think the UAD processing plugins have changed the way I work and I know Jullian loves to use these too, they sound amazing and the interfacing makes using them so much fun.
5) What piece of hardware/software elevated your production to a higher level & how?
Martin: UAD Plugins, these are essential for me and I’ve converted a lot of people to using them.
Jullian: I used Cubase for a while and i really liked the flexibility of it but Logic Pro changed my sound as i really liked the audio engine on it. It took me a while to get flexible with Logic though. Still learning things everyday and also as Martin mentioned, UAD Plugins are amazing.
6) What fresh equipment have you recently added to the lab?
Martin Iveson: I got hold of a Focusrite Liquid Mix and this is amazing, it’s nice to have a hardware/software mix and the compressors are just perfect, a very very good purchase at just over £100!. I also have on load a Minimoog Model D up in the place which is totally amazing too and for a little ghetto production throwback I got hold of a Coomber 393 Recorder so I can get my beats onto cassette and then back into the DAW with more punch and that lovely stereo air that cassette tapes give you.
7) Your essential studio supplies (food, drink, cigs etc) are?
Jullian: Well when I’m in studio at home, just some cranberry juice or something. When I’m at Martins studio he makes me a cup of tea…
Martin Iveson: Last night’s curry left overs, tea and plenty of water, then once evening kicks in, we get the wine out!
8) What list of artists have influenced your sound?
Jullian: Have so many different influences from so many genres but ill mention a few on the House side; Atjazz, Osunlade, Karizma, Jimpster, Raw Artistic Soul, Charles Webster, Dennis Ferrer, Pepe Bradock, Dj Gregory, Murk, MAW and a lot more.
Martin: In house music it was Ron Trent & Chez Damier back in the day, obviously MAW but also DJ Krush, La Funk Mob, Charles Webster and a whole lot of old Jazz & Funk Records. I also love Herbie Hancock’s approach to music, I guess he’s my hero.
9) What are your 3 favourite productions?
Martin: For me, I have none, I feel I only favor my own music when it’s just finished, I soon get bored of myself, but there are a couple of songs out there, 13.10.11 13.11.11 and Life On Titan which are very personal pieces of work — but I prefer to favor other people’s works.
Jullian: I would say ‘‘People With Bullets’‘ as it’s the first record I did with G.Family back in 2007. I guess that’s where it all started for me, so it’s personal and close to me. Love Song 28 (feat. Bobby) is probably one record that also changed a lot of things for me on a lot of levels, there’s an incomprehensible energy about that song and I’m really happy with the way people received it. Out Of My Life is also one of my favourites, I really felt the energy in Studio while Atjazz & Myself created it and felt like the process just flowed and the record took another step deeper into our collaborative evolution.
10) Any handy studio tips you would like to pass onto producers out there?
Jullian: Every sound counts, take time to design your vision and learn to embrace the ‘‘exciting mistakes’‘ during a session.
Martin: Do things as quickly as you can, never sit on an idea for longer than an hour, you must move just as the world moves as your ideas will be left behind otherwise.
11) What new production should your fans be on the lookout for on Traxsource soon?
Martin: We both feel that ‘Out Of My Life’ is a perfect example of what we as a duo are capable of, it’s very honest, original & solid work and we hope people get what we’re putting across with our sound. Thanks for having us!! :)
Atjazz artist, label pages & releases on Traxsource.