In The Studio w/ Man Without A Clue
Although Dutch producer Man Without A Clue has been around for well over a decade, it has only been over the last few years that his career has progressed to the next level. During that time the reaction he has received has been phenomenal; praise from legends such as Kenny Dope and Roger Sanchez and releases on imprints including DFTD, Dope Wax and Stealth. Contrary to the artist’s pseudonym, he evidently knows exactly what he is doing.
And with the launch of Man Without A Clue’s new label on Traxsource featuring his first EXCLUSIVE release , we decided to reach out to him & see how & what he creates his music with in our next In The Studio feature.
1) What equipment do you have in your studio? (full studio kit list).
- Windows PC (custom build)
- Steinberg Cubase 5
- TC Electronic Studio Konnekt 48
- 2x KRK Rokit 8
- Novation Bass Station 2
- Roland TR-8
- Roland TD-9
- Native Instruments Maschine
- Behringer UMX 61
- Alesis 3632 Compressor
- Fender Strat (Electric Guitar)
- Seagull CW Cedar (semi acoustic guitar)
- Cort (electric bass guitar)
- Sony Tape Recorder (old one)
- M-Audio Nova
- Shure SM58
NOTE: Click the images for large versions
2) What is your favourite piece of equipment to use in the studio & why?
At this point, it’s my Maschine. I love to program beats, and this piece makes it a lot easier. I use to drag and drop samples that I’ve collected over the years. But right now, I can just play around more, layer sounds and go crazy with it!
3) Give us some insight into your production process. How do you typically begin constructing a track?
Well, first I make some coffee, and then I fire up my system. Normally I start out programming the beat with a single kick drum that I set up in an 8-bar loop. At that point I am going to add stuff; layer stuff till a nice beat is setup. Normally by that time I am already kind of humming a bassline or whatever in my head, and I record that. Either on the bass station or maybe something like the massive. Sometimes I even get the bass-guitar out and play something, it all depends on what vibe the beat is and what I feel like doing that day. At that point, I just keep on messing around, creating and perfecting the beat as I feel it should be. When the point comes that I am truly happy with what I did, I will stretch that little 8-bar loop out to a 32-bar loop. Then I work on edits, add more layers, keys, vocals and whatever I come up with at that moment. I don’t always work like this; I just let creativity take over and do what feels right. Sometimes I hear an old disco record, and I sample a little part and use that as a starting point. There is no telling how a record comes together when you’re working.
4) What piece of studio equipment or production process defines the Man Without A Clue sound?
I think it’s the way I put stuff together, it’s not a piece of gear I own. I think what defines me is how I make the record and finalize it. I always believed that if you want to make a tune, it has to be a true reflection of you, never try to copy somebody else. So for me it’s probably the creative process you go through when you create a record. Haha, and trust me, sometimes you have those kind of days where nothing works, but hey, that sh*t happens too! I do have to say that I am a big fan of drums and weird licks in a record. So maybe those weird sounds are kind of what defines my records. I’ll leave that up to the people who listen to what I make haha.
5) What piece of hardware/software elevated your production to a higher level & how?
The Maschine without question. As I said, am a big fan of drums & love to programme beats. The maschine makes it easier for me to play around with sounds & layer that stuff on top of each other.
6) What fresh equipment have you recently added to the lab?
The last piece I bought was the Roland TR-8 plus the 707/727 expansion packs. It’s real dope!! I also did a review for the people who just wanted to hear what you can do with it and how it sounds.
7) Your essential studio supplies (food, drink, cigs etc) are?
Coffee, red bull, cookies and yes, I smoke. So once in a while I step out the door and have a moment of peace. When I smoke, I always let the music play as sometimes I hear certain things that need to be changed just by standing somewhere else in the room. So that spot became natural for me to stand and let the record play a few times.
8) What list of artists have influenced your sound?
There are loads of them, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with a couple. I recently spent a week in New York working at the KayDee studio with Kenny Dope on new records. That week was very inspiring and motivated me to work even harder on the stuff that I am doing. I grew up with a father who collected records. He used to have a big collection, and I think I heard them all there hahaha. So my love for soul, jazz, blues, rock comes from that. I can’t say that I have a specific list of artists who influenced me to become a producer/DJ. I think it’s the music, in general, I can’t imagine going a day without hearing at least some music, either it being house, hip-hop, soul, jazz, blues or whatever!
9) What are 3 personal favourite tracks that you’ve created?
- 1: Morning (Funk Mix)
I loved how this record came together. I kept the original mix more focused on the bass, but I wanted to add a funky mix.
I really like disco music and more funky stuff, so I listened to my record collection, heard this one lick in a record and sampled it. I did a little this and that on it, cut it up, and there it was, one big bowl of funk! This record is also the first release on my new label “Clueless Music” so it’s special to me :-)
- 2: Kenny Dope & Raheem DeVaughn – MJ (Man Without A Clue Remix)
It’s not been released but is a record I’m really proud of, and for me it turned out just the way I wanted it. Working with the vocals of Raheem was amazing. Just like “Morning”, this tune turned out quite funky, but jazzy at the same time. This record was actually the first track I played live as “Man Without A Clue|” in Ibiza when I started out DJing last summer under this alias! The remix will be released somewhere in the near future on Dopewax. Stay tuned!
- 3: When I Play This Record
This is where it all started for me. The record was picked up by Defected and released on DTFD early 2014. The way I produced this record was pretty simple. I only wanted was Roland drums, and if I remember it right, there is a 707, 808 and a 909 in this one. Maybe here and there I layered it with some other stuff, but to be sure, I would have to pull the project out and see. The synth line I created was just me playing around on the keyboard till it popped out!
10) Any handy studio tips you would like to pass onto producers out there?
First of all, never ever stop creating music. Always remember the reason you started making music in the first place because you love it. If that’s not your reason, stop and go do something else. Music is about being creative, and there are absolutely no guidelines or laws that tell you how to make music, so just go at it and make that music. Secondly, make sure you make your own music, don’t go in the studio and copy somebody. The main tip is never quit, never give up, and believe in yourself (not in an arrogant way as nobody likes arrogant people). If you truly love what you do and you put the work in, it will find its way somehow.
11) What new production should your fans be on the lookout for at Traxsource soon?
My new release “Morning” is dropping on my brand new label “Clueless Music” as an exclusive on April 24th! Can’t wait for my label to launch, and Traxsource has the first exclusive! The release contains an original, and a funk mix. Really excited about this!