Inside The Track with Local Options
Our heads certainly turned at Traxsource HQ when Chicago veterans Santiago and Frank Solano aka Local Options ‘Promises’ EP dropped into our inbox via Large Music. A label that has been synonomous with some of the best house music on the planet since 1993, this truly tasty 3-tracker slides nicely in alongside the imprints definition of quality underground beats.
Title track ‘Promises’ is a deep and rugged, bass driven affair with a smooth vocal that really elevates the production. ‘Plus One’ presses play on an 80s style Nu Disco work out, whilst ‘Rude Movements’ drops deep down and dirty into a basement style chugger that is guaranteed to have many a house head feeling the vibes.
With a production this eclectically diverse, it was only right that we sat down the Chi-Town stalwarts to discuss the finer details of the production process, as we went Inside The Track with Local Options.
Congratulations on your new ‘Promises’ release via Large Music. How is it being received in your sets and how are other club DJs responding to it?
We’ve been getting some great feedback thus far. We had a wonderful experience working with Jeff at Large music on our last EP ‘Dream in the Sky’, so we were eager to put out another EP with his label. On top of that, Traxsource has been giving us great support by playing ‘Plus One’ on their Toolroom Radio ‘In At The Deep End’ segment and on their weekly podcast. We’ve been getting new fans on social media from around the world and we love that. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of; we put a lot of love in each track, it goes out to the world and connects with someone on a dance floor. Then they seek us out on social media and give the love back, and so it goes, round and round.
Tell us more about the ‘Plus One’ track from your EP. What was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted the musical direction on this?
We were in the middle of working on a different track and came to a point where we wanted to experiment with a new bass line. Chris came up with the bass line for Plus One, but it did not fit the song we were working on so we saved it for the next project. We revisited it and found a patch on our Korg Polysix plug-in that gave it an 80’s Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King vibe, so we rolled with it. I started dating a new girl at the time and remember asking her if she wanted to be my plus one for a Halloween party I was playing at. I thought it was a fun idea for a vocal hook, so I wrote some more lyrics. Unfortunately, things did not work out with my lady friend, but we did get a nice song out of it!
Production wise, what is it about ‘Plus One’ that makes it work?
We’d have to say it’s a combination of things that come together in just the right way. The funky bass line, robo-vocals, plucky lead and accompanying melodies. Over all, it’s just got a great vibe; we are all about great vibes! The song is hard to classify and we think it can get played in a house set or a more Nu Disco set.
Is there one machine, program or technique that characterizes your sound?
We believe the tightness of our drum programming is worth mentioning, we also make it a point to focus on our melodies. I think it was one of the MURK guys that said recently “We are living in a worldof glorified bonus beats.” The songs you remember the morning after the party, you remember because of a melody that got into your brain, or a vocal that resonated with you. We always set out to make music you will remember, seek out and play again.
What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?
We are completely ‘in the box’ producers who both have careers so we don’t have a lot of time to try out new gear when we are in the studio. We stick with what we know and what works for us. We were Logic guys at first, but made the jump to Ableton about 5 years ago. To answer the question, the one piece we can’t do without is our UAD Apollo card. Without the UAD plug-ins we could never get the sound we like. We always like to add a bit of warmth to the master when we are done mixing, so we always use the UAD Studer emulation. It makes such a huge difference to the overall sound.
Any advice for your fans on how to make it in todays fast paced game?
The best advice we can give is to keep your eye on the prize. Both of us have been DJing and producing here in Chicago since 2000 and it’s nice to see our hard work in the studio beginning to pay off with Local Options. We make it a point to stay humble and let our music speak for us. Stay true to your sound and refrain from following what’s trendy at the moment.