In The Studio with Glenn Underground

Born in ‘70s Chicago, Deep house maestro Glenn Underground draws influence from the city’s rich musical history, being exposed to everything from Soul and Disco to Freeform Jazz whilst growing up in the ‘Windy City’.

Underground’s sound, a fusion of Soul, Disco and Jazz, echoes original Chicago pioneers Larry Heard, Lil’ Louis and Ron Hardy and his work provides a strong reference point for the scene, with seminal releases on Cajual, Prescription Guidance, Peacefrog, Dance Mania, alongside his own imprint – Strictly Jaz Unit.

We were lucky enough to catch up with the Chicago legend to celebrate his latest offering – ‘Forever Love’ – A future classic, perfect for Summertime pool-side listening with smooth vocals, Jazzy percussion and Underground’s signature laidback groove. Read on for ‘In the Studio’ with Glenn Underground.

What equipment do you have in your studio?.

In my studio I have a few rigs and complexity is how it would be best described. I call it ‘Digilog’ (Analog/Digital) so now let me start with the brain of my operation:

  • Akai Mpc 3000
  • Roland Juno 106
  • Fender Rhodes Stage 73 Piano
  • Micro Korg
  • Yamaha Motif (Rack)
  • Korg Triton (Rack)
  • Roland 1080
  • Emu Vintage Keys Plus
  • Nord Lead
  • 2 TC Electronics Finalizers
  • Equitek 200 Tube Mic
  • 4 Alesis 3630
  • And the Almighty Powerful Gorilla Computer
  • And innumerable amount of premium Vst Plugins
  • I like to Master With Duende SSL Products, NuGen Products, & Waves Products
  • Mackie 32*8 Buss with all the trimmings
  • Harrison MixBus
  • And a couple of digital/Analog tape machines
  • I’ll stop here, tired of running back and forth to see what I have (LOL), There is more…

NOTE: Click the images for large versions

Any favourite pieces of equipment to use in the studio? if so why?

Everything basically, but the brain is my the Akai MPC 3000.

Give us some insight into your production process. How do you typically begin constructing a track?

I start out with a basic drum track just to follow time, then I may do a bass line 1st which is weird and then the chords, but when I have an idea: a grand piano sound and start at chords 1st, but the reason sometimes I do a bass line 1st is to challenge myself, I can’t read music but I know how to play what I hear in my head, playing by ear has its advantages and disadvantages as well, but oh well.

Is there any piece of studio equipment or a production process defines your sound?

The Fender Rhodes Piano & Pads/Strings, The Mini Moog, Arp 2600, Also the Arp Solina Strings, those are my prime basics.

What piece of hardware or software elevated your production to a higher level and how?

MPC 60 in 1990, then the MPC 3000 in 1995.

What equipment have you recently added to the lab?

Mini Moog Little Phatty.

Your essential studio supplies are…

Water And Thought.

Which artists have influenced your sound?

• Herbie Hancock
• George Duke
Roy Ayers
Larry Heard
• James Mason
• Ray Parker Jr.
• Stevie Wonder
• Emir Deodato
• Chick Corea
Lil Louis
• Jon Lucian
• Lonnie Liston Smith
There are many many more, but it’ll never end if I keep going

Give us 3 of your favourite productions.

• *Mental Black Resurrection

Israelee Night Falls

Afro Gente’

Are there any handy studio tips you would like to pass onto producers out there?

Do you no matter what someone else says, you make it happen, and make what you have work, you don’t need what the next producer have in lab to make it happen, I have seen it done with less than more in my time, oh yes and always try and recreate/reinvent yourself to stay relevant (it will work out if you are sincere)

Finally, what new music should your fans be on the look out for at Traxsource soon?

The SJU MUZIC 50th Release Titled: “Forever Love”, which I hope the people will enjoy and support.

Strictly Jaz Unit Muzic on Traxsource
Glenn Underground on Traxsource
Glenn Underground on Soundcloud
Glenn Underground on Facebook
Glenn Underground on Twitter

To you readers out there, which artist’s studio would you like us to dive into? Let us know in the comments below.