Inside The Studio with Saytek
Saytek, real name Joseph Keevill, has emerged as one of the scene’s most hotly tipped live acts. Known for his exciting, hardware-heavy live performances (drawing influences from Chicago, Detroit, House, Acid, Techno, Electronica and more), the Londoner has already picked up a few solid accolades including album of the month from Mixmag for his ‘Live on Cubism II’ as well as Best Live Act from DJ Mag in 2014.
Having cut his teeth in one of London’s legendary night spots – the End, the London local’s in-demand live jams have since seen him play some of the world’s most respected nightclubs, including Fabric and Space, Ibiza alongside releasing his own productions on respected imprints including Liebe*Detail, Soma, Bedrock, KMS.
July (2016) sees Keevil release the highly anticipated ‘Machine Jams’ album – 14 of his own original productions, recorded live on his extensive hardware setup. We were lucky enough to catch up with Saytek in the studio and chat about all of that gear..
What equipment do you have in your studio?
• Elektron Analog 4
• Elektron Analog Rytm
• Korg Volca Bass
• Korg Volca Keys
• Korg Volca Sample
• Korg Kaos Pad
• Korg Monotron Delay
• Mac Book Pro
• Novation Impulse 25
• Native Instruments Maschine Mikro
• ERM Midi Clock
• Arturia Spark
• Pioneer RMX 1000
• Pioneer DJm 800
• Roland MC909 × 2 (damaged)
NOTE: Click the images for large versions
2) Any favourite pieces of equipment to use in the studio? if so why?
It’s impossible to pick one favourite with so many bits of kit all doing so much and all having there own unique sounds. I am a person that loves music technology and unique boxes but I have an equal love for powerful software. I am in my element when I am using all the machines as one entity thats what I do when I perform live.
Give us some insight into your production process. How do you typically begin constructing a track?
Well there are two unique processes one for live performances and live tracks and another for studio tracks and remixes. When making live material a tend to spend time on each machine/bit of software individually making grooves, beats , synth lines, new sounds , basses , messing up samples or creating new effects these elements stay pretty separate from each other until I go to the jamming phase where I try certain elements out with other bits for example a bass/chord/synth pattern I have made on my Elektron analog four might go really well with a drum pattern I have made on the Analog Rytm or a sleepy acidic pattern I have made on one of the volcas may match well with a groove I have made on machine. This process is great as it opens me up to world of surprises I suppose its like a DJ finding that one of his records goes really well with another record but this is one musical element working with another one.
When making tracks or remixes I work in a more traditional sense of creating music just for one track rather than lots of pieces for one live set. But I still arrange my stuff live in session view in Ableton
Is there any piece of studio equipment or a production process defines your sound?
Well for the live stuff its the process I described above it allows me to create sounds and music I wouldn’t be able to with the more traditional approach because it allows for surprises things you would never think would work just clicking. But one thing I can’t live without is the ERM MidiClock keeps all my stuff in time for the live show.
What piece of hardware or software elevated your production to a higher level and how?
Once again so many but the pieces that have really changed the way I work over the last 20 years I mean made a fundamental impact to my production process in chronological order go like this.
1990s – 2014 – Groove-Boxes I have had the Roland 505 , Yamaha RMx1 , The Korg electribes and for 10 years used the Roland MC909 in my live show. These boxes are great because they combine hands on sound design , step sequencing and sampling in one box with no computer screen so they are for creating and performing music live on the fly and fun to use.
Early 2000’s – Present – Ableton I am in love with this software I use it in my live show and for my productions its really intuitive and super powerful and its set up for live performance.
2013 to present – Maschine I make most my computer based grooves in this before transferring them to ableton to perform with. Its like a groove box with the power and sound design capabilities of a computer. Its for me its the perfect bit of kit for making my own loop packs for the live show can just make grooves so easily and quickly and have a lot of fun plus exporting them aI individual elements is a doddle with is super important for the way I work.
2013 to present – Volcas great and very cheap bits of kit and they sound great with really cool sequencers. I have the Bass, Keys and Sample all play a massive part in my live show.
2013 to present – Novation Impulse 25 – big well built controller keyboard covered in tape the old school way this is for firing samples and turns Ableton into hardware and makes it hands on.
2015/16 – Elektron Analog four and Analog rytm – I am love with these machines they sound great and they are amazing for live they replaced my Roland MC909 that after years of service had to go. The elektrons are really deep boxes they allow immense sound design and are set up for performance and the sequencers are next level. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that they are analog because u have so much control over the sound but when u listen to them its clear.
What fresh equipment have you recently added to the lab?
The elektrons are the latest additions.
Your essential studio supplies are…
Coffee I am a specialist coffee freak and drink artisan filter coffee to keep me going in the studio and at home I make milk based coffee :)
Which artists have influenced your sound?
In terms of electronic music a lot of early Detroit techno people like Derrick May , Jaun Akins , Kevin Saunderson , Jeff Mills, Robert Hood , Plastik Man a lot of Aphex Twin’s work particularly his early stuff. Lots of the early rave white labels and 90’s uk electronic groups like FSOL, The Orb, Orbital, The Prodigy, Leftfield, 90’s trip hop: Tricky, Massive attack, Portishead. Also lots of early european underground house and techno artists.
I love dub; Lee Scratch Perry, he is a hero of mine . Classical, particularly Mozart and Beethoven symphonies, some of the more left field jazz stuff like Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Hendrix… the list goes on
Now days I also hear a lot of great music played by DJs on tour really great underground house and techno.
Give us 3 of your favourite productions.
• Hood Jam
• Stretching Time
Are there any handy studio tips you would like to pass onto producers out there?
Don’t let anyone tell what you have to buy or what software to use we all work differently so try and figure out what works best for you.
Finally, what new music should your fans be on the look out for at Traxsource soon?
My Machine Jams Album out now.
Here’s how Saytek throws it down LIVE.