We take you 'Inside The Studio' with Vince Watson
An electronic music artist with true flair, Vince Watson straddles the borders of Electronica, Techno, Deep House and Downtempo. With his massive Cocoon track ‘Speaker Freaker’ charting #1 in our Techno genre and his exciting new Leena release entitled ‘Machines Need Love’ out now, we asked him for a tour around his studio to show us the equipment he uses in this next edition of ‘In The Studio’.
What equipment do you have in your studio?
I’ve actually just came out the other end of another metamorphosis, yet another colossal Studio change/move. I’ve always liked to rip things up and rebuild every 2-3 years anyway for freshness sake and for change of scenery, but this one was a big change for me. I actually moved to a completely different place, so the studio space I have now is a lot smaller than before, so I’ve had to downsize the equipment list a bit and prioritize what machines are more being used daily and which ones can be shelved for the time being. To be honest, its already been an enlightening experience from a results perspective as it has really inspired me to get more out of what I have instead of endlessly pondering what synth to use. It also gives me the chance to finally explore Omnisphere 2 in detail, which is no small undertaking.
• MacPro running Yosemite
• Access Virus Ti Polar
• Arturia Keystep
• Roland TB303
• Roland TR8 (Customised)
• Roland System 1 (Customised)
• Arturia Microbrute
• Kong Triton
• Roland SH101
• Roland JP8000
• Arturia Beatstep
• Novation Supernova 2
• Roland TR909
• Roland TR808
• Eventide H9 Max
• RME Multiface II
• KRK Rokit RP8G3
• Akai MPC2000XL
• Roland Juno 106
• Roland Juno 2
• Ableton Live 9 Suite
• Omnisphere 2
• Uhe Diva
• Uhe Hive
• Arturia V5 Collection
• NI Kontakt
• Synthogy Ivory 2
• e-Instruments Session Keys (all)
• e-Instruments Session Strings
• East West Quantum Leap Gold
• East West Hollywood Silver
• Fabfilter (all)
• Izotope Ozone 6
• Roland SH2
Any favourite pieces of equipment to use in the studio? if so why?
My all time favourite has always been my SH101, as it was always my go-to synth for Subs, Leads, Baselines or acidy stuff, but that was before I finally figured out how to use my Virus software/hardware setup correctly (after 6 years!!), and now my Virus is probably my go-to synth as its right in front of me on my desk at all times and is much more versatile than the 101. Of course, it’s not a replacement… because that would never happen :)
Give us some insight into your production process. How do you typically begin constructing a track?
When I switched to Ableton after using only hardware for so long, I was late to catch the bus, and I didn’t like how a lot of people seemed to be using it. I found my best way (and by far the quickest way) is to get all the parts you’re going to use running as loops in Session view, and either record 5 secs worth into arrangement view or drag in all the parts to the start of your arrangement, then drag all the parts up to around 6 mins. I then reverse engineer the track by playing from the start and as its playing I drag parts out until my structure is roughly there. This process is at least 10 times quicker than sitting looking at the screen and thinking what you want the track to start with and dragging stuff in one at a time. Try it!
Is there any piece of studio equipment or a production process defines your sound?
It’s probably my strings that define my sound the most, so I would say my Supernova, Triton, Omnisphere 2, Session Strings Pro and one major secret weapon which shall remain secret :)
What piece of hardware or software elevated your production to a higher level and how?
Ableton did, there is no doubt about it. Not from an audio perspective, but from a creativity one. I moved from MPC’s and sequencers to go in-the-box, and I’ve never looked back. It was a Quantum Leap for me, and I regret not moving over sooner than I did. Ableton was Version 4 when I bought it.
What fresh equipment have you recently added to the lab?
The lovely people at Roland have kindly sent me a JD-XA, but its not here yet! Im also trying hard to get my hands on the System-8. I also picked up the Arturia Keystep. I had a Boutique JP-08 and MX1 but didn’t think id use them enough and returned them. I really want to try the Modal 8 as well as the Deepmind, but the S8 is the beast I’ve been waiting for…
Your essential studio supplies are…
Haha… My pre-studio session ritual means the kettle goes on, the earl grey gets poured into the biggest mug possible and I grab some brazil nuts and Rich Tea biscuits, although I have been known to switch those and demolish half a packet of Stroopwaffles (a dutch kind of flat caramel wafer). Oops! I also drink a gallon of water.
Which artists have influenced your sound?
Give us 3 of your favourite productions.
Always find this one hard to answer as I’ve never released anything I’m not proud of. But I can honestly say I have 2 albums completed which are not released yet, which are definitely the best ‘music’ I have ever made. They will both see the light in 2017 under different artist names, but I’m so proud of them, its the most accomplished work I’ve ever made, no doubt about it. However if I was to name some tracks that are already released, I would say say Rendezvous and My Desire on Planet E are up there as some of my personal favourites. It would be impossible to choose 3 from over 200 releases.
Are there any handy studio tips you would like to pass onto producers out there?
Every 2 hours, take a 1 hour break, regardless if you’re on fire at the time or not… It’s absolutely the best way to enhance creativity. Also, set aside 6 weeks to work on certain projects, then take 2 weeks off making music, and repeat. Consider it a 2 week detox to refresh your creative mind.
Finally, what new music should your fans be on the look out for at Traxsource soon?
I’ve been very busy! So expect a lot.. I have my 2nd release on Cocoon hitting the ground any day now, as well as a debut on Mobilee’s deeper label Leena Music. I’ve just completed the follow up to Serene for Rekids. I have the follow up to Eminesence on Yoruba completed and coming late 16/early 17. I have the 2 albums coming in 2017, and to top it all off I was asked to recreate/remix/remake 2 of the most classic Detroit tracks ever released. Its been a very secret project that took 3 years to make but its finally seeing the light early 2017…my lips are sealed!