We Go Inside The Studio With NY Based Producer Tommy Bones
June sees New York based Tommy Bones drop a new release “War House” under Kenny Dope’s Dopewax label. With more than 20 years in the game, Tommy has delivered something totally fresh for this particular release full of Tech House vibes. He takes us ‘Inside The Studio’ to tell us a bit more about his production, equipment, & musical style…
What equipment do you have in your studio?
• (2) Adam A7x Monitors
• Yamaha HS-!0 M Subwoofer
• Allen & Heath Zed 24 Mixer
• Roland JP-8080
• Emu Proteus 2000 (With Techno, Planet Earth, Phatt Roms)
• Roland XV-5050
• Roland JV-2080
• Korg TR-Rack
• Alesis Microverb 4
• Apogee Duet Firewire
• Bose Triport Headphones
• American Audio DB Display
• Pro-Co Cables
• Alesis Q-49 Midi Keyboard
• 2011 Macbook Pro (2.2 GHZ, 16GB Ram, 1 GB SSD)
• Shure Beta Green Mic
• Pioneer DDJ SX
• (2) Technics 1200 MK 2
• Pioneer DM 450 Mixer
• Serato SL-2 Box
• QSC K-12 Speaker
• MidiMan Midisport 2X2
• Rolls Mini Mixer
• I-Rig Keys (37 Key Midi Keyboard)
• 24” Dell LED Monitor
• Glyph Hard Drive (1GB)
• (2) Lacie (500 GB Hard Drive)
• JVC Dual Cassette Deck (With Pitch Control)
• 2011 Macbook Pro 13” (500 GB SSD 8GB Ram)
• (2) Stanton 500-AL DJ Needles
• (2) Chauvet Intimidator Spot 100 IRC (for inspirational lighting)
What is your favorite piece of equipment to use in the studio & why?
Logic’s EXS 24… It is stacked… I have so many sound fonts and Kits! From full Emu- Synth collection, Roland synths, Drum samples from J – Dilla, Vengence, Akai, Kenny Dope, Kerri Chandler, 1000’s of sounds sampled from vinyl and my old SP-1200.
Give us some insight into your production process. How do you typically begin constructing a track?
I usually start with a kick, clap and open hat. From there it depends… I add Bass, either playing it by myself or through Logic’s appregiator. Then I may add additional snares, hats, vocals, synths, pads, or melody.
What piece of studio equipment or production process defines your sound?
The foundation of every track is important… Kick and bass. I have several tools that help me get these two elements right. I love Waves Infected Mushroom Pusher for the kick as well as Logic’s Enveloper plugin. The Enveloper in logic is a serious tool that hardly anyone ever uses. It helps with attack and release. I use it on almost everything! Eq is important as well. I make sure sounds don’t fight each other. I’ll use Logic’s Channel EQ to get an idea of which frequencies are fighting then I’ll cut or boost. From there I may replace the Channel EQ or continue to get more surgical with graphic EQ. As far as production I’m not a big user of loops, so every sound has it’s place. I feel this is really important and separates my sound from a lot of records today. I always believe simple is more effective, less is more. I’m also really picky about mix downs, so I tend to mix as I go. My studio is also portable. I like working and arranging at local cafe’s and parks. Fresh air and change of environment always helps the mind and keeps the creative process going.
What piece of hardware/software elevated your production to a higher level & how?
Better monitors are important since I mix everything myself. I just purchased Adam’s A7x’s and they are incredibly accurate! Software wise I have been using a lot of the U-HE synths and plugins. There is nothing like the way their synths sound! Ace, Diva, Hive, Bazille, their filterscape, Satin’s tape emulation sounds incredible and MFM2 has to be one of the illest delay units ever!
What fresh equipment have you recently added to the lab?
Roland JP-8080 as heard on 8080 as well as Runnin.
What are your essential studio supplies?
Ohh man… First thing that is important before food is getting a good nights sleep. 7 Hours minimum! This will keep you energized and inspired. My food which is normal to me is extreme to others. I start the day with these Greens Plus bars… They are cold pressed bars that are loaded with green superfoods. I also sometimes make a raw, organic vegetable powder smoothie with a chia and flax seed mix. This usually gives me so much energy! When I’m tired I drink Yerba Mate tea, though I don’t like to do caffeine too often. My diet for me is important so it is mostly organic as my goal is to travel and see the world through music. It’s hard to travel with health issues so I take my diet seriously.
What list of artists have influenced your sound?
I love all the early 90’s stuff from Larry Heard, Kerry Chandler, Lil Louis, Masters at Work, Wayne Gardiner, Joe Claussell, even Jazzanova and Basement Jaxx for their sampling ideas. Today I love artists like Deetron, Henrik Schwarz, Andre Lodemann, Dennis Ferrer. What influences me are people that push the envelope and don’t follow what everyone else is doing.
What are your 3 favourite productions?
Wow… This a tough question! I would have to say “South Africa Deep” first on Lion1music… This was the first record I ever produced by myself and it did quite well. “After the Club” would be second. It is a grimy late night record where I chopped up some latin porn for inspiration. Then finally, “Black Concept”. There are some un-released projects that are favorites as well.
What handy studio tip would you pass onto producers out there?
I would suggest learning to play an instrument and try working with more singers / songwriters. Though I love making tracks, musical music comes first in my heart. Also do not follow what the others are doing, create your own sound and pay attention to the younger generation. This will keep you relevant! I watch a lot of tutorials, and listen to audio books not just about music, but life as well. Anything to stay inspired!
What new production should your fans be on the lookout for at Traxsource soon?
This is a year for me to be creative and push the envelope. I have lots of new projects on the way as I finish them I have a scope of the labels I’d like to work with. I do really enjoy working with Kenny, so another Dopewax EP is in order for sure!