Golf Clap - Inside The Track - Dream Trippin'
1) Congratulations on your new release. How is it being received in your sets? & How are other club DJs responding to the release?
We have been jamming this one out in our sets for quite some time and making small adjustments here and there as well travel. The response has been overwhelming so far, and when Low Steppa came on board with the remix it gave us a whole new take on this track and a chance to play in the meat of our headline shows. The few that had it prior to the release all had very similar stories to tell as well. It was super hard to sit on this track for as long as we did but I think releasing it as our first proper single of the year was definitely the way to go given the success of our debut single on Freeze Dried last year.
2) Tell us more about the track. What was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted the musical direction on this?
Hugh: Well we wrote this track during the summer last year (2013) and it was right around the time that the Disclosure boys were really doing some interesting things with their sound and house music in general. Granted they have kind of blown up and gone commercialish in a sort of way, I remain that some of their early songs were groundbreaking with respect to sound design and technique. We had already made a whole body of work that was super deep and we wanted to start moving in this direction by making tracks that we could use on the road more. A lot of the early Golf Clap material was great chill out after party music but we wanted to do something really different.
Bryan: This song is a bit different than others because we made it so long ago. That means that it’s been opened up and worked on even more at least four times since we originally signed it. I think patience is really key for a lot of production. It’s always better to put as much as you can into a good song. If you think it’s a good song, do as much as you can possibly do to it. Everybody says to keep it simple, but what you really want is a very complex set of things you do to make it sound the best it can, but sound like it’s simple. Simple doesn’t just mean to spend less time and effort on it contrary to popular belief.
3) Production wise, what is it about the track that makes it work?
Hugh: One of the key tricks that I think really makes this track cool is something quite simple that I don’t think is unique to us but also is something very under-utilised in modern house. What I mean is doing something as simple as pairing your main chords with a cool soft synth running the same notes can really add a lot of thickness to a track. Sometimes this also works really well to build your bassline off the same chords with a slight modification. For this track specifically, I (Hugh) was starting this track and had the basic drums and chords laid out, and Bryan woke up out of a dead sleep (his room is next door to the studio) and came over and asked what track that was. When I told him it was a new one I was working on, he immediately told me he heard it in his sleep and already knew the bassline it needed. We spent the new few days with little sleep putting it all together and getting it ready to play. Grant Nelson also did an impressive job mixing this one down just prior to the release on all of this old vintage hardware which was invaluable.
Bryan: This one has a couple different basslines as well. One is a sub-bass and the other is more of a bouncy synthy bass. We had to take some low end out of it, and side-chain compress the sub bass, then put those 2 together in a group and put slight side-chain compression on the group. We use lots of compressors, but use really small amounts at each stage and fine tune it a bit like that. Always try to do anything that makes multiple sounds gel together and sound like one. You don’t want to be able to hear specific drum sounds, you want to hear a drum loop that sounds like one cohesive audio bit.
Another thing we did on this track, and do quite often, is we bounce a few bars of the song out when we first get a melody. Then we put it in Mixed In Key. We have tons of vocals, and other random things on our computer already keyed out. It’s just a good way to at least narrow down the search. We try to put vocals from 2 or 3 different things in a song and make them sound natural together. Often combine the vocals with a low pass filter (sometimes with LFO on frequency), reverb, and simple delay in Ableton. Also usually put an eq on and take some bass out. Pretty much take a little bit of bass out of most top end things. Hats, claps, vocals, woosh sounds etc. But be careful, if you do it too much you’ll lose the whole body of the sound in the first place. We’ve put a screenshot of our chain for one of the vocal loops we used. It basically turns it from a girl singing, to a pulsing, side-chained, filtered, reverb pad type of sound, but with a human voice.
4) What is the one machine, program, sound, drum machine, technique that characterizes your sound?
When we first put this studio together it was completely comprised of gifts from friends, and a few items that were lent to us to help us get started. One of these things was an old Tascam FW-1884 mixing board which at the time was more of a necessity because we didn’t have a proper sound card. It turned into an invaluable resource to get our mixes exactly where we wanted without having to break our wrists with fine mouse work adjusting the channels. It also had the benefit of having motorised faders, and being able to have 4 banks we could go through the entire track and mix each channel with much better precision. Oh yeah, it also did a mighty fine job as a sound card too. Thanks Woogie!
5) What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?
When this song was written we were using Geist to program all of our drum lines. I think it is a great program for the beginner and advance producer alike. It allows you to go through so many different sounds and swap things out much easier than anything we have ever used before. It also has an unlimited amount of potential as far as customising your drum sounds.
6) Any advice for your fans on how to make it in today’s fast paced game?
Hugh: At a certain point we thought that was a TON of great music and producers out there but the one thing that really set the best apart was their ability to connect the music to the fans. There has always been this huge debate over the right and wrong things to do in the music “business” as it’s called, and the ones who really end up making it truly treat it like such. We both work full time on our music, marketing, and promotions and it is the single most important thing to realize that outside of making hits, you have to be business-minded to certain degree. It’s either that or you will have to hire a big fancy PR firm and a team of managers to do it all for you, which is simply out of reach for most up and coming producers.
The biggest chunk of advise we end up giving to most new guys is that you need to come up with a brand for yourself (not matter how silly it is in our case) and run with it. It’s important to find a theme just as you would have to when writing a song and follow through with it. This is the stuff that people remember long after your latest hit has faded into the millions of other tracks out there. We are working on ways to get our fans to not just listen the tracks but start living the Golf Clap lifestyle. Come to the club dressed all classy and prepped out, but end up staying all night and leave the club in a sweaty mess, curled in a ball shivering in a dark corner. We want people to know that we will party you into the ground. A recent show in Grand Rapids in middle of a snow storm had us out to play the entire night to a sold out club on a Monday, and we ended up at someone’s house playing for over 100 people until nearly 8 in the morning despite multiple visits from the police. By the time it was all over, we were playing super deep underwater house and pretending to swim around the room while a guy was dancing around in a tutu carrying around a loaded sniper rifle adorned with angry birds stickers on it. The other guy who lives there got arrested. Our kind of party!
Bryan: Keep living it. If you want to be a producer, keep producing. Make friends with other producers. Pay attention to what other producers are doing and sounding like. If you want to be a DJ, then make more DJ friends and watch what they do. If you live in a city with no scene, and you really want to do this for a living, I’d suggest to consider moving somewhere else. I feel like moving to Detroit has been like house music boot camp for me to get me back in shape. I came here just a lifeguard. I was trained to handle it when it got really deep, and I could save people if it came down to it. But I wasn’t fully prepared for when things get really deep. Ever since boot camp I’m now a full blown Level 8 Blackbelt Navy Seal Jedi. I save the people who teach the life guards now. I’m able to dig deep into the earth’s core and get deeper than the ocean floor. I rep Detroit, but I have to show love to my home town of Atlantis. Where my roots are.