In our latest entry for The Journal we caught up with the producers behind Sm111: Downtempo and discussed the inner makings of this chill and blissful release.

Tell us a little bit about SM111: Downtempo and what got you in the mood for creating this release?

“William & I started with some drums in mind; we recorded a lot of samples and tried to make them dirty with some real vinyl dust samples. Then we made drum loops and synths following the mood of the drums.”

What got you inspired during the creation of this release? Any particular influences?

“Our influences were old hip-hop legends like DJ Premier but revisited in a modern way – cosmic hip-hop of course and some ambient trip hop works.”

What was your biggest challenge in creating SM111: Downtempo?

“The biggest challenge was surely the drums – drum recording is always a challenge and we spent some time trying to record every sample with some character. The real kick drums are super punchy and William spent a lot of time playing with a couple of microphones positioned in different ways. For the analog kicks I spent a lot of time playing with the Moog Sub37.”

Tell us a little bit about your current studio setup.

“I work with a super minimal setup: a PC, Ableton, Focusrite Safire Pro 24, Neumann TLM 102, Moog Sub37, Dynaudio BMA MkII, and a Virus TI Desktop.”

Top 3 favorite pieces of gear?

“My Moog, Ableton for sure – I cannot work without its stretching algorithms, and my Virus TI!”

What’s a unique, unconventional production technique that you would like to share with our readers?

“I took some of William’s guitar recordings then stretched them a lot, cut and rearranged them randomly, having abrupt changes and atonal transitions, then exported them in a single track, stretched them again and applied reverb – essentially that’s how I created a lot of the atmospheres!”

What are some plugins you typically use?

“I mostly rely on stock plugins for mixing, but Soundtoys plugins are a must for me! For synths I use Zebra2 a lot – it’s definitely my favorite synth and it is not commonly used, so it’s easy to create something you won’t hear around!”

Any tips or advice for aspiring producers?

“Read and learn a lot, you’ll never know everything, but don’t forget to try, try, try! All of the techniques I discovered come from moving random knobs around, stretching samples absurdly, or simply trying to recreate with my ears (and eyes, analyzers help a lot!) samples from the track I hear or from other sample packs!”