This week we caught up with the producer behind “Raw Grime,” a 1+GB collection showcasing the influential UK genre featuring brazen 808s, speaker-shaking subs, string dabs and raw synth workouts in the trademark style of London basement jams.

How did you prepare yourself for this release?

I spent a few weeks listening to music and deciding what plugins and synths I would use. I created a template in my sequencer that would be the basis of the tone I was aiming for. I think it’s crucial for this particular sample pack to have lots of character in the processing, this way the user can create unique sounding tracks that work really well when cut up and re-arranged. I made three full Grime tracks before I started as I wanted to get a good feel for what was needed. Sometimes small things can be overlooked in music and I wanted to make sure the user could make a complete track using just this sample pack.

Any specific inspiration that guided your process?

As someone that already enjoys grime, it was a case of choosing inspiration from a few different areas from the scene. I spent a couple of weeks listening to artists such as JME, Kano, Skepta to get to grips with the more straight up, catchy production. To inspire a more abstract, non-traditional sound I looked at Logos and Mumdance. I wanted to use these areas as the two main points and then also create samples that fit somewhere in the middle. This way I cover more of the Grime spectrum and make the pack become much more multi-genre as Grime often incorporates Garage, Trap, Hiphop, etc.

Were there any challenges to overcome during the production process?

Learning how to correctly structure drum loops was important. Grime can often use pseudo-basslines by using a distorted 808 kick drum. Creating these basslines was fairly new for me and getting the right balance was challenging. I overcame this by working with distortions that bring warm tones (Soundtoys’ Decapitator). Using this I was able to push kick drums into a frequency range often reserved for basslines, giving the loops much more strength and character so that they can drive the tracks with very few bass hits, giving the user an easier way to create steppy, technical sounding tracks that are quickly inspired by just the drum loop.

What does your current studio setup look like?

Hardware: Apollo Twin, Moog Sub Phatty, Panorama P4, MPD26, Adams A7x, Fostex PM1.

Software: Cubase, Kontakt, Omnisphere 2, Serum, Massive, Diva, Spire.

Plugins: UAD, Soundtoys, Slate Digital, Waves.

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

Resampling saturated sounds is so important for tone. This is particularly important for drums and bass. I’ll often layer around 4 or 5 sounds within a sampler and then add a distortion that focuses on the low-mid frequencies, bounce that out and put it back into the sampler. This can then be layered with a similar sound that focuses on the higher frequencies. You can repeat this process over and over creating a unique and dynamic sound.
Often producers feel they would like to add reverb to kicks or basslines which can cause issues with cluttering up your mix. I find that by sending the sound to a fx channel and adding reverb here, you have so much more control over the sound. By ducking out the low end of the fx channel, you can create the space you want without clouding the original signal. This heavily played a role in the sounds in the Grim sample pack.

Any tips or advice for aspiring producers?

Experimenting is key! While tips and tricks do come in handy, finding your personal way to achieve an effect not only makes workflow much faster but it brings personality to your music. If there’s a production method you want to achieve, trying to logically and artistically figure it out. This will broaden your production methods and if used consistently, will give your audience something subtle to recognize and remember. There’s often no ‘true method’ so aim to treat music production more like a painting than an equation.