This week on The Journal, we caught up with Comakid, the producer behind the highly eclectic Vaportrap.

Tell us a little bit about Vaportrap, and how you prepared for this release.

“The idea came as a natural and more genre-specific continuation of Lo-Fi Beats. The approach to composition, to sound design and to production was very similar to it: same type of sound aesthetic (pun intended), same lo-fi outboard processing, same general concept. The difference this time was that I was mainly focusing on trap and hip-hop attitude to the creation of the collection. So a lot more of subs and 808 drums and programming involved. I also tried to strip down the chord progressions and the chords content. Unlike that previous release, this one focuses a lot more on the nostalgic feel of the sound itself rather than refined harmonic solutions lo-fi beats had.”

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

“I mainly drew influences from current vapor-trap, vaporwave and trap sub-genres. Artists like Home, Blank Banshee, VAPERROR, NxxxxxS, Suicideyear, FOMOmachine, & Groundislava.”

What was your biggest challenge in creating this sample pack?

“The biggest challenge I usually face whilst producing a genre-oriented pack, is to be as objective as possible towards the genre and try to respect it, refraining to excessively heap too much of myself onto it. This is impossible to achieve at its fullest, but setting boundaries helps me see things more clearly.

This is tough because it’s like I have to always re-invent myself as a producer but I think it’s what keeps me motivated and it is a good way to keep it fun and fresh.”

Tell us a little bit about your current studio setup.

“I work with a 27inch desktop Mac, where I run Ableton and Max4Live (and occasionally Reason re-wired into Ableton). I have an Apollo8 from Universal Audio that goes into a Mackie big knob. This allows me to have two different types of listening: wired up to it are a pair of Yamaha HS8, a pair of mono speakers for final testing / checking and two different pairs of headphones. I have two reel-to-reel tape machines (Revox B77 and AKAI 1710W) and an old cassette recorder which I used extensively for resampling in this release. A fender telecaster USA with a bunch of different pedals and a Fender acoustic guitar. There’s a section dedicated to world percussions of any kind and toy instruments with a peculiar and weird tone to it. This is always a good starting point for experimental tones and sound-design.

In addition to that, a few rack effects such as the Roland Chorus Tape Echo RE-501, a Boss RV1000 digital reverb and another one from Yamaha (R1000). As for keys and synths – to name the ones I used the most for this release: JUNO-6 (with MIDI Mod by Tubbutech), Yamaha DX100, Korg MS20mini, Roland TB-303, Roland TR-606, Casio SK200, Casiotone101, Microkorg, Korg Volca FM, Roland Boutique JP-08, KASTLE by Bastl Instruments.”

Top 3 favorite pieces of gear?

“It’s very hard to choose between them all and I usually have phases, so I am just going to pick the three that made this release sound the way it does”:

1. Reel to reel tape machine REVOX B77
2. Roland Chorus Echo RE-501
3. JUNO-6

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

“If you are recording a real-sound source (vocals, synth, guitar…) tune the project a few tones up or down, record the sound source in that new transposed key, and then pitch your project back to normal together with the source you just recorded. The latter will now be in the key it was originally intended to be in, but with a weird quality to it. Especially if you apply this to vocals. If your DAW allows you, try to play around with the tone-stretching / warp settings, to get different sonic results.”

What DAW do you normally use, and what are some plugins you typically use?

“My DAW of choice is Ableton. I just got so used to it that I became very fast and efficient with it. I can jot down ideas and sketches very fast. Sometimes I re-wire Reason into Ableton to explore new possibilities and create different patches. Max4Live is also something I typically make use of. As for plugins I could not do without any of the Soundtoys plugins and the Lexicon 224 reverb from Universal Audio.”

Any tips or advice for aspiring producers?

“One important thing for me is to have a few crucial weapons in my toolkit and getting to know them inside out. Explore all the functions and capabilities they offer. You do not need a room full of synths or an hard drive packed with plugins to make great sounding compositions. In fact, the more things you have the more you feel you get distracted and ideas and focus get lost along the way.”

Check out the pack below: