We caught up with Traced for an in depth look at his studio techniques and advice for new producers…

Talk us through your setup:

TRACED: I run Cubase 9 with Motu ultralite mk3 full spec PC Novation ultranova, Novation K Station, Native Instruments Maschine, Moog Minitaur, Genelec 8040 monitors with sub, SubPac, UAD, all the SlateDigital plugins, Xfer Serum, Native Instruments massive and various others

What one piece of gear would you love to own?

TRACED: Moog sub37 or I quite like the look of the new Novation synth peak

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What are your top 5 effect plugins and why?

TRACED: Pretty much all the slate digital plugins for most things, they are my go to. D16’s Repeater and the slate classic verb being my favourite choice of delay and reverb, the slate compressors are some of the best I’ve used and the saturators in the virtual mixer rack are pretty nice too other than then I use fabfilter for EQ and Philta XL for filtering.

What synths do you use the most in your productions?

TRACED: Mostly Serum, Padshop, Massive but I also make noises on my Moog and ultranova then sample them out and put them into a sampler then mess with them some more.

How would you describe your sound for those that hadn’t heard it before?

TRACED: Madness with melody. My usual intro to a track is normally kind of cinematic.

Where do you find inspiration? Also if you are working in the studio and get stuck; how do you get past that point?

TRACED: I listen to a lot of neuro podcasts in my car and I also take inspiration for other styles of music I have made and listened to in the past. As for writer block I go through periods where I have loads of ideas then I have periods where I have none if that happens I either change a workflow/process or I watch loads of tutorials.

How long have you been producing?

TRACED: A very long time haha. I’ve been producing for over 18 years but lots of different styles of music weather that’s a bad or good thing but with what I’m doing now it has helped a lot because I use some of the ideas and tricks I’ve picked up over the years in my own music. it’s weird because I have always listen to DNB and took inspiration from that and put it into the other styles I’ve produced but now I use that stuff for inspiration.

Do you approach sound design and track writing in different sessions/projects?

TRACED: I do vocals on a separate project I normally bounce out the track I’m doing and put it in a new project as a WAV file that way when I’m processing the vocal I can go to town with it without killing my CPU. I sometimes do this when making a bass patch as well.

How do you usually start tracks?

TRACED: I normally start with making just a kick and snare and then start making some bass patches or sometimes I will write a intro over the drums.

How many hours does it typically take to complete a track from start to finish?

TRACED: I generally work in evening sessions I have children so I do a lot of work when they go to bed I normally get the back bone done in four sessions then spend a week of evening sessions doing all the finer details like edits and mix downs.

What do you listen to in your free time?

TRACED: I mostly listen to DNB podcasts in my car. But if not that I listen to bands like Blink 182, Slipknot or The Prodigy.

What advice would you give to new producers?

TRACED: If you can only do music for a certain amount of hours a week concentrate on one style at a time I’ve made lots of different music but as soon as I focused on one style things started to happen for me.

Practice makes perfect I learn new things everyday music and technology progresses everyday so there is always new techniques to learn so watch lots of tutorials.

What are your favourite techniques for processing bass/mids?

TRACED: Using Cubase I split the frequencies with separate bus channels so I send my sub (which I low pass and make mono) to one and my mid to another which I cut the low then join them back up in another bus channel.

What do you find the most challenging part of producing?

TRACED: Finding good vocal samples, sample packs generally do not have really good ones, I watch a lot so films so sometimes I find something in them to sample.

mix-downs are probably the most daunting task, I try to keep to the same work flow when I mix down which is to try and keep everything tidy in group folders so it’s easier to mix.

If you could choose a dream collaboration, who would it be with and why?

TRACED: Probably Liam Howlett from The Prodigy purely for the fact it was his music that got me into dance music in the first place.

What plugins do you typically use on your drum buss and why?

TRACED: I just got this new compressor for the Slate Virtual mixer rack called FG stress which is a emulation of the old de-stressor which is amazing, a bit of limiting and some saturation.

What projects are you working on currently and where would you like to progress to in 12 months time?

TRACED: I’ve just had a release on Optiv’s Red light label and a release on Close 2 Death. I have a remix of Impak’s tune molecule coming out on True Bass and I also have a EP in the works for them as well as some other projects for some other labels things are looking busy so in 12 months hopefully I will have built my name a bit more and get the opportunity to DJ out more.

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