DV247 Forums - A Global Community for Music Makers Lowest Price Guaranteed, Free Delivery, Free 3 Year Warranty
Go Back   DV247 Forums - A Global Community for Music Makers > Artist & Member Forum > Exclusive Interviews
Forgot Password? Join Us!
Home Register Groups FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Go to DV247.com
New to Forums or just joined? Why not start your journey here?

Exclusive Interviews Check in here for Exclusive DV247 interviews with Pro-Music Makers!

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 23rd October 2009 , 04:27 PM
Administrator
 
modz1's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: May 2008
Location: London
Posts: 1,848
Default Wayne Lotek - Mercury 2009 Prizewinning Producer and Artist

In this, the sixth in a series of DV247 Forums exclusive interviews, we focus on a Producer back-grounding 15 years experience within the cutting edge Urban music scene. He has forged critically acclaimed tracks for both established and fresh, upcoming talent whilst successfully creating his own unique and often imitated productions as an Artist in his own right.

Oh, and he just happened to Produce this years Mercury Prize winning album, "Speech Therapy"..His name..?
Wayne Lotek


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Hi Wayne, does this interview find you at your home studio in Melbourne or at one of your other favoured countries to produce/record?

WL
Yeah back in Melbourne now, good to be back but the weather's a bit dodgy at the moment. Melbourne weather is quite English, 4 seasons in one day that kind of thing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
With the equipment technical limitations and striving for recognition in your early career, as opposed to today's environment of no doubt a vast array of gear and deserved prestigious standing, do you recall feeling more creatively vibrant then, or now?

WL
I feel more creative now than I have ever been, I feel like I have the knowledge and skills now to make the music in my head. When I was younger I had so much energy and enthusiasm but now I have experience
which I think is much more valuable.

In terms of the music equipment, so much more is possible now and for a reduced cost compared to 10 or 15 years ago. Having said that I found that when I started out (on an Atari ST 1040 running Cubase and an AKAI S1100 sampler, and little else) that I was having to push each piece of equipment to its limit and each time I introduced a new piece of equipment, even if it was borrowed, it opened up new possibilities that I had no access to before. This made me appreciate what I could do and use everything above and beyond its standard function.

Now each time I start a new song I know that I can use pretty much anything, if I don't have the real thing then I can probably find a plug-in emulation that comes pretty close. This can make things difficult, it’s like setting out on a Journey and the first thing you come to is a junction with nearly an infinite amount of turnings, which direction do you head first? Will you ever get there or forever be lost going round in circles down never-ending alley ways?

Just recently I have been buying up old gear that I used to dream about owning 10 or so years ago but has now fallen out of favour. For example I just got hold of a Tascam 1/2” 8 Track. The day I got it I recorded a test vocal just my regular mic (AKG C414) in the middle of a pretty much untreated room and it sounded good. The same vocal recorded the same way into my computer sounded so cold and you could hear the sound of the room, all of the impurities were captured in 16bit digital quality!!

Its not just the sound that is different the work flow is I different too.
I'm not always such a big fan of total recall, there's something cool about knowing that you can't move on to the next song until this one is just right or if you do come back to it then you have to start from scratch. It totally changes the way you have to think about the what you are doing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Have you been gigging yourself much recently as an artist in your own right?

WL
I've done a few gigs here and there, while I was over in the UK for the Mercury Prize I did a few gigs in Germany and Japan. I actually put together a big live reggae/ska band as I don't think that performing with a DJ will really do what I'm doing justice anymore. We're still rehearsing getting it really tight and then after that I'll be hitting road and going worldwide. Probably early next year in Europe.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
'Control Alt Delete' is right on the money for contemporary radio and dancefloor's alike: how's the single performing for you in the global marketplace and 'live' with different worldwide audiences?


WL
I haven't really pushed in the traditional sense yet. It's just been doing the rounds on the internet. I've performed it live all around the world and it always gets a big response. I think the song is cursed though, I never had computer issues until I wrote this song now my computer keeps crashing, so did computer belonging to the video director. People come up to me all the time saying how their computer crashed watching the youtube clip or they got home from my gig to find a blue-screen-of-death on the PC at home!

There'll be a full release for the song and a remix before the end of the year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
You've been recognised as a true producer blessed with the abilities to empathically link to your artists and take creative control of their direction, has this ever been tested to the max with any (and they can remain anonymous) artists?

WL
It’s always tested, trying to guess what someone else is thinking or work out what they might like even though they may not have heard it yet is very tough to begin with. With most people they have a strong sense of who they are and how the music should sound or at least are able to communicate that and then I guide them through the possibilities.

Most people are open to that and are respectful of the role of a producer. When I was working with Roots Manuva he once asked ”how should I rap this?” This was years before I started rapping myself so I had no direct idea on how to rap so I told him to do it as his pleased. He asked again, this time adding “....produce me”. He knew what he wanted but also wanted to get a second opinion, I know from doing my own music how hard it can be when you're the only one in the studio.

It's not always that easy, some artists have very little knowledge and often only vague ideas of what they want. This is much harder but also much more satisfying when it is completed. In some ways it would be nice if every artist knew what they wanted and were able to communicate it but then it's the artists that don't have that who need me the most.

I believe that the role of a producer, in the traditional sense, should be quite transparent. Nowadays “producers” like The Neptunes or Timbaland work with an artist but the music has more of their character stamped on it than the artist themselves. For me good production should reflect the character of the artist not the producer, sometimes it means that I don't always get the credit I feel I deserve and on some occasions the artist will think that everything on the record came from them and that I was merely an engineer. In a way this is the ultimate triumph of production but on the other hand it often means my work goes unnoticed.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Mercury prize aside, was the decision to fly Speech over to record with you into Oz, (rather than say you returning to London away from your familiar gear and surroundings) beneficial to you, the artist and the label?

WL
Yes. Looking back it worked out really well, funny thing is I had most of my equipment back in UK I just didn't want to go back yet as I hadn't finished what I came out to do. As it turned out the label got the album made very cheaply as they didn't have to book studios and Speech got the chance to get away from London during European winter and come here in the hottest months. I think the surroundings helped the subject matter as it’s easier to be on the outside looking in to get a clear perspective of something especially if you have spent a long time deep in it.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Having worked with Diplo before, I'd guess you felt pleased as punch that some of the Lotek sound has perhaps translated to his work with Switch on the ‘Major Lazer’ project?

WL
I didn't actually work directly with him, in fact we never met. I was responsible for recording some vocals for his first Big Dada album as he wasn't in the country. I'd like to think my music had an influence on his new project as I think it's great. That may well be the case, it may also be that dancehall is coming back around again and I was just a bit ahead of my time in what I was doing with Lotek Hifi. Either way it makes me feel good.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Renowned for your raw and unique drum sounds and rhythms (departing from a world of blatantly recognizable percussive samples used by many others), can you give us a production insight into how you create such individual beats and loops?

WL
It’s hard to say straight off the top of my head, for a start I go through phases of doing things a particular way. When I start each new project I always begin by making a palette of sounds, mostly drum hits and percussion samples but also a few synth/keyboard patches. How I make those changes from project to project. With something like the Speech Debelle project I kept it as natural sounding as possible so it was all about capturing it the way I wanted it to sound rather than treating it afterward to achieve that. For example I made a Battery drum patch of live drum hits that I used to create the foundation of many on the tracks on “Speech Therapy”. Those sounds were recorded on a drum kit set up in my hallway with polished wooded floors, I experimented with mic positions to get the reverb sound I wanted once I recorded them I only used a little compression to sit them I the mix.

If I am using sampled drum sounds and not a live kit then I tend to get most of the sounds from the intro to reggae songs, they nearly always start with a drum roll so you can grab a kick or snare from there.

Before I had a large recording space with nice natural reverb and session drummer or a large reggae collection I used to use stock standard drum samples in my MPC and then play them through my monitor speakers and record them with a microphone at the back of the room. Combining the programmed drum loop with a recording of natural reverb really made them come alive.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Was the transition form the role of ‘producer behind a mixing desk’, to ‘artist behind a microphone’ a natural evolution for you, or a reaction to need or circumstance?

WL
There were two main reasons for me to make that change, firstly I spent a couple of years working in commercial studios and saw a lot of “pop stars” with very little talent, this was being covered over by a team of writers, arrangers, producers, musicians and sometimes session singers to the point where some of these artists were responsible for only a small fraction of what went onto their music. Up until that stage I had no real ambition to be an artist, the studio was already a really exciting place.

The other reason was that I got tired of people (mostly rappers) turning up late or sometimes not at all for sessions. In the end, I thought, “It's just talking in time to a beat.” so I decided to give it a shot. At first it was just to test out new beat ideas or to put down a guide vocal to make sure I didn't add too many musical elements to the song, which is very easy to do when you are working on music and don't know what the vocals might be doing.

I got better until more people were telling me that my best work so far was the stuff I rapped on myself. I gave up arguing with them and decided to work on it seriously.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
The new Lotek album 'Go', in CD and MP3 format, seems to be primarily available by direct purchase and not through a label or digital aggregator. Is this a strategy for you regarding future solo releases?

WL
That album was released in Russia by 2.99 Records, part of deal meant that they gave me a stock of CDs for me to sell at shows and on my site, which I did and actually doing so has made it one of my most profitable project despite selling far less than other releases through labels.

I don't think I'd want to release all my future releases that way, it limits the amount of people that will get to hear the music and it’s quite a lot of work. I got most of my sales in response to myspace bulletins and emails I had sent but I don't want to get distracted from what I do best which is making the music. Eventually I'd like to set up the infrastructure to release records so that I can have the best of both worlds.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
The attractions of visiting new countries and cultures are obvious, but for you it seems to form a vitally important, perhaps even spiritual connection to your musical production, writing and recording process: Can you elaborate on this?

WL
It's true. I do get a lot of influence from visiting other countries and experiencing other cultures. Sometimes it's as simple as hearing an instrument you've never heard before and being able to use it on a track (like the Gusly on “Nostalgia” from the “Go” LP) other times it's something more subtle. Each city I went to conjured up new ideas. It's no coincidence that my most prolific time (until now) was when I was touring UK and Europe with Roots Manuva. However, now that I have been away from UK for over 2 years visiting London has had the same effect as going to Warsaw or Wellington!

It began, to be honest, as an excuse to travel. I could get a gig in another country and they pay my transport and accommodation with a fee on top, often if you ask they will be able to book you extra nights at a reduced rate as they have a deal with the hotels. Other times I would go and stay with musicians I had met at previous shows. At first I just went for a few weeks here and there but the trips got longer and longer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Your concept of the 'De-Mix' (re-addressing a track, bedded to the roots of multiple musical genres) goes way beyond the standard and general DJ genre categorization style: This concept of total sonic exploration when revisiting tracks must be extremely exciting for you and any collaborators?

WL
Haha, you make it sound so simple! It's a lot of fun but also loads of hard work and head scratching. I'm working on something along those lines at the moment. We've been looking at modern reggae influenced electronica like dubstep and trying to delve a but deeper into the reggae sound.

We went back to before ska, before Jamaican independence to music my Dad used to sing when I was little. It's folk music played on mostly home-made instruments this music influenced ska that became rock steady then came reggae and later dancehall and hip hop and so on. We've been experimenting with these sounds, on our very own homemade instruments, mixed with modern electronic sounds. It's fun but sometimes a bewildering process!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Your MySpace page hints at some disillusion of the Hip Hop scene: Has this evolved over the past few years and if so what (or who) do you think may help you reconnect with the genre should you feel a re-visit?

WL
I'm not sure, I think only I can reconnect myself. I think it's quite natural to grow out of something like this. I remember when I was 15 my Mum would always hear the music I listened to and say things like “that's not their song” or “music was better in my day”. Now I find myself saying the exact same thing about a lot of music around today. Part of me holds firm the belief that hip hop was better in 92, but I remember around that time Tony D released an album called “Deja Vu it's 1982” which was basically saying that he thought that rap music was best in the early 80's. In 2012 will they be saying rap was best in 2002??

All the things I love about rap music are still there and still true, it's just not as evident in the music that you hear but then that is what is popular now so is rap out of touch with its roots or are we older heads a bit behind the times?? who's to say....
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
'Outright sampling' or 'getting musicians in to replay': Opinions and observations please?

WL
Wow that's actually a huge topic disguised as a short question. First of all to sample or not to sample that is the biggest question.

The sound of rap music as we know it today is based around the sampling aesthetic. Even those people who use live musicians like Dr Dre will still try to make it sound sampled. There's something hypnotic about looping a sample.

I love working with samples, it was what got me interested in Hip Hop production in the first place. The whole process is a lot of fun, digging for the best breaks then chopping them up and rearranging them into a new beat.

Some people abuse sampling technology and use it as a way to cheaply rip off and take credit for some old lesser known music others take a massive chunk from well known established song and just put a rap over it. Neither of these ways appeal to me and I think as a serious musician you should be ashamed of yourself if you engage in either of those.

I don't really use samples (from other people’s records) all that much anymore, not because I think it’s wrong or doesn't sound good but for a few simple reasons. Firstly, you are limited with what you can do when working with samples. You can't change a sample from minor to major (well at least until Melodyne DNA comes out!!) Another factor is the creative satisfaction, if I sample a classic soul track then of course it will sound good...it is after all a classic, so where is the achievement?

Aside from all of those there is the financial and legal side, when sampling first came out people had no idea what was going on. Old soul singers felt violated and confused when they heard their voices on songs they didn't sing and often no money was paid to the creators, things have changed now and there are people out there paid to actively look for uncleared samples.

When I produced tracks for the first Roots Manuva album they handed me a sample clearance form...I nearly fell off my chair... they wanted details on how long the sample was and how many times it had been used.
That particular song had about 4 big samples in it, none very obscure, had we cleared the samples it would not have been very profitable and of course it would come out of my share!

So in answer to your question, neither really, If I get musicians in it will be to play something new. However I use the music that I like as inspiration and as a reference point for the musicians.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
What for you has been the most memorable collaboration in your entire 15 year career?

WL
That's very difficult to answer. To me, each collaboration has been challenging and in the end has taught me something. The most memorable sessions aren't necessarily with the most impressive artists;

I did a track with Ghislain Poirier once, he was in Canada and I was in London. I had a webcam set up in the studio and I had wired the output of the desk and the talkback mic into my laptop that was running Skype so he could see and hear everything the was going on. His girlfriend walked in and immediately asked “What the hell is this nerdy situation!??”

I'd like to think the most special collaborations are still yet to happen.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Considering the multitude of projects you appear to balance simultaneously, from start to finish, how long was your gig recording and producing Speech's album?

WL
It spanned 2 years, in actual time it was only about 6 months.
It often happens that way, in fact I can't think of an album that we worked at non stop and condensed the whole thing into the shortest space of time. The playstation game I did was quite concentrated, I spent about 8 weeks working on the music for that and that was almost all day every day.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Not that any re-affirming is needed, but could you perhaps identify just what it is about the lyrical content, performance aspect and production sensibilities of 'the Speech Therapy' album that sets it apart from the other nominees, capturing the winning vote for this years Mercury Prize?

WL
How the judges decide the winner of the Mercury Prize is probably one of the greatest mysteries of the world! I sat there in 2002 with Roots Manuva for the Run Come Save Me album with everyone saying we had won and then on the night they gave it to Ms Dynamite. This year we were the lowest selling album and no one thought we had a prayer of winning when the nominations came out and well you know what happened.

Ultimately, it is a great album and the music & lyrics struck a chord with the panel. Also, Speech Debelle is one of the nominated artists that would truly benefit from taking the Prize, unlike so many other artists in the past who gave their prize money to charity.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
For recording, you’ve used a lot of great, high end mics, pre-amps and processing hardware both currently and historically, but when it comes to the mixing process, do you prefer to keep this stage 'in the box' or rely on certain Lotek ‘fave’ external rack units and processors?

WL
I prefer to mix with hardware, it's a combination of factors other than just analogue vs digital. Partly the analogue summation, also I like to touch my mix. When you're mixing on outboard the mix is the size of room. It forces you to get out of the chair and walk around.

In terms of how it sounds I prefer analogue but I have done many mixes with plug-ins alone and been happy with the results. I sometimes have to fight with EQ to get it to sound right, I find cutting isn't too bad but boosting with some plug-in EQ can sound harsh.

I've been using the Focusrite Liquid Mix recently as its a good in between for me, I get to tweak the settings as I would do with hardware and I can emulate most classic EQ and compressors for a small fraction of the cost.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
Being a producer very much empowered by acoustic instruments within your work, how does the current mass of software synth, keyboard emulations and plug-ins fit (if at all) within your workflow?

WL
The best emulations fit right in naturally, that's what I like about them. With something like Native Instruments' B4 I can have the sound of a Hammond organ without the stress of of using a real one and it does sound good, I've never heard one and thought it sounded synetic or that it didn't fit in the mix. Good strings are hard to replicate likewise with horns, at the very least I use plug-ins to sketch out songs and parts before getting them replayed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DV247:
And finally, what's up-coming for Lotek the Artist, and Lotek the Producer?

WL
Lotek the Aritst has just finished an album of reggae and ska inspired tracks called “Rebel HiFi”. Lotek the producer produced it, it's due out when Lotek the Producer and Lotek the artist can agree on what photo to use on the cover. They both think it should be of them!

Seriously, Rebel HiiFi should be out Spring next year and there's a few other projects in the pipeline including, Florelie and The Backlash Brew which is my girlfriend's soul/funk/reggae band, as well as my own dub band “The Ubiquitous Dub Legitimizers” aka “UDL”.

I'm still exploring the possibilities, I'm open to working on all types of music. The only time I would turn down a project is if I thought I couldn't deliver.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lotek Studios Melbourne Equipment List (Computer, software, hardware)



Pentium 3 PC Running Windows XP
Cubase 5
Wavelab 6
MOTU 828 Audio Interface
MOTU Micro Express MIDI/SMPTE Interface
Waves Diamond Bundle
Waves SSL Bundle
PSP Mix Pack
PSP Vintage Warmer
Sonnox Bundle
Native Instruments Komplete 5
ADAM A7 Monitors
Tascam M-50 Mixer
Tascam 38 – 1/2” 8 Track
Revox PR99 1/4” Tape Machine
AKAI MPC 2000XL
Speck 3:16 EQ
Behringer Composer (X2)
Joe Meek VC3Q Pre-Amp/Compresser
AKG C414 Microphone
Jeanne Audio 87 Microphone
TC Electronic M350 Effects Processor
Behringer Ultra Patch (X2)
Edirol PCR M50
Focusrite Liquid Mix
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you enjoyed this interview, then please bookmark it below for 'digg' and 'del.icio.us' etc and send it to your friends on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace

This interview copyright DV247.com Forums 2009
______________________________
"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.."
modz1 is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 26th October 2009 , 08:30 AM
Administrator
 
modz1's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: May 2008
Location: London
Posts: 1,848
Default

Bump for the 'bin away at the weekend' crowd
______________________________
"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.."
modz1 is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 8th November 2009 , 12:03 PM
Super Member
 
Tifstorey's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Burnley, Lancashire
Posts: 603
Default

Interesting read.

I've been interested in sampling and what not for a bit but never really gone deep into it, so was good to read what his intentions are for songs etc.

Cheers,
______________________________
Tifstorey is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Mercury Music Prize 2009 thread... whitecat The Music Industry - 'State Of Play' 2 21st July 2009 06:50 PM
Favourite Artist sureno Off Topic 3 21st November 2008 10:46 AM
Mercury Rev - Strange Attractor krykos The Hot Link 2 13th October 2008 07:39 AM
Mercury Prize Nominees - 'who deserved/who was robbed!'? modz1 The Music Industry - 'State Of Play' 7 10th September 2008 07:59 AM
Euphonix Artist davidd Computer Hardware 0 25th July 2008 07:43 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.0
1999-2017 DV247 Ltd. All rights reserved.