|Since 2005 Oli Cash of Far Too Loud has been cranking out hit after hit and its a rare occasion when you can’t find one of his productions in the Beatport top 100 charts. With club bangers like “Megaloud” to massive anthem remixes such as “Innocent” by 30hz it’s no wonder that he has earned multiple nominations for awards such as Beatports “Best Breaks Artist” and “Best Track”. Oli has even remixed some of the giants in the EDM world such as The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and the Crystal Method to name a few. When a DJ throws on a Far Too Loud track you can be certain of one thing: ridiculous edits, massive electro basslines, and face melting beats are soon to follow. We caught up with Oli who has generously donated some of his time for an interview and to give some production tips to help out all the producers out there.|
Production tips from Far Too Loud
1. FREQUENCY CONTENT: It’s well known that you want to aim for an evenly balanced frequency spectrum in your mixes. When adding a sound to a track I always consider where it will fit in the frequency spectrum and if there are any other sounds it will compete with. Before applying EQ I’ll play about with the octaves different sounds play in to make sure they can all be heard clearly. I’ll often use EQ automation to keep the mix full but clean. For example, if a track drops with just a bass sound and drums, then the bass sound (most often in my productions) will have an even frequency content over the spectrum so that it sounds big and full, however if a lead sound comes in later on, I’ll automate an EQ on the bass channel to allow space in the frequency spectrum for it.
2. PANORAMA/WIDTH: I rarely touch the channel pan pots when mixing my tracks as I don’t think it works well in clubs to have a sound permanently louder in one channel (although I will automate the pan pot or use autopan sometimes). Instead I’ll sometimes give a sound width by somehow varying the L signal from the R. There are loads of ways in which this can be done, the simplest of which is to apply a small delay to one channel. Many synths allow you to pan unison voices which is a technique I like to use often. Once I have made a sound “wide”, I may use some kind of processing on the S (side) signal to further control the width (check this link if you’re not familiar with mid/side processing – http://www.bluecataudio.com/Tutorials/Tutorial_MidSideProcessing/). This may be simple gain adjustment for overall width control or perhaps I’ll use DMGAudio Equality (http://dmgaudio.com/products_equality.php) to EQ the S signal such that some frequencies (generally higher ones) are wider than others (generally lower ones). I think it’s important to have a good balance of wide and narrow or mono sounds so the whole panorama is filled. If I have a lead sound and a pad sound playing together, I’ll generally make one wider and one narrower or mono and sometimes play about with switching which is the wide one and pick what I think sounds best. With bass sounds I sometimes like to layer a mono sound with low and low-mid frequency energy with a wider sound with more high frequency energy to create a sound which fills the panorama. Note that it will help a lot in judging panorama and width if you set up your speakers and listening position properly (read this for more info positioning – http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb06/articles/studiosos.htm).
3. DEPTH: The depth of a sound is generally controlled by adding reverb, although you could use some sort of modulation or delay too. I have acoustic treatment in my studio which deadens the sound in the room – this is invaluable for listening to reverb tails. If you don’t have a treated room, use some trusted headphones to check your reverb settings. I apply reverb to nearly all elements in my tracks, even if only a little, and use a number of different reverbs in one track to give a range of depths to the different sounds. Even if I am going for an overall very dry, up-front sound, I still like to use very short reverbs, delays or chorus to give a sense of space.
4. SIDE-CHAIN COMPRESSION. Side-chain compression from the kick drum is a well-known about technique, but I have become obsessed with LFOTool from Xfer Records for this (http://xferrecords.com/products/lfo-tool). The reason is that it allows me to easily tailor the release curve for each individual sound. I can go for a quick release, so that the sound is ducked only for the “click” of the kick drum, or a long release which can completely remove the sound for the duration of the kick, or anywhere in between. I’ll spend a bit of time with each sound playing about to get the release curve sounding right and sometimes, particularly with basses, split the frequency spectrum with EQs on parallel channels and apply a different release curve to each band. LFOTool also has a filter which you can control with the LFO which can be useful for fitting a sound in the mix.
5. GAIN. On many tracks in my sessions you’ll see Sonalksis Free G (http://www.sonalksis.com/freeg.htm) in the last plug-in slot. It’s simply a really nice software fader and I’ll automate it throughout the track on many sounds to make sure the mix is always well balanced and that the prominent sounds have space. I use Free G so that I can still adjust the overall level of the sound with the channel fader without having to adjust the gain automation.
The Lightning Round…
Favorite VST Instrument at the moment? FXPansion DCAM Synth Squad
Favorite VST effect at the moment? It’s a bit more than an effect, but I need to mention NI Kore…it’s so essential to my work flow.
Favorite Sound Library? Tough to pick a fave, but here’s a cool one I discovered a while back – http://www.drivenmachinedrums.com/
DAW of choice? Cuabse 6
Do you use any hardware? I have a MIDI controller (Novation Impulse 49), a sound card (Focusrite Saffire 24 DSP), and some speakers (KRK VXT8s) which are all nice, but apart from that it’s just a computer.
Producer you are digging at the moment? Culprate
How long have you been producing for? 8 years I think
Biggest mistake beginners make? Not investing in some decent ear plugs and wearing them at gigs.
Big thanks for Oli from Far Too Loud for the interview, please show him support at one of the following pages: