Arveene & Misk are an electronic duo from Ireland who have scored massive success with their remixes for the likes of The Prodigy, Felix Da Housecat and Mr Oizo as well as dance floor destroying outings on the likes of Turbo, Kitsune and Ed Banger - Proper big-time party-noise-makers. You're going to be seeing a lot of them on Sonic Academy over the coming months, so here we are by way of introduction…
Where did you learn your skills from. Self-taught or education route?
Self-taught; its an ideal background scenario in that I come from production and Arv comes from a DJing background, so he's picked up production through me and I started DJing through him.
What is your current studio set-up?
We've actually weeded out our synths in the last year or so; the new rule is anything not used for the last 6 months gets sold for something new. So, the survivors are:
• Roland Juno 106
• Roland SH-101
• Novation Supernova
• Novation BassStation
• Native Instruments Maschine
• Novation Launchpad
• LadyAda x0xb0x
• Macbook Pro
What made you decide to use your current DAW?
We used to work solely on Cubase and an oldskool tracker program called Buzztracker. When Ableton came out, we used it mainly for the audio warping (which was unique to Ableton at that time, and the implementation of it's 'elastic audio' is still the top of the game) and then moved files back to Cubase. As Ableton moved from version to version it implemented more of the features which Cubase had, until we realised we were doing more in Ableton than we were in Cubase…
Now we do pretty much everything in Ableton, occasionally I'll still mix/master in ProTools, but since the audio summing improvements in version 8, this is getting rarer too!
Talk us through your typical workflow from idea development to conception…..
Depends on the track really, If it's an original it will start off with an idea. We rarely just stare at a blank page and think "let's write a track", there is always some sort of plan. Normally some plain beats come first, and we'll write the bassline and synth parts around that… then possible come back and rewrite some beats to compliment the synths. Although if there's a vocal it gets pride of place in the mix and arrangement.
With a remix, you usually have a clearer picture as you've probably already listened to the track and can pick out the little riffs or edits you'd make to the vocal or a synth riff in the original, then you can work from there… it generally happens a lot quicker with a remix.
Then, once the bones are done, we'll work with a few different sections of the track independently, then start arranging them to make them all makes sense in relation to one another.
At this point we'll normally take a break from the track, work one something else, bounce it to an MP3 and listen to it that night, in the car or whatever. Then listening to it with fresh ears the next day let's you see exactly what needs to be done, if anything.
Then it's on to mixing and mastering!
What part of the production process do you find the most challenging?
It has to be the baseline. Not that it's challenging to write a baseline, but it's challenging to write an AMAZING bassline. And an amazing bassline could just be one note, with the right sound in the right places…. it's the backbone of every classic track and needs to be just right.
How do you deal with 'hitting a brick wall'?
Write your way through it. There is no other way. If you're working on a remix and it's not sounding the best it could be… finish the track you're working on and start from fresh. Take a break, listen to something from another genre, play some X-Box, then hit it again with a fresh perspective.
What piece of software and hardware could you not live without?
It has to be the SH-101. No soft synth has ever come close, there is just something unique about the growl that synth can muster… it's so simple, but so effective.
What piece of equipment would you most like to own?
Roland Jupiter 8, but it's just unjustifiable :(
Is there a piece of equipment you regret getting rid of?
YES. I sold my TB-303 cos it just didn't make any sense after buying the x0xb0x (it's an exact copy of the 303, made with the same parts, but fully midi/USB compatible), but I think I'll always regret it.
What piece of software or hardware are you most looking forward to launching this year?
You know, I really think we've got everything we need right now. Anything new is just an extra bit of kit to use and abuse, there's a lot to be said for paring down and just getting to know what you already have as opposed to buying every new bit of kit that comes out.
What's your current live/DJ set-up and why have youchosen this over everything else available in the market?
Our current live setup can be bigger or smaller depending on the gig/venue, but our minimum preferred setup is 2 x Macbook Pros running Ableton and Resolume, with Maschine, Launchpad, and the x0xb0x.
When we DJ we like using 4 CDJ 900s or 2000s with a DJM 800.
Is there too much choice in the music technology market these days?
YES. But the choice is up to the user, just pick your equipment carefully, and don't just shoot off and start downloading software and plugins willy nilly. There's a lot to be said for attaching value to something… research and BUY your plugins. Spend the time to get to know how to use them 100%… there probably isn't a sound on whatever new synth you're looking at that you can't make on something you already own… and once you know how to make your own patches, you can get an idea from your head to the speakers quicker than scrolling through presets.
How do you think the technology affects the music producers release?
It will always have an effect on the sound that's produced. As technology advances and certain plugins or synths become popular it always effects the sound. When guitars were first amplified to create electric guitars music changed for ever. Some people can get stuck in the past. This is can be both a good an bad thing. But a balance is often what will give a producer the most advantage when making new music. The best of both worlds of all worlds.
What's the secret to good mastering?
The secret to good mastering is referencing your material against some tracks you know sound amazing in a club/listening environment. It also helps to keep your listening levels reasonable… no matter what, if you turn something up louder it will sound better… so turn your speakers down really low… you'll get a better picture of the master and know exactly what needs to be done.
What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in 2012?
There's a slower remix of a new artist called Archeo "Glass Half Empty" which is out now on itunes. We've just remixed a track called "All good Fm" by the Famous Eno for Dre Skulls Mixpak records from New York.There's also a remix for a french label called Boxon, of Punx Soundcheck due out later this summer. We've been recording for the past few months so loads of new material is in the pipeline. But our main focus is our new live show which is in the works right now. We'll be giving it a test run at this years Benicassim festival in July.
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