Depaart’s history is far from being common. Born as a label in 2012, this electronic project has gone through different phases and proposals, reaching a huge visibility as a label, party and live act. In 2017 Guille, from Easy Kid, and Fran Zaragoza took control of Depaart’s artistic side with ‘Flamma’ and since 2018 they have officially joined forces to create one of the most promising projects of the Spanish scene. Depaart dropped by Decoded Magazine with some great production hints and tips…
1) Right samples and sounds to flow out an idea: It’s always worth it to spend some time setting some custom drum kits even before drawing the first patterns. If not we might get used to something that could have been a lot cooler or more original, and it’s always good to challenge ourselves with new sounds every time. There’s so many libraries and plugins that are hard to choose, so don’t stick to the same sounds! Same (and especially) goes for samples, dedicating time to arm yourself with some sick and custom samples can make a huge difference. Snares and kicks can always be layered and/or replaced afterward so be brave and creative!
2) Native plugins: If you use Ableton or Logic (we wouldn’t say the same for PT, unfortunately) native plugins are very handy. They take minimum CPU load and, if you know how to use them, they get the job done even better than other plugins. Ableton’s compressor and glue compressor used the right way deliver a great sound and work very simply for instance. For other basic FX like reverbs or delays might not be the best choice but once again it depends on how crazy you want to go. If you are thinking of performing your tracks with Ableton Live, the more you rely on these the better, but you are always going to need something else.
3) Mixing: we mainly work with Waves, it offers all the basic pro studio tools and a very complete range of funny enhancers and multiFX. Izotope Panorama is a secret (not anymore) powerful tool to place your instruments in a wide LR+depth range and can turn a basic mix into something very interesting just with this tool, especially drum kits and main synths. Another very cool pack is Fabfilter and Soundtoys, but way more aggressive and multiFX than a basic and yet effective Waves plugin. In this instance, some native FX can help you out but might not be enough since at this stage you are going to be looking for very sharp tools. Ableton’s EQ and filters, for instance, are great production tools but we don’t use them for mixing since they are not so accurate.
4) Bus, sends and returns: using other tracks to ‘duplicate’ and alter your original signal is a soft but effective way to mix and enhance compressions or to rise RMS in general. In Ableton, the return tracks can also be used as parallel compressors and not only as reverb and delays as they come preset. Try to send all your lower drums (kicks, toms, snares…) and maybe your sub or bass to a return track with a heavy compression and add this signal to the original tracks to boost those sounds. In Protools you can do it setting a bus and doing the same thing, it works!
5) Mastering: it’s nice and healthy to get a master engineer to do it for you, but it’s also very handy to be able to master your own tracks, at least so that you can play them and test them in clubs, and also for sharing your demos. We’ve been using Izotope’s Ozone since 2011 (it was Ozone 4 by then!). It took many many hours and many ruined attempts, but here are some tips! First balance the EQ. Don’t go too crazy with the graphic EQ and follow your ear; is it too bassy? Is it too crispy? +/- 2dB can make a huge difference here, be careful. Multiband compression is key too, but make sure to not compress more than 4dB or you’ll kill the dynamics on your track, and try to leave the highest freqs with very little comp. Stereo is also a huge difference, but don’t apply too much or they’ll sound weird at clubs. Ozone’s Maximizer is amazing too, get close to a peak of -4 dB and be careful with unwanted distortion here. Master reverb shouldn’t be necessary if the track is properly mixed. Export with the right dither parameters and share with the world!
Photo credit – Pablo Gallardo