This week we sat down with DJ and music producer Glen Coombs – the producer behind Jackin’ & Tech House. We discussed everything from his studio set-up all the way to production tips and tricks. Not to mention how to stay creative and inspired when in the studio.
What’s your setup currently like in your studio?
My studio is at home now, and I’m still in the process of sorting it out, but its pretty homely in there and looks over the garden which is nice on a rainy day when I can be making a track indoors thinking of Ibiza! Having a home studio is really handy as I can just get in there whenever and start working on a new track. Ideally I like to use a lot of software when I’m producing but there are a few pieces of hardware I couldn’t live without, namely my Roland Boutique setup, I have a few of their pieces like the JP-08, which is a quality remake of a classic synth, you’ll hear a lot of sounds from that in my tracks for sure, a piece of kit I’ve used a lot is my m-audio microphone too, sometimes when you spend hours and hours searching for the perfect vocal it’s often just best to try and record your own, so that’s got plenty of use! My main bit of kit I really couldn’t live without now are my M-audio BX5 monitors, these aren’t high-end in price, but the quality of them is great, and when you’ve used a pair of monitors for so long your ears get used to working with them!
When your working in your studio, how do you stay inspired and maintain a creative workflow?
Staying inspired is something I think every artist would struggle to explain, inspiration for me really comes and goes. Sometimes one day you just have it and another it’s not there at all. I never try to force a track out, if I’m not feeling it one day, I’ll leave it, spend my time doing something else, knowing that when I come back to it I’ll have a fresh perspective!
What sort of music outside the dance music genre tends to inspire you?
Other than dance music I’m a huge fan of bands like The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club etc, but I also love to listen to a lot of jazz music and also some reggae stuff, my Mum is hugely keen on Classical music and 80’s pop, so as a kid I was exposed to a lot of that too and I think that inspired me to produce my own music. I don’t think I have any house music on my phone at all, so when I’m just out and about or travelling around I’m not listening to dance music. I think that when I get back into the studio that gives me a clean slate to work on, and I can draw inspiration from a few different sounds! For me, groups like New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Bronski Beat really influenced my productions for sure.
Are there any plug-ins in particular that are essential to your production process?
One group of plugins that are definitely essential to me are to iZotope Ozone plugins. They pretty much do anything you need, one in particular is the imager, for me its the best tool out there if you need that extra space in the spectrum filled! Another must have for me are the FabFilter plugins, I couldn’t imagine not using these, from compressors and EQ’s to Saturation, they are my go to tools when I’m mixing a track down.
Do you have any unique production tips that are unknown that you could share with out readers?
One production tip I would recommend for sure is to always apply some saturation to your drum bus or channel, it doesn’t need to be anything too drastic, but some subtle saturation over the whole channel can really bring your drums to life.. I often wondered why my percussion never seemed to really drive my tracks like others did, but once I started applying saturation it gave real presence and warmth to my drums, I’ve got my own setup now I always use on my drums in every track and it’s really helpful because now I can write my drums in without worrying too much about them because I’ve always got the saturation on, sometimes it needs a little tweaking here and there depending on the track of course!
Do you have any advice from producers who are just starting out?
My advice for producers that are just starting out is to be really patient, you probably won’t create the best track ever on your first go! Take your time and build a catalog of music that really showcases your unique sound! Music isn’t going anywhere, so you have all the time in the world, creating something that stands out and is unique to you is far more interesting to potential labels. I apply this to myself too, I always try to build up a catalog of work so I can look back at it for inspiration, or to see what worked and what didn’t.