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8kays & Jonas Saalbach share some studio tips to sound like a pro

Following countless high-quality releases all over the electronic labelscape, Ukrainian producer, live act and DJ 8kays premieres on Radikon with her single ‘Subway To Berlin’. Accompanied by the gentle voice of Hotmode, she unites playful synthesizer experiments with powerful moving chords and prime-time yearning drum arrangements. As an additional round-up ‚Subway to Berlin’ enjoys a tender treatment from the hands of our very own label host Jonas Saalbach in a joint liaison with roaring scene force Coeus.

To celebrate the drop of ‘Subway To Berlin’, 8Kays and Jonas Saalbach invited EG into the studio for 9 Studio Tips used on the record:

1. Collaborations

8Kays: Musicians give you the opportunity to bring something new to your product and to look at your track from a different angle. Sometimes I don’t have the ideas to finish the track myself, so when another person takes the project, it is another level of excitement to hear the updated version or to hear some vocal idea.

That happened with ‘Subway to Berlin’ too. I had an arrangement and I understood that something was missing in it. Hotmode made not only a wonderful topline, but he also added an arpeggio that added dynamics to the track. The final output you can listen to now 🙂

2. Presence

Jonas Saalbach: In our remix, I felt that the vocals needed a bit more color and less reverb than in the original. I sent the vocals to an aux channel and made them mono to reduce the reverb which was part of the vocal stem. Then I added a saturation plug-in with a heavy drive. With a simple EQ, I made a low cut and a high cut and mixed them gently with the main vocal. The voice seemed more present and had its focus more in the center.

3. Accents

8Kays: I really like to create elements in my works that stand a little apart from the track and which attract attention. In this track, the main element is the bass effect, which I made via Moog Sub Phatty with lots of reverb from my favorite Black Hole reverb plugin. I also used a UAD Distressor to make it stick out of the whole mix, and also to make it sound even fatter.

4. Patterns

Jonas Saalbach: I like to use groove patterns of real drum elements because they play very organically. In our remix for 8Kays there is a short synth stab that got its pattern from the cowbell loop. I just converted the cowbell into a midi so I could use those exact notes with a new sound and keep the organic groove.

5. Layering

8Kays: I often mix additional tracks into the main parts. This makes it possible to make the main element more voluminous and more original. Even if this element may sound strange, different, or barely noticeable, it can bring an interesting presence effect when it’s placed properly in the mix. I always use the equalizer to let them breathe together.

6. Starting Points

Jonas Saalbach: In the remix pack of ‘Subway To Berlin’ we received different arranged parts of the original track as well as different loops. Sometimes it’s good to play around with the loops and just change the starting point. Suddenly you have a completely different pattern, but the sound of the original remains.

7. Loops

8Kays: No matter which loop you choose for your arrangement, how you use the loop is what really matters. Choose the elements you like in this loop and try playing around with them. Soundtoys is a very good plugin for such things.

8. Space

Jonas: In electronic music with heavy basses, kicks, and deep midrange synths, it’s important to create space for each element. Besides EQ-ing, I like to use the plug-in ‘Trackspacer’. It’s a sidechain compressor for a specific frequency spectrum. For example, in order not to lose the high frequencies in my bassline, I only compress everything below 150hz.

9. VST vs. Hard-Synths

8Kays: It doesn’t matter what you use in your work, the main thing is that it inspires and motivates you to work. I used both hard synthesizers Novation Peak (for a part of bassline), Moog Sub Phatty (for Bass FX), and VST Instruments from Arturia: Mini V3 (for bass line also), Piano V2, Matrix 12 for this track.

8Kays & Hotmode’s ‘Subway To Berlin’ (incl. Coeus & Jonas Saalbach Remix)  is out now via Radikon. Purchase your copy here.

Follow 8Kays: Facebook | SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify
Follow Jonas Saalbach: Facebook | SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify

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