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AQAXA shares 3 studio tips from his ‘Corporeal’ EP

Very little trace can be found online about AQAXA’s persona. A few snapshots, some lines here and there, and one EP. The German artist’s debut release, the ‘Corporeal EP  Conceived during the COVID pandemic, the artist seeks to present itself as something that is, and isn’t. A duality, stemming from the same well, diverging only under the prism of our individual interpretations.

‘Corporeal’ EP, his debut on Punch Up Records, feels complex and intricate, yet warm and intimate. As they intersect in an ethereal realm, it’s a communion between man and AI, created out of fragmented memories. A crystal-clear labyrinth, where reflections of what once was get lost, only to be replicated over and over again until all original meaning is gone. Resignified.

To celebrate the release of his ‘Corporeal’ EP on Punch Up Records, AQAXA shares 3 studio tips that helped him throughout the record.

1. Layering

Here’s a trick to handle very layered tracks (like mine). I experiment a lot with overdubs and resampling, so things get very busy very quickly. When I arranged the songs in my ‘Corporeal’ EP, I created 6 empty groups in my DAW (I use Ableton Live, but pretty much any DAW can do this a way or another): kicks, bass, drums, harmony, lead, unpitched/FX. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, the ‘drums’ group is for all the percussion except for the kick (which I like to treat separately), ‘harmony’ is for chords and other elements that build the harmony that supports the lead melody, ‘lead’ contains the stuff I want to have in the foreground, and ‘unpitched /FX’ is for noisy sounds, effects, and things like that. Once those are set I try to assign each of the 30+ tracks that I have in my set to the appropriate group. If a track doesn’t fit in any of the groups, I ask myself ‘what am I actually trying to do with this track?’. If I can’t come up with a decent answer I just delete it. Then I start working on each group separately, see if there is redundant or useless stuff that I can get rid of, etc. before I mix the whole thing together.

I think this is a pretty good method for taming projects with a lot of layers. Of course, you can come up with your own groups. It doesn’t have to be those six. For example, I was having lunch at a Vietnamese vegan place here in Berlin Friedrichshain a few days ago with my mate Łukasz Polowczyk, and he told me that he uses a similar grouping technique but with frequency ranges. If the group with the low-end stuff works well on its own, then you’re in a good place.

2. Reinterpretation

Another tip is to get out of your bubble and try to reinterpret things you hear in other genres with your own instruments. Find an instrument that is ‘your voice’. I remember Alessandro Cortini being interviewed years ago about his use of the Buchla Music Easel. He said something like ‘find your own Easel. I guess ‘my Easel are my sampled memories that I use with machine learning. Or maybe my Vermona PERfourMER MKII, which I used on every track of the EP.

3. There’s no right way

Don’t believe people telling you that there’s a ‘right’ way to mix your track. I was having a chat with Robert Henke in his atelier a while ago. He showed me the old computers he is using for his CBM 8032 AV show, and then we started talking about a bunch of things, including YouTube mixing tutorials where dudes tell you how your track should sound like. He told me something like: ‘that’s why a whole lot of stuff sounds the same these days. When I started we had to figure it out ourselves!’ And I think he’s right. So basically don’t believe in tips.

Stream and buy AQAXA’s ‘Corporeal’ EP here.

Follow AQAXA:  Soundcloud | Instagram | Facebook 

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