Mefjus: Check the Pulse
Mefjus goes in on D&B as standard.
And, fittingly, he’s gone in on the discussion about the new release on Viper, up alongside InsideInfo (in image above): how the collab between the two happens and how the dichotomy between technology and the human touch continues to inexorably shift.
Hey Mefjus how’s things? What you doing right now. And how has Emulation gone, plus the aftermath of supporting it?
Hey, all good thanks, just on my way to Vienna to get new photos done for my press kit for my next solo EP.
Yeah man, I’m really happy how everything went down. It was such an amazing experience doing that, even though I got to my physical and psychological limits whilst writing it.
Tell us how the ‘Talisman’ came about? Man that’s a slightly creepy title too… it’s ominous, it could be good, could be bad. Either way the track sinks in and really sticks to my psyche.
I’m very happy with that track as it is something completely different compared to all our other work. Having ‘Pulsation’ on the flipside gave us some freedom to explore some other sound textures and rhythms I guess.
I remember when we wrote the intro, we instantly felt a kind of ancient, mystic vibe and we just went for it, also we thought it would be a nice follow up to “Repentance” which goes into a similar direction.
I love the key change to this, I love the ride it takes you. You must have gotten lost in it when you produce: how do you keep track of ideas as you go?
Yeah I’m really happy with that one section where the tracks changes its key, also I’ve never done a track where a layer of the snare is that tonal and also changing pitch that often, so it was really refreshing doing it, even though it’s not a dancefloor track really.
The good thing working with Paul/InsideInfo is that we don’t have any pressure to put out music at all. We just hang out, make beats if we feel like it, and then we can decide what to do with it no pressure.
That means some of the original ideas we’re releasing this year are actually two to three years old but still kept us interested to work on them.
A lot of ideas never get finished.
And the ‘Pulsation’, it’s killer…
I remember making the drums for this track, leaving them in the project and Paul took over, I went downstairs to do some emails and office stuff and when I came back Paul had this wicked four bar riff there.
He used that VST emulation of an old emu sampler, which got great filters and they claim they are almost as good as the original hardware ones – which I doubt, but that sampler is terrible to setup.
When we were close to finish the track the sampler decided to be funny and Paul had to recreate the main bass patch but luckily it ended up sounding even cooler.
But in terms of writing the track we just made a really minimal arrangement of the main part to start with, to be able to try it out, but we kind of left it that way, as we felt it just worked on this one.
In the beginning I had a really big issue with that bass sound every other bar. Honestly I hated that vocoded bass sound and I talked to Paul about changing it, but he convinced me and now it just makes me laugh and it doesn’t irritate me that much any more.
But that’s how collaborations work: compromises.
The intro is completely Paul’s work, I think I haven’t done a single note of that, I did the final mix at Paul’s though and mastered it at my place.
We spoke to InsideInfo and he was great to chat to about working with you, so what NEW things happen when you guys work together?
It’s always refreshing working together, as we both just love making new sounds, we both read a lot of magazines and try new plugins, so we can always learn from each other when we get together.
For instance Paul tutored me how to use Camel Audio’s Alchemy and I love it now, in return I gave Paul some FM8 tutorials, so we both benefit.
Personally I can say Paul helped me a lot in terms of not to getting too over excited and super deep about the production in the first stages of writing a track, because it often caused me killing a vibe when we were working together but this point of few also helped me for my solo work.
It also great that Paul is a really talented IT guy, so he’s always up to date with all the DAW updates, new features and technologies, and I can just ask him if it’s worth it to switch/try certain plugins etc.
I wanted to touch on the thing that seems to have come in D&B fairly recently, where people share a project online. What’s it like, to work like that? Sorta seems crazy sometimes.
I remember when we wrote ‘Blunt’ as flipside for Mythos on Virus in 2013, Optical gave us a deadline to write a flip in about five days, from scratch, so me and Paul just moved all our other projects aside and did this track completely online.
He was sitting in the UK, I was sitting in Austria and we just skyped all day and sent the Cubase project back and forth. Whilst Paul was actively working on it I just made some fx or intro sounds to a bounce I made earlier of the track and vice versa,
As far as I remember the track was done in two or three days and then I mixed it on the fourth and we delivered in time.
All other tracks we did together were pretty much done in his or my studio together, not the whole production obviously, but the main backbones of the tracks always were made when we were in the same studio, which is essential to a collaboration, to me.
I couldn’t imagine just working online all the time. Also all my other collaborations I did with other artists were 99% done together at their or my place.
So is there a cloud-based thing with your working practice, in part, for convenience?
I use a cloud in my studio to automatically backup all my work. It’s two redundant/mirrored hard drives which are physically seperate from my studio computer.
That system also has one specific folder which is accessible through wifi, so when I have guests over with their laptop/macbook or whatever, there’s no need to work with hard drives or usb flash drives to share sounds, which sometimes can be long due to different formatting, so you can just chuck your sounds in there and I can access them from my studio computer as well.
With elements like Skype and so much being done on PCs for such a long time now does it mean that musicians will eventually simply stop visiting each others in studios?
I guess it really depends what you are aiming for and why you want to collaborate with somebody.
As far as I’m concerned I just work with people I’m down with on a personal level as well, who I share the same values with, who I can have a laugh with.
So it also depends on the session. For instance I don’t only visit Paul for making music, when I’m in the UK I almost all the time stay at his place, just to hang out and have a good time, and sometimes we don’t even touch Cubase.
On the other hand there are some sessions where we are far into a project, it can be D&B but also a commercial advertising production, and you have to just put the hours into Cubase to get it done in time.
But we almost talk everyday and look into future projects, trying to sync our schedules to get some studio time together, but the beauty of this relationship is that there’s no pressure. We write music together when we feel like it and it always turned out special, as far as I’m concerned.
So what’s some cool aspects about working on new music with other people?
Obviously you can learn a lot by working with other people and I don’t mean that in a technical way: a
compressor is a compressor ha ha, but in a workflow and in a thinking outside the box kind of way.
Also working with people who use different DAWs can be really inspiring.
I had Yas – Xtrah – over a couple of months ago and he’s – or at least was – using Logic back then, which I don’t have at my place, so we were just working on Cubase.
He had some interesting workarounds of different techniques, because Logic just doesn’t offer them, which inspired me a lot.
Travelling different places, hanging out with amazing people and actually spend a couple of days there to share the same passion, making music, is just amazing.
OK cool Mefjus, thanks for chatting,
Thanks for having me!