Smooth: In The Viper Pit
‘If you don’t love what you do people will feel it in the song’
Smooth is firing on all cylinders, what with global touring and recent recorded output galvanising his signature sound… the engine’s running pretty smoothly you could definitely say.
We caught up with the super-focused producer/DJ to talk about Viper’s recent Summer Slammers album, to go in-depth about the studio AND to touch on that special, agonising moment when you reflect that you simply may not make that essential flight after all…
Hi Smooth how’s it been going?
Very good thank you. I have been quite busy in the studio, already working on a new single.
And yes I just got back home from the Viper slammers tour in Australia with The Prototypes, Matrix and Futurebound, Insideinfo and Rhymestar and it has been great.
Big up to the Aussie crew for taking care of us and doing great events down under!
Must be a great year so far then?
Yeah I really can’t complain! I’m just enjoying life, playing gigs and most important I’m working in the studio all the time. And I feel really happy that all those years in the studio weren’t thrown away.
Where are you actually based right now… and do you produce there?
I’m still based in my hometown: Prevoje, Slovenia.
And yes I have my studio here and everything I produce is all done here where I know the sound of the room.
You’re part of this quite massive Summer Slammers compilation for Viper and your ‘Moonlight’ tune is there plus ‘The Black Hole’… can you take us through ‘Moonlight’ as an example? It’s very uplifting but gritty too.
Thanks! Yeah I’m happy to be a part of this compilation and also promoting it with a tour down under.
Basically I wanted to do something melodic yet not complex.
The goal was to make a tune that could be listened at home but also has that dancefloor edge. Tried to make it sound really universal.
I made this tune some years ago actually. Sometimes a tune just gets stuck in the studio for some reason. But yeah I just made it sound fresh so it could finally be released on this compilation! I had to rework the mixdown quite a few times but it was well worth it.
So speaking of work, what things inspire you to get stuck in to the studio and really work, to get the most out of the equipment and yourself?
I can’t let myself go out of the studio until I can say I have done everything I could to make it sound as good as possible. I reckon that’s the reason that drives every producer. I just want to keep challenging myself and be better with every new tune I write.
And listening to other artists within the genre also gives you the drive to better yourself. And the most important thing for me is the love for the music. If you don’t love what you do people will feel it in the song.
Do you ever go back in and add – or subtract – stuff from your tunes?
Oh plenty of times. Again though it really depends. Sometimes all you need to do is mix it down better but sometimes a song is just lacking something or has to much elements. It’s always good to go crazy on a tune I would say… write a lot of different parts, sfx, basses and so forth.
Then you have a lot of sounds to choose from, and what doesn’t make it in the drop you can always use in breakdowns, outros or buildups. But yeah, in general it’s the adding and subtracting that makes the tune better and better.
On to the Summer Slammers comp, what are a few snapshots from the Viper album? I know there’s LOADS on here…
The one I need to mention here is ‘Glow Worm’ by Matrix & Futurebound. Really big tune and quite frankly it has been a while since they made a dancefloor track.
And they just showed to everyone that they can pretty much do everything. Very talented guys and they have always been a big inspiration for me! Another one that did it for me on the album was also ‘Zodiac’ by Mob Tactics. Such a big tune and so perfect for the dancefloor.
I’ve been playing their tunes for quite some time now but this one could be one of the best they have written. So yeah it’s very nice to be on an album that has so many big exclusives and also a lot of the big songs of this year.
You mention M&F so who would you say is your biggest ONGOING influence in what you do? Who continues to amaze, in D&B?
Lately it would have to be The Prototypes and Tantrum Desire.
They are both/all just banging sick tunes out like it’s nothing!
I think they pretty much have to be in my mixes otherwise it doesn’t feel right.
Dimension is also killing it right now. When he makes a banger he really has a unique sound and his tunes always gets the crowd going!
Speaking of live, when you’re mid-set what’s something that would surprise or energise a crowd, do you have any tunes that will demolish a crowd?
One of the tunes that I find completely kills it is my remix of ‘Get Dirty’ by Camo & Krooked.
Since it’s done in triplets it really has a special flow to it and seems like people just love that. It’s a really cool feeling to see people go nuts to your tune.
That’s why we do this!
What’s a story from the road?
Actually it just happened to me when I was driving to Venice for a flight to Australia.There was a car crash on the way to the airport and the road was completely closed down. And the only open road lead to a completely different city. I was really scared that I might miss the flight.
I took the other road and found a different way around the highway.
I was going through all these small Italian villages completely paranoid since I never drove there before. I wasn’t even sure if I was going the right way.
I was there to catch my flight… JUST.
That took like two years off my life.
I know you like metal and hardcore is this ongoing? Do you like music with guitars & maybe want to do some of this stuff as well?
It is ongoing yeah but lately I haven’t been listening to it to much. When you make music and play parties all the time you kind off don’t wanna listen to something heavy on top of that.
It’s not always the same but yeah lately I’ve been more into indie rock. Mellow guitars, nice vocals and just perfect for the weather in Europe right now.
Which answers your next question, yeah I love music with guitars. I did one song with Markoman as Telekinesis which is called ‘Bad Virus’. That tune has sort of a “metal” vibe to it. And I played the guitar for it. So yeah everything is possible.
I might do a tune with full-on guitars some day when I feel like it!
OK any shouts, Smooth?
Yeah first of all cheerz for having me, and big shout to my label Viper recordings for the constant support and trust in my music. And to all the people that support my music as well.