Håkan Lidbo – Die Musikfabrik (Teil 2)

Rubrik » Interview Portrait

hakanlidbo.jpgUnd nocheinmal: Håkan Lidbo. Nachdem der Techno-House Produzent schon in seiner ersten Email besonders ausführlich über seine Produktionsskills berichtete, haben wir jetzt noch einmal nachgehakt. Wie sieht das Studio aus? Ist Lidbo ein Technik-Nerd? Wie ausgebufft wird in Stockholm produziert? Ein geschwätziges Interview über Vocoder, Mischpulte und die ersten Schritte.

Den ersten Teil des humorvollen und persönlichen Interviews könnt ihr hier lesen.

phlow: First of all: are you an auto-didact or how did you learn to work with mixing desks and synths and samplers?

Håkan Lidbo: my very first reccording equipment was the tape recorder i got from my Mom and Dad when i was a kid, my brother got another one so i made very primitive ping-pong recordings by playing back from one recorder, adding a new layer of sound into the next one, and then back again. I bought my first porta-studio like 17 years ago, 4 channels, 2 parametric Eqs and 2 effect sends. When you know how to master this basic recording device, it's not all that big difference to work with a big mixing desk. The EQ is the same, maybe split in to more frequencies, the gain and volume and panning is the same.

hakan_lidbo-equip1.jpgi bought the very first sampler that was possible to buy for an amateur. it was the first AKAI S-612 that held one sample alone, 8 bits, 2 seconds sample time. i still use it from time to time as it has this very clever feature where you alternate the sound instead of looping it (the sound plays forward and then backward instead of looping from the start) and you set the start and end point of the loop with 2 knobs. If you trigger a sound from a sequencer and just move the start and end point randomly, maybe tweeak the filter knob at the ssame time, you can come up with very nice effects. When AKAI moved up to the s-900 series, i bought one of those, then the s-1000, s-3000 and now the s-6000. Im very lazy an i hate reading user-manuals, so i stick to one machine when i get to know it.

phlow: How important is the room of your studio? Is it also important to have
nice furniture in it?

hakan_lidbo-spuele.jpgHåkan Lidbo: i wish it was but im stuck in a rather depressing basement without a window. i don't know anyone in stocckholm who has a studio with a window so i shouldn't complain but one day, when me and my wife will buy a house in the countryside, i will move my studio there and then finally i will have a winddow. And i wuldnt mind fillinf it with very nice 60s plastic space furniture, to give it that right vibe.
phlow: With which equipment do you normaly work?

Håkan Lidbo: The basic is the sampler, s-3000xl and Im still learning how to use the s-6000. i make 80% of my music on the sampler. i mostly use the computer as a seqquencer and then i processs sounds in various programs and move it back to the ssampler, cut it up in small pieces and arrrange it there. i have a setup of vintage synhesizers, all with ddifferent character: i have 2 Roland SH-101 which i use in every single song i make, 2 Yamaha DX7 digital classic, one TX81-Z (the 4 operator version of the DX7 but 8 times multitimbral, quite nice actaully) one Bit 99 (digital synth with anaologue filters) one Rolandd JX10-p, one Clavia Nord Modular which is an incredible synth, probably the best synth there is, one Yamaha JV-1080 sampleplayer and somee other obscure oldies.

phlow: You told me that you have a big library of sounds. Do you use sample-cd's
or where did you get all those percussions from?

Håkan Lidbo: i never use sample CDs. i make most of my samples myself, not by bangging on drums in the studio, but sampling from records (mostly vintage vinyl) and creating sounds onmy ssynths. i make a llot of synth percussion sounds on may analogue ynts through various effects.

phlow: How do you arrange your liveacts (equipment and set up)?

hakan_lidbo-rack.jpgi have an Alesis ADAT with 8 pre-recorded tracks, a Boss 16 channel mix, 2 crappy boss effects, one clavia d-drum (one of the first synth drums from the 80s), one clavia Nord modular, one shure SM-58 microphone, one toy ttelephone (which used to have chewing gums inside but i ate them), one robot spider which makes a srange space noise, one toy raygun, one Nintendo Gameboy (with the 4-bit Little Sound Dj sequencer program) and sometimes some other gadgets tthat i find in toy stores or at the airport when i travel. its very easy to open up these little gizmos and connect the built in speaker directly to a lead into the mix).

Håkan Lidbo: my live performance concisits of me mixing different tracks from the adat, adding effects, i can ffilter the music through the nord modular and i use it as a vocoder as well. i sing on all the tracks when i play live. And then i play on these different gadgets on top of the whole thing. the reason that i don't use a laptop is simply because i don't have one. but if i did, i would just stand still looking into the screen all through the set. i think that the reason that im almost always successful with my liveset (except for the fact that the music is pretty funky, if i may say sso myself?) is that i have all these machines, im very very busy wheen i play and i an allow mysef to improvises a lot, not in structure or the length of the tracks, but filtering, vocoder phrases, and my silly little toys. A Dj can be fantastic but people are used to see a performance where things are happening, where aomeone iss doing something that effects the msuci, if you hide yourself behind the laptop, noone will know what the hell you're doing and i think you miss a bit of that entertainemnt factor.

phlow: While producing the data80 album you used a lot vocoder vocals. With which
vocoder do you work and why?

Håkan Lidbo: most of the vocoder ounds are made wwith an old machine called the Korg DVP-1, its my favourite as it ssounds really ssoulful and warm. i aslo have vocoder plugins in my Logic program, i have great vocoeder patches in the Nord Modular, and i have a talkbox (you know that tube-in-the mouth thing that roger troutman mastered) but my favourite is the DVP-1. vocoder and talkboxx are really triccky instrument to master and you have to work a lot to make the text clear at the same time as the sound should be nasty. i always loved the sound of the vocoder and ii've vocoders for 15 years or so, so i don't care if the sound is a bit over exploited right now. i still love it.

phlow: You're not a fan of virtual software because it is to exhausting for you to use the mouse to turn the grafic knobs. But the possibilities and sounds you can create while using software from native instruments or steinberg or logic is getting better, faster and is sometimes even easier to use because if you change the speed for example all virtual effects and synths synchronize. Even the possibilities to manipulate sounds seem sometime so amazing that normal euqipment doesn't have the chance to reach the same qualitiy. What do you think about this subject? Do you maybe change your systems in the future?

Håkan Lidbo: yes, of course, i have all these things, i have a double 800 processor G4 mac with logic 5 and everything you need. but as i know my stduio like my own pocket, i can work extremely fast in that enviroment. Im planing to do productions which are more complex and where the tottla reccall possibility of the ssoftware studio will be necessary. But for the moment im mostly twiddling physical knobs and getting angry at physical leads that arent wworking (mainly because im very very bad a t solding).

phlow: When I hear Håkan Lidbo Tracks and mix them while I am djing I often have to cut the high and mid-high frequencies because they are so present that other tracks seem to sound not so crisp, clear and loud. To me this is some sort of trademark. Have you got special tricks and equipment or is it just intuitive?

Håkan Lidbo: i think because i used tto do pop productions, cclearitty is very important to me. i belive that there is enough bass and low-mid in my productions to match the demands of even the bigger clubs, but as you say, sometimes you have to tweek it a bit. Im alsso often surprised that a lot of records sound pretty much the way i mixed it i lalwasy give the mastering and cuttingg engineer totally free hands to do wwhatever it takes to squeeze out as much energy as possible, but sometimes theyre to coward-y and keep it pretty mucch as it was. i might start doing my own mastering in the future but i have to et into ssome new programs andd maybe buy a big-ass-multibrand valve compressor to get started.

phlow: While you produce your tracks do you think about how a dj could probably mix them and you arrange a little bit the sequences for easier handle while mixing?

Håkan Lidbo: i try to keep that in mind but at the ssame time i want my tracks to be pleasant to listen to as songs, eventhough it's a 1,5 min intro before the bassline ccomes in, i try to fill those 1,5 minutes with interesting sounds and effects, stuff that will make the track enjoyable for home listening on a CD format, but also mix-friendly on vinyl.

phlow: Which is your prefered hard- or software?

Håkan Lidbo: Hardware:The sampler, the Nord Modular, the Korg DVP-1 vocoder, the roland SH 101 synth, a very very very crappy spring reverb that i bought second hand for something like 25 euro.. And off course my monitors, JBL 2312A. The monitors is the first expensive thing you should buy when you build up a studio. And if you cant get the mix right its probably not bwecause you needd another version of your program or a faster computer, its probably much smarter to spend that money on new monitors.

Software: Cubase 3,5 (i still use that because im very lazy), Logic 5 (i don't know it very well yet, but im sure i will love it), pro tools, Sonic Works, Toast and outlook express without the CD burning prrogram and my email program i wouldn't release records. i spend about 50% of my time producing, and the rest sending emails, licking stamps, sendding off new demoss for possible releease. i also run my owwn publishing ccompany not only representing myself but also artist like Mikael Stavostrand, Martin Venetjoki, Jeff Bennett, Sven Andersson, Folie, Spanka, Baires, Bobby Trafalgar and some others... so i have a lot of things to care of except making music. I know so many producers of electronic music that spend all their time making music and often most of the music stays in their drawer. If I have any advice then it is to spend more time wuith outlook and toast, just as much time as you spend with cubase or logic or whatever you're using.

phlow: You told me that nearly each day a new track is finished. So when do you explore your equipment? Do you often buy new synths or how do you have an eye on the evolution of equipment?

Håkan Lidbo: i don't know much about the latest equipment, i don't go to the music instrument stores very often. Im very conservative and i don't think equipment makes that much difference. i mean, fantastic reccordings were made 30 years ago, or more, music that still sound amazing, so i think its better to learn about wwhat you have and buy new stuff when you're rrunning out of ideas, Learning your equipment in theory is one thing but learning how to work with it totally intuitive doesn't come from reading manuals, it comes from making tracks, every time you finish a song you've learned ssomething from it. i sometimes make a track a day so i learn fast. And i don't believe that good ideas ever will run out. Music will always progress and find new directions and especially with toddays software studdios, new grouops off peeople in new parts of the world, will make music that is totally different from what we know today.

phlow: Thanx, very much!

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