Vadar is one of the exceptionally talented and ingenious producers who is creating knock-out MIDI construction toolkits and particularly pioneering Complextro Producer Toolkits exclusively for us and despite his busy schedule, we managed to catch up with him for a little sofa chat about producing, the industry and all things Complextro!
So Vadar, what background do you have in producing?
I've been producing professionally for about 5 years now, but before then I was totally a bedroom producer, I had my own home studio with Logic Pro (I won't say which version!), a MIDI controller, some monitors I'd managed to bag from an auction website and a few other bits!
What kit do you have now?
I like to keep things simple, streamlined, and to be fair, I've not needed to deviate too far away from what I've always had, just updated it as it's amazing what you can do within Logic!
So, basically I can do pretty much everything on my 27" iMac with Logic Pro 9. I will admit, I got me some epically amazing Genelec 8040 monitors, an Apogee Duet 2 sound card and a Novation Impulse Keyboard Controller, but that's about it!
On the virtual instrument front, I like pretty much anything by Native Instruments and have seriously got into Omnisphere over the past few months - I will be making some kits for Clicksound soon using both of these products soon!
You mention the construction toolkits with Clicksound, what's your take on the whole idea of the Producer 'toolkit'?
Well obviously, I'm going to say I think it's a great idea - I want people to buy them! But I think the best thing about this 'toolkit' or 'template' idea is that nothing is set in stone. Some producers I come across have thought I'm mental for releasing my ideas like this as they reckon someone's just going to sound like me or steel my music, but I just tell them that it's not like that, I'm just making a toolkit or a template (however you want to look at it) of sounds, effects, hooks, basslines or whatever for people to make their own stuff with - which I actually think is cool as for new producers, it's like a helping hand and learning tool but without babysitting them, for more experienced producers it's like using samples to kick-off a track, but with way more manipulation available - so, no bad thing!
What direction are you taking your music at the moment?
For me, I'm totally smitten with Complextro, I love it! It's insane and without revealing too much about me, it's totally matching my world at the moment!
So, what is it about Complextro that is getting you so excited!?
Complextro is like the warped ugly cousin that's been locked away in a tower all it's life and since breaking out in 2010, is just letting loose and running rampage everywhere! The fact is, with Complextro, I can make my own rules, it's a mix match of so many different things. For me, it goes beyond "Complex" "Electro" and the "usual" way of producing...take the collaboration between Wolfgang Gartner & Skrillex released around Christmas last year, it's got reggae stabs in it man, for real! So you can totally mix old school with new, and build your own sounds, I love it!
I love getting a sharp melody in my head and then splitting it across 5 or more synths, really pushing what a melody can do, and what's really great is that Logic's in-built samplers are ideal for doing this, particularly with the saw-tooth type voices that just go with this style brilliantly. I really like the fact Complextro is glitchy and has a really hard sound and it's really compressed; it just suits my ears!
Plus, take a look at other producers, I've already mentioned Wolgfang Gartner, Skrillex, but Feed Me, Uppermost and even Deadmau5 who's just a genius in my mind (!) are just a few who are all taking on this style in their own production, I mean talk about endorsement!
What are the fundamental elements to a Complextro track in your opinion?
As you'll see in the stuff I'm doing with Clicksound, one the most important thing for me is getting a really strong idea for a melody/riff so it's strong enough to rip apart and split it across multiple voices/synths. To be fair, you've also got to have a really strong beat and musical framework so there's still structure there, otherwise it's just going to sound like some drunken, messy mash-up! A really key element as well is to be adventurous, play around, find out weird combinations of things that you wouldn't think would sound good, but sometimes (not always!) they sound great, unusual and really [expletive] funky! Try also to make your synths/voices work hard and together, as if they were one multi-faceted instrument, if you can do that, you won't lose your melody into a fuzz. Get a little bit crazy with effects and sometimes random sound-effects and lastly, compression man! A great Complextro track to my ears is hard, glitchy, bitty, modular, got a real kick to it and should be near to giving someone concussion!
What could someone hope for by making a Complextro track?
Creating a seriously unique sound in an individual track which should also be pretty sick! With pretty much only your imagination limiting the combinations of sounds, Complextro is probably one of the best styles to get crazy on your sound-making.
Finally Vadar, you're helping Clicksound make MIDI tools available to producers to create a Complextro track, what do you hope your products will do?
Man, seriously, I'm not trying to be Florence [expletive] Nightingale and I don't pretend to be perfect, but I've worked hard at being a producer and developing my way of doing things, it's not always been easy you know finding inspiration, creating ideas or learning what sometimes feels like a mountain of complicated knob-tweaking (!) mostly by myself, so if I can help, especially new producers, learn a little about the design behind Complextro that I like, a little about creating your own sound and style, a little about mastering etc. and perhaps prevent some of the 'head-banging-against-wall' moments, well, I think I've done a good thing!