LENZMAN AMA

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    • #29316
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      Hey guys, Teije has kindly agreed to take your questions, surrounding the tutorial, or other things you might be interested to know.
      Please leave a maximum of 2 questions only, unfortunately we’ll have to remove any more than that.

      So fire away, and he’ll be jumping on in the next week or so to get back to you 😀

    • #29364
      ,Harry
      Participant

      Nice! Thanks for putting this together, and thanks for doing it Teije. Now to figure out what two questions to fire off.

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

      • #29366
        ,David
        Participant

        Hi Teije, thanks for doing this question session really enjoyed the video hope you make more of them!! I’ve only recently discovered liquid Drum & Bass so i’ve virtually just started producing in this genre. Here are my questions:

        1. All your vocals sound so good in your tracks, do you write your tracks first then get a vocalist in the studio? What is your usual process?

        2. Your drums always sound amazing!! Can you give us any tips on drums, do you use loops or do you make your own?

        Thanks again! hope to watch more of your videos, maybe a masterclass???! 🙂

      • #29650
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hi David, thanks for your questions. Here were go:

        1. All your vocals sound so good in your tracks, do you write your tracks first then get a vocalist in the studio? What is your usual process?

        For me it’s important that vocal tracks happen organically. If I’m in the studio at the same time as the vocalist, I’ll turn up with a sketch and do arrangement there and then, based on the vocals etc. If I’m not in the studio at the same time. I’ll write a sketch, send to a vocalist. They’ll then send a sketch for the vocals back which I’ll play around with them until I get a draft arrangement and we go back and forth till everyone is happy. One thing that I think is important with vocals is to the them room. If you have too much going on in a track musically, it can become messy quickly.

        2. Your drums always sound amazing!! Can you give us any tips on drums, do you use loops or do you make your own?
        Thanks. I mean I have my techniques. I wish I could tell you a surefire way, but a lot of it’s down to experience and preference. I like going for a balance between them sounding clean and modern, while having a little groove, a little imperfections, keeping that organic feel. I will layer up breaks with individual hits. But a lot of it comes down to quality sounds, correct pitch, making things work together properly, and again preference.

    • #29386
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      Our Question would be:

      In terms genres outside Drum & Bass – what track comes to mind in terms of being a piece of musical perfection to you?

      • #29651
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        GENIE, nice!

        In terms genres outside Drum & Bass – what track comes to mind in terms of being a piece of musical perfection to you?

        A recent one that comes to mind is Solange “Cranes In The Sky”. I love the space in the track. It’s a really subtle piece of music. It feels empty and all the elements really come to life. Love the drums. Actually love everything about it. I was reading it’s a Raphael Saadiq production and that he lost the project before Solange recorded the vocals. I feel like if he had found the project, he might have potentially overproduced it. I think the minimalism is part of it’s power for me.

      • #29718
        ,GENIE HQ
        Keymaster

        Amazing tune – with the sounds, the rim shots and dreamy vocals there should be a Lenzman remix of this for sure!

    • #29387
      ,samuel
      Participant

      HI , Thanks for sharing with us a piece of your creative process with this video i did try it and it give good results !

      I have a question , you said that you love using samples , do you use samples from samples pack in your tracks ? If so what kind of caracteristics are you looking for when digging samples , becaus i love samples but most of the time it’s over processed in samples packs and very hard to process them more to make it yours .

      Cheers

      • #29652
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hello Samual, thank you for your question. Here goes…

        I have a question , you said that you love using samples , do you use samples from samples pack in your tracks ? If so what kind of caracteristics are you looking for when digging samples , becaus i love samples but most of the time it’s over processed in samples packs and very hard to process them more to make it yours .

        Well, as an artist I think it’s important to be original. And with sampling it’s easy to no be original as you are using someone else’s sounds. So when I use a sample from a sample pack (which I only do sparingly) I will go out of my way to make sure you would not be able to recognize it at all. This means, greatly changing them, using only a short piece, or layering (drums). But I think the key is to not overdo it with sounds from sample packs, especially when it comes to a hook.

    • #29392
      ,Harry
      Participant

      Ok, got two questions:

      1. How would you describe your music & production process to your favorite non-dnb producer?

      2. You demonstrated your sketch process in your first Sample Genie video. Could you please explain your current work cycle? At what point do you listen to your sketches and pick one to work on more, do mixdowns, etc.?

      Thanks!

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

      • #29653
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hi Harry, thanks for the questions!

        1. How would you describe your music & production process to your favorite non-dnb producer?

        “Fast soul music” would be a term I might use to someone that’s unaware of Drum & Bass. I probably wouldn’t try explaining my production process to my favourite non-dnb producer. I’d be to embarrassed.

        2. You demonstrated your sketch process in your first Sample Genie video. Could you please explain your current work cycle? At what point do you listen to your sketches and pick one to work on more, do mixdowns, etc.?

        Okay. So with these sketches. I’ll spend about an hour on making them. Put them to the side. And after say a month or two I’ll revisit the folder of sketches. Long enough to have forgotten them really. The idea is to be able to listen to them completely detached and objectively. So say I have 10 sketches, I might pick around 3 I really like and those are the ones I’ll invest my time in, it just gives me a better ‘hit rate’, or at the very least makes me more confident about what I’m writing. Then it’s about building on them. expanding the ideas, adding sounds, making an arrangement, finding a vocalist etc. It really depends on how much you got done in your first hour. How easily it all goes etc. I always mix a little along the way, but obviously at the end is when I really try to nail things. Hope that helps?

      • #29685
        ,Harry
        Participant

        Thanks for the thoughtful answers Teije!

        So say I have 10 sketches, I might pick around 3 I really like and those are the ones I’ll invest my time in, it just gives me a better ‘hit rate’, or at the very least makes me more confident about what I’m writing. Then it’s about building on them. expanding the ideas, adding sounds, making an arrangement, finding a vocalist etc. It really depends on how much you got done in your first hour. How easily it all goes etc. I always mix a little along the way, but obviously at the end is when I really try to nail things. Hope that helps?

        Yes, quite a bit. One thing I was curious about was the overall cycle, say over a few months, but I think I understand when thinking about the summer, where I assume you mainly did sketches in between travel for festivals & tours. Now you’re back home for a bit, so you’re revisiting sketches & focusing on the gems.

        Also, I was on holiday when you played DC this most recent tour, otherwise I would have come out to catch your set & say hello. Caught you here the first time you played, a couple years ago.

        "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

      • #29692
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Yes, quite a bit. One thing I was curious about was the overall cycle, say over a few months, but I think I understand when thinking about the summer, where I assume you mainly did sketches in between travel for festivals & tours. Now you’re back home for a bit, so you’re revisiting sketches & focusing on the gems.

        Yes for instance. I mean ultimately you have to find a balance that works for you. If all you ever did was write sketches, you’d never get any tracks done and it wouldn’t be very satisfying. The recent projects I did for The North Quarter were written like I’ve described. I ended up with around 8 tracks, and started probably with around 30 sketches.

    • #29398
      ,Elliot
      Participant

      Hey man,

      Thanks a lot for doing this!

      Wondered if you had any tips for making a minimal mix sound ‘full’ whilst still keeping a minimal vibe, very easy to slip into the habit of adding too much and killing the feel of it, but also obviously difficult to fill out a mix with very little going on

      Thanks!

      • #29654
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hi Elliot, thanks for the question.

        Wondered if you had any tips for making a minimal mix sound ‘full’ whilst still keeping a minimal vibe, very easy to slip into the habit of adding too much and killing the feel of it, but also obviously difficult to fill out a mix with very little going on

        It’s always tough making a minimal mix sound full, something I struggle with myself. I think the main thing is really picking quality sounds to start with, and good mixing, which perhaps is sometimes down to experience or preference. And also it’s important that the sounds that you do use are very vibrant and defined, which is something you can do with EQing, and well used reverb. Think of it as a painting. If you’re not using many colours, you really need the ones you do use to jump off the canvas.

        Continued tonight…

    • #29416
      ,Mircea
      Participant

      Thank you Mr. Teije van Vliet for this opportunity.

      Unfortunately, I wish I could address more specific questions regarding the various topics of music production, but since I’m also starting out in music production, they will be some very top-level questions which doesn’t quite help the inquired person in giving a simple and clear answer.

      I wish to know:

      1. What practical advises would you give to yourself, if you were to go back in time with your current experience.

      2. How would one achieve a certain identity sound, a sound that is the producer’s signature tone? I know it’s a whole that works together towards a common goal, but I assume there’s more to it, from drums to percussion, to the bass, reverb, et cetera. The devil is in the details. I know it’s a lot to ask, but maybe there’s a simple answer that you can see to this question.

      • #29673
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Couldn’t get back to this earlier. But here we go.

        Thanks for your questions Mircea.

        1. What practical advises would you give to yourself, if you were to go back in time with your current experience.

        I think I covered the most important bit in the tutorial. Try and keep your writing environment pressure free and don’t waste time on ideas that don’t flow naturally. Another piece of advise is to try not to please anyone else when writing music. The closer you stay to your heart the greater the chance of succes.

        2. How would one achieve a certain identity sound, a sound that is the producer’s signature tone? I know it’s a whole that works together towards a common goal, but I assume there’s more to it, from drums to percussion, to the bass, reverb, et cetera. The devil is in the details. I know it’s a lot to ask, but maybe there’s a simple answer that you can see to this question.

        The answer to the previous question is also the answer to this one in a sense. If you stick close to your heart, it’s really truly your music. Another thing, which is less romantic is, that over time, you will build a library of preferred sounds and drums. Try to really listen to yourself when you are looking for sounds / drums, not just think about, oh what did producer X do on that tune I like. And they also contribute to your own sound. A lot of this is really about perseverance, gaining experience and building a repertoire.

    • #29438
      ,laserrain
      Participant

      Hey Teije,

      1. What’s something technical you’ve since discovered through trial and error and experimentation that you wish you knew when starting out?

      2. Most significant thing(s) to have changed in your approach to production since your first release?

      Thanks for doing this. 🙂

      • #29674
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hey Laserrain, thanks for your interest….

        1. What’s something technical you’ve since discovered through trial and error and experimentation that you wish you knew when starting out?

        When I started out I literally knew nothing. But I think that how to EQ things properly is probably one of the most important things that I’ve progressed on from the time of my first release up until now. Giving each element of your track it’s own space in the frequency spectrum – and achieve that by cutting other sounds, rather than boosting the sound you’re trying to give room.

        2. Most significant thing(s) to have changed in your approach to production since your first release?

        Other than going to this sketch thing I mention in the tutorial, probably the way carefully organise my projects. I think that a clearly mapped out project, both visually in in terms of how it’s chained (busses), gives you power to see and change things quickly. For me it’s really important that when I start arranging things go swiftly. So that’s why I try and stay organised in the initial phase, so when it’s time to map out the track, mix it and I will be able to react on thoughts quickly.

    • #29446
      ,Don
      Participant

      Hey Teije,

      Loved your tutorial from last month, really opened my eyes to a faster workflow and creating ideas quicker.

      My question would be;

      How do you manage to maintain the balance of your tracks? They always sound so minimal, yet so full! Is this something that is ingrained into you naturally or is it more something that you worked on over time?

      Appreciate you taking the time to do this!

      Regards,

      Øska | Don.

      • #29675
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hi Don, Thanks man!

        How do you manage to maintain the balance of your tracks? They always sound so minimal, yet so full! Is this something that is ingrained into you naturally or is it more something that you worked on over time?

        Well, to me they don’t sound very minimal per se, but perhaps it’s just because the sounds I do use are purposely be a bit more subtle and not so forward in the mix than a lot of Drum & Bass tracks. I think a big part of it is just me going for that sound. Another thing is, that I really do like layering things up. So in theory it doesn’t make the music dramatically different, but perhaps it does feel like there is more depth there. The sounds that aren’t on the surface so much are still there if you know what I mean?

    • #29453
      ,Bart
      Participant

      Hi Teije,

      I Always love the pads that you use in your tracks, but how do you make them? Are they samples or do you make them with a synth?
      Thanks!
      Awesome tutorial and sample pack by the way!

      • #29454
        ,Bart
        Participant

        Also, are you planning on putting out more tutorials? I really liked this one.

      • #29676
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Thanks Bart,

        I Always love the pads that you use in your tracks, but how do you make them? Are they samples or do you make them with a synth?

        I make them in Thor sometimes, a lot of the time it will be with a patch as a basis and take it from there. But I also use samples sometimes. And often loop and or layer things up. Another cool way to make pads is this thing called Paulstretch which is free. It stretches short sounds… it’s pretty mad.

        And yes, I’ll be doing another tutorial through Sample Genie where I’ll deconstruct / reverse engineer a track that I’ve released.

      • #29459
        ,Mircea
        Participant

        I would also LOVE to understand the process by which he synthesis his basses.

        I like, in particular, the bass he used in his ‘Waves’ tune which, to my ears, sounds like a fuzz pedal, but at the same time organic and original.

        I “think” he resamples most of his synthesized basses, thus creating bits and pieces that he can later use in his productions, which at the same time gives him a library that allows him to focus more on ‘what’ to do instead of ‘how’ to do it. That is the declarative paradigm, not the imperative one.

      • #29677
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Mircea:
        I like, in particular, the bass he used in his ‘Waves’ tune which, to my ears, sounds like a fuzz pedal, but at the same time organic and original.

        That was actually a reece bass, but with automated LP filter. If you automate a bass sound with lots of midrange you can really get some interesting things going on. The fun is in trying to make it funky. So make sure you use some kind of midi device to play with, rather than destroying your soul by trying to draw stuff with a mouse.

      • #29659
        ,Bart
        Participant

        For my second question:
        I make liquid drum and bass and right now i’m in the process of finishing all of my projects. I want to send them to a label before the end of 2017.
        How do you advice me to start bringing out my music? Do you think it is best to bring out music myself first and build somewhat of a fanbase on social media? Or is it better to first send my tracks to labels?
        P.S. curated last saturday was amazing!

      • #29678
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Bart…

        I make liquid drum and bass and right now i’m in the process of finishing all of my projects. I want to send them to a label before the end of 2017.
        How do you advice me to start bringing out my music? Do you think it is best to bring out music myself first and build somewhat of a fanbase on social media? Or is it better to first send my tracks to labels?

        It really depends. When I came through times were different, people were still using AIM all the time. It’s much harder reaching people now and lot easier to put music out as well, so there is a lot more “noise”.

        End of the day what is important is making sure you have some kind of quality control over your own material. Not every track you make has to be released or even heard. With lots of determination and a little talent you’ll shine through eventually.

        Back for the final questions tomorrow, bare with me!

    • #29477
      ,Scartip
      Participant

      Hi man,

      this is not necessarily related to the production video, though do you have any tips on getting loud, punchy mixes prior to mastering stage?

      for example, do you mix with a limiter on master fader?

      Do you use any metering plug-ins throughout the process to keep an eye on levels?

      Any specific or recommended compression/limiting plug-ins?

      your nuggets of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

      Big up.

      • #29693
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hey Scartip, thanks for your questions..

        this is not necessarily related to the production video, though do you have any tips on getting loud, punchy mixes prior to mastering stage?

        for example, do you mix with a limiter on master fader?

        Do you use any metering plug-ins throughout the process to keep an eye on levels?

        Any specific or recommended compression/limiting plug-ins?

        I wish I could give you some in depth nuggets of wisdom here, but I’m really not the most technical producer out there. In some ways that’s always prevented me from doing sample packs and tutorials. But later I realized that there are probably lots of people like me, where that isn’t their strength, and I kind of thought it might be nice if I did get out there, because I can show people that it is possible to have some level of succes with your music even if you are lacking in that department.

        Now to get down to your questions: with mixing stuff, I go through a lot of trial and error, sometimes it kind of just works out, sometimes I have to spend a lot of time getting them right. But I will tell you that using busses for Drums, Bass, Music and Vocals greatly helps getting a good balance. I tend to use some compression on the Drums bus, and also a slight compression on the Master so things gel together better. But at the end of the day, I send my pre master to a mastering studio with LOADS of headroom, and they will make it loud.

        As for plug ins. I don’t have enough experience to recommend any. I’ve been on Reason for so long. And have used Ableton along with it for a while now. But as Reason has only supported plug ins for a few months, I can’t really say I’m an expert on the matter.

        One thing I will say about plugins. Try and limit the amount you use. I like to focus less on the tools and more on the sculpting.

        I know that’s not very helpful, sorry!

    • #29525
      ,Aaron
      Participant

      Hello Teije, big up for the tutorial and samples. Your drums always sound wicked, I was just wondering how you go about making them and giving them your own sound through processing, layering etc.?

      But yeah, nice one 🙂

      • #29694
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hey Aaron, Thanks for your question…

        Hello Teije, big up for the tutorial and samples. Your drums always sound wicked, I was just wondering how you go about making them and giving them your own sound through processing, layering etc.?

        I guess I kind of covered this above somewhere. I layer breaks, which I’ll edit individually through re-arrangement, pitching, decay adjustment, eqing and so on. I layer those with individual hits for kicks, snares and percussion. I don’t do any spectacular processing. I do check hits in a spectrum analyzer sometimes, especially with snares, because I like using rims and claps layered together, and they tend to be too top focussed and lacking of weight, so it’s good to check if it’s hitting enough in the right spots. I have also been using a Subpac the last 18 months and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever gotten. It really helps me with production overal, but for drums and especially kicks, it’s really nice (and fun). But more so it’s just building up a sound catalogue, having an ear for what you want to hear really. If you really like a snare, try and see what it is you like about it, and try and find some more.

      • #29722
        ,Aaron
        Participant

        Cheers for the in depth response mate 🙂

      • #29713
        ,Scartip
        Participant

        Thankyou for the response man 🙂

    • #29588
      ,atmosfear
      Participant

      Hi Teije !

      Your music being a bit stripped back and melodic, making use of space must play an essential part in your production process.

      So my question is:
      how do you use delays and reverb to create space in your mix (and how do you automate it) ?

      Also, do you use reverb/delay on individual tracks, or do you have dedicaded “sends” channels ?

      thanks for doing this 🙂

      • #29695
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Hey Atmosfear, Thanks for your interest!

        how do you use delays and reverb to create space in your mix (and how do you automate it) ?
        Hm I wouldn’t say I use those to create space in a mix. I would use them to keep sounds in a spacious mix interesting. You can really make sounds come to life with some reverb or delay. But it can also make a mix very muddy if you use it on too much stuff. But if you have a few sounds and use it on just a few spots you can really go OTT with it and make things jump out. Automation I don’t use much unless the track arrangement calls for it. In certain sections you might have less sounds fighting for the same frequencies so you might hear certain sounds more clearly, then you can adjust for instance.

        Also, do you use reverb/delay on individual tracks, or do you have dedicaded “sends” channels ?

        I tend to use them on individual tracks only myself. Just because – as I mentioned before- if you use it too much it can muddy a mix, so I will only select a few sounds in any given track

    • #29599
      ,Moe
      Participant

      Hey Teije,
      if you’ve written you piano part, have your drums and you bass sitting perfect to it, like you did in the tutorial, what other elements would you put in a track so that it sounds more like a full liquidtrack? I mean in e.g neurofunk you have this different distorted bassline shots that make you track and in psytrance it would those synth, where the pitchenvelope and the filter go in different directions, but how would you describe the “background” sounds of a liquid dnb tune?

      How do you make those liquid dnb rimshots?

      • #29696
        ,Lenzman
        Participant

        Thanks for your questions Stefan,

        if you’ve written you piano part, have your drums and you bass sitting perfect to it, like you did in the tutorial, what other elements would you put in a track so that it sounds more like a full liquidtrack? I mean in e.g neurofunk you have this different distorted bassline shots that make you track and in psytrance it would those synth, where the pitchenvelope and the filter go in different directions, but how would you describe the “background” sounds of a liquid dnb tune?

        Well that really depends on you. I would think about some additional musical elements. Strings, pads, little rhodes, and of course vocals. You can also had synths, it really depends on you, where you want to go with it. In certain tracks I will use piano AND distorted bassline shots… or synths to kind of get a hybrid sound going on. I tend to use pads as a bed, because if done right they can be non intrusive to the overal hook, which means it does make a tune sound fuller, without making it hectic.

        How do you make those liquid dnb rimshots?
        Well you can either record some, or you can use a rimshot from a sample pack, or lift it from a break / sample it yourself. I like layering rimshots up with a clap so you get the best of both worlds.

        —-

        Right guys, it’s been emotional. I realise that I might not have answered all your questions as well as you might have hoped, but I gave it a shot. As I said in one of the answers: I wish I could give you some more in depth technical wisdom, but I’m really not the most technical producer out there. In some ways that’s always prevented me from doing sample packs and tutorials. But later I realized that there are probably lots of people like me, where that isn’t their strength, and I kind of thought it might be nice if I did get out there, because I can show people that it is possible to have some level of succes with your music even if you are lacking in that department.

        Lenz

    • #29719
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      Thank you Teije! Really interesting thoughts and replies – lots to get the gears turning.
      It’s sure everyone here will agree when we say: your next tutorial is eagerly anticipated!
      <3

    • #29754
      ,Harry
      Participant

      An extra bit, recent interview Lenzman did with Fabric: https://www.fabriclondon.com/blog/view/in-depth-uncovering-lenzmans-singular-drum-bass-sound

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

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