Studio Focus: Hugo Massien / Hugh on February 13th

Hugo Massien

For our readers who are not familiar with you yet, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a music producer and audio software developer from the UK. Labels I’m currently associated with are XL Recordings and 17 Steps.

What is your current studio set up?

I work on an iMac alongside Maschine Studio, using Logic X and a load of 3rd party synth and effect plugins (including Circle²). For monitoring, I’m using Adam A7X, KRK Rokit 6 and Beyerdynamic DT770.

When working on a track, what is your process?

I definitely go through phases. At the moment a lot of my tracks are born out of synthesis. I’ll program a lead or bass patch from scratch until I’m happy with the result, then build the percussion around that from the kick drum upwards. In other circumstances, I might begin a track with the percussion, or a vocal sample. For me, the most exciting part of music production is the realisation of an idea that no one else has had yet, so in general, that’s a good place to start.

How do you normally go about sourcing and designing sounds for your music?

Percussive one shots normally come from drum machine packs. Vocal elements come from movies, tv and the obscure corners of YouTube. Everything else is synthesised using predominantly subtractive, wavetable and FM techniques, occasionally resampled for further mangling.

If you experience a creative block in the studio, do you have any particular rituals that get the inspiration flowing again?

Often If I hit a bit of a block I’ll just open up a synthesiser and program some patches from scratch, normally that leads to inspiration. Also, at the moment my material is fairly club focused so visiting a decent event can be inspiring as a contextual reminder. If all else fails I’ll just take a break.

Mixing down can often be frustrating when starting out in production, what advice in this field would you give for beginners?

Talking from experience, don’t get bogged down with tutorials and reading forums. There’s too much information to take in at once and the merit of a lot it is questionable. Try not to spend too long on a mix, realise that you’ll probably never be truly satisfied with it. Just get your levels right and EQ out any piercing or conflicting frequencies, your ears will just train themselves over time.

What’s up next for you, any releases in the pipeline?

A few of my new tracks have been on rotation in the clubs for a while, so they should be dropping on 12″ and digital over 2017. All will be announced in due course!

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