Studio Focus: Unknown Archetype / Hugh on July 28th

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

Unknown Archetype is a collaborative project, between Roxy Tripp & Oliver Kucera. We joined forces in 2015 and write conceptual based electronic music. Although both our solo backgrounds are rooted in techno, this project experiments without boundaries, in different genres.

What is your current studio set up?

Oliver - At the moment my setup is running on an iMac with an RME Fireface 800 and Blue Sky speakers. I use Ableton for everything, but my actual setup always differs as I have a lot of different machines in the studio. I am a product artist with Roland, so I use a lot of their gear. I have the TR-707, SH-32, TR-8, TR-09, TB-03, A-01, TB-3, TB-03, D-2, RC-505, System 1m and a couple of BOSS pedals. I also have the Novation Circuit and Drumstation and Yamaha AN-200 and DX-200, which we use in a lot of our tracks.

Unknown Archetype | TRIPP (official video) from denial of service on Vimeo.

Roxy - Yeah he’s got all the cool toys! I work mainly using Ableton and VSTs. Native Instruments Komplete 11 being my go to tools more often than not. Machines are pretty new territory for me and I only have a Volca bass and Roland TR-8 at home. Right now we use Oliver’s space in Amsterdam as the main studio, for obvious reasons like the wider selection of gear and acoustically treated environment to mix down our work. As I’ve just relocated to Berlin, a second studio space is currently being put together here, so we will use both to work in eventually.

When working on a track, what is your process?

Roxy - We always start with the concept, so it’s pen and paper, writing down ideas, usually that will tie in somewhat with our main concept of Jungian psychology/psychology in general, symbolism etc. That’s the main source of inspiration and kind of a blue print to interpret into sonic ideas. Next, we will record the vocals, synth or drum pattern, that just depends on our mood at the time. As we don’t always get the time to work together in the same place we work a lot remotely; so plenty of file sharing and Skype calls.

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

Oliver - Our sounds can come from anywhere, we use machines, VSTs, iPhone apps or field recordings… And of course Roxy’s vocals. We use FX sparsely, opting for micro edits by hand for the vocal stutters to get the exact result we want. As stated before we work with concepts for the music, so that determines the direction we want to go with it. We always use Ableton to edit, process and arrange the sounds we source.

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

Roxy - So far, (touch wood) we haven’t experienced this as a collab… If anything we have too many ideas and we have to narrow them down. When we are physically in the studio together we really bounce off each other and get excited about the possibilities, in a pretty child like way. There’s not always much time together, so we make the most of it and work intensively; If we are tired of creatively piecing together a track we switch to tweaking the live set, mix downs, writing more concepts, discussing opportunities etc. In general I think a block is caused by forgetting the joy or intention in what you’re doing; in that case I’d say go out, have some fun and don’t force it.

What advice would you give for getting tracks ready for the club?

Oliver - We both agree the emphasis should be on the mix down, taking the time to make sure all the components are balanced. Critically listening back to the track and referencing on different speakers is an essential process. We use quite bold sounds in our tracks, so eliminating any clashing frequencies is usually the very first action to take with EQing, followed by spatial separation of sounds etc. There is also something to be said for leaving a bit of grit in the mix especially with the type of music we produce as we’re not fans of an over- polished end result, so we tend to bare that in mind too.

How did you link up with R&S?

Roxy - I contacted Renaat directly online and we just talked a lot about music initially. I heard he was in Amsterdam while I was there during ADE, so headed over to a party and introduced myself in person. So basically a bit of stalking. We stayed in contact and It wasn’t until a long time later we were signed or any music was released, but it was definitely worth the wait and determination to be on a label we both really love.

Oliver - I remember when we started our collaboration, we talked about how cool it would be to debut the project on a label such as R&S Records, we had it in mind since day one, so it was great that it happened and to be signed to them.

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

Oliver - We have a single release “Into Ether” that’s fresh out on R&S now, which tied in with our debut live show at Kompass, Gent (29th July).

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