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Erol Alkan shares his studio secrets

The Phantasy boss talks us through making his new tracks ’Spectrum’ and ‘Silver Echoes’

  • Interview: Sean Griffiths | Photo: Sherelle Thomas
  • 12 November 2018

What’s your creative process?

I like to have most of the track in my head before I start work. Some of the best remixes I’ve ever made have been finished in my head before I sat down in the studio. I’ll get sent the parts, listen to them, then go away and try and come up with an idea. A lot of the best stuff actually comes in dreams. I used to have a dictaphone next to my bed, and now I can use my phone to record ideas, but I genuinely believe that if an idea’s good enough, you’ll remember it when you wake up the next day.

What pieces of equipment do you like to use when starting to bring an idea to life?

The simplest thing I’m likely to use is a LinnDrum kick. It’s such a beautifully functional drum sound. Then I’ll usually bring in a synth-line. I know a lot of people will chop up a sample and work from there, but usually I use a synth as they’re quite intuitive for me.

How did your new tracks ‘Spectrum’ and ‘Silver Echoes’ come together?

I’ve worked with bands, and done lots of remixes, but I’ve been a bit slow about releasing my own club music. These tracks came from two demos I had sitting on my computer – I wanted something that could take me from one place in a set to somewhere completely different. So on ‘Spectrum’ I put some live drums I’d recorded a while ago at the start, and then it slowly morphs into a different style and a drum machine comes in. With a lot of club music, the last 32 bars are pretty similar to the first, but I wanted something that ended very differently to how it began. For ‘Silver Echoes’, I started messing around with a Doepfer Darktime and then used a Korg mono/poly synth, which has since blown up! I also used an Akai S612 sampler which someone gave me. It can only sample for six seconds in 8-bit, and saves the sounds on a floppy disk, but it really forces you to experiment. One thing I’ll do with it is make pads out of my voice. There’s a lot of sounds on ‘Silver Echoes’ which are just my voice manipulated to make these really rich, harmonised pads which are quite evocative.

Erol Alkan’s ‘Spectrum’/‘Silver Echoes’ is out on Phantasy on November 9

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