"It all starts with a groove": How Shonky made ‘Cookie Monster’ - Tech - Mixmag

"It all starts with a groove": How Shonky made ‘Cookie Monster’

Shonky reveals the hardware voodoo behind minimal house banger ‘Cookie Monster’

  • Interview: Gavin Herlihy | Photo: Paul Krause
  • 20 November 2020

What inspired the track?

Every time I get to my studio, it’s with the intention of nailing one track. It’s about enjoying the process, getting ideas down and working fast. It doesn’t have to be mixed down or polished, as long as there’s a strong idea there, I come away happy. I don’t overthink anything, but inspiration usually comes from what I’m listening to in the days before, whether that’s tracks I’ve been playing at the weekend or music I listen to at home: hip hop, pop or whatever. My process for making music is pretty much the same for all of my tracks: it all starts with a groove. Once I get a groove going, the rest comes totally organically and that’s how this one started.

How did you finish it and what instruments did you use step by step along the way?

The kicks and snares were made with my MPC3000. This is one of my core pieces of gear, I love the way it processes the sound and the tactile feel from the pads when I’m making my beats. There are a few core machines I use: there’s my Sequentix Cirklon sequencer, the Five12 sequencer and an E-RM multiclock. They’re all connected and synced and form the heart of the studio. I used the SH101 for the bassline. It’s one of the first synths I learned to work with intimately. It’s really simple and has a great sound. The Cirklon is key to all of this; I can play a melody or some chords or whatever into it, then tinker with the sound, and play other arrangements over the top while that first sound is still playing. I can adjust the velocity of the drums as I go to keep everything sounding interesting. I don’t like to leave the drums flat, it’s important to give them character. The open hi-hats were made on my E-Licktronic Nava, which is a 909 clone that’s controlled by the Cirklon. The Cirklon’s velocity feature gives me more flexibility, which is not possible on the Nava itself. This all goes through my Studer 169, which is an old mixer that gives everything a really nice sound.

What’s the most game changing piece of equipment you own?

I would say the Sequentix Cirklon. It’s the heart of my studio and allows me to get ideas rolling quickly, it lets me almost become a kind of one-man band. I can tweak things on the fly as well. It’s an unfussy machine that is central to my creative process.

Shonky ‘Cookie Monster’ is out now on Third Ear Recordings

Gavin Herlihy is Mixmag's Tech Editor, follow him on Twitter

Shonkey's studio set-up:

1 Korg ER-1

2 Yamaha CS-60

3 Waldorf PPG Wave 2.2

4 Dave Smith PolyEvolver

5 Korg Minipops 7

6 Binson Echorec 2 T7E

7 Oberheim OB-Xa

8 Elka Synthex

9 Yamaha CS-70M

10 Pearl Syncussion

11a Yamaha D1500

11b Soundgas Type 636

12 MPC3000

13 DAW Studio One

14 Sequentix Cirklon

15 Dynaudio BM15A

16 Minimoog Model D

17 Sequential Circuits Drumtraks

18a AMS DMX 15-80s

18b Burl B2 Bomber ADC

18c Chandler Curve Bender

18d Lexicon 200

19a Chandler Mini Rack Mixer

19b Eventide Orville

19c Tascam DA-3000

20 Studer 169

21 Roland TR-606

22 Roland Jupiter 8

23 Voyetra 8

24 Roland SH-5

25 8raw8

26 Nava drum machine

27 Ensoniq DS80

28 Yamaha CS-30

29 Roland Alpha Juno

30 Microwave XT

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