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Thomas Melchior invites us into his kitted out studio

The minimal legend tells all on the making of 2015’s ‘Liquid Moves’

  • INTERVIEW: GAVIN HERLIHY | PHOTO: riccardo malberti
  • 2 April 2018

How did the track begin?

My daughter Marlene used to come to my studio and we’d jam together with her on the mic and me on keys and computer. On the ‘Liquid Moves’ session she wrote a page of really inspired lyrics, calling it ‘Liquid Moves Through Tranquil Sedate.’

Where did you go from there?

We recorded her straight into Logic 9 on my laptop over a swinging beat and bassline I’d programmed into my Korg Electribe EMX-1. It’s my favourite writing tool as it’s so compact, which makes it perfect for intuitive jams and live performance. It was connected via USB and midi to my laptop, and both were connected to a Soundcraft Ghost mixing console and Motu 828 sound card.

Once the vocal was rocking over the beat and bassline, I added more stabby bass and mid-range riffs on the step sequencer of the Korg. I twisted and jammed on the parameters until I found a hooky weirdness that satisfied my mind and ears. I then recorded a keyboard organ riff into Logic via my old Roland JD-800. I corrected and shifted around some notes, and used the organ on Logic’s ES-2 synth plug-in with Logic’s Platinum reverb.

By now the track was basically finished and it was time to fatten up the synth and drum parts of the Korg by connecting the different midi channels to either the EFM 1 for basslines or ES 1. In this case I used these three Logic synths which are really handy and quick to use with the EMX-1. I connected the EMX-1 drums via midi to a Roland TR 909 for bass drum, hi-hat and claps, again in combination with EMX-1 internal percussion. Then I transformed Marlene’s voice using Logic’s transformer to give it a darker, sci-fi feel, again adding a tiny bit of Logic platinum reverb (which is my favourite).

I don’t add compression or anything else until the very end, usually at Dubplates & Mastering. On ‘Liquid Moves’, though, I had Fumiya Tanaka help with his Neve 2254 limiter to fatten up the track and give it a warmer atmosphere.

See the full rundown of Thomas Melchior's studio set-up below.

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