At the forefront of “Bounce”, Uberjak’d has been making a massive impacting on the global dance music scene, with a string of chart topping releases on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak, Ministry of Sound Australia and Laidback Luke’s Mixmash. We caught up with him recently for a quick chat between tours and got our geek on!
What’s your current studio set up?
Right now I’m running ADAM monitors, ableton, and for hardware a virus Ti snow and Roland RD800. I also have a Roland A800 pro midi interface, it’s a pretty basic setup but it does the job! For on the road I just use my Hd25s.
How did you get into production? Give us some background on what motivated you to write tracks
So its a bit of a long story but it starts about 5 years ago, I was a big car nut and would be out every night being a little rebel, honing around and racing with my mates, it was really a life changing experience that got me into music, music was never really in my family, I didn’t even know what a DJ was or cared even till my early 20s. It was one afternoon in the Adelaide Hills, I had my honda out and was blasting through the hills, made a wrong judgement coming into this corner too fast, lost it and ended up in between 2 huge gum trees on the end of a 100m cliff face! I remember grasping the wheel and thinking to myself, “Ben you need a new hobby”, haha so I got my car towed home, and got myself a copy of ableton locked the door to my bedroom and basically taught myself how to produce and DJ.
What’s your musical influences?
I’m influenced from everywhere. I think the key to being inspired is to find it from unconventional places, go listen to a classical piece, find out what makes that work as a piece of music and try apply that to your genre or sound. To many kids these days are really just copying each other or the latest beatport top 10 bounce track, you’ll never be noticed if you imitate. Look at it this way, would you like to own a fake rolex watch from bali or do you want the real deal? Work out what makes a rolex an amazing watch and go and make your own, be genuine. Push boundaries and be different, then you will be noticed.
How does it work in the studio, what’s your writing process? Do you just start putting elements together, picking samples and sounds and get a solid 8 bars going? Or do you go in with firm ideas already in your head? What’s your workflow like?
I don’t really have a formula but always have an idea. Whenever you step into the studio have a vision of what you want to create, the best songs always have a strong original idea. Once that’s down, it’s a matter of taking away anything that isn’t needed (fills, synth lines etc) then arranging the track so that each of these elements build to push it forward as a song.
What’s a normal day in the studio like for Uberjak’d? You’re also on tour a lot and you work while on the road, do you find it hard to maintain a solid routine for writing? Do you actually like writing on the road or is it done more out of necessity
When on the road its about making time when ever it’s available. Maybe there’s 4 hrs before a show or you have a long flight, I try to make time to work on stuff in those breaks. Writing on the road is definitely something I have had to learn, at first it was really hard and I hated it, but I think with time you will pick it up. Saying that though, nothing beats being back in your own studio.
You get a really full, clean sound to your music. Do you do a lot of processing or does it come down to choosing the right sounds at the start? How do you route things in your DAW? Do you group your drums or work on them individually? Do you use much distortion and saturation on things?
I think it always comes down to choosing the right sounds to begin with. Subtle processing to make them pop in a mix, I usually keep my drums unprocessed apart from some subtle eq and compression to glue things together if they need it.
Care to share a tip ?
To get a big clean reverb sound, set up a return channel with the reverb vst and input full wet, then side chain your reverb from your lead, that way it will duck when the lead hits, try then compressing this and adding subtle eq/compression and distortion just on the reverb to get a big full sound!
You can only have one compressor plugin, one EQ plugin and one Reverb – what would they be?
EQ – EQ8 (ableton)
Compressor – Glue (ableton)
Reverb – Arts Acoustic
What’s your vision for the future of Uberjak’d – your sound moving forward and where it’s going?
My next couple singles are really different, trying new things and working with vocalists. I think this year, for all producers that are in the bounce genre, its about opening it up and showing people that our sound is here to stay and that it has depth musically. I think it does. So don’t cheapen the sound with remixing farts/and making forgettable meme videos. Lock the door to your studio and make some music that people will want to listen to again and again, because its great music!!