Pro­ducer Masterclass

FOUK

Computer Music - - Contents -

The Dutch duo talk us through the mak­ing of their track Mat­ing Call

What the Fouk?

Dutch house duo Fouk – aka Daniël Le­se­man and Hans Pee­man – have been friends and mu­si­cal part­ners since child­hood. As well as be­ing con­stantly in de­mand for DJ sets around the world, their heav­ily disco-in­fused pro­duc­tion style has yielded such sonic de­lights as Cat Lady and the Kil­lFrenzy EP. They’ve even started their own record la­bel, Out­play, on which they now re­lease their own mu­sic. So where did it all be­gin?

“When I was ten years old, I was play­ing elec­tronic or­gan for six or seven years,” re­mem­bers Daniël. “Af­ter that, at 16 years old, I didn’t re­ally feel like tak­ing lessons any­more, so I started do­ing elec­tronic mu­sic and play­ing records.”

“I don’t have a mu­si­cal back­ground,” says Hans. “I’m not the best key­board player – he’s a lot bet­ter than I am – but I man­age. When we were around that age, we started to find out how elec­tronic records were made, how mu­sic was made. And we’ve been try­ing to make some­thing ever since. You get up to this point that it kind of feels like it’s all click­ing. It took a cou­ple of years to get to that point. We used to make pro­gres­sive trance, from 2004 to 2005.”

“It took a few years to get the ba­sics right,” agrees Daniël. “And then, once we started mak­ing house mu­sic – which was af­ter we fin­ished with our stud­ies – we had a few years in between where we didn’t do a lot. Then you sud­denly find the thing that works best for you, the thing which makes it your own sound.”

The frus­tra­tion of unan­swered demo sub­mis­sions led the pair to set up Out­play Records in 2012.

“We sent demos to other la­bels but they didn’t re­spond, so we ended up found­ing our own la­bel,” Daniël smiles. “We did three dig­i­tal re­leases but we were still in love with vinyl, so the fourth re­lease was a vinyl re­lease, CatLady, and that one took off.”

“Start­ing our own record la­bel re­ally stream­lined the whole process of be­ing a lit­tle bit more like an es­tab­lished artist, you know?” ex­plains Hans. “It kind of made us go the more pro­fes­sional way as well, be­cause it all evolved from be­ing a hobby, which is the nat­u­ral way of how it goes with a lot of these things. From then on, we started think­ing of it more as a pro­fes­sion.”

Mat­ing Call

For this Pro­ducer Mas­ter class and its ac­com­pa­ny­ing video, Daniël and Hans are go­ing to de­con­struct their joy­ous floor­filler,

Mat­ingCall, right be­fore your very eyes. The track started life as a sam­pled loop, lifted by Daniël from an un­spec­i­fied record.

“This track ac­tu­ally started out with me just be­ing in the stu­dio and try­ing to make a quick edit from an Afro track to play around with,” he re­calls. “I put it aside for a while, but then we were in the stu­dio to­gether, I put it on and he just started play­ing on top of it. And in the end we started to re­move a lot of the whole edit as­pect and it turned into an orig­i­nal track.

“It’s nice to see what’s left of the sam­ple. We ended up just us­ing the or­gan part – it’s heav­ily fil­tered. We just wanted to have the mid part of the sound, so we could add a lot of other in­stru­ments on top of it, with­out clut­ter­ing the rest. There’s a [Waves] SoundShifter on it – we’ve de­tuned it a bit. When you sam­ple from records, some­times they’re a lit­tle bit off.”

“So you need to get them in tune,” adds Hans, “and this is the best plugin for that. We use it a lot.” From the seed of that sin­gle sam­ple,

Mat­ingCall grew into a dense, per­cus­sion­heavy work­out of the most up­lift­ing kind – a sublime fu­sion of bass-driven, Rhodes­tinged disco at­ti­tude and ca­su­ally La­tin­in­flu­enced groove. With­out fur­ther ado, then, fire up the video us­ing the URL be­low, sit back and spend an hour in the com­pany of the Fouk duo as they show you how it was done…

“We like to make the synths we use sound or­ganic – like a live band”

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