The Fourward studio up close
It’s a neat and tidy studio with most production done in the box but Fourward’s studio also has some great hardware in it
cm: What would you like to see developed in the future in terms of studio hardware or software technology?
L&L: “We saw a commercial the other day for the Vochlea Dubler Studio Kit which is a live voice-to-MIDI controller that uses a software app combined with a USB-mic and are tempted to buy one. We haven’t tested it out yet but controlling and shaping a sound on your computer with your mouth/voice seems like a great idea. We think there is a lot of potential in those technologies.”
cm: Tell us a little about your most recent music release?
L&L: “The album Lose Control came out last year on Elevate Records and we are very happy with it. We think it’s our best release so far and it also had a great response from the whole drum & bass scene. We have been working with the same studio setup for many years now because it has been very stable. Whenever we think about making major changes/upgrades though, we realise that we are in the middle of a major project and don’t find the time to do so! So technically you could say that this album wasn’t produced differently than the music or albums that we did before.
“However, as producers and engineers we have made a lot of progress over the last few years. So knowing that you have all the capabilities you need to make an album that is on par with all the other top music in the scene makes the process more enjoyable. Even just a couple years ago we were still struggling to engineer our music properly and be completely satisfied with it.
“The biggest challenge for this album was making it sound like one piece of work instead of a collection of tracks. There are many different sub-genres in drum & bass and we were never really able to fully stick to only one.
We love to produce ‘all over the place’ and also had to cut out some cool tracks that didn’t really fit into the theme of the album.”
cm: How does a Fourward track typically start out structure-wise and then progress from there into a full-blown piece of music?
L&L: “The first phase of the process is always the same: creating new ideas, loops, and sketches. For drum & bass we mostly start with the drums but nowadays it can also be a new synth riff, melodies, chord progressions or a sample. Once we have collected a couple of these ideas, we start filtering out all the crap and start building these ideas into actual tunes.
“After that we again focus on the tracks that we like the most and make our first proper mixdowns to test how they sound in an actual club (which we’ll hopefully do again soon after Covid). After that we filter out the tunes that were not good enough or didn’t have any impact in the club. So it’s basically a process of jumping back and forth between composing, arranging, mixing, mastering until we arrive at the final track.”
cm: Talk us through a typical Fourward production trick?
L&L: “Parallel processing is definitely a trick that helps improve our sound. You can parallel compress/distort your drums to give them more smack or you can send your whole track to a channel that is compressed and has everything but the highs cut out. Mix back that signal in small amounts to the original track and you get some nice results. But it’s not only a common mixdown trick but can also help bring your
“We had to cut out some cool tracks that didn’t really fit into the theme of the album”
tracks to life and create some nice movement and excitement. Extreme processing of a signal on a send channel and then automating or sidechaining that signal is a neat trick, for example.”
cm: What advice have you picked up from your time in the industry?
L&L: “Learn from the pros but don’t become a copycat. Make the music you enjoy the most even if that style is not popular. Don’t set too many restrictions on yourself and don’t forget to switch things up. If you wanna produce country music mixed with acid-techno elements, go for it! Nothing is worse than producing the same tune over and over again and being stuck.”
cm: What about from playing live?
L&L: “If you’re lucky enough to take your music on the road, live it to the fullest. Oh and don’t get wasted before your set, you will hate yourself the morning after.
“Finally connect with people who are on the same vibe and want to move forward. Even when it seems hard to earn money from making music when you are not on top of the game, it’s still possible nowadays more than ever before. You just have to keep connecting with people and work on your skills. If you have something to offer, it will work out for you.”
cm: What have you got coming up?
L&L: “Right now we are working on some new vocal-driven singles and remixes. Apart from that we will also be putting out new preset and sample packs soon. And after all this Corona madness we hope to play out some music again sometime!”
cm: Thanks guys, one last question: what is the future of music production in 100 words?
L&L: “Producing high quality music wherever you want with just a tablet that can handle 500 instances of Serum and lets you control your DAW with its touchscreen and with headphones that sound like a 20k set of speakers. You will also be able to transfer your ideas to your DAW by just thinking them. So: quantum-computing tablets with touchscreens and brainwave readers… Yep that’s probably it.” Lose Control is out now on Elevate Records