In celebration of their debut LP Desire Paths, the dastardly drum & bass duo of Technimatic have hit us with something amazing. We’ve gotten a chance to speak with Peter Rogers of the Technicolour half of Technimatic (minus collaborator Andy Powell aka Komatic) and asked him to share with us some of the things that are key components to their workflow. What we got back was a rare inside peek at the workspace and the tools that it took to compile what some outlets are calling “Album of the Year.” We fully agree with that assessment and were honored with the opportunity to show you a bit of their “tools of the trade.” Catch what he had to say below.
Andy and I don’t have a joint studio, and because of our “proper” jobs we don’t generally spend much time making music in the same room together. Because of that, much of the stuff from Desire Paths was made by pinging files back and forth between Andy’s work space in Bedford and my front room in London. It’s a slightly long-winded, and often frustrating process, but we’ve become accustomed to it over the years and I think the album shows that it’s possible to make something substantial, without being full-time producers with a fancy studio!
This is Andy’s spare room in Bedford. As well as the Apple Macbook Pro and Mackie HR824 monitors, the other essential features are his flashing Disco Jesus figurine, which we turn on when things are really starting to cook, a copy of Johnny L’s 1997 tune “Piper,” which is essential listening when you need to cleanse the palate, (or, if things have got a bit too beard-strokey), and the right-hand Technics 1210, which we use to balance a cheeseboard on. Desire Paths was made over a period of about 18 months, and as mentioned previously, done by sending files back and forth, each of us working on a little bit, chatting about what we were doing on the phone or on email, and then sending it back. But toward the end of the project, I slept on Andy’s sofa for a week and this little room is where we spent the majority of our time. We both went slightly mad.
When making music that’s influenced heavily by old soul and funk, having a Fender Rhodes around is incredibly valuable. I’ve owned three of these now. The first one was a heap of junk bought on Denmark Street in London for a couple of hundred quid and only had about 15 working keys, and the second one used to blow up my plug socket on a regular basis. But I’ve finally worked my way up to this one, the Fender Rhodes Stage Piano 88 MKII. In our opinion, it’s the quintessential Rhodes, with the classic Herbie Hancock stereo tremolo control and amplifier. Loads of the chords, little twiddly keys and washes you hear on the album were made using this. There is also a growly bass sound on one of the tracks, “One Way
If, like me, your “studio” is actually just a computer and a few other bits in your front room, then a good pair of headphones is essential. These are my trusty Beyerdynamic DT880s and when I’m working on Technimatic material, 90% of it will be done with them. Not only are they great cans, but they help drown out the sound of your other half watching EastEnders in the background. When Andy and I were putting the finishing touches to the album at his place, we used these and his Sennheiser HD25s to work late into the night. His neighbors don’t appreciate drum & bass much, as we learned to our cost.
What do you need to say? They’ve completely shaped our lives, from buying old hardcore and jungle in the ’90s, to discovering and falling in love with old music from further back in the past. Everything we are about, everything we have been influenced and inspired by is on these shelves, and hopefully it’s all filtered down, in some way, into our album. We hope you like it.