109 - Lakej
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Lakej
Coming from Sweden, he is a Techno producer, a DJ, and an educator. He gives an insight on his ways around the studio but also some deep wisdom nuggets on what it means to be an artist 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
I am Lakej (pronounced "Lakey") from Stockholm, Sweden.
I produce techno, DJ, and teach private classes in music production.
Around 12 years ago I had the opportunity to start buying gear, which started out with a, now modern classic, Korg Electribe ESX and expanded fast from there into Eurorack and external processing gear.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
Due to the pandemic and being in a bad situation economically I was forced to sell a lot of gear from the studio. This forced me to only keep the most important and essential pieces. At the time it made me very sad to see my studio so reduced, but now I am very grateful for this as it only helped me being more productive and creative with a limited set of tools.
So I would say all of them are essential these days and of course my DAW, Ableton Live
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
The Korg SQ-1, fantastic little sequencer. Super fast to work with and so much fun.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
My process is very organic these days, there is not a real blueprint for my method.
However, I tend to get back to some things - as they give me a result I like - and that is to record a lot of my hardware sound sources through a specific signal chain.
That is a tube pedal from Two Notes called Le Clean and then through the NIIO Iotine Core. The sound then goes to my Midas mixer where Ι can EQ, gain-stage, and send to my three go-to effects: Eventide Timefactor, Space and H8000FW. All the effect returns have individual stereo inputs on my interface so I always multi-track my clean dry signal with 3 layers of stereo effects into my DAW.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
That is a hard question as I try to always progress and refine what I do.
But something that keeps being essential to my productions is layering.
Make a lot of interesting layers, from the same recording, and process each layer differently to create more with less.
How would you describe your style?
Another hard question. Αll I can say is that I make techno and always try to make something that sounds interesting to me.
I hear a lot that my music has a significant sound that is very typical me, but for me that's not something I can hear. I just do what I like and try to get a result that sounds right to me.
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What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
One of the toughest challenges we face as producers (at least IMO) is to hold on to the joy of being in a creative process.
As deadlines appear, the pressure can build up to always be releasing fresh music, it can become very hard to stay in the process mentally and you can easily end up impatient and frustrated.
The best cure for me, when this happens, is to have days without putting any pressure on myself and just record experiments. Try some new patch ideas, or just explore something new, like a plugin or a processing effect in a new way. Most of these experiments I don't open back up until maybe 6 months or a year has passed and it always gives me a positive surprise when I finally open the projects up again. After doing this sort of thing for some years now, I have a huge library of old projects like this filled with interesting resources and ideas to be explored.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
I think that diving into Eurorack early on forced me to learn about synthesis fast and as its so visual seeing the signal path for both audio and modulation.
I think it helped a lot to understand synthesis and made it a lot easier to get into other synths with a pre-set signal path.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
I do think sparking creativity is a lot different for everyone, however, as I have experienced through my classes, a lot of students tend to put way to much pressure on themselves and way to big expectations too early on.
To learn a craft it takes time and isn't that the whole point of it?
To find something you can explore and keep learning for maybe the rest of your life without it, ending. For me, that was one of the biggest factors when I started out this journey. To know that I can keep exploring and learning for so many years to come without it ending.
Not aiming to know it all but aiming to always keep learning.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
Any lecture from Brian Eno on creativity.
Haruki Murakamis book "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running".
Most books by Philip K. Dick.
Anything else you'd like to say?
I am always open to take on new students. Don’t be afraid to hit me up ;)
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
Elektron - Analog Rytm
Elektron - Octatrack
A 104 hp Intellijel Eurorack case with
Midas - Venice 240
h8000fw ultra harmonizer
RME fireface UFX with a ADAT extension unit
Adam - A7X
Audeze - LCD-MX4
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