Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Kosh
Coming from Morocco, his love for music began when he discovered the sound of distorted guitars. He went from playing Trash and Metal and using Cool Edit, to live elecontric music gigs and Ableton Live 🎶
Read Time: 10 minutes 📰
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Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
My name is Youssef. I’m an electronic music composer and live act from Casablanca, Morocco, and I go by the artist name Kosh.
My relationship with music goes back to my early teens, when I first heard the sound of a distorted guitar in a song. I was intrigued. I wanted to investigate and understand where this sound was coming from, and how it was generated. So, I found out, picked up the guitar, and started messing around with bands. I mostly played Trash and Heavy Metal, yet had broad influences ranging from SOAD to Dream Theater.
At that point, I was recording demos and jams on this software called Cool Edit, but was still looking for an easy way to add drum and bass tracks without having to arrange a full (home-made) recording session with a band. So, I started messing around with this software called Fruity Loops, and got introduced to MIDI for the first time. I also realized that I had all the tools within this software to replicate the sounds of this electronic music I’ve been hearing. One thing led to another and I was making electronic music. I shifted gradually from rock and metal to electronic music over the years, but there’s still a metalhead somewhere in my heart.
I produced ITB for many years, before getting my first hardware synth in 2014: a Cyclone TT-303. I bought a TR-707 shortly after, and started jamming with Ableton Live. I became quickly addicted and acquired more synths over the years.
What started as plain artistic curiosity is now my full-time job, as I tour the world playing my tracks live. It’s an endless journey of learning and discovery. There’s always something new to learn and a higher level to reach. And I love it!
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
Ableton Live, since I sequence everything from it.
But if I had to pick one hardware synth, it would be the Novation Bass Station 2. It’s my go-to synth for everything bass related and mono leads too. It’s a very powerful mono synth and somehow always manage to break through the mix.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
It’s definitely the Roland JV-1080.
I got it for under 100€ and used it on most of the early records I released. It has those airy pads and dreamy voices, D50-esque bells and leads, strings, Rhodes, etc. It can sound raw and dirty. I love it!
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
I don’t have a one size fits all method for creating and producing music. It depends on many different factors that affect my creativity and makes me follow a specific path on that specific day.
But I usually start by making rough drum patterns, either on Ableton or on the Analog Rytm, just to have a groove to follow. I then mess around with my machines until I find a melody that I consider interesting. Most of the time, I start by making a heavy bassline, since my music focuses a lot on that. I either play it myself, or sequence it using Max for Live devices or 303 pattern generators (can work pretty well on regular basslines).
After that it’s mostly trial and error.
I mess around with synths until I get a clearer idea on where I want to take the track. I add new elements and record everything (midi + audio) that I consider interesting on the session view of Ableton (pads, chords, leads, FXs, etc.). Like a notepad with all the different ideas that I can explore later.
I let this rough draft sleep for a bit and I come back to it later on. If I listen back to it and feel like the track has a great potential, I start mixing and processing the rough sounds that I recorded. I also dive deeper in drum programming and try to push the patterns further. Once I feel like I have enough elements to make a full track, I start the arrangement.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
It’s probably applying LFOs.
I like to combine multiple LFOs set to different parameters to bring a loop to life. I combine them with delays in between to keep things rolling, and sometimes it does wonders.
How would you explain your style?
It’s somewhere between House, Techno, Electro, and Breakbeat.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
Definitely time management.
I’m a slow producer, so it’s challenging for me to balance between my personal life, live rehearsals, touring, and studio work. It requires a lot of focus and the ability to admit that a track is actually finished and call it a day with the mix and arrangement.
And cable management.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
Building a hardware setup has completely changed my approach to music.
It taught me that limitation sparks creativity. When I first started, I was making music solely ITB, so I had infinite possibilities and resources. CPU was the only limit. I found myself getting lost in a sea of plugins and channels, pointlessly adding elements on top of each other.
It also reminded me of how pleasurable and exciting it can be to play an instrument. It reminded me where I came from and why I started doing this in the first place. The hands-on approach is something invaluable, that you can’t find on a computer. Even with controllers and plug-outs. After all, the endgame of all this is to enjoy the process and have fun.
Everything can be done and replicated on a computer. It can definitely be the most powerful tool in a studio. There are many great tools out there and some pretty unique sounds can be achieved on it with endless possibilities. So, I believe that in this day and age, it is essential to have a mix of both hardware and software setup, and make the best out of both.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Try new/different production techniques, like new ways to sequence synths, a new sampling method, or weird FX chains, etc.
Overall, just go out there and try new stuff. Turn on the machines and play, jam, have fun. You never know what can come out of it.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
The Other People Place - Lifestyles Of The Laptop Café (Warp Records, 2001).
Anything else you'd like to say?
Nothing to add. Thanks for having me!
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
In Case You Missed It
For jams, knob-twists and pad hitting videos go to G.A.S. Instagram
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