90 - Recue
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Recue
He has been creating genre-fluid electronic music for nearly 20 years, releasing on notable labels, collaborating with inspiring artists, and performing for diverse audiences 🎶
Read Time: 10 minutes 📰
Ableton based setup controlled by Softube Console 1 / Console Fader and Ableton Push 3
Make Noise 7U modular case filled with various randomly changing modules depending on what I'm doing (at the moment it's a synth with e.g. Clouds, Braids, E350 Morphing Terrarium and an Uraltone Micro Mixer)
Series 500 rack with Cranborne Camden preamps, dbx/Midas based channel strips and random DIYRE Color modules
Some keyboard and desktop synths:
Various Elektron synths and samplers:
Few samplers / sequencers:
Only one dedicated drum machine! Nord - Drum 2
All sorts of smaller bits and bobs, microphones, recorders, pedals and other oddities like the Music From Outer Space Weird Sound Generator
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Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
My name is Riku and I make music under the alias Recue.
I’ve done my genre-fluid electronic thing for about two decades now and have been fortunate enough to have released it on interesting labels, participated in inspiring collaborations, asked to do some commissioned work and performed my music in front of crowds of varying sizes.
I still consider making music more of passion than anything else, and I’d most likely be making something by myself even if anyone would not listen. The pleasure comes from the creative process itself, but is of course amplified to a whole new level if it manages to find resonance with others.
I’ve fiddled with various instruments throughout my whole life, but never really had any formal musical education. It’s all been just based on pure interest in music and the technology behind it, whether it’s been gathering together with friends to make noise or sitting alone in a dark room with buttons and flashing lights.
I got my start by trying to figure out how to strum my dad’s guitar in a way that made sense. Finding a place in my home town where to hook one to an amp while playing the drums loudly brought the fun and physicality into music.
Eventually my big brother introduced me to music tracker software and that completely sucked me into trying to figure out how producing music worked, without even knowing the meaning of the word “producing” yet.
Two decades later and I’m still trying to figure that stuff out, but a lot of things have started to make more sense since.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
I have to be boring and say it’s Ableton, but in the end that's where everything comes together, whether the noise is from hardware, software, field recordings or anything else imaginable. Majority, or even all other equipment could be stripped away but if that one stays, I could still make music.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
A cheap, no brand dynamic microphone (any will do really). I use quite a bit of organic percussion mixed in with electronic drums and it does not really need to be that hifi. All the “unwanted” noise from the mic and room just adds character to the recordings that you can play with. There’s a bit of that in most music that I’ve released.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
I can’t say that I have a set process that I always follow, but majority of my music comes from the dialogue of experimenting and curating the experiments.
I might have an idea, a technique to try, a melody or a certain sound that’s in my head that I want to create; so I sit down and start utilizing whatever I feel fit for that idea. It can be hardware, software or a combination, but usually it’s focused on a single piece of equipment, like the modular.
I play around with the idea from multiple angles and record it to my DAW (or maybe in the sequencer of a machine) for further manipulating. Sometimes it catches on and starts to evolve as a fuller idea, that might progress into being a full track, but sometimes it just stays as a single idea that I might save for later.
These ideas usually start to gradually form certain patterns. I might be, say really into experimenting with distortion and I end up with multiple ideas that I feel belong together. That might be a stem of a release. After that point my creating comes usually more focused on finishing those ideas as a whole.
That is just one typical way of how things come together, but definitely not the only one. Sometimes I have a concept, maybe a visual one, or something based on a certain technique that I work towards. Sometimes it's fun to just take a blank canvas, start playing and see what happens.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
Simple 2 OP FM synthesis.
You can get anything from basses to leads to drums out of two operators modulating each other.
How would you describe your style?
My music has often been described as being genre fluid, which is something I personally appreciate.
Usually I want to build contrast in the music, whether it’s beautifully melodic yet harshly distorted, slow slung yet busy with details, or experimental yet approachable.
I might not always get there, but that’s what I usually aim for.
Visuality is also a strong aspect for me. It might not be that evident for others, but I tend to see all music as I listen to it, so I might have a visual reference for what I'm creating, or I'm trying to paint an aural image that's in my head.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
My live setup is something that seems to always keep changing somewhere between too difficult and stressful and too easy and boring.
I’m never quite satisfied with all aspects and it seems to be a constantly self adjusting process, never quite getting there (although I've definitely had a blast playing nevertheless!).
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
I’m not the biggest fan of the debates between different ways of making music and to me there’s no right or wrong way.
The physicality and interaction that hardware can bring can absolutely be a fun and captivating thing, but the end result is something that I’m usually most interested in, and whatever gets me there, gets me there.
What building my setup has indeed enabled though, is a physical space to go to create and play in (in all the meanings of that word).
When performing live, that’s where a full hardware setup really starts to shine for me.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Don’t stress about “making music”.
Go and play.
If nothing comes out of it, at least you’ve had fun creating. Eventually something good happens.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
I remember watching the movie Monsters and pausing to google who had made the score, only to find out it was done by Jon Hopkins who’s work I was not familiar with at the time.
He later went on to release Immunity which had a huge impact on me creatively.
Do you have a question in mind that you think I should have asked?
Do you necessarily need linear tempo when making music?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself lately (and made an EP titled Tensegrity around this).
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
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