BEATS FROM BEDROOMS: COCKTAIL PARTY EFFECT
In early October, Thousand Kisses Place released the EP of the electronic duo Hidden Element, which became the second part of the release trilogy on the eve of the full-length album of the project. "Kontinuum" included four tracks at the intersection of techno and breakbeat, thematically continuing the previous record "Comparisons", as well as Cocktail Party Effect's remix on "Clap Drum Awareness".
To learn more about the processes and ideas behind the production of the British musician, member of Hidden Element and one of the curators of the imprint, Igor Kirilenko, talked to Cocktail Party Effect, who in turn conducted a virtual tour of the basic components of his Berlin studio and showed his favorite pieces from his setup.
Tell me shortly about your aliases, their differences and main achievements.
I started as Kasket almost 11 years ago, it was a project i started when I made more ambient tunes, to be honest, i didn't really know what was as a project, but one of the great moments of it was meeting and playing with some amazing artists from gigs etc. I decided to fade it out after a while. I like to change things totally sometimes, when a project runs it's course and it's better to leave things before you end up getting to bored or worse hating it.
Cocktail Party Effect was more of anti-version of Kasket, i wanted to make something totally different, less musical in a way, more experimental painting with sounds. One of the things with music is that i can never sit still with it, growing up with a very artistic based family my dad being a jazz guitarist and my mother being a actress and my brother playing bass. It always was pushing me to create more different ways of expressing myself.
What DAW/sequencer did you use when you started making music? What's your main DAW/hardware/sequencer now? What do you like in it and what upgrades do you want to add/change?
My first software i used was Reason and a laptop that used to shutdown after 30 minutes of use, i used to try and find ways of making tunes as quick as possible on them, then i moved to using Ableton. Finally, after years I updated my computer then managed to take time in making tracks.
Tell me about your audio interface and speakers. Why did you choose them? What were your first speakers, soundboard?
I'm currently using a Motu, really love it, and then that’s all hooked up to my 24 channel sound craft desk which I mostly use for just distorting sounds and doing dub style mixing on my tracks.
My monitors are a pair of Genelec 8341’s, beautiful speakers, you can hear everything so clearly. My first speakers were a pair of half broken KRK's Rockit 5’s, one of the tweeters was broken as one of my mates fell into it with a lit cigarette, but carried on using it for a long time!
What headphones do you use in the studio?
I don’t use headphones too much, I should maybe start to, but never got round to it!
Tell me about your studio. Is it the same place you live or it’s the separate premises? Room acoustics? What is drowned out?
Originally I had my studio in my flat in Berlin, but sadly, new neighbours moved in and started to complain, so I had to up and run and find a studio, lucky, I found one and with it I was supplied with acoustic treatment by a company called Kiss Your Ears, so that was a nice change to have a treated room. I do miss making tunes in my flat, but it's nice to work late hours and have your own space…
Are you using live guitar/piano/drums or other live instruments for your music? if so- tell me the story of those few instruments? Did you buy them or it was a gift from a friend? Do you have some interesting stories associated with that?
Funny enough a lot of the gear I use is somewhat on permanent loan, or sold to me really cheap from friends I knew back in the day who made tunes so I've been quite lucky with my findings, example is my EM-U sampler, a friend who used to make jungle recently wanted to get rid of his old equipment and so he pass its down to me. Makes me more inclined to use it as it has someone else soul put into it.I also like to buy half broken stuff and try to fix it myself... One thing I do use a lot in my tracks is my waterphone. It's great for all types of sounds.
Do you have hardware synths/samplers? If so, could you give me some brief overview of your favourite ones with examples from your previous releases.
These two, the AKAI 3000Xl and the EM-U are two of my favourites. I love the old school work around with these things and also the sound they give… I've only started using them in my music more, so you will hear some in the next EP’s.
Hardware reverb, delays, compressors etc. What do you have ? Pros and cons?
My Monarch delay is something I love, it's a strange digital delay. I use it on a lot of my drums and pads... mine is also a bit broken so it crackles a lot, but I learn to like the sound it gives!
Also my Quadraverb, and my Benni Dub spring pedal, I have an addiction to spring reverb so I use this all the time.
Cords / hubs / adapters / external monitor / midi controllers? What’s your favourite?
I’m still using my Novation midi keyboard i've had for i think over 8 years now, some of the keys are broken as i spilt coffee on it!
⁃ What’s the first thing you do when you start to create a new track? When do you realise that the track is finished?
I'm a really sloppy writer... I have to admit, I spend a lot of the time messing about effects etc and in hopes an idea comes to life, I've never been the type of person that comes to the studio with an idea, i’ve never liked putting that pressure on myself to make art, so I like to let things just roll. For me personally, regarding when a track is finished, i’ve never had to much of a problem walking away from a project, maybe i should spend more time on them, but tend to have this "hit and run" mentally.
Do you like having drinks in the studio? Tea/coffee/alco maybe?
A bottle of rum or wine for emergencies.
And the last one — what are your future plans and releases?
I have a few things lined up, EP's Remixes etc, me and Kamikaze Space Programme are making some tunes together, nothing to announce yet, but i hope you will like what you hear.