Since the release of his first ever production ‘Charger’ which was released via Matchbox Recordings, things have only been on the rising for one of Britain’s fastest growing artists, Bradley James. ‘Charger’ led to Bradley getting noticed by Treatment, which put himself in the spotlight within his first year in business by getting on BBC Introducing’s radar. Since then Bradley has built up quite a record collection for himself, with stellar productions such as ‘Visionary EP’, ‘Groseille Remix’, ‘Caiman’, ‘Amnesia / Taipan’, ‘Lynch’, ‘Infinity’, ‘Breakthrough’, ‘Fire’, ‘Akula’ and his most recent hit ‘Tommy Gun’ receiving support from the industry’s top DJs.
Taking time out of his hectic studio time, Bradley spoke to us to about his favourite studio weapons.
Hey Brad, we’d like to know more about your weapons of choice in the studio.
I really like an EQ to have an analyzer, but my favourite EQ doesn’t. The ReQ131 31 Band EQ by Lab One Recordings is my favourite EQ because it does exactly what I want it to do and I love being able to have such control of a wide range of frequencies. Also, the standard EQ in Reason 8 is great too – the MClass effects are a brilliant advantage of using Reason.
I’ve just started using Logic Pro X and really like the compressor that comes with it – has some great features and does the job well. I also like how simple it is to set up a sidechain with any other channel.
Favourite FX Tool:
At the minute, I’m actually loving a FX tool that’s been round for a long time – the Scream 4 Distortion unit. The ‘digital’ damage parameter gives the sound a real throaty sound to it. In Logic Pro, I’m really enjoying playing around with all of the effects that NI Massive has to offer – they’re perfect for creating the huge sounds that the synth is capable of.
I don’t work much with samples other than drum one-shots, but my go-to sampler in Reason is always the NN-XT Advanced Sampler because of its simplicity. It’s great for if you want to quickly load up a sample and make some minor adjustments too it.
At the minute, I haven’t found a reverb unit that I love and that I go-to 100% of the time, but the Space Designer in Logic Pro can make some interesting sounds, as well as the standard RV7000 Reverb in Reason. The RV-7 Digital Reverb in Reason has a brilliant Gated algorithm that adds space to any sound.
One of the newer effects to be added to the Reason rack is ‘The Echo’ and I fell in love with it the first time I used it. Again, the simplicity is a huge advantage, but the triggered and roll settings allow for some great sounds which I commonly use on arp sounds to make them less repetitive.
My favourite DAW is Reason 8 because I love the layout of it – having a ‘rack’ really helps because everything is just there and ready. However, I’m in the process of switching to Logic Pro X because it supports third party VST’s like Massive and Serum, which are too good to avoid! I guess liking what I have isn’t a good enough reason not to want something better.
Favourite Mastering Suit:
I’m a completely novice when it comes to mastering, so I stick to the presets in Reasons mastering section and then make small changes to suit my preferences. Once I’m done with a track, it’s off to someone who knows what they’re doing with mastering.
Favourite Bass Synth:
At the minute, I can’t get enough of Massive – the sounds that you can create in that VST are incredible. Also, I’ve recently started to experiment with my first hardware synth – my Moog Sub Phatty. It has a great feel to all of the sounds that it creates and the ability to manually adjust all of the parameters without the use of a mouse and keyboard is great.
The snares available in the Sample Tools by Cr2 are great. They offer a variety of snares, from impact snares to short, soft hits. I love layering snares to create a huge build, so having a variety of snare sounds is very important.
I actually often use ride cymbals as hi-hats. I’ll load a ride sample into a sampler and bring down the decay and sustain until I get a short hi-hat sound, but then I have the ability to increase the decay and sustain to create a longer sound which can often add to the progression of the track.
My favourite sample is a drop impact effect sample that I found in a sample pack that I bought a long time ago. I use it in the majority of my tracks now and make adjustments every time I load it in, such as EQ changes, subtle distortion, and filtering.
I like a contrast; a great bassline at 80HZ or so, but then the high end needs to be full. A perfect example of this is the work of Mord Fustang – I love the balance between bass and high end that he creates.