Ray Keith, progressing as an artist and drum & bass businessman in 2010, has decided to clear out his closet, and, rather than sit on his hoard of genre-defining audio samples that helped build the 1990s jungle music scene, remaster them and give them all away on a CD published by the famous Loopmasters brand.
This isn't a gimmick, it is the original samples that made Ray Keith one of the pioneers of the mid-nineties rave scene, the same ones he used to create Terrorist, and There's Something Out There that Twisted Anger aka Danny C remixed to great effect in 2000. Ray Keith that reveals the thinking behind the sample package and his current progress.
What studio set up did you have back in the day?
When I first started out I worked on a S950 Akai, it was a spirit-recording desk through Sony speakers. We were using an Atari ST1040.
What studio set up do you have now?
Mac G4 and an Akai 3200XL, and Emu 64, they are both sampling machines. I’ve got a Tascam 32 track desk with 8 buss, which means that you can have 8 effects on there through the desk like delay etc. Also I have Tannoy speakers, which I play back on like a soundsystem, they are the SRM-15X Super Reds, and also I’ve got the Dyudio BM15s which is what I use for monitoring. I've got a whole heap of different types of effects modules, and the Berringer ones that we are using gates and delays and stuff. We have stripped it down, but basically we have a Drawmer noise filter, a TL8 audio valve compressor, we use different variable outboards, multi-gate dual effects composers, which actually just enhance the sound.
Tell us how you used this equipment to make the samples.
If you just take a break, and a beat and a bass, it's all about how it's processed. You have machines that make basses for you, I have a Roland JP8000, Yamaha SY35, Nord 2, and a Novation Bass Station, and an Oberheim Matrix 1000. They are just some of the things that I have that allow me to make basses from scratch. I have a MOTU 828, which allows me to go from digital through Cubase back to analogue on my desk.
What would you say is the key to making an anthem such as Terrorist?
The simplicity really. I think a lot of kids get confused thinking that they have to use 20,000 plug-ins to make a tune, and actually they get lost. So I think really less is more, if you strip it down to the basics. It's all about making people dance, there is no point in making beats that no one is going to dance to, as it defeats the object. I think part of producing is going out and listening to DJs, listening to other music to catch your flavour. Even the greatest iconic artist in the world whether it was Elvis or Bob Marley, they would go out and listen to music and interpret it in how they wanted it to sound. And that is basically what making music is all about; it's your interpretation of that sound.
You mention the CD has an "analogue feel". Why do you like analogue and what's good about it?
For me it's just warmer, and it has more of a weight to it. I think its great if you can process your stuff through your machinery and make it as heavy as possible, but I just think that for me personally I like that weight. I like how it is, I like what it represents, and I’m still very excited about making and playing music. I still feel kinda young in the game, I know I have achieved quite a bit, but it's all to do with experience. The more you experience the wiser you become. Working with different people, I have just done some tracks with Warriorqueen, so it's really exciting times.
What have you got planned for 2010?
Mainly working on the album for next year. Going to be releasing our dub label [Dub Dred], which is not really jumping on the whole dubstep thing but actually representing a dub format, whether you were to call that dubstep or old school we are going to be putting out a few tunes through that. I have all my artists on Dred Recordings. We have UFO Recordings, which is what we school our new artists on so basically our new artists are Blade Runner, Mr. Explicit, and another fella called Venom. I just signed some guys called Lion Fire, they’re looking hot. We have some nights happening around the country called Dred Sessions, one in Bristol on Friday, and our resident night in London at Café 1001 where we're going to do a couple of all nighters until five in the morning on the couple of bank holidays coming up. Then we may go regular after that, so we can catch that nice little vibe.
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