Q1. How Did You Guys Get Together And When Did You Start Producing?
Ben “I knew Paddy through a friend going back to when were at school. We met up on a night out and discovered we both were nuts on music, pretty much all kinds of music and within a couple of weeks we were jamming on guitars often… I think at one point we tried to get a band going but that never really happened! I used to work full time in a ‘proper job’ and ended up leaving… I think literally that day Paddy called me up and said do you want to try and collab on some stuff. So I used to go round to his and we would just mess around for ages on an old Cubase trying to come up with stuff. We were trying to write complete songs then, but kept going back to Drum and Bass cause we loved it.
Paddy: I started out producing Old School Garage when I was at college which then transitioned into Hip Hop and other genres. When I finished I wasn’t really doing much by way of music so we just started collaborating on projects and this soon became a regular thing. We went through several different styles of music but we always had a huge respect for the level of production that goes into Drum and Bass and eventually found this was the direction we wanted to go in.
Ben “Yeah those old Sub Focus tunes for instance, really melodic but banging and super tight production. We would listen for ages and wonder how to make things sound like that. Chase and Status, Pendulum etc… when Rudimental dropped tunes like Waiting all Night it was encouraging because we knew that we could write melodic songs and fuse them into exciting Drum and Bass”
Q2. When Did You Realise You Had Something Good Going?
Ben “We spent a long time just learning how to construct beats basically by imitating stuff we liked. I think our first DnB beat was basically just a chopped Amen… awful but we thought we had found the secret! Eventually we had a track we thought was strong enough to release so we sent it to Paul here at Audio Animals and he liked it so much he offered to remix and master it then release it on the AA label.
Paddy: We found that our style of song writing translated really well to DnB after remixing some of our earlier material because it brought a certain energy our tracks were lacking before. From there it was just a case of honing our production skills and finding the sound we wanted.
Ben: Yeah I guess we were songwriters by trade, but just kept sticking our tunes on a 175 tempo!
Q3. That First Release Was Over 2 Years Ago And You’ve Been Quiet Since Until Now, What Were You Doing?
Ben “Just getting better really. We knew that although we were good musically we needed to really up the production… Paul was dead patient and encouraging, gave us access to samples and loads of advice. Instead of stacking 10 snares up until we thought they sounded good we got into transient shaping, being selective with frequencies, using analysers, compression, eq etc… really into it. I love the geeky stuff! Now we only use 9 snares… haha.
Paddy: I’ve always been into beats so I’ve spent the last few years learning about how to layer and slice up different breaks in order to fit them into our tracks. I tend to leave the mixing side to Ben which is quite good for us because we’ve found I can usually pick up if somethings not sitting quite right or if any subtle adjustments need making. Fresh ears.
Q4. Where Did Gigante Come From?
Ben: We were literally just messing around on Massive and came across a preset that had about 3 different sounds going on at once which we liked, so we hit some notes and then sampled 3 different oscillators separately and started to work on them. The main lead riff has a lot of processing on it and the filter sweeps are done in Camel Crusher. The bass is a patch we made on Sylenth that we use quite often. The beat obviously needed to be big and punchy to cut through all the layers so that was fairly straightforward.
Paddy: The basic track came together in literally a day and after that it was just a case of finding the right samples and messing around with the more intricate parts to get them sounding right.
Q5. How Do You Work?
Ben: Pad usually comes up with the basic idea for a tune, either a short midi melody he’s come up with or a sample or sound or something and sends it to me and I get cracking on it. Trying different sounds etc… then we meet up and hone in a bit more on what sounds best. Pad comes up with the craziest melodies, but they always work. I’ll usually try and write a topline for vocals too… We can hear a tune on UKF or somewhere and both want to try and produce something like it. Biggest challenge is seeing if you can try and top something you love listening to.
Paddy: I work full time so we meet up once a week usually at the weekend and spend the day going through what we’ve been talking about in the week. There’s usually lots of ideas flying back and forth by e-mail and it all kind of comes together at our weekly sessions. In the week I’m constantly messing around with riffs/chords/melodies and beats while Bens constructing the stuff from the
Ben: After our session I will spend forever shaping the sounds we’ve come up with and then I’ll send a mix to Pad and he’s usually like “more hi hat” or “Snare needs more crack” haha. Pads great at chopping up breaks so he does literally all of that. He says I can’t be trusted to do fine editing yet!
Q6. What Gear Do You Use?
Ben: We both use Cubase, we are so used to it plus learning another system would put us back due to the learning curve and that’s the last thing we need right now so we’ll be on Cubase for awhile. I love fabfilter plugins so we have most of those for mixing and sound wise we use the usual stuff, everything from CamelPhat to Glitch for producing. We have Battery for drum programming but mainly use audio now as it’s tighter for shaping volume envelopes on kicks/snares.
Paddy: I mainly work in audio from my end as a lot of what I do involves chopping up breaks and I find the editing tools on Cubase really good for that. We’ve also started messing around with Kontakt more recently due to its sampling functionality. Of course we use Massive, Sylenth and the usual synths… not much analogue hardware yet but I’d love to get into that.
Q7. What’s Next For Digilantz?
Ben: Loads of things. We have an album worth of stuff that we are getting finished, a lot of them have toplines written and we are waiting for the right vocalists to finish them off, they will all be placed hopefully into various places – TV, film, games etc… before release. A lot of different stuff, some bangers, some liquidy, some more electro/jump up stuff…
Paddy: I’m going to teach Ben how to edit Audio.