Me in my studio: Mumdance
4th Jun 2013 | 12:19
UK producer Mumdance (aka Jack Adams) has been making a name for himself over the past decade hosting clubnights in his native London and releasing music on esteemed labels including Diplo’s Mad Decent, No Hats No Hoods, Southern Fried and Dusk & Blackdown’s ever-reliable Keysound.
Following a two-year hiatus, Adams returns today with an absolutely excellent free mixtape titled Twists And Turns, which blends creative club sounds, vibrant grime synths and innovative drum machine work. To mark the occasion, here Adams gives us a personal tour around his hardware-packed studio and talks us through the gear behind the release.
Mumdance: “So this first pic shows the kind of 'brain' of my studio, the MPC, the desk, iMac computer and a midi controller, I can pretty much control the whole studio from here.”
Synths and rack gear
Left: Synth wall
“On the other side of the room is my synth wall... From the top to the bottom: Roland Juno 106 / Roland JD 800 / Roland D50 / Yamaha DX7 / Elektron Octatrack & Vermona DRM1 mk3. In terms of a favourite synth, you can’t really pick, it’s like asking someone to chose which of their children they love the best!
“Between this synth wall and my rack gear [right] I tried to get a collection of synths which span a number of different sounds and eras as well as different types of synthesis, both analogue and digital, just to give myself as many options as possible. I never really noticed 'til I actually did this but it seems I have a load of Roland stuff!”
Right: Tower of power
“Then next to my desk is my tower of power, where I have collated all my rack gear in easy reach. From the top to the bottom; Waldorf Pulse / Roland RE 301 Chorus Echo / Emu E6400 Ultra / Akai S950 / Echo Audiofire 12 / Waldorf Microwave mk1 Rev A / Ensoniq DP/4+ / Oberheim Matrix 1000 / Motu Midi Express 128.
“I LOVE the Waldorf Microwave, it’s such an awkward little beast but when you tickle it correctly it comes out with some epic weirdness. Also, shout out to the Ensoniq DP/4+ -that guy always brings the goods.”
“The MPC60 is the heart of my studio and I use it to do all my sequencing on. It is wired up so it controls all the other gear.
"It's the most crucial part of my studio and is a massive part of my sound. I love the feel of the swing and the sound of the sampler. I just find it a really intuitive little machine that oozes character. I love the luxury armrest at the bottom too! Haha.”
“The 909 is another key part of my sound, I use the kick drum as a starting point for 99% of my tracks at the moment. The other 909 sounds which I use are mostly the ones you can see plugged in at the back, the clap, the hi-hats and the ride cymbal.
“Oh yeah, special mention; just out of shot to the left there is a Yamaha TG33 which is a cool little unit, it sounds quite thin but I use it for layering on top of other sounds to give more detail.”
“I picked up this weird ‘70s consumer level tape machine about a year ago and it lives under my desk. I have it there because I want it to get as dusty as possible and I have never cleaned the tape head or anything, the reason being is that I brought it to use pretty much as an effect unit to mess up my sounds and give them character. It’s got a real nice warble and adds a ton of hiss, which I love.”
“I’m a big fun of running audio through different circuits to bring character and weirdness too them and I love using pedals as they are quite unpredictable. The best thing to do is create a chain of pedals to really mangle your sounds beyond recognition. This is actually a pic from my old studio, ‘cus I have literally just moved studios and am still unpacking everything.”
Chorus echo and samplers
“The RE 301 gets a lot of use in my studio alongside the pedals as a sound mangling tool. I love the 301 as it has the rich Roland analogue chorus, as well as the iconic tape delay. Another function that I use a lot is the Sound On Sound feature, which you can use to build up huge walls of sound with.
“The samplers also get a lot of use and are very key to what I am doing at the moment now I am 100% out the box. I use these to trigger all of the sounds I use in my tracks that don’t come directly out of synths or sound modules. I decided on the s950 and the E6400 Ultra as they both come from different decades and have completely different personalities and aural aesthetics.”
“I use Dynaudio BM6A's and I am a massive fan of them. Monitors are some of the most important things in your studio, if you can’t hear what you are doing properly then you are doomed.
"Unfortunately, the space I am currently in doesn’t allow for the best monitor set up in terms of the actual room’s acoustics. I tend to listen to my stuff on a lot of different speakers and in my friends’ studios, and use that as a way of working out what needs to be done to the final mix.”
Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro mixer
“I use an old Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro as I’m a big fan of jungle and this one is pretty much industry standard in that scene. With the amount of gear I have acquired though, I’m looking to get a 32 channel mixer instead of a 16 channel, just so I don’t have to spend so much time patching wires!”
“I HATE WIRES ARGGGGHHHHH so many wires everywhere getting all tangled up and looking ugly. Stoopid fuckin’ wires.”