Known for his signature style and sound that is ever-evolving and displays his impressive talent, Clan Brude has become a name impossible to miss. His tracks that blend elements from House and Future House music with VST instrumentation and a unique and hard-hitting groove make this artist one to follow.
Now, we invited him to give us a look into his studio, so we learn more about his setup, processes, and gear.
1 — Hello Clan Brude! How are you doing?
All good, thanks. Back fresh from the lunar new year in this part of the world and things are looking up! As in, no more Covid restrictions, travel going back to realistic prices finally after three years!
2 — Can you walk us through your studio? How does your setup look like?
It’s nothing overly spectacular (yet!). So, in the main workspace, I’m using a MacBook Pro with the required software (Ableton Live, Logic Pro). The laptop is hooked up to a wide-screen LG monitor which makes the DAW much easier to work with. In terms of audio, I use a Steinberg interface that feeds into Yamaha HS7 monitors (love these and use them every day). For closer monitoring, I use Sennheiser HD25 headphones which offer an alternative to mixing with the monitor speakers. In terms of getting the music in there, I use a Korg Midi keyboard and have the Maschine Micro 2 Midi controller. For analog, I have a couple of basses (my main instrument) and a couple of guitars which I play through a 50-watt Orange amp, which in turn can be run through the interface via line out for recording purposes. For vocals, I use an AKG condenser mic. Finally, and not strictly part of the studio, I have a Pioneer RX2 and an additional Pioneer direct drive turntable (although my vinyl collection needs some work!).
3 — Which DAW do you use to produce music? Has it always been the same?
Ableton Live primarily with a variety of third-party plug-ins with all the ones I use regularly favorited. For instance, I use Sonnox and Fab-Filter in most of my tracks. I do have Logic Pro and I find this really good for mixing live instruments, for instance if I am mixing for a band. But, in general, for me at least, Ableton has a more intuitive workflow when dealing with VSTs and audio samples for manipulation in an EDM style.
That’s a good question! It totally depends on where the first idea originates from. I would say generally, I’ve started with programming the beat I want for the vibe I’m going for. So, for instance, for my latest track ‘Back in the Day, Shanghai’, I programmed in a heavy-ish beat with an added groove through a one-shot snare and triplets on the kick. Once this was done, I added an interlocking bassline and the song basically took shape from there, with the main vocal line coming at the end. In general, the arranging develops as the track progresses, and for me, is not left completely until the end. It’s a more organic process.
On other occasions though, ideas have been generated in other ways either through noodling on my guitar or developing a chord progression on my Midi keyboard. On an upcoming track, I started with a field recording taken in Shanghai and built some heavy synths around that to give the vibe needed. I think it’s helpful from an artist’s point of view to have an idea of the concept form the outset through either of the ways mentioned here, but the development of the track definitely takes twists and turns as different waves of inspiration hit.
5 — Do you have a favorite spot in the studio where you always feel inspired?
Well, it’s not huge! I tend to get more inspired on walks than at any particular part of the studio or workspace. Shanghai is an interesting place to find such inspiration.
6 — What’s your favorite piece of gear in the studio?
As mentioned, I do love my Yamaha HS7 monitor speakers. They offer enough detail without giving fatigue. I can also use them for general listening. Incidentally, I always listen to my mixes on my monitors, headphones and Air Pods walking around town. I then get a second opinion.
7 — What’s the oldest piece of gear you own?
I have a Fender Precision bass which was bought secondhand. It’s Japanese-made and pushing 20 years old. As Fender have had this design since the 50s, then it could be considered old! It’s heavy and not the easiest to play but has a classic sound. I haven’t yet used it on a Clan Brude track but it may have its uses, and would certainly sound unique. I also have a hollow body Epiphone which I have used on a track (Where We Belong). It has this lovely acoustic muted sound.
8 — And what’s your most recent acquisition?
Native Instruments’ Maschine Micro 2. It’s a nice little Midi controller that can be used to generate ideas through the trigger pads. The samples that come with it on Kontakt are excellent, and I would like to gather more than what comes with the bundle.
9 — Is there an upgrade or something you’d like to do or add to the studio in the future?
A lot! I have a long wish list. I need to sound treat the space better, which would really add to my mixing/mastering process. I need a full-size Midi keyboard, again for ideas generation and on that note, maybe even Ableton’s Push controller, although perhaps not essential. Any hardware synths would be great to have a play with.
10 — Do you have any fun stories regarding producing in your studio?
Well, cats frequently interfere. I have 3. Unfortunately, in their frequent leaps onto the laptop or Midi keyboard, they have yet to create their own signature sound that I could borrow for Clan Brude. I think their motivations lie more in the warmth from the equipment than developing a new minimal progressive House synth riff.