We got together with UK based producer, DJ and Bitwig Studio maestro Hamilton to talk production techniques, equipment, inspiration and (first and foremost) Bitwig Studio. Here's the interview in full.
How did you find out about Bitwig Studio?
I first heard about Bitwig in a audio forum a couple of years ago, can’t remember which one, but I knew instantly that it appealed to me. I’d been toying with Ableton Live for a while at the same time as using Cubase and Logic historically, but I honestly could never settle with one because there were aspects I liked in all of them, but also things I didn’t like too. Bitwig just looked very well thought out and I knew it would really fit the way I like to work. The only painful bit was waiting from the initial announcement to when it came out. I bought it the day it came out and haven’t looked back since!
What is your studio set up at the moment?
It’s pretty basic, 2008 Mac Pro with two 27” screens, Focal CMS 65 and CMS Sub as monitors and a midi controller keyboard, plus quite a few plugins of which I only tend to use a handful of, just the ones I really like and of course the Bitwig set too.
What is the feature you like and use most in Bitwig Studio?
Well there’s quite a few! The main thing I love about Bitwig is the workflow. You guys have put so much thought and effort into making things as easy to do as possible. When I’m making music I don’t want to have to spend ages geeking out and clicking around in different pages, wasting valuable time. Bitwig has been a breath of fresh air in this respect and I really enjoy using it, this makes a huge difference to the creative process.
My favourite individual features are: Being able to have Midi and Audio on the same track, the whole modulation process, which is the quickest, easiest and most creative I’ve ever seen. The simplicity of routing, being able to easily swap channels in-between projects and also the solidity of timing, PDC being rock solid and automation events doing exactly what they say on the screen.
Oh, and the speed of product updates too – something I’ve never seen from any other DAW company in over 20 years.
When you are in the studio, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Generally, I find inspiration to be a bit of a myth. More like 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. So, for me, it’s usually a case of trying stuff out until something starts to work. The initial spark is always the hardest bit, once that’s there the track usually writes itself. Occasionally something will inspire me, could be anything from other music, a film, tv a game or just life in general.
Is your production process different for every track?
Yes. I’d love it to be the same, but it never works out like that for me. I guess every track is different, so will require a different set of parameters, I’ve never been a fan of using the same template elements in a track, I wish I were though as it would make life a little easier haha!
You created this awesome video tutorial about your current hit: Feel the Fury and your phone went off. Who called? (link here)
Haha! The “phone calls” are subtle for sure, but if you watch all three parts of the tutorial and hear all three phone calls you should get an idea of the individuals who “called” me. I’ll give you a clue, it’s a UK tv show that has been syndicated all over the world. Just my silly sense of humour, plus a good way to see if anyone actually bothered to watch all three parts lol!
Being a Drum'n Bass producer for over 20 years what were the most significant changes in the way you produce?
Coming from the old hardware days I have to say the biggest changes I had to make was unlearning stuff I’d learned. A lot of the advice I picked up back in the day only really applies to more traditional forms of music. The best thing I’ve found is learning to forget any rules and just do what sounds good. Modern electronic music has changed so much that the rule book has been thrown out the window, so my only rule is now that there are no rules. This is why Bitwig has captured my heart so much, as it’s the only DAW around right now that has been designed specifically for the music of today.
What is your advice for someone who is starting to produce now?
Get Bitwig and don’t follow any rules!