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Words John Murray Hill Digital Nation 67
Photography Peter Olson
BLAME’S RECORDING SET-UP
Blame has a rather unique recording studio for
a drum & bass producer. The gear and software
inside points towards a producer whose roots
are fi rmly planted inside the analogue world.
Blame began to forge his reputation in the early
nineties, and everything in the studio back then
was analogue apart from basic computer se-
quencers. For example – the Rupert Neve 5012
is a rather pricey preamp that is pretty unique
in that it shuns valves for reliable, premium
quality transistor circuitry. The software Blame
has in his studio doesn’t bear the hallmarks of
an obsessive new-age enthusiast, but it’s nev-
ertheless powerful and represents everything
one needs to get the job done. So, let’s have a
look, shall we?
3 Apple Mac G5 with Logic Audio How has Blame’s style has changed over the years? And people will steal your ideas! This wouldn’t be
3 Yamaha 02R desk He has clearly reinvented himself as a modern a bad thing though… producers would be forced
3 MOTU 828 soundcard producer… so where is the transition point? to push themselves to stay ahead of the competi-
3 MOTU Symphonic Instrument How did he “Level Up”, so to speak? “I think tion, which means better music for all of us.
3 MOTU Ethno Instrument things really stepped up when I produced ‘Stay
3 Izotope iDrum Forever’,” Blame recalls fondly. “I was building When the stars align, what special combination
3 Izotope Ozone up to that point with tracks like ‘Skyline’, ‘Rush’ of idiosyncrasies put the smile on Blame’s face?
3 Izotope Radius and ‘Hold the Sunshine’, but it all seemed to click “The smiles always come when a track is go-
3 Izotope Spectron at that point. I reckon I found the happy balance ing well, and everything is sounding exactly how
3 Korg Legacy of musical / uplifting elements mixed with punch you envisioned it,” Blame answers in satisfyingly
3 Korg Triton and power for the dancefl oor. My style has gone logical fashion. “But more often than not it’s a
3 MicroKorg though a real journey over the last 15 years, but lot of hard work and trial and error to get a track
3 Roland Alpha Juno a lot of people say that my latest tracks remind sounding like it was made easily, so let’s just say
3 TC PowerCore them of my very fi rst release ‘Music Takes You’ there are just as many grimaces!”
3 Waves Diamond Bundle on Moving Shadow, so maybe I’ve come back full
3 SE Gemini 2 Mic circle.” If not more. Let’s stay positive though: what
3 Rupert Neve 5012 Pre Amp producers does Blame admire? Which bass-
3 Spectrasonics Trilogy Blame’s mix-downs are fantastic. Listen to any of destroyers’ work does Blame spend hours dis-
3 Dynaudio BM6A monitors his records – particularly the modern ones which secting? “I’m a big fan of so many producers,”
are the product of years of core experience – and Blame mulls over the question. “High Contrast
it’s striking how clear and clean his bass, drums is a big favourite of mine in D&B because he al-
and samples are, so what gives? “I try to always use ways captures such a wicked vibe and feeling in
great sounds from the start. Doing it this way… all of his music. Chase & Status are also up there
the track is a pleasure to mix.” – every track sounds different and they proved
that they can fl ip from one style to the next with
No producer has ever worded their mix-down ease and still deliver anthems across the board.
theory like this before. Sure, we’ve all heard the Pendulum really raised the bar with their produc-
“use great sounds from the start” idea, but the tion and mix-downs – sonically they are incred-
way that Blame puts it – “Doing it this way … the ible. Outside of D&B I’m a massive Neptunes fan
track is a pleasure to mix” puts everything into a – they have made so many hits it’s a joke. They
context that makes wonderful sense. “I never over just capture the vibe, and don’t seem to be bogged
complicate my tracks,” continues Blame, “as that down with the technical side of production. They
also leads to messy mixes. I think you need a really just make good music.”
good EQ plug-in and compressor. I’m a big fan
of the Izotope and Waves software… they sound Before blame pulls the plug on this undeniably
incredible. You need to make sure that you don’t enlightening edition of Digital Nation, this su-
have any unwanted frequencies left in any sounds perhero of jungle music has, quite rightfully,
that don’t need them. For example, roll of the earned the right to tell us a little bit about his own
sub bass in your hi hats!” projects. What is he cooking up next? “I’m cur-
rently locked away in the lab working on my al-
Blame is obviously on the cusp of technology. bum, which I’m really excited about,” he reveals.
Rather than wallow in past glories, letting his “I’m trying to develop and build on the ‘Because
blade become dull, he continues to trade old Of You’ and ‘Stay Forever’ sound, but raise it up
models for newer, fl ashier ones, keeping the same a notch or two!”
creative spark that made him a production war-
rior in the fi rst place. So what future technology And that’s it … but not before we ask Blame quite
is Blame anticipating? “I think over the next few possibly the most crucial question he’s ever going
years you will be able to load up anybody’s track to receive (other than the ones waiting for him at
that you like and then let the computer dissect the pearly-gates). Blame … please tell us about
and pick apart all its elements.” your favourite food in the studio. What keeps
you going and your energy levels up? “It has to
Blame isn’t lying. If you check out the latest MP3 be old Scottish porridge oats,” Blame concludes
technology [MXP4], this idea is already start- candidly. “I need those carbs for the long studio
ing to show the fi rst petals of fruition. “On one sessions!”
hand that will be incredible,” Blame nods his
head, “but on the other hand it could loose all the
magic of music.”
www.kmag.co.uk
K66-67_Blame.indd 67 19/3/09 14:52:23
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