Brussels-based Pole Folder has had an extensive career in electronic music, starting in 2001 as a protégée of revered British DJ John Digweed. Since then, the multi-instrumentalist and live performer has released acclaimed music on Digweed’s Bedrock Records, Global Underground and Renaissance. His tracks have been featured on hit US TV shows, Channel 4 advertising campaigns and in the movie Stark Raving Mad. In addition, his remix of Funkstar De Luxe’s Sun Is Shining has racked up over 1.5 million streams on Spotify.
As we near the release of his upcoming EP, The Great Beyond, the Belgian producer lets us in on some of his top remixing tips, how his workflow has been enhanced by tools such as Maschine and Touché, and why he loves using Ableton Live’s stock plug-ins.
Hey, Pole Folder. Tell us about your latest plug-in purchase.
Expressive E’s Lié 1.5, which I received when I bought the Touché controller. It is an excellent plug-in that allows me to quickly map multiple parameters on another plug-in to control via the Touché controller. The presets are nicely done, and the plug-in is very stable. For me, this is the opportunity to go deep into automation with speed, using a special controller dedicated to actions. This workflow relieves a lot of stress in the production process. I used it a lot for my remix of Executive Producer and Augustine Wrong’s Maquette.
What about the free plug-in you own?
Voxengo SPAN Audio Spectrum Analyzer. It allows me to analyse the frequencies with a variety of visualisers, as well as the stereo correlation. It’s very effective, essential, and free.
What’s the best value plug-in you own?
ADPTR Audio Metric AB – this plug-in is always on my master bus. It allows me to AB test several tracks with some amazing functions, such as match levels, frequency analysis, correlation, dynamics, and loudness. Plus, filters can be applied across different frequency bands. It allows me to recalibrate the ears during long mixing sessions on a project. It’s a superb tool for me.
What other plug-ins go on your master bus without fail?
I don’t usually compress my master bus, but most of the time, I have the PuigTec EQP-1A, a limiter, ADPTR and Span on it. ADPTR allows me to quickly switch to mono and check the left and right channels. These functions are mapped to my keyboard for convenience.
What’s the most expensive plug-in you’ve ever bought?
Omnisphere by Spectrasonics. A fantastic synthesizer that is constantly evolving and offering new functions. I love the hardware integration, and the quality of the waveforms and presets is excellent.
What’s a DAW stock plug-in you use all the time?
I use the Ableton Live Simple Delay a lot which is very efficient and easily fulfils its role. Live’s compressor and equaliser are also easily found on my session tracks. I have other great plug-ins for delay but sometimes going with simplicity is useful in my workflow.
In your upcoming EP, The Great Beyond, which plug-ins would it not be complete without?
Native Instruments’ Maschine and Komplete 12. These tools are constants for me to create ideas, both melodic and rhythmic. Aethon, who co-produced The Great Beyond with me, uses Sylenth1 a lot.
What was the creative process for The Great Beyond?
I started this EP four years ago. I then proposed it to Jinadu, a singer that I adore with an exceptional voice, and he laid down his vocals. We mixed the first version with Kid Creme in his studio. Then, two years later, I sent it to Aethon, which spawned new creative ideas. We then worked together – Aethon, Jinadu and I – to come up with the current version.
What plug-ins do you use to ensure your drums are always sounding punchy and pronounced?
For me, compression is difficult work in music production. When I have any doubts, I ask Kid Creme to help me with the project. He has excellent techniques and vast knowledge of different compressors, which allows him to shape the transients however he wants and glue the tracks together. I have a few tools that I regularly use myself, such as the Waves CLA-76 or Plugin Alliance’s Vertigo VSC-2. They are often on my drums and percussion tracks.
One of your most well-known tracks is your lush, mellow remix of Sun Is Shining. How do you generally approach remixes like this?
The approaches vary for me from project to project. Sometimes you stay close to the original, and sometimes you go more distant and free. I had a very Balearic vision for this remix, imagining a sunset view, and I wanted to realise that using tempo, melodic choice, and instruments.
The most important thing is to feel where the song is taking you and to incorporate the original elements that speak to you the most in the process. Getting too far away from these doesn’t seem like a good idea to me, but it’s a personal point of view.
Do you have a secret sauce plug-in?
I love FabFilter EQs, but one plugin that I love to pimp my productions with is the Eventide Blackhole reverb. I love this plug-in so much that I have to actually stop myself using it sometimes.
Any guilty pleasure plug-ins?
Ableton’s Auto Filter; it’s so easy and efficient to use. Otherwise, iZotope Neutron 3’s assistant mix – this sometimes works excellently or at least guides me in the right direction.
What do you use without fully understanding?
Some Native Instruments plug-ins are quite esoteric. There are some obscure parameters, but the result is often a pleasure. The same goes for plug-ins from Sugar Bytes, such as Obscurium – which is aptly named.
What’s coming up for you in the future?
We are in full promotion for the release of The Great Beyond, and the reactions are very exciting. We hope to offer a follow-up for this project next year, still with Aethon and Jinadu. I’m also working on my next EP on my label Reworck, and I’m finalising the artistic direction of the next release on this label: a track from producer Drekaan with remixes from Fretwell and Arkatekt.
Pole Folder’s The Great Beyond is out on 17 Septmber. You can pre-save it on your preferred streaming service and pre-order physical copies here.