Show Off Your Studio: bad tuner’s Brooklyn trove of vintage gems

The multi-instrumentalist lets us into his collaborative space and tells us why there’s nothing like a set of powerful monitors.

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Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ bad tuner lives and breathes the studio life, using it as a means of collaborating with friends and artists from around the world. He’s toured with TOKiMONSTA, Bon Entendeur and more, with hundreds of thousands of streams on his music. He’s recently signed with LG105, home to lo-fi heavyweights Ross From Friends and Mall Grab.

In this outing of Show Off Your Studio, we head to his New York hangout to check out his retro gear and learn why having a signature technique is vital in creating an identity as a producer.

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Tell us a bit about the studio, bad tuner.

The studio is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I share the space with a bunch of my friends who all have different projects going on. It’s a collaborative space, and everyone is eager to improve it and make it more efficient. I’ve been in this space for almost one year.

How do you use your studio?

I use the studio to play things loud and get out of my apartment! I have an awesome home setup, but it’s important to change the atmosphere and work in a space that is only about music. Being in a studio versus being at home changes the mindset and allows you to focus without the distractions in your house.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's effects rack

Which DAW do you use?

I use Ableton Live. I’m still on Live 9 but looking forward to upgrading soon – some of the new features are very exciting. I transitioned from Garageband to Ableton when I first started producing, and the workflow makes sense to me. It’s also ideal for live shows if I decide to work with a computer for my live set.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's

What is your favourite piece of gear?

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My speakers. I love speakers. I’m primarily working on headphones at home, but there is nothing like turning up the volume at the studio and really feeling the music. You can also share the experience with others which is special.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's

How does the studio environment help with your creativity?

We just repainted and re-organised the space two weeks ago. I want the studio to feel clean yet inspiring and to be stimulating but not overwhelming. I like that there are lots of instruments so you can try out new sounds. It’s vital that everything is functional and ready to go – the last thing you want in a studio space is spending time trying to make things work.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's

On your new release, Back To Me, what synth or effect is most prominent?

In Back To Me, the main synth is the Yamaha DX21.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's

What’s been the biggest investment in your studio? Was it worth it?

My brand new Barefoot Audio MM45 speakers – I just bought them and am absolutely loving them. I currently have them set up in my living room at home (my roommate is out of town!), but I will be bringing them to the studio.

If you were left on a desert island, what one item would you take with you to make music with forever?

I would take a guitar. It’s an instrument that I haven’t played much, but it’s such a great songwriting tool. Hopefully, the strings won’t rust!

How did you go about getting the acoustics right in the studio?

We have a bunch of acoustic panels placed at the points of the first reflection and bass traps in the corners. We recently pulled the desk and speakers out to put the listening position further into the room.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's mixer

What is next on your shopping list studio-wise?

The next piece of gear is a new laptop, I’m on a 2012 MacBook Pro, and it’s time for an upgrade.

What is your dream piece of gear?

The new UDO Super 6 – I’ve been very keen on picking it up since it dropped last year. Its sound and workflow seem perfect for the type of music I make.

Do you have any frustrations with your current setup?

The JX8P, MATRIX 6, AND DX21 are all menu-divers. I love the sounds but doing any kind of automation or synth design is tricky with the workflow. I want a synth that has more knobs and sliders for a more tactile experience.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's

What is your top piece of production advice?

Make music that you want to listen to. Don’t watch too many YouTube videos. Have a signature sound or technique, like a synth sound, drum groove, or effects chain, so that when people hear your music they know it is you.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's

What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?

You don’t need much gear to get started. Some of my favourite songs I’ve made are ones where I only used a laptop and headphones.

Show Off Your Studio - bad tuner's

For more studio interviews, click here.

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