MusicTech 196: In the studio with Steve Aoki

The superstar DJ/producer talks influences, touring, his next record and his studio production ethos.

musictech 196 steve aoki magazine

The road to a successful career making or producing music is fraught with challenges. Not least among them is the fundamental difficulty that many face developing a sound or USP of their own. In the wise words of this month’s cover star, however, often the best way to find your voice as a musician or a producer is to allow yourself the option of making mistakes.

“Finding a sound takes time,” superstar Steve Aoki tells us. “Finding my sound took a long time, actually. I found my sound through trial and error.” Steve speaks to us at length in this issue about his astonishing career and how he successfully operates as a musician, DJ and producer simultaneously in an ever-changing industry.

Elsewhere this issue, in the first of a new series, Adam Crute explores key elements of synthesis, starting with an in-depth look at the history and practical applications of subtractive synthesis. Also this month, we pose your questions to the greatest recording facility in the world, the legendary Abbey Road Studios. We get useful advice from in-house engineer Chris Bolster on how this iconic institution approaches a wide range of tasks.

Arturia’s MicroFreak is in the review spotlight this month, as we give the flexible miniature synth a thorough test. We also put Pioneer DJ’s Toraiz Squid through its paces and experience déjà vu as another iteration of Loopcloud comes in for review.

We have tutorials for all the major DAWs, plus interviews with some of music production’s biggest names, including Grammy-winning mastering engineer Emily Lazar and Happy Mondays’ producer Steve Osborne. I hope you enjoy the issue.

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MusicTech 196 includes:

  • Steve Aoki – The world-famous DJ and producer takes us inside his studio to tell us about his influences, touring, his new record and his production ethos
  • Sound Synthesis Masterclass: Part 1 (Subtractive Synthesis) – Our new in-depth guide to synthesis begins with subtractive synthesis
  • Ask Abbey Road – You asked, they answered – Abbey Road Studios’ talented engineers field your production queries
  • Interviews – Emily Lazar, Grammy-winning chief mastering engineer at The Lodge in NYC, offers expert advice and insight; Producer Steve Osborne on his process and working with the Happy Mondays; Experimental pop musician Holly Herndon on how she created an AI collaborator; House DJ Harry Romero tells us the last time music moved him to tears
  • Tutorials – How to tame your levels when preparing your mixes for mastering in Logic Pro; A guide to using Live’s export options for getting your music out into the world; How to make the most of these deceptively powerful production tools; The best way to combine kick-drum samples for extra power in Pro Tools; Explore Reason’s underrated live-performance capabilities
  • Reviews – We get hands-on with the Arturia MicroFreak, Loopmasters Loopcloud 4, Dreadbox/Polyend Medusa, Pioneer DJ Toraiz Squid, Nektar Panorama T4, and more
  • DVD – 4GB of video tutorials, workshops, software plug-ins and samples including Loopmasters Khords (demo), Controlling Loudness in Logic Pro X (workshop), Loopmasters Taster Pack (samples)

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