Barcelona native, HEREN, was previously one-half of YALL – an electronic group with a discography that includes viral hit ‘Hundred Miles’ and releases on the likes of Ultra, Universal, and Sony. His latest solo track, ‘Here and Now’, is a catchy dance-pop record that’s hit over 2 million plays on Spotify and has been remixed by Embody, Ramon Esteve, and HEREN, himself. On the latest edition of ‘Production Talk’, we had a chat with the talented producer to discuss his early years in the industry, analog synths, and favorite production techniques.
Daily Beat: How did you get started with music production?
HEREN: Actually, it was my mother who first got me into music. I started learning music theory or ‘Solfége’ (as it’s known) when I was 7, going after school to a music academy. Sometime went on and one day, when I was a teenager, my friend introduced me to DJ’ing in the form of house music, and that changed everything. I didn’t exactly want to pursue a career in classical music for the rest of my life. Producing shortly followed after…
DB: Could you tell us a little bit about how you broke into the music industry? In hindsight, would you have done anything differently?
HEREN: I was lucky it was a friend who introduced me to my first label, Cassagrande. They liked my work and we released my first EP. I’m afraid not much came from it though. Haha…
I guess if I could have done anything differently I would have focused more on promoting myself. Which is hard as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I was more focused on being in the studio and creating than getting my work ‘out there’ and getting noticed.
DB: Many budding producers struggle to finish their tracks because they run out of ideas or are unsure of what to do beyond a simple musical phrase. Did you ever have this issue? How did you get past it?
HEREN: Yes, of course, its natural. I guess, for me at least, the solution is to find inspiration wherever you can; from someone or hearing a piece of work that gives you that moment of ‘Eureka’ and then you know how you want to develop your unfinished track.
DB: A streamlined workflow is important, especially when producers have deadlines from remix requests and labels. Is there something that you’ve incorporated into your musical workflow recently that has made it faster?
HEREN: That’s a difficult question, some people use templates but I don’t. It really standardizes your music and the creative flow. And every track is different. Of course, after many hours of plugging away I now have my own library – and I think this is key. Do the work early and you’ll have your own resources to draw from, instead of relying on quick solutions. The rest is down to you and getting your ass in gear!
DB: What is the latest production technique that you’ve learnt about?
HEREN: I’ve really got into incorporating organic sounds into my work lately. From recording a ‘real’ sound like a pen dropping or outside sounds, to creating on my modular synth.
DB: In your opinion, what’s the most underrated production technique/plugin? What makes it so awesome?
HEREN: Synplant. It’s nothing special, but it’s great to when you want to create atmospheres or layers on your productions.
DB: Most novice producers don’t have access to analog synths and even fewer have tried modular synthesis. Could you tell us a little bit about your modular synth and why you find it beneficial to use over all-in-one analog or virtual synths?
HEREN: Well, first of all the sound of an analogue synth in my opinion is so much warmer than digital plug ins (which I do use also) and you have the benefit of physically interacting with an instrument, not to mention the endless combinations of patches you use to create different sounds (when using a modular synth.) However, virtual synths are an essential part of my day-to-day productions, especially when faced with time constraints (using modular synth are not so quick and easy.) In my case, what has worked best for me is combining a Moog analogue synth with Virus (digital synth). When it comes down to time constraints, experimenting with a modular synth takes up a lot of time, it’s an amazing piece of equipment and you can do so much with it. But for me I use it mostly in my spare time.
DB: If you were stuck on a futuristic Mars outpost by yourself with only your DAW (music production software), one synth, and three effect plugins, which would you choose?
HEREN: Just Cubase. For the reason that it comes fully complete with so many built in VST’s and effects that I could use the extra space to bring some nice big speakers for the super dope Mars party that I would throw!