Speed house herald, CHYL, reveals the plugins behind her “high-energy, fast-paced beats and infectious” sound
The producer tells us about her latest releases on Monstercat, ‘Fool Me’ and ‘Ignite’, and the plugins that help her deliver this high-octane style
CHYL in her studio
Strap in – CHYL’s at the wheel. She’s an LA-based bass house and speed house producer who shifted from working in finance after Columbia University, enrolling at LA-based music school, ICON Collective. Her high-octane, bass-heavy tracks have attracted plays from the likes of Habstrakt, Julian Jordan, Ghastly, and Wuki, and her viral remix of Kanye West’s Mercy deservedly blew up in electronic music circles.
Now, the LA-based producer has crashed onto Monstercat for the third time with Fool Me and Ignite, delivering her distinctive fast-paced, hard house and hardstyle-inspired sound. These releases don’t hesitate to cause a ruckus on the dancefloor, with each track blending modern EDM synths with energetic donk-esque sounds, sprinkled with a layer of carefree, characterful rave joy and vocals from CHYL herself. Vroom vroom.
Hey, CHYL! What first attracted you to this speed house sound?
Speed house is a genre that resonated with me from the moment I first heard it (initially from Haus of Panda and ALRT). Its high-energy, fast-paced beats and infectious rhythms immediately drew me in. While I haven’t always made speed house music, I’ve always been passionate about bass house. Over time, I found that speed house allowed me to express my creativity and energy in a way that is even more exciting than bass house.
Who else in this genre should we be keeping an eye on?
Definitely Haus of Panda, as he is the founder of speed house! We have a song on Monstercat called IGNITE with MYLK. I’m not too sure if ALRT still makes it, but his older speed house tracks are insane. My other personal favorites: Fahjah, ZOOTAH, Murry Monolite, Use Caution, Subschock & Evangelos, and many more! Haus of Panda’s label Speed House Movement is the best place to discover new speed house tunes.
What other styles of music feed into this genre? Donk? Hardstyle? Hard house? Trance? Do you find yourself taking elements from each of these?
Yes, absolutely, there are a lot of influences from these genres. I use donks a lot in my tracks, and I like to add screeches typically from hardstyle songs. The lead sound design is usually very similar to what I’d create in bass house tracks.
What’s your latest plugin purchase?
My latest purchase is this plugin called RANDOM by Beatsurfing. Its main feature is that you can just randomise it and create an infinite amount of sounds. I figured it’s a great way to spark some inspiration from randomising sound designs so I bought it. It’s been so fun to play around with it. The bass sounds are super gritty.
What’s the best free plugin you own?
The best free plugin is LABS by Spitfire Audio. I don’t know how they can keep this synth free for all, and it’s awesome. It has an incredible amount of organic instrument selections and is way faster to load than something like Kontakt (no shade to Kontakt). The piano, guitars, strings, and choirs all feel alive and dynamic.
What’s the best-value plugin you own?
I would definitely say Serum! As do most producers I would imagine. I don’t think I can ever produce a track without Serum; I rely on it heavily as my go-to synth. The value to me is infinite.
What’s the most expensive plugin you’ve ever bought?
I bought Disperser from Kilohearts and never really used it; the same goes for Dumpster Fire and MISHBY from Freakshow Industries. I think I bought them because they looked hilarious but never really used them afterwards.
What’s a DAW stock plugin you use all the time?
Definitely multiband compression/OTT in Ableton Live. I can’t live without it! It’s way better than the OG OTT in my opinion. I love to use it to adjust my high-mids. I also use it on the master sometimes to glue everything together.
What plugins go on your master bus without fail?
It is the FabFilter Pro-L2 for me. I don’t master my own tracks but when I need to bounce a quick master to play out before sending to my mix and mastering engineer, I will slap a Pro-L2 on it and push the limiter to a reasonable degree. I suggest turning on the true peak limiting mode (at the bottom) to minimise distortion.
What plugin would your latest single, Ignite, be incomplete without?
My songs wouldn’t be complete without Soundtoys Decapitator! I just love the saturation sound so much from Decapitator. It creates a clean, warm effect while beefing my leads up. I like to use the Decapitator with some parallel processing on the leads and bassline. I usually don’t use the presets and just push the drive while dialling the tone to get a good result. If you want to feel a little bit spicy, try putting Punish mode on and play around with the modes at the bottom.
Is there a go-to sample pack you use?
I usually use MOONBOY’s sample packs. I get inspired by a lot of the bass loops he creates as well. For vocals, you can find a lot of vocals I used in Dropgun sample packs pitched up or down.
Do you have any secret sauce plugins?
My secret sauce is the Waves CLA Vocals on all my vocal bus. It just somehow makes the tone of the vocals a lot brighter and stand out from the mix. I don’t fully understand how it works; I think it’s a combination of compression, reverb, saturation and stereo imaging, but it just sounds incredible once I put them on vocals. I use it on all my vocals, especially on any bootleg remixes where the acapella is not super clear. That is one of my secret sauce plugins.
Check out CHYL’s music via her Soundcloud.
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