How a file named ‘Deadmau5 Meets Two Shell’ became Ineffekt’s new hit, The Light

Ineffekt invites us into his digital space, discussing creating warmth through saturation, his favourite virtual synth and some of the inspirations behind his debut album, High Hopes

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Ineffekt by Angelina Nikolayeva

Ineffekt. Image: Angelina Nikolayeva

With the power and portability of plugins, Ineffekt’s studio is wherever he opens his MacBook. And what a studio it is – crammed full of digital synths, one-knob wonders and modulation effects that have played a huge part in shaping the Dutch producer’s off-kilter, pop-tinged electronica.

This sound can be found on the producer’s debut album, High Hopes, due out this month. Ineffekt used mostly plugins to create this, so he happily tells us about the album’s staple synths, which saturation plugins added warmth, and the FabFilter effect that helps to avoid his songs “sounding generic”.

Ineffekt – hello! What’s the latest?

Heya! I’m kinda in a nerve-wracking summer, to be honest. It’s my first year playing big shows, figuring out how to handle them, but having a lot of fun, too. Additionally, I’m working on a bunch of music. I just did a remix for Avalon Emerson’s record and started writing new demos. High Hopes wasn’t finished that long ago actually, I finished mixing it last April. So, it still feels fresh and I’m figuring out what’s next musically.

What feelings inspired the track High Hopes?

In the past year, I’ve found there’s a difficult dynamic between having high hopes and expectations. In life in general, but also in music, you want to keep having high hopes and stay positive, but it’s hard to avoid turning them into expectations and ultimately disappointing yourself.

How does it tie into the music? Tracks like The Light, Silver Lining and What I Mean feel neither moody nor extremely happy to me. It’s this in-between mood I was sometimes in last winter.

What’s your latest plugin purchase?

I bought the Waves NLS Buss saturator recently, which I got from watching Jaycen Joshua (mix engineer Rosaliá). I really really really (really!) love the sound of his mixes. They’re heavy, yet soothing on the ears. They have clarity yet stay warm.

Waves NLS Buss saturator
Waves NLS Buss saturator. Image: Waves Audio

He has this trick to give your drum bus an ‘analogue-sounding’ boost by putting eight separate instances on the bus. It gives this warm wide effect that sounds amazing.

What plugin would High Hopes be incomplete without?

Definitely Native Instruments’ Kontakt extension, Scarbo. It has extremely rich sounds that make up a chunk of the synths on the EP. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many options to adjust the presets, but enough to make them fit in. A couple of pads in The Light and Hold on Me are Scarbo for example, but also all those gritty sub-basses that I use on every song. It’s just this very particular sweet spot in between sounding warm and futuristic.

Scarbo by Teletone Audio
Scarbo. Image: Teleton Audio

There are so many exciting sounds throughout this EP. Can you tell us the melodies we’re hearing in The Light?

It’s funny, The Light was one of the first demos I wrote for the record and still feels like it was one of the first moments I noticed a new sound was forming. In my previous work, I always wrote bright melodies and chords – stuff would sound cute and wholesome. After a while, the bright melodies didn’t hit that much anymore and I was starting to gravitate towards something more nuanced.

When listening to Caroline Polachek, I often found that this in-between of bright and moody was a cool nuance that attracted me. It’s funny, the project name of The Light was ‘Deadmau5 meets Two Shell’ for a while. The Light and Silver Lining are the most extreme examples of this new melodic adventure, the rest of the EP came after that and explores this sound in a more subtle way.

Your collab with French II, Silver Lining – tell us all about you created the vocals and how is that powerful main synth created?

So, about the vocals: it’s a couple of vocal chops from Output’s Arcade – a handy tool for vocal samples. You can adjust the key in the plugin and it has built-in chop/effects options that are useful for making the samples sound less generic.

After messing around for a while we came up with this little loop. I feel like to keep a degree of catchiness to your songs it’s important to keep it simple. To avoid my songs sounding generic, I often use off-kilter-sounding synths and effects. For example, the vocal on itself is quite basic, but then adding FabFilter Saturn gave a bit-crushed glitch effect.

Arcade by Output
Arcade. Image: Output

Same goes for the chords. There’s not much happening rhythm-wise in the chords but using that powerful modulating pad from Sculpture, a stock Apple Logic Pro plugin, gives it an interesting twist while still keeping it simple at the core.

Do you have any secret sauce plugins?

Honestly, mostly those cheap, simple saturation plugins. I use Soundtoys’ Little Radiator and Waves’ Magma Lil Tube A BUNCH. Waves’ NLS Channel for a little more expansive sounding saturation too. For me, it’s all about making things warm without losing that high-frequency range too much. Saturation is just the way to go. I used to have this inside joke that I put Soundtoys’ Decapitator on literally every channel. I don’t do that anymore!

Ineffekt by Angelina Nikolayeva
Ineffekt. Image: Angelina Nikolayeva

What about a guilty pleasure plugin?

The One-knob Brighter exciter effect from Waves.

What do you use without fully understanding?

Cableguys’ ShaperBox for sure. I have no idea how to work that thing without a preset. But I use it in every track – the presets are amazing. Someday, I’ll learn how to use it and go crazy with it.

Ineffekt’s High Hopes is set to be released August 11.


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