Plug-ins I Actually Use: Sensu
Switzerland’s Sensu talks us through the plug-ins behind her character-defining Numéro LDN EP.
All images: Press
Sensu isn’t a supplier of a singular sound. Perusing effortlessly through dark UKG to leftfield drum ‘n’ bass on her collaborative upcoming EP, Numéro LDN, the producer sees this as the release that will mark her territory. It’s time for people to know about Sensu.
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Speaking from her cosy Switzerland space, Sensu draws upon her favourite plug-ins as well as giving MusicTech an insight into what digital delights helped shape the defining EP, which drops on 10th June via AWAL.
Sensu! Your Numéro LDN EP is sounding and feeling like a pivotal moment for you. How does it feel to finally get it out there?
It feels so good to finally share all these tunes with the world. I started working on the EP during my time in London and it’s a special project to me because it defined what Sensu will sound like in the future.
There’s a whole range of tempos and genres in there. What made you keep it so varied?
I enjoy not setting limits when I’m making music. My goal is to try out new things constantly but still make my listeners realise that it’s me.
What inspired you during the process of creating Numéro LDN?
I was quite inspired by the minimalistic sound of PinkPantheress, by the energetic music of Overmono and cross-genre creativity of Mura Masa. I love when artists just create their own genre in a way, but don’t allow themselves to be constricted in what listeners expect to hear from them. That really inspires me in general but also in how I write new music.
What made you bring artists such as OKAN, Jamal Bucanon and Denyher in to work on certain tracks?
A few months before I went to London, I connected with OKAN on Instagram. We started working on some beats by sending stems back and forth. It inspired me how we created a new sound together, which was something between garage-inspired electronic music with a taste of drill.
I also knew Jamal’s music before I went to London from songs he did with Kilder and BCBC. He’s incredibly talented and I knew he’d be the perfect match for Pink.
Also, when I heard Denyher for the first time, I knew she would be ideal for Both Sides. We tried to work on another tune first but then it happened to be this one. Her voice and flow is so energetic and takes the song on another level.
I love collaborating with other artists. I learn so much about my writing process and also in how I envision my own sound.
What’s your latest plug-in purchase?
Soothe2 by Oeksound. I use it on every track, mostly to remove harshness from vocals and analogue synth sounds. It was worth every penny.
What’s the best free plug-in you own?
OTT by Xfer. It’s the only compressor I use on my mix bus to make the song glue together more – but only with a depth of 12 to 15 per cent.
What’s the best value plug-in you own?
Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter. I use it on every single track. It’s my go-to EQ because of so many aspects – the interface is clearly arranged, the workflow is untouchable and the features such as dynamic EQ are brilliant.
What’s the most expensive plug-in you’ve ever bought? Was it worth the money?
Either Melodyne by Celemony or Omnisphere by Spectrasonic. I think Melodyne was a bit more expensive but I’ve used it on so many vocal tracks to optimise individual notes and correct flow. There’s pretty much nothing you can’t do with vocals in Melodyne. It was definitely worth the money.
What’s a DAW stock plug-in you use all the time?
I use Ableton’s compressor on every track for sidechain compression. I think it’s just the most efficient way for me and I’m too lazy to work with a new one. Maybe one day!
What plug-ins go on your master bus without fail?
OTT by Xfer, Drawmer S73, Oeksound Soothe2, FabFilter Pro-Q 3, TB Barricade Limiter, FabFilter Pro-L 2, and L1 Limiter by Waves.
There’s a deep, driving bassline on Hypnotize Me Baby. How did you create this?
In the first part there are three bass layers. The first, main one is created with Native Instruments’ Monark (The Submissive preset as base); the second layer for the mid frequencies is a Moog Sub37, and for the sub layer, I used an Ableton stock sound called Basic Sub Sine. In the second part of the track, I used my Moog Sub37 to create a wobbly, deep bassline.
Heartbreak is an anthem. What was used to create that main melody? How did you use it?
For the first version, I used a pretty distorted synth sound from Omnisphere. OKAN preferred to make it sound cleaner so he used a Rhodes-style sound from a synth plug-in. Maybe it was Omnisphere as well, but I’m not sure, to be honest.
How do you use vocal samples these with plug-ins to create your own sound?
I often use vocal samples for my tracks. To create my own sound, I mostly throw Little AlterBoy by Soundtoys on it and automate the formant but also Decapitator for distortion, Valhalla VintageVerb for reverb, Echoboy for delay and sometimes Cableguy’s Nicky Romero Kickstart for more energy in a drop.
Do you have a a guilty pleasure plug-in?
Kickstart by Nicky Romero, because I’m too lazy I guess [laughs]. I use it very often on pads, synth sounds in drops and so on.
What do you use without fully understanding?
Melodyne because I usually just use it for the things I mentioned before. I definitely need to dive into it more and learn everything about it. I think you can not only edit vocals with it but also create crazy synth sounds with it.
Numéro LDN releases on AWAL on 10th June. Listen to single Both Sides here.
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