Risa Taniguchi’s hard-hitting techno sound ranges from gnarly, in-your-face dancefloor DJ tools to hypnotisingly dance-inducing. Her most recent release, the Deep Focus EP, made in collaboration with Yigitoglu, is the former – a rude acid bassline over industrial percussive elements that throw their weight around.
- READ MORE: Frazi.er: “I finished the track at 2am, sent the masters to Dax J, and when I was having breakfast, he was playing it that day.”
MusicTech catches up with Risa to talk about some of the plug-ins that go into her sound, as well as the process of the Deep Focus EP when working alongside Yigitoglu.
Risa! Huge stuff on your latest collaboration with Yigitoglu. How did the partnership come about?
Thank you. So, I was playing a lot of his tracks in my sets, and he noticed via social media, so he reached out to me, and we started to chat and became friends. One day he asked if I would like to perhaps work on something together, and of course, I said yes.
At the beginning of our work, he shared with me a few simple arrangements consisting of basic parts so I could add some interesting elements to it. I’m not used to doing lots of collaborations. I’m realizing that it’s an amazing activity as a musician and seeing great possibilities from it. Now, I like to work with other people, as it creates new challenges and experiences.
Your music is, at times, injected with a hard-hitting dancefloor-ready sense of fun but at other times has a hypnotic, melodic quality to it. We’d say Deep Focus is definitely on the harder side of that spectrum. How do you decide what sort of vibe a track should have before making it?
Thank you for sharing how you feel about my music! It’s always nice to hear what people think, as you don’t always get to know. It’s a good point that you make too. With regards to Deep Focus, the heavy rumbling kick was made by Yigitoglu, and this was the starting point for me in terms of inspiration for the track and what direction I wanted to take it. I wanted to make something he would also love, so I decided to go a little on the harder side!
What’s your latest plug-in purchase?
I use Ableton Live’s built-in plug-ins including their countless packs mainly, to minimize CPU load, so I don’t frequently purchase third party plug-ins. However, I recently got Vital since I was told by some friends that it was worth checking out.
What’s the best free plug-in you own?
TAL-NoiseMaker, it compiles a variety of sound presets, especially the lead synths. I can’t believe it’s free! I often use the Lead synths with Live’s Arpeggiator to create unique outcomes from it. Their pad variation is unique and I use them a lot too, to add a subtle nuance to a song.
What’s the most expensive plug-in you’ve ever bought? Was it worth the money?
Soundtoys 5, but definitely worth it. If you fancy choosing a few from their plug-ins, get Soundtoys 5 and it solves everything. I’d say I can’t produce my music without Soundtoys’ EffectRack (included in Soundtoys 5).
When I want to make the song more organic or add some texture to the entire song, first I get one of the main leads or the bassline, then apply some presets from Soundtoys’s expansion called Outer Limits to see what it sounds like. By using existing sounds in the song, it makes it easy to create new elements which fit in the song. I use this plug-in a lot for my own vocal samples too.
What’s a DAW stock plug-in you use all the time?
Except for Live’s basic utility plug-ins like EQ Eight, Spectrum, or Drum Buss etc, I use Amp, Hybrid Reverb, Grain Delay, PitchLoop89, and Voice Vox Pack a lot.
What plug-ins go on your master bus without fail?
Live’s Multiband Compression, EQ Eight, Glue Compressor, Utility, Spectrum, Limiter etc. I set up this kind of chain as default so I can always hear the final mastered sound from the very beginning of production.
What plug-in would the Deep Focus EP be incomplete without?
The main vocal (that is made from my own vocal) has a unique chorus-phaser-ish feel and it couldn’t be achieved without “Warm Chorale” preset of Live’s new Chorus-Ensemble.
Do you have any secret sauce plug-ins?
Not a special one but Utility is in all tracks to automate the volume parameter.
What about a guilty pleasure plug-in?
Definitely LFO. I always use it when I want to have the whole track come to life. The destination can be anything like hi-hats’ decay, reverb tails etc.
What do you use without fully understanding?
I guess everything lol I don’t usually try to fully “understand” anything when producing. I just go with the flow until I have nice outcomes.
Deep Focus is out now.
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