Plugins I Actually Use: Shingo Nakamura
The Japanese melody-driven progressive house producer gives us an in-depth dive into his plugins folder.
Japanese progressive house producer Shingo Nakamura has an ability to lift listeners daintily into the clouds by using clean, shimmering drums and enchanting, glowing melodic elements. His latest beauty of a track, Falling Off, is a true testament to his style, cruising through with a hypnotic beat, softened by drawn out, heavenly pads and reverbed piano keys. It’s the sort of tune you’d want to listen to while flying on a plane.
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We reach out to Shingo to get an idea of how he begins a track in his home studio, and then what plugins he delves into to make his tracks the gems that they are. There are some real goodies to get stuck into here, so press play on Falling Off and get inspired.
Hey Shingo! We love your latest track, Falling Off. Where and when was the track made?
Thank you so much! I wanted to make a song with a warm piano as the main instrument, so I created it in my home studio this Spring.
What’s your process when starting a new track? Do you find inspiration and then head into the studio with a plan in mind or do you find your inspiration while you’re in there?
Inspiration often comes from everyday life, but even when I don’t have any inspiration, I head to the studio. While I’m making melodic elements like the piano and strings, I get good ideas.
What’s your latest plugin purchase?
Baby Audio’s Comeback Kid delay. The Ducker function is especially useful.
What’s the best free plugin you own?
Valhalla DSP’s Valhalla Super Massive. I own several other Valhalla plugins, but the free plugin is really useful when I want to make elements more impressive with massive delay and reverb. I use it in many of my songs, especailly for melodies.
What’s the best value plugin you own?
Native Instruments’s reverb plugin, Raum. It was released for free in the past. Now it’s not free but I think it’s still worth buying. I really like Airy mode’s clear reverb sound. I add the reverb not only to melodies and pads, but also percussion like claps and hats.
What’s the most expensive plugin you’ve ever bought? Was it worth the money?
It would probably be Omnisphere 2 by Spectrasonics. I think many people have it because it’s a classic plugin. In my case, I use it when I’m looking for acoustic musical instruments and atmospheric pads.
What’s a DAW stock plugin you use all the time?
My favorite stock plugin of FL Studio is Fruity Parametric EQ 2. I use a lot of EQs, so it’s very important for me that EQ is light on the CPU. It has the minimum function and the spectrum analyzer is easy to see.
What plugins go on your master bus without fail?
I add FL studio’s stock EQ, Compressor and Limiter to master while mixing. Sometimes I use Xfer Records’s OTT when I want to change the impression.
What plugin would Falling Off be incomplete without?
This is Noire by Native Instruments. I own various piano plugins, but when I want to use a gentle piano sound with a weak attack, I would definitely choose it. I love its beautiful tone, but the function to fine-tune the felt and noise sounds is another reason I trust it.
A signature technique in your music is extending and stretching sounds – whether its strings or vocals or something else. How do you achieve that? And which comes first in your process?
At first, I start making floaty, melodic elements. I normally combine sounds by plugins and samples for floaty pads and vocals. And sometimes add strings with Spitfire’s plugins such as Olafur Arnalds Chamber Evolutions. After these sounds are largely completed, I add drums, bass, and other elements.
Talk us through the synths in Falling Off. How did you create the brass/braaam sounds throughout?
This time, I started with piano chords and then added floaty and melodic elements as usual. For this track, I mainly used Monark by Native Instruments and Diva by u-he.
Do you have any secret sauce plugins?
I think it’s too famous, but I use Xfer OTT in almost all sounds. It’s necessary to adjust the textures of them.
What about a guilty pleasure plugin?
This is definitely Dada Life’s Endless Smile. I mostly used it in conjunction with a filter. This makes the song more dramatic. I can’t imagine writing a song without this plugin.
What do you use without fully understanding?
I always use reFX’s Nexus3 presets when I simply make melodies and chords because of its low CPU usage.
Find out more about Shingo Nakamura.
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