Farrago on creating “techno 2.0” with banks of self-recorded hooks, drums and effects

The producer talks about how he made his debut album, Blesssed, by using readily recorded samples, Ableton Live’s Multiband Dynamics, Wavetable and more

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Farrago in his studio in Belgium

Farrago in the studio

Farrago – real name Sam Deliaert and formerly known as ambient producer Talbot Wood – is on a mission to unleash what he calls “techno 2.0” to the world, which features on his debut album, Blesssed. This new, full-throttle, revamped take on the genre fuses the golden era groove of 1990s techno and pairs it with modern techniques and a high-octane psy-trance-style kick drum and rolling bassline combination. This new moniker could be, one might assume, inspired by his wife and modern techno legend Amelie Lens, with whom he shares the studio.

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The Belgian crafts this ‘techno 2.0’ sound using his Elektron Octatrack which serves as the core element of his setup alongside his Access Virus TI, Dave Smith Pro 2, Fireface UFX, Erica Synths Dada Noise System and Adam Audio a8x monitors.

In this interview, we take a look at this gear and his adored plugin library, before discovering how having a ton of found sounds have created instant inspiration for tracks to form rapidly.

Hey, Farrago! What are the messages you wanted to convey through the vocals and samples in the Blesssed album?

I’m a bit of a geek and all the vocals are from sci-fi movies or music about the future. The vocal from Addicted To Bass is something I wrote after a dream in which I’m making a track and I could clearly hear those vocals in my head. I recorded them first thing in the morning, but I’m really not fit to be a vocalist, so I asked my loving wife [Amelie Lens] to re-record them and it was a 100 per cent match.

Farrago from below in black and white
Image credit: Claudia Baumlin

Tell us about the bassline and the percussion in Addicted to Bass.

The bassline was created with Ableton Live’s Wavetable. It contains several layers of oscillators, including FM and a square, and some white noise. After recording it, I resampled it in Vital, a pretty neat VST that I discovered a few months ago. I believe it’s free.

Percussion-wise, there’s not much happening apart from a loop that I sampled from an old record. I can’t really remember where from. I had been saving it for a while in my secret weapons library!

Tell us a bit about the studio.

We have a home studio in our house in the centre of Antwerp. Because we travel so much, the convenience of having it at home was a must for us. I can understand people with a lot of distractions at home who’d prefer to “go to work” and find a studio outside of home but this doesn’t speak to me or my wife, who I share the studio with.

How do you use your studio?

In all honesty, I don’t see my studio as much as I would like to. When I do get a chance to get in a session, I generally don’t work on tracks. I work on sound design and do a bunch of recording sessions with different instruments. I recorded a lot of sounds during one long vacation in 2020-2021 and I still find myself using a lot of stuff from that folder while making music on the road. It’s part of the reason why my album came together as quickly as it did. I always have a nice collection of drums, hooks, and sound effects to rely on.

Which DAW do you use?

I went through a whole bunch of them when I started out – Reason, Orion, Fruity Loops and Apple Logic Pro. Eventually, I ended up with Ableton Live because I read it’s the best one for doing live sets, which I used to do a lot with a former project of mine – I played 120 BPM dub techno live sets.

What synth or effect can be heard the most on your new release?

Other than hardware, I mostly use Ableton software so for synths it would probably be Ableton Live’s Wavetable. It’s the synth I used to create the psy basslines that you can hear throughout the album.

For effects, it would have to be Multiband Dynamics. I don’t think I have a synth on the album that doesn’t have a bunch of tweaks using that thing. It’s like a compressor and EQ had a lovechild; I can’t live without it.

Farrago's studio

What is next on your shopping list studio-wise?

Honestly, I just want to build some custom-made furniture that fits the studio and maybe build a room within a room. Acoustics are really the only thing I want to improve at this point. I have everything I need and can’t be bothered with new synths or gear. I can’t justify the investment for the amount of time I’m actually able to use them.

What is your dream piece of gear?

I like messing around with vintage synths. Milo Spykers is my best buddy, and he lives close by. We like to rent vintage synths for a couple of days and go into a sampling rabbit hole. I wouldn’t buy these synths because they’re old and need maintenance. I’m not technical enough to keep them healthy.

If you were left on a desert island, what one item would you take with you to make music with forever?

Probably the violin. I can’t play it and being stranded on a desert island would leave me a lot of time to learn how to play. Also, I can play sad music when I feel lonely.

What is your top piece of production advice?

Don’t straight-up copy stuff but try to get inspired by it and create an authentic sound.

What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?

Invest in a good audio interface and speakers before anything else. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need synth X, Y or Z to make good music. As a side note, there’s a whole bunch of free software available, so look out for those before buying stuff you might get for free.

Check out Farrago’s Soundcloud page


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