Reading the YouTube comments underneath Felipe Gordon’s jazzy DJ set for The Lot radio, one reads: “Felipe is so far ahead of the curve it hasn’t started curving yet.” 3,000 metres above sea level in Colombia, the deep house producer and multi-instrumentalist tirelessly carves out new music, surrounded by vintage gear in his home studio. You could say he’s ahead of the curve. You could just say he’s enjoying making music every day.
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We checked into Felipe’s space to talk about his growing collection of dreamy synthesizers, his consistent work rate and his most recent release, Freedom, which features upcoming vocalist and friend of Felipe, Bob The Egoist.
Felipe! What was it like working with Bob The Egoist and other collaborators on your latest EP, Freedom?
Well, I met Bob while I was teaching a production course in LA. He’s a super talented young Colombian guy. At first, we started working by distance. After some months he came to visit his parents and we started working in my studio. We had a blast and finished the EP in three weeks.
I used to sing while I was studying for my music degree in college, so I have a familiar way of translating ideas with other singers. I feel we can build melodies and stuff on the fly in an easy manner.
Your work rate is unreal! How do you make so much music and actually finish the tracks?
Well, for me, it’s a matter of doing it every day (if possible). Even if you don’t come up with the best idea ever, something in your brain is going to make the whole process easier after some days of pure mental exercise.
I feel, as musicians and writers, we shouldn’t only rely on ‘inspiration’ – we should rely on practice and the development of our musical mind as a muscle.
Tell us a bit about the studio
My studio is called El Dorado. At the moment, it’s located north of my home town, Bogotá, up in the Colombian mountains, 3,000 metres above sea level.
I always locate my studio in my apartment. This way, I can work every day even after hours. Something about having your gear available all day long is super satisfying. Some people say it is not good sleeping where you work but honestly I’m a super private and reserved person who enjoys writing and creating music every day in my own space.
How do you use your studio?
Having the studio in my own place gives me the freedom to explore and take as much time as possible. I do all my recordings here, and I bring musicians to record solos and other special bits.
I’ve worked on developing an easy plug-and-play system so I can enjoy and use as much gear as possible as I’m doing my tracks. I need it to be practical and fun; I don’t want to sit on a computer writing drums as if I were making numbers in an office. I want to play with the instruments and be able to combine stuff on the fly.
What atmosphere do you try and create in the studio and how does the studio environment help you with your creativity?
It needs to be something personal and easygoing. This way, I can express and write as intimately and naturally as possible.
Which DAW do you use?
Apple Logic Pro. I learned how to produce on it, it’s easy and sounds dope. The VST instruments are dope – I don’t use them as much now as before, but I still feel they have a special character for some special digital textures.
What is your favourite piece of gear and why?
There’s not just one, but I feel a six voice analogue synthesizer can do almost everything. Lately, I’ve been using the Sequential OB-6 and it’s absolutely mental. I would say my Roland Juno-106 was my favourite for years – super easy to use, lush and big on every recording.
What synth or effect can be heard the most on the Freedom EP?
What’s been the biggest investment in your studio? Was it worth it?
All my vintage gear. Totally worth it!
What is next on your shopping list studio-wise?
Lately, I’ve been exploring effects guitar pedals. I recently bought the Moogerfooger MF-103 12-Stage Phaser and it’s amazing.
I would love to get the Moog MIDI MuRF or the Moog MF Chorus. Also, I would love to try the Eventide H9 – it looks dope.
What is your dream piece of gear?
Probably a Roland Jupiter-8 or a Yamaha CS-80, simply because they both sound and look like a lush polyphonic dream tank.
If you were left on a desert island, what one item would you take with you to make music with forever?
Easy. An Akai MPC Live 2.
How did you go about getting the acoustics right in the studio?
It’s funny because I’ve never made a proper treatment in any of my home studio rooms, I just learn how the room and the speakers interact and sound together. It’s easy if you learn how to use whatever you have on hand. Some people will kill me because of this comment but, for me, not having money for treating my rooms was always a tool to learn how to deal with difficulties.
What is your top piece of production advice?
Be as musical and honest as possible – the rest is learnable. Your musicality is only yours.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
Read and investigate a lot. Learn what the sound is you are after, listen to a ton of albums and read what they [producers] used on each track. That way, you can get an idea of what kind of gear and effects you are more into. Be a nerd, enjoy what you do and you will start growing a thing for having stuff that really helps in your creative process.
Freedom is out now.
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