Show Off Your Studio: HOSH and his dreamy Ibizan hideaway
The Diynamic regular talks about layering the Prophet 6 and Xfer’s Serum and reminds us that the best music tech is in our heads.
HOSH, a familiar face for fans of Solomun’s Diynamic label, whether its with his classic tracks like Woohoo or more recently Midnight (The Hanging Tree), makes deep house and techno hybrids that are full of life – sneaky basslines, fun, characterful vocals, emotive pads and sonically penetrating synthesizers.
From his studio in Ibiza, HOSH gives us a spin of his most recent production, Song To The Siren, and tells us about the hardware and software in his creative space. With all this wonderful music tech around him though, HOSH still believes the human brain is a producer’s most powerful tool. He tells us why.
Song To The Siren is massive. How did you collaborate with vocalist B Munro on this?
It was one of those moments when everything fell into place. We had the idea to update the beautiful original. I did a quick draft and then remembered that my friend Fabio told me about this singer, B Munro, that moved in here with friends right around the corner in Ibiza. I asked him for some audio examples and ‘boom!’ – it turned out to be exactly the kind of voice I had pictured for it. One hour later, we were in the studio recording.
In general, I really like working with different singers. They bring all their own touches into the track and the result is something more emotionally complex than just me using samples and synths.
Are you mostly a hardware guy or do you use many plugins as well?
It’s a good mix. The main ideas are done in the box. I use some hardware synths here and there but more and more plugins. Only in a mixdown state do I really rely on my “good analogue stuff” – the mix just comes in faster and more natural for me. But today, with all the plugins we’ve got, it’s rather a decision of workflow than a big difference in sound. Sometimes, I compare my analogue mix with the rough mix in the box and if the rough mix sounds better I prefer to optimise that in the box as well. Whatever works.
Tell us a bit about the studio.
The studio is basically the old garage in my house in Ibiza. We built a complete room-in-room construction after I moved in. The idea is to have a place that’s somewhere between a living room, a hang-out place and a work place.
How do you use your studio?
Yes, all my work is completed here. We record live instruments sometimes. In lockdown, we did this a lot actually. Mainly guitars and drums. Regarding the layout, I like it clean, like a mastering studio layout. For mixdown, I try to stay in the sweet spot so all my essential gear is right in front of me.
What atmosphere do you try and create in the studio?
I like it clean but warm. I also couldn’t work without daylight in the day.
Which DAW do you use?
Apple Logic Pro simply because it’s the one I learned and have my workflow based around.
What is your favourite piece of gear?
The human brain. Gear is just a tool to put down what the brain creates.
How did you create the stabby sound at 2:17 that swirls and gets faster and slower in the breakdown of Song To The Siren?
It’s a mix of Sequential Prophet 6 and Xfer Serum on one Bus in Logic where I am running it through the UAD Multimode Filter XL. This speeding up and slowing down effect you are asking about I control with a MIDI controller by hand that triggers the unsynced LFO/Envelope.
What’s been the biggest investment in your studio? Was it worth it?
The ATC SCM 110 ASL Pro. They don’t have huge amounts of bass and it takes a bit of getting used to but the detail is just another level. I had ATC SCM 25 before but there is no comparison. Definitely worth the dough.
What is your dream piece of gear and why?
An AI machine that learns over a period of time what you are doing most likely after event XYZ and then gives suggestions. There are approaches but nothing really time-saving yet.
If you were left on a desert island, what one item would you take with you to make music with forever?
I don’t think an instrument is needed. We can sing and hear the music of the wind and the ocean. It’s all there in our minds.
How did you go about getting the acoustics right in the studio?
When I moved to Ibiza, I met two guys that built the studio. It is the old garage and it has a room-in-room construction with huge bass traps, absorbers and diffusers. The walls are all calculated at the right angles and measurements.
Do you have any frustrations with your current setup?
I would like a bigger room – like really big – so that I can fit a piano in and wall mount the ATSs.
What is your top piece of production advice?
Only go to the studio when you feel it. Leave the room when you don’t.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
The musical idea is worth more than how it sounds. In gear terms, invest in acoustics/room first, then speakers and then the rest.
Stream HOSH – Song To The Siren on Soundcloud.
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