Flava D on living in Joshua Tree: “I made a lot of music in the wilderness”
“I had a camper van, so it was just me making music in the middle of nowhere.”
UK bass music producer Flava D made much of her recent music in a camper van in the Joshua Tree desert, she’s revealed.
Speaking on the My Forever Studio podcast recently, the bassline-turned-drum-’n’-bass producer tells hosts Chris Barker and Will Betts about the freedom she felt living and making music in the desert.
“In lockdown, I spent a lot of time in the desert.” She says. “I had a camper van so it was just me making music in the middle of nowhere. No one inside, no Wi-Fi, nothing. Just my laptop, my headphones. It was Joshua Tree in California. It was about a four-hour drive from Los Angeles.”
But how does a producer from Bournemouth wind up making music in a desert near LA? It turns out Flava D was in the US for a tour that was sadly cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Determined to make something of her time in the country, she set up a camper van kitted out with a solar panel and spent an undisclosed stretch of time “in the wilderness”, she says.
“For me, that was all I needed. As long as I could charge my laptop and power up a monitor or sub-pac, I was all good to go.
“Just before the pandemic hit, I was about to start a US tour. Talk about timing! I said, ‘Well, I’m just going to stay here. Just ride it out.’ I thought well, ‘I can go to the desert’ and that’s what I did. I made a lot of music in the wilderness.”
Also in the podcast, which sees the producer talk about her dream forever studio, we learn about a number of production techniques she uses to create her drum ‘n’ bass sound. One of these is the use of Xfer’s Serum plugin, which she says provides many different sounds, from her bassline to hi-hats.
“I had never used Serum to make anything from my drums until I did drum ‘n’ bass because I noticed, with drum ‘n’ bass, if I was to duplicate my drums bus and then applied a high pass that I synced it to white noise in Serum, it just added that rhythm in white noise. I was like ‘hang on a minute, if I stack this on the top layer of my drums, it adds crunch’.
“‘Now, I can make a high hat and I can make a shaker’. It became a whole new way of working that I hadn’t done before with garage or house.”
Hear the rest of the My Forever Studio podcast episodes via musictech.com.
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