Making some Noize - An interview with JnB, the winner of the Denise plug-in contest. | Denise

Making Some Noize – An interview with JnB, the winner of the Denise plug-in contest.

At the beginning of the summer 2018, Denise wanted a way to reach out to producers around the world and give them a chance to develop their ideal plug-in. In many producer’s experiences, there comes a point when they think of a tool they might really benefit from – but that tool isn’t actually available to them yet. Denise wanted to find one of those plug-in ideas and turn it into a reality. To collect some ideas from producers, we decided to launch a contest that lasted for almost two months. After a whole day of looking through plug-in submissions, the Denise team finally decided on one submission from a Sweden based artist, Jamie Boyle (artist name: Jnb). We wanted to have a chat with him and find out about the thinking behind his winning idea.

Interview by: Joe London

Jnb djing at a nightclub
contest winner: JnB

Joe: Hi Jamie, congratulations on winning the Denise plug-in contest. You seem to be quite good at winning contests, you also won a DJ contest for an event I partly organised in London, and another festival’s contest.

So first of all, it might be interesting to get a bit of background from you, on who you are and what you do…

Jamie: Hi Joe, yeah I seem to have some special skill for it. I work Mon – Fri 8-5 as a Scrum Master for an online casino, but I work with Lifestyle Music which is a drum and bass record label. I also organise my events in the evening & hold production private lessons. To be honest, I work 24/6.

Joe: So you get one day off a week on a Sunday, that’s lucky. But to be honest I don’t know anyone who doesn’t work as many hours, especially in the world of dedicated musicians.

Jamie: It’s the life of a artist in 2018, I guess.

Joe: Very much so. What do you do with Lifestyle Music exactly?

Jamie: I do their Artwork and also all the release promotion send-outs and a bit of A&R’ing. So finding artists to represent on the label.

Lifestyle Music Future EP artwork by Jamie Boyle
Future pt. 1: Artwork by Jamie Boyle

Joe: Very nice, so your background in music is very diverse and quite business-focused at the same time. Can we expect to see one of your tracks on the label at some point?

Jamie: Maybe in the future! I have a huge back catalog of tunes, at the moment I am just trying to get better and better. Slowly getting to a point where I am liking my music and feeling happy about mix downs.

Joe: That’s good to hear, what do you think it is that has brought your production to another level?

Jamie: A combination of finding the right plug-ins for me and trying to learn everything about those plug-ins. I spend loads and loads of my time watching tutorials and then just putting the time in at the studio, using the plug-ins and what I’ve learned from the tutorials.

Joe: Yeah I hear that. I’m sure finding time is always the hardest one to fulfil, as it is for me, too. I think one thing that hindered my progress for many years was not having the budget for plug-ins. I delayed buying third party plug-ins for so long because the idea of spending up to 200 euros or something for one small element of mixing didn’t feel worth it for so long, I just didn’t have the money to upgrade.

So I want to ask you about your plug-in idea, the Noize. What made you come up with the idea of this plug-in?

Jamie: So for the past couple of years I have been kind of fascinated by the high ends of basslines in Drum & Bass. Drum & Bass from the 97 – 2002 era had a lot of this, coming unintentionally from the hardware compressors and recording to tape. Then, when people started entering the digital era, this type of noise bassline was forgotten for a period, as it seemed people could not recreate it in the box. Then as we entered 2010 -> the noise layer of basslines in Minimal Drum & Bass is something that has really pushed the sub-genre forward.

It also seems to be a hidden secret amongst the producers of the scene how to recreate the sound. There are tutorials for more or less every aspect of DnB on YouTube & forums, but no real information on how to create these sounds.

When I found Ableton’s Erosion plug-in it was a game changer for me, because suddenly I could almost recreate the sound quite easily by taking a Subby sine wave and adding erosion and a compressor on it.

But Erosion is quite limited, there are only 2 types of noise – noise and wide noise – and the shaping abilities are quite limited. So, this is where the idea for the plug-in came from. I want an alternative to Ableton erosion, where I can have loads of different types of noise with the ability to shape the noise to fit the bassline better. 

I can also see other uses for this, for example automating a high noise sweep on a sound, adding a build-up feeling to a sound, as shown in the Arkaik song below. Or even adding a heavily compressed drum layer with noise on top of the drums to add a crusty, distorted feeling to the drums.

Outside of Slakthuset night club in Sweden
Slakthuset Night club – Sweden

Here are 3 tracks that use noise differently:

Arkaik – Columns

For this tune Arkaik has mixed in the noise, building it gradually louder after the drop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoWQof-Ml1g

DLR & Total Science – Control The Sound

For this tune it seems they used a hardware compressor that is producing a lot of tape noise. It really adds to the ambience of the track and makes this tune quite special.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cp63urO9w0

Signal – No Control

For this tune Signal has mixed noise and compressed it with the bassline, giving the bassline more life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzsUkC3aL_A

Joe: I couldn’t agree more, it’s almost like when digital production started becoming more common, people were looking to produce in a very, very clean way. But with that you overlook those imperfections that makes music resonate with people, and noise is one of those imperfections.

Do you hear the need for this noise imperfection in other genres?

Jamie: I think other genres will have use for it, too, for example fat 808 basses in hip hop need a bit of noise so you can hear the sub on phone speakers. Maybe even using it on a pad sound to give it some air. You can really use noise to just add character to sounds that already exist.  That’s another reason for the plug-in idea, it’s versatile and can be used on many things to just give sounds a bit of energy.

Find more information about noise with the Noize plugin at
https://www.denise.io/noize-plugin

Related blog posts about mixing with noise:
Pink Noise Mixing explained in 1 Minute with Pro Tips
Interview with Jochem (DSP engineer) about how to develop plugins

October, 3, 2018 by Joe London