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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #11 Live From Mexico City

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #10 – FRANKIE KNUCKLES TRIBUTE SET FROM TOKYO @ AIR PT.2

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Satoshi Tomiie returned to Japan for a very special two evening tribute to Frankie Knuckles. Part One was Satoshi’s opening set for the evening and Part Two has a B3B set between Satoshi Tomiie, DJ Nori & Ko Kimura alternating two tracks at a time. Satoshi kicks off with Frankie Knuckle’s remix of Sound Of Blackness “Pressure” (which he performed drums, percussion and keyboard.)

Enjoy the second installment of the Frankie Knuckles tribute set from AIR Tokyo.

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Satoshi Tomiie & Matthias Vogt – Love Unlimited EP [Out Today!]

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Love Unlimited EP

Two legends unite on this very special collaboration for Lazy Days. In 2009, Matthias did a project for Satoshi’s label, SAW.RECORDINGS and kept in touch since. He played for their party in Tokyo and more recently, Satoshi played with him in Frankfurt. It was then that they decided to take the next step into the studio. So finally here it is, the first dialogue of this odd brand new duo.

The result is a 2 track ep, true to their musical heritage as both trained pianists, borrowing moods from the Motor City in a modern, yet timeless way.

This is Matthias Vogt third EP for us, “Under The Radar” and “Barrique & Shrulliver” with Ian Pooley as MVIP. He is a former founding member of Motorcitysoul and also performs and record as [re:jazz] and with his Matthias Vogt trio. All of that while keeping a busy worldwide DJ schedule.

Satoshi Tomiie is highly touted as Japan’s finest and most successful DJ. Since starting his career with house music classic “Tears” with the recently departed Frankie Knuckles, Tomiie has gone on to release and remix music for labels varying from Strictly Rhythm to Sony Music. From there Satoshi co-founded the infamous SAW.RECORDINGS which continues to serve as platform to highlight Satoshi’s extensive discography including the recent releases with DJ Joeski (Satoeski) and his remix of Guti’s ‘Keep It.’

The EP is available for download here:
iTunes: http://bit.ly/LoveUnlimitedIT
Beatport: http://bit.ly/LoveUnlimitedBP

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Satoshi Tomiie’s Tribute to Frankie Knuckles

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I was a law student in Tokyo with a passion for music when I met him. They needed a DJ to compose jingles for Frankie Knuckles’ first ever Japan tour, and luckily I was at the right place. Though House Music was introduced there already, it was way before the time DJ’s traveling around the world every weekend. I had never seen a DJ like him performing live and was really excited to be a little part of the tour.

My impression of him was “a big guy with a big smile, a big heart and the greatest taste of music.”
I never had had such an experience with any music – it was MAGIC. The impact was so big and my life was changed forever. At the end of the tour he even asked me to make music together.

And here I am. Because of him, my passion has become my lifework.

He is the Godfather of House Music for all of us and the most influential ‘teacher’ for me.

Needless to say, his contribution to the dance music community has been enormous; without him the electronic music you and I love today does not have the same face.

I really want to say THANK YOU again for what he did for the world of music and, for myself.

In an effort to honor my dear friend & mentor Frankie Knuckles, I will be doing a very special two evening tribute on May 23-24 in Osaka and Tokyo respectively. Join us in celebrating him and his legacy with my friends in Osaka and Tokyo

- Satoshi

Frankie Knuckles Tribute

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07

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Satoeski

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07 Live from L’Aquila, Italy

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What a night at SET Action Stage in L’Aquila! Amazing setup at the club, sound system, crowd and everything. One of the best gigs from my ITALIA TOUR 2014, it’s definitely very worthy to be on the podcast. At this party I started my set with something kind of dark and moody, then slowly building up the energy to the next level. Only with the right combination of the club and crowd lets me do the right job.

Enjoy!

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GREEN IN BLUE Satoshi Tomiie Remix

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It’s always exciting when Satoshi treats us to some new music, and today is that day. The legendary house artist has been busy remixing ‘Green In Blue’ by Stelios Vassiloudis and Tomomi Ukumori. It comes on John Digweed’s long running Bedrock label and is Satoshi’s first work of the New Year.

At seven minutes long it’s something of an epic piece that chugs along invitingly at a sexy 120BPM. Satoshi fleshes out a writhing, snaking bassline with gluey synths, muffled female vocals and plenty of sonic detail. The breakdown serves as a way of building up the tension again before the thing kicks once more and takes you with it into house heaven.  This track is proof that Satoshi is in fine form and serves as a great taste before his next full release.

Buy the track here

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Satoshi Tomiie’s Italy Tour: April 2012

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Italy is one of my favourite countries to DJ in. The crowd are always passionate and they really love partying, so I’m super excited about my tour of Italy this month.

I’ll be visiting Genova, Livorno, Torino, Terni, and Montesilvano, which are all great places to play at, as well as Rome, which will be particularly special as the capital will be hosting my first ever Popup party!

Here are the dates, and to my Italy friends, see you soon!

Friday April 6 2012
TOUCH – Via Vestina, 191 – 65015 Montesilvano (PE) – Italy

Saturday April 7 2012
ROTONDA DEL VALENTINO – Corso Massimo D’Azeglio, 11 – 10126 Torino (TO) – Italy

Sunday April 8 2012
QUEENCY – Via Del Sersimone, 9 – 05100 Terni (TR) – Italy

Tuesday April 10 2012
SECRET VENUE (POPUP PARTY) – Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1 – 00154 Roma (RM) Italy

Friday April 13 2012
KING CLUB – Via Provinciale Pisana, 639/a – Livorno (LI) – Italy

Saturday April 14 2012
BLACK BUDDA – Via XII Ottobre, 182/Rosso – Genova (GE) – Italy

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How to write dance music part 3: Drum loops, percussion and melody

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New York house hero Satoshi Tomiie continues his dance music production tutorial series, with another insightful and educational lesson. This time the boss of SAW Recordings, who has produced electronic music since the late 1980′s, covers drum loops, percussion and melody.

Part 1 and Part 2 of your tutorial series covered kick drums and bass. Why do you always start writing your tracks with a kick drum and a bassline?

I get inspiration from a bassline and a good kick. I can’t just come up with hooks like a singer/songwriter. I usually start my tracks there, and then see how it goes.

Maybe it’s because I’m a DJ, but that’s how I produced from day one.

So what comes next?

Now comes the fun part! Actually, all of it is fun for me, but this is the part when your track really comes together.

After I’m happy with my bass and kick drums, next comes the other drum elements. Usually that will be some kind of hi hat, clap, and snare. I don’t go too crazy programming the drums at this stage as I think it’s important to leave some room to play later on.

Once I’ve got a basic drum arrangement looping, that’s when I’ll begin to add in percussion hits, and sometimes, percussion patterns.

By working this way, the idea is to try and build a basic groove with the drums and bass first, and then start slowly building your track up on top. If you have good foundation with the bass and kick drums, building a track up is usually fun and it will flow well. If you don’t have the right basic foundation, you will have a problem building up a track, and you’ll have to go back and rebuild the foundation again from scratch.

What do you do after you have a basic drum, percussion and bass loop going?

After the drums, bass and percussion, comes the keyboard parts and synths. It’s difficult to give advice about hooks or melodies as not all dance tracks have hooks or melodies and a lot of tracks today are more like drum tools – effective without being musical.

The hook is also probably the most difficult part of a track to write, but if you want melody in your dance track, it’s best to start programming it early on, around the same time that you’re building the kick drums and bass. Otherwise later you will find that there isn’t enough room for it to do its work.

Also, sometimes you just don’t need a melody. Dance music is designed to move people, and often you can be just as effective on a dancefloor by using really tight beats and a killer bassline. Sometimes a hook sounds too much.

What sort of synths do you use to write melody?

When I write melodies, I tend to use a different synth sound every time as I don’t like to repeat what I’ve done before. Inspiration can be limited for me if I use the same synths over and over. Some producers like to have their synths set up like a band – they always use the same synths and settings for every song – but unfortunately I can’t work like that. If I could, I could probably write my tracks 20 times faster!

I use the same kind of synths that I mentioned in my bass tutorial. I also sometimes use samples, like for instance piano samples – I’ve got some awesome ones of an actual electric piano. I also have a real Fender Rhodes electric piano but it’s quite bulky and takes up a lot of space in my studio so I don’t use it that often.

A lot of dance music producers aren’t classically trained musicians, but most will know that keys are important. What can you tell us about them?

In terms of keys, I like using flats as I think they sound better for dance music than sharps. My favourite keys are ones like C Minor, F Minor, G Minor, and B Flat Minor.

A lot of people have asked me in the past about tuning – how to tune your drums to a key, and I always tell them that it isn’t that crucial. If you strike a metal object, generally it doesn’t have a melodic pitch, at least not so much of a melodic pitch as to be recognisably melodic. Percussion for the most part has a pitch that is so unclear that you can get away with it on any key.

Of course, you have to use your ears – if something sounds like a key clash, you might have to pitch it up or down to make it fit better into the main key of a track. Sometimes the ambient noise of a drum loop will have a pitch, so that’s when you might have to pitch your drum loop up or down to make it fit better.

Also, sometimes it’s actually good to have something out of key too, like for instance, if you want to draw attention to a particular percussion hit.

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How To Write Dance Music Part 2: “Bass”

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In June, New York DJ/producer and Saw Recordings boss Satoshi Tomiie kicked off a new series of music production lessons with a note on the importance of ‘kick drums’.

Here in part 2 of his guide on how to write dance music the veteran house music producer discusses that most crucial element of club music: bass.

Let’s talk bass.

Bass is probably the most important part of a dance music track. Bass is a really important part of a song in general. It is fundamental along with the rhythm.

Since electronic music is played in an environment where bass is emphasized and music is played very loud, you generally hear bass with your whole body. Without a good kick drum or a killer bassline, your experience in a club would be much less enjoyable.

Since we listen to electronic music so loudly, it’s important that bass is placed in exactly the right way.

What are the rules?

Bass should always try to work in tandem with the drums and percussion, as the rhythm section is the foundation of a track.

For the relationship to work between bass and drums, it has to work in drum patterns. In the past, bass worked sometimes with the melody section of a song, but in recent times as bass sequencing has become more advanced it has become more used as a tool for working a dancefloor.

So bass should talk to your drums. It’s kind of like a harmony, not between notes, but it terms of timing and placement. Sonically as well, bass has to fit with the drums and percussion, and sound treatment, such as EQ and compression, is important here.

How do you create the perfect bassline?

There are so many ways to work with bass. I prefer to play my bass by hand. Some use a computer and a mouse to place bass notes on a sequencing grid. Others use arpeggiators. It’s really the choice of the producer.

How do you play bass “by hand”?

I use my fingers and a keyboard. Once I’ve picked my kick drum for a track and I’m happy with it (see Satoshi’s guide to creating the perfect kick drum) I play around with the sound and pattern of my bass on a keyboard.

It’s all about finding the right placement for the bass. Its relationship to the kick drum is very important as they occupy the same frequency range and if you’re not careful they can cancel each other out.

Sometimes the bassline can be the hook of the song, sometimes it’s really the support act. I don’t plan the process of my productions, I just go with the flow and sometimes basslines become melodic, and sometimes they are just sub notes.

You can also use multiple basslines to work together, but that’s not easy as you need to find the right balance. One tip – try marrying a mid range bass to a sub bass. That can work nicely.

When bass and kick drums play together you have to ensure that they don’t sonically cancel each other out, so you have to really play with the phases of the bass – where it peaks, where it dips, so it doesn’t ruin the kick drum. Ultimately though, you have to judge with your ears.

What do you mean by the bass and the kick drum can “cancel each other out”?

If you play a kick drum or a bassline by themselves, they sound fine. But sometimes when you play them together, you lose some of the bass due to a weird phasing effect.

Back in the days of vinyl, a record could actually sometimes skip due to the producer using stereo bass (for vinyl cutting purposes, it’s better if bass is in mono). The needles just couldn’t handle the phasing.

Interestingly, if you have perfectly out of phase bass, then you hear no bass at all. Sometimes you come across the occasional DJ booth where they have miswired the monitors and no matter how loud you turn it up you get no bass. That’s why I always go to soundcheck.

If you have a sub woofer in the studio, you might want to play around with the phasing switch at the back of the sub, as sometimes your sub bass actually takes the bass out of your studio due to the same reason.

Let’s talk gear. What equipment or software would you recommend for creating monstrous bass?

Over the years I’ve used a lot of gear. Keyboards wise, first there was the Roland MKS-70 aka the Super JX, which is the rackmount version of the JX-10.

I also still have a Roland JX-8P at my parents’ house which was one of my first ever synthesizers. Back in the early days of house Marshall Jefferson used that one a lot. His signature bass and pad sound actually came from the JX-8P.

I was so excited to find this machine because by the time I had even began making music this synth was already discontinued.

For my track ‘Tears’, that I made with Frankie Knuckles in 1989, I used the MKS-70. I still have the patch for that track at home.

I have to mention the Roland SH-101 too. I’ve got a Roland Juno-60 which I have used for a long time. The Roland Jupiter 8 is amazing but it’s massive.

I like my set up to be like an aeroplane cockpit, so I can reach everything without moving too much, so the Roland SH-101 is perfect.

For bass I like to have knobs and sliders to tweak a sound. The SH-101 is really fun to play with. These are the main machines that I’ve used over my career.

I always wanted a MiniMoog but I could never afford it so I only ever got to use one when I hired a studio. Eventually I bought a MiniMoog Voyager which combines the classic MiniMoog sound with the convenience of MIDI. I love it, it’s so phat!

So much of your music was made on hardware. What do you think of all the software that producers use today?

Let me tell you a story. Finnish producer Sasse, who runs the respected Mood Music label in Berlin, is known for his love of hardware, analogue gear, and synths. But when I met him he says that even though he owns all of that stuff, he still tends to use the digital emulators when he writes music.

He will only use the real, physical synths if he feels that the digital version isn’t as good. Very occasionally soft synths do not sound as good as the real thing, but a lot of the time, they do.

It’s nice to have everything analogue in your studio, but I remember the days of total recall and it was a pain in the ass. Mixing out of box is not as bad as it used to be.

What soft synths are you fond of?

Arturia’s plug ins are good for bass. Native Instruments’ FM8 is also good for bass, and at the moment that seems to be a ‘trendy bass’.

When choosing soft synths, I think it’s important to choose ones that are emulators of a real bass synthesizer. Arturia’s stuff is all software versions of real instruments.

I’m trying to go down the software emulator route. They’re not exactly the same as the hardware versions, but they’re good enough.

The fact is, physical synths are fun and awesome but they are quite annoying to use sometimes as you can’t recall sounds that you were working on previously and have to start all over again. But that’s what happens when you use circuits and wires to create electronic sounds.

Does EQ play an important role in bass?

I try to create bass that sounds good enough without any EQ effects so that I don’t have to go crazy later on with EQ.

Try to make your bass sound as good as possible without EQ. Sometimes bass can actually be too bassy, so a lot of the time I will use EQ to take away some bottom end if necessary.

My way of using EQ with bass is not to change the sound, but more to polish it. Sometimes you can’t tweak bass but you can add a little more bottom end or mid end. I only tweak the EQ when it is needed.

You said earlier that bass and kick drums have to work in tandem so as to not cancel each other out. Should bass be EQ’d above or below a kick drum?

A good tip is to peak the bass EQ and move it around the frequency range to find the sweet spot. Use your ears to find where it is most potent.

Also bass usually moves around the frequency range, whilst a kick generally stays at the same frequency.

You have to listen to both therefore, and tweak the EQ of both to avoid clashes. Sometimes I have to replace my kick drum as I find it doesn’t work with my bassline anymore.

One other thing – you can sample bass, but it is much better to control it with a synthesizer as EQ can only change so much. It’s about building the right sound from scratch rather than mashing an already existing sample into a hole it won’t fit.

Why is compression important for bass?

You need some experience with a compressor before you use one as it’s not the easiest thing to play with. It depends on the sound of a track, but generally bass improves with compression.

Sometimes after you’ve built a bassline in a track, one section will sound louder and one section will sound quieter. Compressors fix that problem – they equalize the level so it moulds better into the song.

Again you have to use your ears and must know what you’re doing. There is no universal rule for compressing bass. You have to discover when to use it.

I pretty much compress everything. Sometimes light, sometimes heavy, it depends on the sound. Some stuff doesn’t need compression at all. The universal rule in the studio is experiment and find your own way of using compressors.

What compressors do you use?

Actually my favourite just changed recently. My favourite is 6030 Ultimate Compressor, made my McDSP. This basically emulates a classic compressor, it sounds amazing, and is very easy to use. It’s also not very heavy on the processor so you can use a lot.

When choosing the right bass sound, there are often sound wave options, such as SAW or Square waves. Which one is best for club music?

Any sound wave works good for house music bass. SAW waves or square waves are the basic ones. Oscillators in modern synths can actually change anything into anything so it doesn’t matter too much which one you begin with.

Finally, how do you create a bassline that you can feel?

In clubs you feel sub bass. You can’t hear it though, but you can hear the highest frequency of a sub bass sometimes, which is the melodic part.

If you listen to a sub bass unit by itself, it’s just a muffled sound, you don’t really hear anything. Together with the music however, you can feel the bass.

Here’s an interesting fact about MP3s. In order to reduce file size most of the time MP3s actually remove frequencies below 10HZ and over 20KHZ. So MP3s lose their super sub bass and super highs. Human ears don’t just listen to what comes out of the speakers, they also hear things that you don’t consciously hear.

It’s like the same with dog whistles. Those high frequencies over 20K you can’t hear but they still affect you. MP3s get rid of those super high and super low elements to reduce file size, and that alters the sound. If I could, I would only play uncompressed files.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie and his love for Latin America

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Satoshi Tomiie recently completed a four week DJ tour of Latin America. Here in this exclusive monologue for Facebook, the label boss of Saw Recordings shares his DJ thoughts on the continent which, he says, is his favourite place in the world to tour. He also shares three big tunes that rocked his tour.

“Latin America is a very exciting place for travelling and DJing. I like its chaotic big cities, as they are always bustling.

From a DJing standpoint, the Latin American people love their electronic music and you always get a really good energy from the dancefloor.

I feel there is more give and take between the DJ booth and the dancefloor in Latin American nightclubs. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps it’s something to do with their unique culture. Latin America is a wild mix of peoples and cultures, and whenever cultures mix something interesting happens.

I’ve been going to Latin America for about 10 years as a DJ. Every year I return, the scene seems bigger and bigger. When I first went to Latin America, the scene was good, but it was still quite localised. Now it feels like a major continental movement. More and more people have got into electronic music in Latin America, and the opportunities for touring have increased a lot.

Argentina probably has the “most advanced” electronic music scene in the region because they’ve been into the music longer than all the other places. They also put on the biggest electronic music festivals – the Buenos Aires events are particularly spectacular.

Brazil also has a vibrant dance music scene, and it is probably the fastest growing one in Latin America.

There are also relatively new markets like Columbia and Guatemala which are fast changing. These countries are experiencing the same electronic music boom that has happened in many other countries across the world over the last 20 years.

Musically, Latin America is quite a different place compared with the rest of the world. Argentina especially, has its own sound and way of the dancefloor. In Argentina, they really appreciate deeper music so I can even play music at 122 BPMs in an arena for 5000 people when I start my set.

When I DJ, I love to start deep and build my set, but often I have to hold back as the bigger crowds require a higher energy. In Latin America, I can truly play whatever I want, regardless of how large the crowd is.

They go nuts for this music. The first time I played there it was like an epiphany. It felt like I was playing on a blank canvas, where you could experiment with sounds, and play incredibly deep music and slowly build your set over many hours.

It’s hard to not overstate how good this is for the DJ. For instance when I headline clubs in other countries, I generally have to start my set in third gear. There is always a warm up DJ before me, and by the time I begin my set people are already pumped up, and raring to go.

In Argentina though, I can build my set from first gear. Warm up DJs really understand how to warm up. Over the course of the night I then slowly shift up. That makes a huge difference to me as an artist. The open mindedness of the crowd in Latin America comes down to one simple fact: they truly value the journey of sound that DJs are capable of creating.

Every time I tour Latin America something crazy happens. This time, it was a volcano in Chile that caused me to miss two gigs (I told you Latin America was chaotic).

Some volcanic ash (check out the amazing photo!) prevented me from flying to Bolivia and Sao Paolo, so I ended up staying a few extra days in Buenos Aires. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those kind of situations.

I was actually lucky to get out of Buenos Aires in the end to make at least one gig in Brazil. Then I managed to fly to Chile a few days early for my gig there, to avoid all the volcanic ash problems around Buenos Aires. Above & Beyond, Kaskade, and the 16 Bit Lolitas all played on the same night which was different and fun. It doesn’t happen very often that I play alongside DJs like that.

Earlier on in the tour, I also managed to visit my favourite place in the entire world – Los Roques island. This is paradise for me. If I wasn’t a traveling DJ, I would never have found out about this amazing, off-the-beaten-path place.

Gigs wise, every one was quite special this time. The first gig in Venezuela was really good, and the two parties in Argentina were amazing. I played Pacha (now called Club Land) in Buenos Aires too, and as any DJ will tell you, it’s an extraordinary club to play.

The Brazilian party was fun too. The crowd was insanely good looking, as always. I don’t know how they do it, but Brazil always seem to have a gorgeous crowd. I was a little worried about what I would have to play, as really good looking crowds tend not to be hardcore electronic music fans, however I didn’t have to compromise on my music at all, amazingly.

My final gig in Guatemala was a great way to top it all off. And by the time I was on my a flight back to New York City I was already thinking about my next Latin American tour!”

(Interview by Terry Church, club photography by Agustin Carri Pérez)

Satoshi Tomiie’s Top 3 Latin American Tunes

Satoshi shares three dancefloor bombs that rocked his Latin American tour.

Deetron ‘Starblazer’ Rejected

It seems this has become a big summer tune. It has been in my sets since I got it, and it works everywhere I play it. It will be in my set all summer long probably.

Shlomi Aber ‘Slow Dancer’ (Wink Remix)

Another amazing Josh Wink work out. The arrangement is really impressive and towards the end of the song, he changed the vibe into something more musical – you can really listen to this outside of the dancefloor.

Frankie Knuckles Pres. Satoshi Tomiiie Feat. Robert Owens ‘Tears’ (Dyed Soundorom Revisited)

I’m not 100% sure if Dyed Soundorom did this remix himself, but I was hanging out at a party in NYC with all my friends and he played one track that sounded very familar. It was this. And I told him I needed to have it. Whoever did the remix, they did a really good job. They updated the original, but they still kept the classic vibe. They rearranged the structure and added some new beats. It was really cleverly done.

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How to write dance music: the kick drum

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Meticulous house producer Satoshi Tomiie is well known for his attention to detail. Ever since his magnificent debut single ‘Tears’, the 1989 house classic that he produced with the ‘Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie’s name has been synonymous with carefully crafted house goodness.

In a new series of interviews exclusive to Satoshi Tomiie’s Facebook page, the New York City producer, DJ, and label owner will share some studio tips, thought processes, and production tricks that he has acquired during a music career that stretches over 20 years.

Here in part one, Satoshi starts with that most basic element of dance music: the kick drum.

Where do you begin, when writing a new track?

I always start with the kick drums. It’s about finding the right sound firstly, and then changing that sound and tweaking it continuously, whilst you produce the music for the track.

The kick drum is the foundation of dance music, so this is the part that I spend the most amount of time on.

That’s quite surprising, that you always start with the kick drum.

I don’t have a formula for writing music, but basically, the kick and bass is the bottom foundation of a dance track and it always has been.

Back in the day, the kick originated from a drum machine, like the Roland TR-909 or 808 and slowly it moved into the sampler. The technology has changed, but really it’s still about the kick.

Is there really that much difference between one kick and the next?

Actually the tone of a kick drum changes quite significantly according to the vibe of a song. For example, if you take the kick from a rocky alternative track, and swap it with the kick from a techno track, the vibe of both songs will change completely. The aim is to find the appropriate kick drum for the song.

How many kick drum samples do you have?

I’ve collected countless samples of kick drums over the years. I try to not use the same kick drum more than once.

Why not?

If you use the same kick drum, the inspiration that you get from it can be limited. I’m always looking for new kicks. In fact, you could say my whole career has been about searching for the perfect kick drum.

Where do you get them from?

Sometimes I sample a kick from a record or a sample CD. Sometimes I’ll mix two kick drums together to create a new one, but that gets tricky as two different kick drums on top of each other can actually make the whole kick sound smaller as they cancel each other out.

It’s called phasing. The same thing happens if you wire a pair of stereo speakers backwards. It basically cancels out the bottom end. So when you layer kicks you have to tweak the phases on one kick drum so you feel both simultaneously.

So you’ve got your kick drum sorted, what’s next?

Well as I mentioned earlier, I continually tweak the kick whilst writing a track. Sometimes I will switch a kick half way through writing a track, or even when I’ve finished a track if I feel it’s not quite appropriate. I always go back and forth between the lower foundation of a track and the mid-range musical part, as well as the high end hi hats. It’s a balance really.

My tracks usually develop pretty organically. I will get the idea for how the track will go, as I write it. That could be a lead or a bassline, or the lyrics – it all happens when I write it.

Like sometimes I will set out wanting to write a deep house track, but the writing process will end up leading me to something else.

Why is that?

Some producers can easily adjust the style of music they want to do – you always hear of producers who just copy what’s currently hot. I can’t. My music just happens. Also, some people change their engineer when they want to change sounds, but because I do everything myself I can’t do that.

So your music happens quite naturally. Where does it lead after the kick drum?

After the kick, I put a beat together by adding snares and hi hats to build a loop. This is the easiest part for me.

It’s about finding the right sounds to go with the kick, and the right breaks too.

How long are your loops generally?

I tend to stick to a four bar or eight bar loop first, and then I will make the arrangement later. You’ve got to prepare your ingredients before you can cook, and to me, arranging a track is the cooking part.

Part two of Satoshi Tomiie’s guide to writing dance music will be on his Facebook page soon.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie & Hector Romero talk 10 years of Saw Recordings

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When Satoshi Tomiie and Hector Romero launched their New York City label Saw Recordings in 2001, they had simple aims. “The idea was to make an imprint so I could release my original productions, plus introduce new music from up and coming producers,” explains Satoshi. “Ultimately, we wanted it to become a home for quality dance music regardless of genre.”

In a scene that moves as swiftly as electronic music, it’s impressive that a decade on Saw Recordings is exactly what its founders hoped it would be. With a relatively compact discography of 78 releases, the imprint epitomises the mantra, somewhat lost in today’s digital music universe, that quality not quantity matters.

As such, Saw has become a champion for new dance music talent. Many of today’s most respected underground producers started out on Saw, including Jim Rivers, Guy Gerber, Audiofly’s Anthony Middleton, and Luca Bacchetti.

Even though the label has seen some major changes, including the rise of digital and the fall of vinyl, it has always remained true to its aims. “When we started out 10 years ago, we were pretty much a vinyl label,” says Saw’s co-founder Hector Romero. “Nowadays we’re a digital only label and like everyone else, we’ve had to change with the times, but we’re still about promoting great music and new artists, and building a brand. For us, it was never just about selling music.”

Saw Recordings’ 10th anniversary release ‘Edizione’ is a perfect example of the label’s continued commitment to new talent. With seven quality club cuts from new and experienced Saw artists, the extended EP is like a gallery for underrated electronic music heroes.

“Many of the producers featured on ‘Edizione’ are new, and all of them are really hungry to grow and gain exposure,” says Hector Romero. “They are Saw’s most important artists, and all of them are proper talent with good futures ahead of them.”

Satoshi Tomiie came up with the EP’s title during a dinner in Rome, as he explains, “We had a great bottle of wine called Edizione, which someone explained, was a mixture of all these various grapes, that when combined, tasted amazing. We had been searching for a title for the 10th anniversary EP, and it just made sense.”

Romero oversees A&R duties at Saw and was tasked with finding the tracks for ‘Edizione’, a process that took about six months. “A&R is what I love to do,” he says. “I love sitting at my computer and going through tons of promos and listening to the links that people send me. A&R is about finding that needle in a haystack, and when you do find that needle, it feels great.

“The haystack is so huge these days of course, but it has to be done. When Satoshi is cooped up in his studio working on music, I spend my time listening to all the promos that we get sent, and I try to respond to every producer who sends us their stuff.”

Part of the concept of ‘Edizione’ was freedom, as Satoshi explains: “Once we had found the producers that we wanted for the EP, we tried to be as open and free as possible. We didn’t want to restrict them by giving them a certain sound or feeling to reach in the studio, instead we gave them the freedom to do whatever they wanted for the release.”

The resulting record is a melting pot of uncompromising, underground club music. There are moments of techno awe (Toby Tobias), raw house grooves (Mabaan Soul), a punchy progressive/techno hybrid (Doomwork), blissful deep house (Matt Masters), hynotic, acid-infused melodic techno (Matthias Heilbronn and Joeski), and proper, four-to-the-floor NYC house (Mes and Mabaan Soul).

‘Edizione’ sums up the label’s approach in 2011 perfectly. In fact, it encapsulates Saw Recordings’ attitude towards music in general. And as cheesy as it sounds, it is heart warming to know that a decade on it is the label’s passion for quality dance music – above all else – that drives it into the future.

‘Edizione’: Track By Track

Saw Recordings’ Hector Romero guides us through the label’s 10th anniversary release.


Toby Tobias ’5AM’

This track was actually produced about three or four years ago. We had always really liked it, but were never sure about when to release it. We got in touch with Toby Tobias to ask it it was still available, and he did a special re-edit which we loved.

It’s one of those nice deep tracks that works just as well at an afterhours as it does early on in a set. I knew we had to have it, because there have been multiple times in the past when the track has come on on my iPod, and it was so good, I stopped what I was doing to find out its title.


Matthias Heilbronn, Joeski ‘My Fix’

Joeski and Matthias have been around in NYC for a few years now. They’re both great DJs, and Matthias is a great house producer. They recently started collaborating on some great music, and ‘My Fix’ is very old skool Chicago style with spoken words and a very trippy feel.

I fell in love with the track right away. We released this as a single in January, and it did very well so we felt it deserved to be in ‘Edizione’ too.


Mes ‘Back To Basics’ (Mabaan Soul Remix)

Mabaan Soul were always really into this track, which was originally produced by Satoshi under his Mes alias. They asked if they could have the parts, and their remix turned out really chunky, with a great shuffle groove.

It fitted perfectly with ‘Edizione’. Their remix works well on the floor, and Satoshi always gets a big reaction when he plays it out. It went down big time in Guendalina club in Southern Italy last year.


Luca Bear ‘Sierra Leone’

Luca Bear is starting to make some big noise, and he’s becoming a big Saw artist. He has had stuff out on Viva and other cool underground labels. He’s a great DJ too.

He lives in Northern Italy. I really like this mix. It’s definitely at forefront of cutting edge house. He just gave us two new tunes too, which we’re definitely going to sign.


Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’

Mabaan Soul are a duo from Italy who are young and have a bright future ahead of them. They’ve had a few releases out on Saw, and they have a very unique sound.

Their music is chunky and raw, with lots of drums and heavy beats, and they sound almost like how Todd Terry used to sound back in the day. This track ‘Yo’ is very in-your-face, it goes bang, like yo!


Doomwork ‘My Crooner’

This track has been sitting around for a couple of years with us. It has a little bit of a progressive house and tech house feeling. It’s very well produced and quite clean. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the release actually.

Doomwork are definitely on the up. We’ve had them warm up for us at gigs in Italy, and again, they’re important artists to Saw. They always let us hear their new stuff first, so we get first pickings on all of their releases.


Matt Masters ‘It’s Always Delayed’

Matt Masters is one of my favourite producers from London, that’s for sure. Matt is a talented guy, and his music is really deep.

His track for ‘Edizione’ is very well produced. The groove is tech house, and because it’s deep, it’s suitable for afterhours or starting a DJ set. It’s got these lush pad sounds in it, which are perfect for setting the mood of a party.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie’s new studio

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Saw Recordings’ Satoshi Tomiie recently finished building his dream studio in his apartment on Wall Street in New York City. With the new studio now fully operational, the house music veteran plans to release a plethora of new music in the coming months. We sat down with Satoshi to find out more about his new production base.

Tell us about your new studio.

It took me four years to build it. The reason it took so long is because I built the studio in my new apartment, and there was a lot of paperwork to do. I’ve never liked commercial studios and it was always my dream to build a studio in my apartment, so I could roll out of bed and produce music all day in my pajamas if I wanted to!

I’m really happy it’s finally finished! The studio is small but its dimensions were calculated exactly for acoustic perfection. I hired a studio designer to build it for me. He has built studios in NYC for 25 years, and his knowledge and expertise was amazing.

A studio inside your apartment sounds dangerous for your neighbors! Is it soundproofed?

We did our best to soundproof it. It’s completely self-contained, and because it’s a room within a room there’s a gap between the two walls which means not that much sound gets out. And the floor is floated on rubber feet, so the bass doesn’t travel at all and that’s the most annoying frequency for neighbors.

What gear have you got in there?

I’ve got a 55-inch TV monitor. I have a pair of Yamaha NS10 monitors and a pair of Adam S3A speakers with a sub. I’ve produced beats on the NS10s for years, so my ears are very tuned to their sound. I’ve been recommended Neumann speakers in the past, so I’d like to try out those sometime too.

Hardware wise, I’ve only got two synths in the studio. One is a Roland SH-101, which is a really simple analog synth that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and that’s really my go-to synth for writing quick basslines and melodies. The other is a Moog Voyager.

I use Ableton Live to write and arrange tracks, and then Pro Tools to mix it down. I know a lot of people who use Logic for everything, but Ableton works for me and I’m really used Pro Tools.

So these days you’re a plug in driven producer mainly – name some of your favourite plug ins.

My main plug ins come from Waves, and for instruments I’ve got some Arturia plug ins, including the Moog and ARP emulators. Native Instrument does some pretty cool stuff – I have their whole collection which is really great when you’re looking for a particular instrument.

Any caveats about the software approach?

I’ve noticed that if you have too many plug ins and sound choices, you spend too much time looking for a sound, when you should be spending that time creating and writing music. Also sounds and plug ins tend to move in trends in dance music, which is something I always try and avoid.

What do you mean by trends?

Even things like synth patches are affected by trends, and you’ll hear a whole lot of new music come out around the same time that all use the same patches. So it’s best not to jump on new patches and plug ins when they first come out. Things have definitely become so much easier with digital, but on the other hand there are too many choices for the producer today, and that includes plug ins.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #11 Live From Mexico City

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #10 – FRANKIE KNUCKLES TRIBUTE SET FROM TOKYO @ AIR PT.2

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Satoshi Tomiie returned to Japan for a very special two evening tribute to Frankie Knuckles. Part One was Satoshi’s opening set for the evening and Part Two has a B3B set between Satoshi Tomiie, DJ Nori & Ko Kimura alternating two tracks at a time. Satoshi kicks off with Frankie Knuckle’s remix of Sound Of Blackness “Pressure” (which he performed drums, percussion and keyboard.)

Enjoy the second installment of the Frankie Knuckles tribute set from AIR Tokyo.

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07

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Satoeski

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07 Live from L’Aquila, Italy

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What a night at SET Action Stage in L’Aquila! Amazing setup at the club, sound system, crowd and everything. One of the best gigs from my ITALIA TOUR 2014, it’s definitely very worthy to be on the podcast. At this party I started my set with something kind of dark and moody, then slowly building up the energy to the next level. Only with the right combination of the club and crowd lets me do the right job.

Enjoy!

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Satoshi Tomiie is back with a vengeance in 2014

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The Japanese born, New York based DJ has plenty for fans of his emotive house music to get excited about, including a new podcast. The sixth in his self-released series is available on his soundcloud and was recorded live at his gig at a PopUp Party at AIR in Tokyo. It’s deep and moody and is a real treat that showcases his usual classy selections.

Satoshi also just had a new remix out on Bedrock Records for Stelios Vassiloudis in January, and his special dj set had been featured on the label boss, John Digweed’s regular and famous radio show, Transitions.

Throughout the next month or so Satoshi is also on tour around Italy. It kicks off on February 21st at Celebrita in Trecate and takes in a further seven dates around the European country including Milan, Bologna and Napoli right up to the 8th March. Full details are below.

Finally in the news at the moment – a new EP is soon to land on Satoshi’s much loved SAW Recordings from Satoeski. Satoeski is a collaboration between Satoshi and New York based DJ and producer Joeski and the single is out in February. There is more happening in ST’s world all the time so for more info keep your eyes on his Facebook.

2014-01-31 DRAGON DEL SUR Lima
2014-02-21 CELEBRITA Trecate
2014-02-22 VIBE Calcinaia
2014-02-23 CIRCUS Brescia
2014-02-25 11 CLUBROOM Milano
2014-02-27 SET Monticchio
2014-02-28 CASSERO Bologna
2014-03-02 NOLITA Alessandria
2014-03-08 ARENILE RELOAD Napoli

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Satoshi Tomiie’s Italy Tour: April 2012

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Italy is one of my favourite countries to DJ in. The crowd are always passionate and they really love partying, so I’m super excited about my tour of Italy this month.

I’ll be visiting Genova, Livorno, Torino, Terni, and Montesilvano, which are all great places to play at, as well as Rome, which will be particularly special as the capital will be hosting my first ever Popup party!

Here are the dates, and to my Italy friends, see you soon!

Friday April 6 2012
TOUCH – Via Vestina, 191 – 65015 Montesilvano (PE) – Italy

Saturday April 7 2012
ROTONDA DEL VALENTINO – Corso Massimo D’Azeglio, 11 – 10126 Torino (TO) – Italy

Sunday April 8 2012
QUEENCY – Via Del Sersimone, 9 – 05100 Terni (TR) – Italy

Tuesday April 10 2012
SECRET VENUE (POPUP PARTY) – Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1 – 00154 Roma (RM) Italy

Friday April 13 2012
KING CLUB – Via Provinciale Pisana, 639/a – Livorno (LI) – Italy

Saturday April 14 2012
BLACK BUDDA – Via XII Ottobre, 182/Rosso – Genova (GE) – Italy

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How to write dance music part 3: Drum loops, percussion and melody

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New York house hero Satoshi Tomiie continues his dance music production tutorial series, with another insightful and educational lesson. This time the boss of SAW Recordings, who has produced electronic music since the late 1980′s, covers drum loops, percussion and melody.

Part 1 and Part 2 of your tutorial series covered kick drums and bass. Why do you always start writing your tracks with a kick drum and a bassline?

I get inspiration from a bassline and a good kick. I can’t just come up with hooks like a singer/songwriter. I usually start my tracks there, and then see how it goes.

Maybe it’s because I’m a DJ, but that’s how I produced from day one.

So what comes next?

Now comes the fun part! Actually, all of it is fun for me, but this is the part when your track really comes together.

After I’m happy with my bass and kick drums, next comes the other drum elements. Usually that will be some kind of hi hat, clap, and snare. I don’t go too crazy programming the drums at this stage as I think it’s important to leave some room to play later on.

Once I’ve got a basic drum arrangement looping, that’s when I’ll begin to add in percussion hits, and sometimes, percussion patterns.

By working this way, the idea is to try and build a basic groove with the drums and bass first, and then start slowly building your track up on top. If you have good foundation with the bass and kick drums, building a track up is usually fun and it will flow well. If you don’t have the right basic foundation, you will have a problem building up a track, and you’ll have to go back and rebuild the foundation again from scratch.

What do you do after you have a basic drum, percussion and bass loop going?

After the drums, bass and percussion, comes the keyboard parts and synths. It’s difficult to give advice about hooks or melodies as not all dance tracks have hooks or melodies and a lot of tracks today are more like drum tools – effective without being musical.

The hook is also probably the most difficult part of a track to write, but if you want melody in your dance track, it’s best to start programming it early on, around the same time that you’re building the kick drums and bass. Otherwise later you will find that there isn’t enough room for it to do its work.

Also, sometimes you just don’t need a melody. Dance music is designed to move people, and often you can be just as effective on a dancefloor by using really tight beats and a killer bassline. Sometimes a hook sounds too much.

What sort of synths do you use to write melody?

When I write melodies, I tend to use a different synth sound every time as I don’t like to repeat what I’ve done before. Inspiration can be limited for me if I use the same synths over and over. Some producers like to have their synths set up like a band – they always use the same synths and settings for every song – but unfortunately I can’t work like that. If I could, I could probably write my tracks 20 times faster!

I use the same kind of synths that I mentioned in my bass tutorial. I also sometimes use samples, like for instance piano samples – I’ve got some awesome ones of an actual electric piano. I also have a real Fender Rhodes electric piano but it’s quite bulky and takes up a lot of space in my studio so I don’t use it that often.

A lot of dance music producers aren’t classically trained musicians, but most will know that keys are important. What can you tell us about them?

In terms of keys, I like using flats as I think they sound better for dance music than sharps. My favourite keys are ones like C Minor, F Minor, G Minor, and B Flat Minor.

A lot of people have asked me in the past about tuning – how to tune your drums to a key, and I always tell them that it isn’t that crucial. If you strike a metal object, generally it doesn’t have a melodic pitch, at least not so much of a melodic pitch as to be recognisably melodic. Percussion for the most part has a pitch that is so unclear that you can get away with it on any key.

Of course, you have to use your ears – if something sounds like a key clash, you might have to pitch it up or down to make it fit better into the main key of a track. Sometimes the ambient noise of a drum loop will have a pitch, so that’s when you might have to pitch your drum loop up or down to make it fit better.

Also, sometimes it’s actually good to have something out of key too, like for instance, if you want to draw attention to a particular percussion hit.

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How To Write Dance Music Part 2: “Bass”

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In June, New York DJ/producer and Saw Recordings boss Satoshi Tomiie kicked off a new series of music production lessons with a note on the importance of ‘kick drums’.

Here in part 2 of his guide on how to write dance music the veteran house music producer discusses that most crucial element of club music: bass.

Let’s talk bass.

Bass is probably the most important part of a dance music track. Bass is a really important part of a song in general. It is fundamental along with the rhythm.

Since electronic music is played in an environment where bass is emphasized and music is played very loud, you generally hear bass with your whole body. Without a good kick drum or a killer bassline, your experience in a club would be much less enjoyable.

Since we listen to electronic music so loudly, it’s important that bass is placed in exactly the right way.

What are the rules?

Bass should always try to work in tandem with the drums and percussion, as the rhythm section is the foundation of a track.

For the relationship to work between bass and drums, it has to work in drum patterns. In the past, bass worked sometimes with the melody section of a song, but in recent times as bass sequencing has become more advanced it has become more used as a tool for working a dancefloor.

So bass should talk to your drums. It’s kind of like a harmony, not between notes, but it terms of timing and placement. Sonically as well, bass has to fit with the drums and percussion, and sound treatment, such as EQ and compression, is important here.

How do you create the perfect bassline?

There are so many ways to work with bass. I prefer to play my bass by hand. Some use a computer and a mouse to place bass notes on a sequencing grid. Others use arpeggiators. It’s really the choice of the producer.

How do you play bass “by hand”?

I use my fingers and a keyboard. Once I’ve picked my kick drum for a track and I’m happy with it (see Satoshi’s guide to creating the perfect kick drum) I play around with the sound and pattern of my bass on a keyboard.

It’s all about finding the right placement for the bass. Its relationship to the kick drum is very important as they occupy the same frequency range and if you’re not careful they can cancel each other out.

Sometimes the bassline can be the hook of the song, sometimes it’s really the support act. I don’t plan the process of my productions, I just go with the flow and sometimes basslines become melodic, and sometimes they are just sub notes.

You can also use multiple basslines to work together, but that’s not easy as you need to find the right balance. One tip – try marrying a mid range bass to a sub bass. That can work nicely.

When bass and kick drums play together you have to ensure that they don’t sonically cancel each other out, so you have to really play with the phases of the bass – where it peaks, where it dips, so it doesn’t ruin the kick drum. Ultimately though, you have to judge with your ears.

What do you mean by the bass and the kick drum can “cancel each other out”?

If you play a kick drum or a bassline by themselves, they sound fine. But sometimes when you play them together, you lose some of the bass due to a weird phasing effect.

Back in the days of vinyl, a record could actually sometimes skip due to the producer using stereo bass (for vinyl cutting purposes, it’s better if bass is in mono). The needles just couldn’t handle the phasing.

Interestingly, if you have perfectly out of phase bass, then you hear no bass at all. Sometimes you come across the occasional DJ booth where they have miswired the monitors and no matter how loud you turn it up you get no bass. That’s why I always go to soundcheck.

If you have a sub woofer in the studio, you might want to play around with the phasing switch at the back of the sub, as sometimes your sub bass actually takes the bass out of your studio due to the same reason.

Let’s talk gear. What equipment or software would you recommend for creating monstrous bass?

Over the years I’ve used a lot of gear. Keyboards wise, first there was the Roland MKS-70 aka the Super JX, which is the rackmount version of the JX-10.

I also still have a Roland JX-8P at my parents’ house which was one of my first ever synthesizers. Back in the early days of house Marshall Jefferson used that one a lot. His signature bass and pad sound actually came from the JX-8P.

I was so excited to find this machine because by the time I had even began making music this synth was already discontinued.

For my track ‘Tears’, that I made with Frankie Knuckles in 1989, I used the MKS-70. I still have the patch for that track at home.

I have to mention the Roland SH-101 too. I’ve got a Roland Juno-60 which I have used for a long time. The Roland Jupiter 8 is amazing but it’s massive.

I like my set up to be like an aeroplane cockpit, so I can reach everything without moving too much, so the Roland SH-101 is perfect.

For bass I like to have knobs and sliders to tweak a sound. The SH-101 is really fun to play with. These are the main machines that I’ve used over my career.

I always wanted a MiniMoog but I could never afford it so I only ever got to use one when I hired a studio. Eventually I bought a MiniMoog Voyager which combines the classic MiniMoog sound with the convenience of MIDI. I love it, it’s so phat!

So much of your music was made on hardware. What do you think of all the software that producers use today?

Let me tell you a story. Finnish producer Sasse, who runs the respected Mood Music label in Berlin, is known for his love of hardware, analogue gear, and synths. But when I met him he says that even though he owns all of that stuff, he still tends to use the digital emulators when he writes music.

He will only use the real, physical synths if he feels that the digital version isn’t as good. Very occasionally soft synths do not sound as good as the real thing, but a lot of the time, they do.

It’s nice to have everything analogue in your studio, but I remember the days of total recall and it was a pain in the ass. Mixing out of box is not as bad as it used to be.

What soft synths are you fond of?

Arturia’s plug ins are good for bass. Native Instruments’ FM8 is also good for bass, and at the moment that seems to be a ‘trendy bass’.

When choosing soft synths, I think it’s important to choose ones that are emulators of a real bass synthesizer. Arturia’s stuff is all software versions of real instruments.

I’m trying to go down the software emulator route. They’re not exactly the same as the hardware versions, but they’re good enough.

The fact is, physical synths are fun and awesome but they are quite annoying to use sometimes as you can’t recall sounds that you were working on previously and have to start all over again. But that’s what happens when you use circuits and wires to create electronic sounds.

Does EQ play an important role in bass?

I try to create bass that sounds good enough without any EQ effects so that I don’t have to go crazy later on with EQ.

Try to make your bass sound as good as possible without EQ. Sometimes bass can actually be too bassy, so a lot of the time I will use EQ to take away some bottom end if necessary.

My way of using EQ with bass is not to change the sound, but more to polish it. Sometimes you can’t tweak bass but you can add a little more bottom end or mid end. I only tweak the EQ when it is needed.

You said earlier that bass and kick drums have to work in tandem so as to not cancel each other out. Should bass be EQ’d above or below a kick drum?

A good tip is to peak the bass EQ and move it around the frequency range to find the sweet spot. Use your ears to find where it is most potent.

Also bass usually moves around the frequency range, whilst a kick generally stays at the same frequency.

You have to listen to both therefore, and tweak the EQ of both to avoid clashes. Sometimes I have to replace my kick drum as I find it doesn’t work with my bassline anymore.

One other thing – you can sample bass, but it is much better to control it with a synthesizer as EQ can only change so much. It’s about building the right sound from scratch rather than mashing an already existing sample into a hole it won’t fit.

Why is compression important for bass?

You need some experience with a compressor before you use one as it’s not the easiest thing to play with. It depends on the sound of a track, but generally bass improves with compression.

Sometimes after you’ve built a bassline in a track, one section will sound louder and one section will sound quieter. Compressors fix that problem – they equalize the level so it moulds better into the song.

Again you have to use your ears and must know what you’re doing. There is no universal rule for compressing bass. You have to discover when to use it.

I pretty much compress everything. Sometimes light, sometimes heavy, it depends on the sound. Some stuff doesn’t need compression at all. The universal rule in the studio is experiment and find your own way of using compressors.

What compressors do you use?

Actually my favourite just changed recently. My favourite is 6030 Ultimate Compressor, made my McDSP. This basically emulates a classic compressor, it sounds amazing, and is very easy to use. It’s also not very heavy on the processor so you can use a lot.

When choosing the right bass sound, there are often sound wave options, such as SAW or Square waves. Which one is best for club music?

Any sound wave works good for house music bass. SAW waves or square waves are the basic ones. Oscillators in modern synths can actually change anything into anything so it doesn’t matter too much which one you begin with.

Finally, how do you create a bassline that you can feel?

In clubs you feel sub bass. You can’t hear it though, but you can hear the highest frequency of a sub bass sometimes, which is the melodic part.

If you listen to a sub bass unit by itself, it’s just a muffled sound, you don’t really hear anything. Together with the music however, you can feel the bass.

Here’s an interesting fact about MP3s. In order to reduce file size most of the time MP3s actually remove frequencies below 10HZ and over 20KHZ. So MP3s lose their super sub bass and super highs. Human ears don’t just listen to what comes out of the speakers, they also hear things that you don’t consciously hear.

It’s like the same with dog whistles. Those high frequencies over 20K you can’t hear but they still affect you. MP3s get rid of those super high and super low elements to reduce file size, and that alters the sound. If I could, I would only play uncompressed files.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie and his love for Latin America

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Satoshi Tomiie recently completed a four week DJ tour of Latin America. Here in this exclusive monologue for Facebook, the label boss of Saw Recordings shares his DJ thoughts on the continent which, he says, is his favourite place in the world to tour. He also shares three big tunes that rocked his tour.

“Latin America is a very exciting place for travelling and DJing. I like its chaotic big cities, as they are always bustling.

From a DJing standpoint, the Latin American people love their electronic music and you always get a really good energy from the dancefloor.

I feel there is more give and take between the DJ booth and the dancefloor in Latin American nightclubs. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps it’s something to do with their unique culture. Latin America is a wild mix of peoples and cultures, and whenever cultures mix something interesting happens.

I’ve been going to Latin America for about 10 years as a DJ. Every year I return, the scene seems bigger and bigger. When I first went to Latin America, the scene was good, but it was still quite localised. Now it feels like a major continental movement. More and more people have got into electronic music in Latin America, and the opportunities for touring have increased a lot.

Argentina probably has the “most advanced” electronic music scene in the region because they’ve been into the music longer than all the other places. They also put on the biggest electronic music festivals – the Buenos Aires events are particularly spectacular.

Brazil also has a vibrant dance music scene, and it is probably the fastest growing one in Latin America.

There are also relatively new markets like Columbia and Guatemala which are fast changing. These countries are experiencing the same electronic music boom that has happened in many other countries across the world over the last 20 years.

Musically, Latin America is quite a different place compared with the rest of the world. Argentina especially, has its own sound and way of the dancefloor. In Argentina, they really appreciate deeper music so I can even play music at 122 BPMs in an arena for 5000 people when I start my set.

When I DJ, I love to start deep and build my set, but often I have to hold back as the bigger crowds require a higher energy. In Latin America, I can truly play whatever I want, regardless of how large the crowd is.

They go nuts for this music. The first time I played there it was like an epiphany. It felt like I was playing on a blank canvas, where you could experiment with sounds, and play incredibly deep music and slowly build your set over many hours.

It’s hard to not overstate how good this is for the DJ. For instance when I headline clubs in other countries, I generally have to start my set in third gear. There is always a warm up DJ before me, and by the time I begin my set people are already pumped up, and raring to go.

In Argentina though, I can build my set from first gear. Warm up DJs really understand how to warm up. Over the course of the night I then slowly shift up. That makes a huge difference to me as an artist. The open mindedness of the crowd in Latin America comes down to one simple fact: they truly value the journey of sound that DJs are capable of creating.

Every time I tour Latin America something crazy happens. This time, it was a volcano in Chile that caused me to miss two gigs (I told you Latin America was chaotic).

Some volcanic ash (check out the amazing photo!) prevented me from flying to Bolivia and Sao Paolo, so I ended up staying a few extra days in Buenos Aires. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those kind of situations.

I was actually lucky to get out of Buenos Aires in the end to make at least one gig in Brazil. Then I managed to fly to Chile a few days early for my gig there, to avoid all the volcanic ash problems around Buenos Aires. Above & Beyond, Kaskade, and the 16 Bit Lolitas all played on the same night which was different and fun. It doesn’t happen very often that I play alongside DJs like that.

Earlier on in the tour, I also managed to visit my favourite place in the entire world – Los Roques island. This is paradise for me. If I wasn’t a traveling DJ, I would never have found out about this amazing, off-the-beaten-path place.

Gigs wise, every one was quite special this time. The first gig in Venezuela was really good, and the two parties in Argentina were amazing. I played Pacha (now called Club Land) in Buenos Aires too, and as any DJ will tell you, it’s an extraordinary club to play.

The Brazilian party was fun too. The crowd was insanely good looking, as always. I don’t know how they do it, but Brazil always seem to have a gorgeous crowd. I was a little worried about what I would have to play, as really good looking crowds tend not to be hardcore electronic music fans, however I didn’t have to compromise on my music at all, amazingly.

My final gig in Guatemala was a great way to top it all off. And by the time I was on my a flight back to New York City I was already thinking about my next Latin American tour!”

(Interview by Terry Church, club photography by Agustin Carri Pérez)

Satoshi Tomiie’s Top 3 Latin American Tunes

Satoshi shares three dancefloor bombs that rocked his Latin American tour.

Deetron ‘Starblazer’ Rejected

It seems this has become a big summer tune. It has been in my sets since I got it, and it works everywhere I play it. It will be in my set all summer long probably.

Shlomi Aber ‘Slow Dancer’ (Wink Remix)

Another amazing Josh Wink work out. The arrangement is really impressive and towards the end of the song, he changed the vibe into something more musical – you can really listen to this outside of the dancefloor.

Frankie Knuckles Pres. Satoshi Tomiiie Feat. Robert Owens ‘Tears’ (Dyed Soundorom Revisited)

I’m not 100% sure if Dyed Soundorom did this remix himself, but I was hanging out at a party in NYC with all my friends and he played one track that sounded very familar. It was this. And I told him I needed to have it. Whoever did the remix, they did a really good job. They updated the original, but they still kept the classic vibe. They rearranged the structure and added some new beats. It was really cleverly done.

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How to write dance music: the kick drum

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Meticulous house producer Satoshi Tomiie is well known for his attention to detail. Ever since his magnificent debut single ‘Tears’, the 1989 house classic that he produced with the ‘Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie’s name has been synonymous with carefully crafted house goodness.

In a new series of interviews exclusive to Satoshi Tomiie’s Facebook page, the New York City producer, DJ, and label owner will share some studio tips, thought processes, and production tricks that he has acquired during a music career that stretches over 20 years.

Here in part one, Satoshi starts with that most basic element of dance music: the kick drum.

Where do you begin, when writing a new track?

I always start with the kick drums. It’s about finding the right sound firstly, and then changing that sound and tweaking it continuously, whilst you produce the music for the track.

The kick drum is the foundation of dance music, so this is the part that I spend the most amount of time on.

That’s quite surprising, that you always start with the kick drum.

I don’t have a formula for writing music, but basically, the kick and bass is the bottom foundation of a dance track and it always has been.

Back in the day, the kick originated from a drum machine, like the Roland TR-909 or 808 and slowly it moved into the sampler. The technology has changed, but really it’s still about the kick.

Is there really that much difference between one kick and the next?

Actually the tone of a kick drum changes quite significantly according to the vibe of a song. For example, if you take the kick from a rocky alternative track, and swap it with the kick from a techno track, the vibe of both songs will change completely. The aim is to find the appropriate kick drum for the song.

How many kick drum samples do you have?

I’ve collected countless samples of kick drums over the years. I try to not use the same kick drum more than once.

Why not?

If you use the same kick drum, the inspiration that you get from it can be limited. I’m always looking for new kicks. In fact, you could say my whole career has been about searching for the perfect kick drum.

Where do you get them from?

Sometimes I sample a kick from a record or a sample CD. Sometimes I’ll mix two kick drums together to create a new one, but that gets tricky as two different kick drums on top of each other can actually make the whole kick sound smaller as they cancel each other out.

It’s called phasing. The same thing happens if you wire a pair of stereo speakers backwards. It basically cancels out the bottom end. So when you layer kicks you have to tweak the phases on one kick drum so you feel both simultaneously.

So you’ve got your kick drum sorted, what’s next?

Well as I mentioned earlier, I continually tweak the kick whilst writing a track. Sometimes I will switch a kick half way through writing a track, or even when I’ve finished a track if I feel it’s not quite appropriate. I always go back and forth between the lower foundation of a track and the mid-range musical part, as well as the high end hi hats. It’s a balance really.

My tracks usually develop pretty organically. I will get the idea for how the track will go, as I write it. That could be a lead or a bassline, or the lyrics – it all happens when I write it.

Like sometimes I will set out wanting to write a deep house track, but the writing process will end up leading me to something else.

Why is that?

Some producers can easily adjust the style of music they want to do – you always hear of producers who just copy what’s currently hot. I can’t. My music just happens. Also, some people change their engineer when they want to change sounds, but because I do everything myself I can’t do that.

So your music happens quite naturally. Where does it lead after the kick drum?

After the kick, I put a beat together by adding snares and hi hats to build a loop. This is the easiest part for me.

It’s about finding the right sounds to go with the kick, and the right breaks too.

How long are your loops generally?

I tend to stick to a four bar or eight bar loop first, and then I will make the arrangement later. You’ve got to prepare your ingredients before you can cook, and to me, arranging a track is the cooking part.

Part two of Satoshi Tomiie’s guide to writing dance music will be on his Facebook page soon.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie & Hector Romero talk 10 years of Saw Recordings

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When Satoshi Tomiie and Hector Romero launched their New York City label Saw Recordings in 2001, they had simple aims. “The idea was to make an imprint so I could release my original productions, plus introduce new music from up and coming producers,” explains Satoshi. “Ultimately, we wanted it to become a home for quality dance music regardless of genre.”

In a scene that moves as swiftly as electronic music, it’s impressive that a decade on Saw Recordings is exactly what its founders hoped it would be. With a relatively compact discography of 78 releases, the imprint epitomises the mantra, somewhat lost in today’s digital music universe, that quality not quantity matters.

As such, Saw has become a champion for new dance music talent. Many of today’s most respected underground producers started out on Saw, including Jim Rivers, Guy Gerber, Audiofly’s Anthony Middleton, and Luca Bacchetti.

Even though the label has seen some major changes, including the rise of digital and the fall of vinyl, it has always remained true to its aims. “When we started out 10 years ago, we were pretty much a vinyl label,” says Saw’s co-founder Hector Romero. “Nowadays we’re a digital only label and like everyone else, we’ve had to change with the times, but we’re still about promoting great music and new artists, and building a brand. For us, it was never just about selling music.”

Saw Recordings’ 10th anniversary release ‘Edizione’ is a perfect example of the label’s continued commitment to new talent. With seven quality club cuts from new and experienced Saw artists, the extended EP is like a gallery for underrated electronic music heroes.

“Many of the producers featured on ‘Edizione’ are new, and all of them are really hungry to grow and gain exposure,” says Hector Romero. “They are Saw’s most important artists, and all of them are proper talent with good futures ahead of them.”

Satoshi Tomiie came up with the EP’s title during a dinner in Rome, as he explains, “We had a great bottle of wine called Edizione, which someone explained, was a mixture of all these various grapes, that when combined, tasted amazing. We had been searching for a title for the 10th anniversary EP, and it just made sense.”

Romero oversees A&R duties at Saw and was tasked with finding the tracks for ‘Edizione’, a process that took about six months. “A&R is what I love to do,” he says. “I love sitting at my computer and going through tons of promos and listening to the links that people send me. A&R is about finding that needle in a haystack, and when you do find that needle, it feels great.

“The haystack is so huge these days of course, but it has to be done. When Satoshi is cooped up in his studio working on music, I spend my time listening to all the promos that we get sent, and I try to respond to every producer who sends us their stuff.”

Part of the concept of ‘Edizione’ was freedom, as Satoshi explains: “Once we had found the producers that we wanted for the EP, we tried to be as open and free as possible. We didn’t want to restrict them by giving them a certain sound or feeling to reach in the studio, instead we gave them the freedom to do whatever they wanted for the release.”

The resulting record is a melting pot of uncompromising, underground club music. There are moments of techno awe (Toby Tobias), raw house grooves (Mabaan Soul), a punchy progressive/techno hybrid (Doomwork), blissful deep house (Matt Masters), hynotic, acid-infused melodic techno (Matthias Heilbronn and Joeski), and proper, four-to-the-floor NYC house (Mes and Mabaan Soul).

‘Edizione’ sums up the label’s approach in 2011 perfectly. In fact, it encapsulates Saw Recordings’ attitude towards music in general. And as cheesy as it sounds, it is heart warming to know that a decade on it is the label’s passion for quality dance music – above all else – that drives it into the future.

‘Edizione’: Track By Track

Saw Recordings’ Hector Romero guides us through the label’s 10th anniversary release.


Toby Tobias ’5AM’

This track was actually produced about three or four years ago. We had always really liked it, but were never sure about when to release it. We got in touch with Toby Tobias to ask it it was still available, and he did a special re-edit which we loved.

It’s one of those nice deep tracks that works just as well at an afterhours as it does early on in a set. I knew we had to have it, because there have been multiple times in the past when the track has come on on my iPod, and it was so good, I stopped what I was doing to find out its title.


Matthias Heilbronn, Joeski ‘My Fix’

Joeski and Matthias have been around in NYC for a few years now. They’re both great DJs, and Matthias is a great house producer. They recently started collaborating on some great music, and ‘My Fix’ is very old skool Chicago style with spoken words and a very trippy feel.

I fell in love with the track right away. We released this as a single in January, and it did very well so we felt it deserved to be in ‘Edizione’ too.


Mes ‘Back To Basics’ (Mabaan Soul Remix)

Mabaan Soul were always really into this track, which was originally produced by Satoshi under his Mes alias. They asked if they could have the parts, and their remix turned out really chunky, with a great shuffle groove.

It fitted perfectly with ‘Edizione’. Their remix works well on the floor, and Satoshi always gets a big reaction when he plays it out. It went down big time in Guendalina club in Southern Italy last year.


Luca Bear ‘Sierra Leone’

Luca Bear is starting to make some big noise, and he’s becoming a big Saw artist. He has had stuff out on Viva and other cool underground labels. He’s a great DJ too.

He lives in Northern Italy. I really like this mix. It’s definitely at forefront of cutting edge house. He just gave us two new tunes too, which we’re definitely going to sign.


Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’

Mabaan Soul are a duo from Italy who are young and have a bright future ahead of them. They’ve had a few releases out on Saw, and they have a very unique sound.

Their music is chunky and raw, with lots of drums and heavy beats, and they sound almost like how Todd Terry used to sound back in the day. This track ‘Yo’ is very in-your-face, it goes bang, like yo!


Doomwork ‘My Crooner’

This track has been sitting around for a couple of years with us. It has a little bit of a progressive house and tech house feeling. It’s very well produced and quite clean. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the release actually.

Doomwork are definitely on the up. We’ve had them warm up for us at gigs in Italy, and again, they’re important artists to Saw. They always let us hear their new stuff first, so we get first pickings on all of their releases.


Matt Masters ‘It’s Always Delayed’

Matt Masters is one of my favourite producers from London, that’s for sure. Matt is a talented guy, and his music is really deep.

His track for ‘Edizione’ is very well produced. The groove is tech house, and because it’s deep, it’s suitable for afterhours or starting a DJ set. It’s got these lush pad sounds in it, which are perfect for setting the mood of a party.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie’s new studio

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Saw Recordings’ Satoshi Tomiie recently finished building his dream studio in his apartment on Wall Street in New York City. With the new studio now fully operational, the house music veteran plans to release a plethora of new music in the coming months. We sat down with Satoshi to find out more about his new production base.

Tell us about your new studio.

It took me four years to build it. The reason it took so long is because I built the studio in my new apartment, and there was a lot of paperwork to do. I’ve never liked commercial studios and it was always my dream to build a studio in my apartment, so I could roll out of bed and produce music all day in my pajamas if I wanted to!

I’m really happy it’s finally finished! The studio is small but its dimensions were calculated exactly for acoustic perfection. I hired a studio designer to build it for me. He has built studios in NYC for 25 years, and his knowledge and expertise was amazing.

A studio inside your apartment sounds dangerous for your neighbors! Is it soundproofed?

We did our best to soundproof it. It’s completely self-contained, and because it’s a room within a room there’s a gap between the two walls which means not that much sound gets out. And the floor is floated on rubber feet, so the bass doesn’t travel at all and that’s the most annoying frequency for neighbors.

What gear have you got in there?

I’ve got a 55-inch TV monitor. I have a pair of Yamaha NS10 monitors and a pair of Adam S3A speakers with a sub. I’ve produced beats on the NS10s for years, so my ears are very tuned to their sound. I’ve been recommended Neumann speakers in the past, so I’d like to try out those sometime too.

Hardware wise, I’ve only got two synths in the studio. One is a Roland SH-101, which is a really simple analog synth that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and that’s really my go-to synth for writing quick basslines and melodies. The other is a Moog Voyager.

I use Ableton Live to write and arrange tracks, and then Pro Tools to mix it down. I know a lot of people who use Logic for everything, but Ableton works for me and I’m really used Pro Tools.

So these days you’re a plug in driven producer mainly – name some of your favourite plug ins.

My main plug ins come from Waves, and for instruments I’ve got some Arturia plug ins, including the Moog and ARP emulators. Native Instrument does some pretty cool stuff – I have their whole collection which is really great when you’re looking for a particular instrument.

Any caveats about the software approach?

I’ve noticed that if you have too many plug ins and sound choices, you spend too much time looking for a sound, when you should be spending that time creating and writing music. Also sounds and plug ins tend to move in trends in dance music, which is something I always try and avoid.

What do you mean by trends?

Even things like synth patches are affected by trends, and you’ll hear a whole lot of new music come out around the same time that all use the same patches. So it’s best not to jump on new patches and plug ins when they first come out. Things have definitely become so much easier with digital, but on the other hand there are too many choices for the producer today, and that includes plug ins.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #11 Live From Mexico City

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #10 – FRANKIE KNUCKLES TRIBUTE SET FROM TOKYO @ AIR PT.2

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Satoshi Tomiie returned to Japan for a very special two evening tribute to Frankie Knuckles. Part One was Satoshi’s opening set for the evening and Part Two has a B3B set between Satoshi Tomiie, DJ Nori & Ko Kimura alternating two tracks at a time. Satoshi kicks off with Frankie Knuckle’s remix of Sound Of Blackness “Pressure” (which he performed drums, percussion and keyboard.)

Enjoy the second installment of the Frankie Knuckles tribute set from AIR Tokyo.

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07

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Satoeski

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07 Live from L’Aquila, Italy

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What a night at SET Action Stage in L’Aquila! Amazing setup at the club, sound system, crowd and everything. One of the best gigs from my ITALIA TOUR 2014, it’s definitely very worthy to be on the podcast. At this party I started my set with something kind of dark and moody, then slowly building up the energy to the next level. Only with the right combination of the club and crowd lets me do the right job.

Enjoy!

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Italian Radio DJ set

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I’m writing this from my hotel room in Rome, the night after my first ever Popup party. For anyone who doesn’t know, Popup is my new party concept where I play in small intimate rooms as a way to showcase my new sounds (I’ve been secretly building up a bank of new grooves for the past couple of years).

Last night’s Popup took place in a great little club called Circolo Degli Illuminati, and it was a really amazing party. About 400 people came down to dance with me, and I played all night for about five and half hours, taking them on a journey through deep, deep house, new melodies and rolling grooves.

I kept the pace slow, and played pretty much the whole night at 120 BPM which created a special kind of vibe. People seemed to really have fun! For a Tuesday night, the party was much crazier than I anticipated, and overall it was the PERFECT launch for Popup! I can’t wait for the next party.

I’m currently on a two week tour of Italy at the moment, and I’m really enjoying myself so I thought I’d give my fans a present! I recently recorded a one hour DJ set for an Italian radio station, and they broadcast it last week. Here is the set, so you can listen for yourself! The set includes one of my new tracks, Momento Magico, which will come out on SAW in the next few months.

Two more gigs to go on this Italy tour:

Friday April 13 2012
KING CLUB – Via Provinciale Pisana, 639/a – Livorno (LI) – Italy

Saturday April 14 2012
BLACK BUDDA – Via XII Ottobre, 182/Rosso – Genova (GE) – Italy

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Satoshi Tomiie’s Italy Tour: April 2012

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Italy is one of my favourite countries to DJ in. The crowd are always passionate and they really love partying, so I’m super excited about my tour of Italy this month.

I’ll be visiting Genova, Livorno, Torino, Terni, and Montesilvano, which are all great places to play at, as well as Rome, which will be particularly special as the capital will be hosting my first ever Popup party!

Here are the dates, and to my Italy friends, see you soon!

Friday April 6 2012
TOUCH – Via Vestina, 191 – 65015 Montesilvano (PE) – Italy

Saturday April 7 2012
ROTONDA DEL VALENTINO – Corso Massimo D’Azeglio, 11 – 10126 Torino (TO) – Italy

Sunday April 8 2012
QUEENCY – Via Del Sersimone, 9 – 05100 Terni (TR) – Italy

Tuesday April 10 2012
SECRET VENUE (POPUP PARTY) – Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1 – 00154 Roma (RM) Italy

Friday April 13 2012
KING CLUB – Via Provinciale Pisana, 639/a – Livorno (LI) – Italy

Saturday April 14 2012
BLACK BUDDA – Via XII Ottobre, 182/Rosso – Genova (GE) – Italy

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My new sound: a special podcast

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For the last few years I have been admittedly very quiet on the production front – I’ve only released a handful of remixes, and I’ve had no new original material out in a couple of years.

That’s because I decided to take a step back from production for a while and work on music just for myself. With a new dream studio in my New York City apartment finally built, and with no deadlines pressing me, my imagination has been running wild.

I’ve been working night and day on new music for the past few months, secretly building up a bank of house grooves, and in some way, these tracks represent a new direction for me: a new sound.

For those of you who will remember my earliest work, like my debut track ‘Tears’, this new direction won’t seem that ‘new’. But for those of you who know me from my ‘Love In Traffic’ days or beyond, this music will seem quite different to the tracks I made in that era.

How would I describe it? I would say it is a reinterpretation of my root music with a modern twist. I have gone back to my roots on the production side and have only been using a couple of drum machines and a few synths to build most of the tracks. It has been fun to work like that!

Overall, I wanted to play with the melodies and build suspense and energy through deep musical means.

So just for my fans, here is a live set that features some of my new tracks. This set was recorded live at Moroko Loco, a super underground party at a secret venue in Rabbat. It was a great party. The club was very intimate and personal, and I felt a lot of passion from the people. They really seemed to be there for the music. I hope you like the set.

PS Don’t ask for a tracklist! For now, I want my new tracks to remain in the dark, illuminated occasionally only by disco lights.

 

 

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Satoshi Tomiie: Autobrennt Podcast 038

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I was recently asked by the excellent guys over at Autobrennt to mix a podcast for them. Autobrennt 038 is actually a live recording from a DJ set that I played recently at Tokyo’s legendary Womb club.

That night it was my birthday celebration, and I played from opening until closing, so six hours in total. What you hear on the podcast is actually a two hour extraction from my favourite part of the set, when I took things from super deep into something next level. So the mix continues after the podcast ends but this is my favourite two hours.

Womb is not a small club, neither is it super big. The main room holds about 600 to 700 people, and it has an amazing Phazon soundsystem built by Steve Dash.

The people at Womb always know what to expect, and musically they are very educated. I can do whatever I want in there, and musically wherever I want to take them they always follow. That’s a very rare dancefloor situation, so it felt really special that night.

I hope you like the mix.

Download the mix from Autobrennt.

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Podcast: Satoshi Tomiie live @ Los Angeles’ Monday Social

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There is a dark, dream-like undercurrent on Satoshi Tomiie’s latest podcast, which is a live recording of his DJ set at Los Angeles’ infamous Monday Social club night.

The Japanese New Yorker DJed at LA’s longest running weekly last Monday, and the one and half hour recording from that night is enlightening for one important reason: Tomiie’s music selection goes far beyond current club music trends.

Whilst a lot of house and techno spinners tend to be over-influenced by what is going on around them – right now a lot of house DJs seem to be sucking on the teat of Visionquest, Jamie Jones, et al (and that’s not necessarily a bad thing) – Satoshi’s mix exists somewhere else entirely. Because of that, his set is refreshing, unique and absorbing.

The tracklist is a mystery for now, so what can we say about it? The groove sits somewhere in between drum-filled, Chicago-styled house, trippy, reductionist techno, and druggy, heads down percussion numbers.

Moments of sleaze, like jazzy saxophones and loose piano keys, collide and contrast beautifully with sections of techno-laced synths and minimal house rhythms.

There are even moments of sweeping, emotional female vocals, similar to the ethereal and haunting voices progressive house used to employ, except here they run over rolling tech house grooves and dirty basement funk instead.

There are also nods to the classic house era, with Tomiie working in recognisable accapellas over the top of futuristic electronic house thrillers, a reference to the early days of dance music, which Satoshi Tomiie was actually a part of (his first release.

All in all, it’s a energizing ride. Who said Monday nights were boring?

Listen / download Satoshi Tomiie’s mix from Monday Social here.

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How to write dance music part 3: Drum loops, percussion and melody

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New York house hero Satoshi Tomiie continues his dance music production tutorial series, with another insightful and educational lesson. This time the boss of SAW Recordings, who has produced electronic music since the late 1980′s, covers drum loops, percussion and melody.

Part 1 and Part 2 of your tutorial series covered kick drums and bass. Why do you always start writing your tracks with a kick drum and a bassline?

I get inspiration from a bassline and a good kick. I can’t just come up with hooks like a singer/songwriter. I usually start my tracks there, and then see how it goes.

Maybe it’s because I’m a DJ, but that’s how I produced from day one.

So what comes next?

Now comes the fun part! Actually, all of it is fun for me, but this is the part when your track really comes together.

After I’m happy with my bass and kick drums, next comes the other drum elements. Usually that will be some kind of hi hat, clap, and snare. I don’t go too crazy programming the drums at this stage as I think it’s important to leave some room to play later on.

Once I’ve got a basic drum arrangement looping, that’s when I’ll begin to add in percussion hits, and sometimes, percussion patterns.

By working this way, the idea is to try and build a basic groove with the drums and bass first, and then start slowly building your track up on top. If you have good foundation with the bass and kick drums, building a track up is usually fun and it will flow well. If you don’t have the right basic foundation, you will have a problem building up a track, and you’ll have to go back and rebuild the foundation again from scratch.

What do you do after you have a basic drum, percussion and bass loop going?

After the drums, bass and percussion, comes the keyboard parts and synths. It’s difficult to give advice about hooks or melodies as not all dance tracks have hooks or melodies and a lot of tracks today are more like drum tools – effective without being musical.

The hook is also probably the most difficult part of a track to write, but if you want melody in your dance track, it’s best to start programming it early on, around the same time that you’re building the kick drums and bass. Otherwise later you will find that there isn’t enough room for it to do its work.

Also, sometimes you just don’t need a melody. Dance music is designed to move people, and often you can be just as effective on a dancefloor by using really tight beats and a killer bassline. Sometimes a hook sounds too much.

What sort of synths do you use to write melody?

When I write melodies, I tend to use a different synth sound every time as I don’t like to repeat what I’ve done before. Inspiration can be limited for me if I use the same synths over and over. Some producers like to have their synths set up like a band – they always use the same synths and settings for every song – but unfortunately I can’t work like that. If I could, I could probably write my tracks 20 times faster!

I use the same kind of synths that I mentioned in my bass tutorial. I also sometimes use samples, like for instance piano samples – I’ve got some awesome ones of an actual electric piano. I also have a real Fender Rhodes electric piano but it’s quite bulky and takes up a lot of space in my studio so I don’t use it that often.

A lot of dance music producers aren’t classically trained musicians, but most will know that keys are important. What can you tell us about them?

In terms of keys, I like using flats as I think they sound better for dance music than sharps. My favourite keys are ones like C Minor, F Minor, G Minor, and B Flat Minor.

A lot of people have asked me in the past about tuning – how to tune your drums to a key, and I always tell them that it isn’t that crucial. If you strike a metal object, generally it doesn’t have a melodic pitch, at least not so much of a melodic pitch as to be recognisably melodic. Percussion for the most part has a pitch that is so unclear that you can get away with it on any key.

Of course, you have to use your ears – if something sounds like a key clash, you might have to pitch it up or down to make it fit better into the main key of a track. Sometimes the ambient noise of a drum loop will have a pitch, so that’s when you might have to pitch your drum loop up or down to make it fit better.

Also, sometimes it’s actually good to have something out of key too, like for instance, if you want to draw attention to a particular percussion hit.

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How To Write Dance Music Part 2: “Bass”

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In June, New York DJ/producer and Saw Recordings boss Satoshi Tomiie kicked off a new series of music production lessons with a note on the importance of ‘kick drums’.

Here in part 2 of his guide on how to write dance music the veteran house music producer discusses that most crucial element of club music: bass.

Let’s talk bass.

Bass is probably the most important part of a dance music track. Bass is a really important part of a song in general. It is fundamental along with the rhythm.

Since electronic music is played in an environment where bass is emphasized and music is played very loud, you generally hear bass with your whole body. Without a good kick drum or a killer bassline, your experience in a club would be much less enjoyable.

Since we listen to electronic music so loudly, it’s important that bass is placed in exactly the right way.

What are the rules?

Bass should always try to work in tandem with the drums and percussion, as the rhythm section is the foundation of a track.

For the relationship to work between bass and drums, it has to work in drum patterns. In the past, bass worked sometimes with the melody section of a song, but in recent times as bass sequencing has become more advanced it has become more used as a tool for working a dancefloor.

So bass should talk to your drums. It’s kind of like a harmony, not between notes, but it terms of timing and placement. Sonically as well, bass has to fit with the drums and percussion, and sound treatment, such as EQ and compression, is important here.

How do you create the perfect bassline?

There are so many ways to work with bass. I prefer to play my bass by hand. Some use a computer and a mouse to place bass notes on a sequencing grid. Others use arpeggiators. It’s really the choice of the producer.

How do you play bass “by hand”?

I use my fingers and a keyboard. Once I’ve picked my kick drum for a track and I’m happy with it (see Satoshi’s guide to creating the perfect kick drum) I play around with the sound and pattern of my bass on a keyboard.

It’s all about finding the right placement for the bass. Its relationship to the kick drum is very important as they occupy the same frequency range and if you’re not careful they can cancel each other out.

Sometimes the bassline can be the hook of the song, sometimes it’s really the support act. I don’t plan the process of my productions, I just go with the flow and sometimes basslines become melodic, and sometimes they are just sub notes.

You can also use multiple basslines to work together, but that’s not easy as you need to find the right balance. One tip – try marrying a mid range bass to a sub bass. That can work nicely.

When bass and kick drums play together you have to ensure that they don’t sonically cancel each other out, so you have to really play with the phases of the bass – where it peaks, where it dips, so it doesn’t ruin the kick drum. Ultimately though, you have to judge with your ears.

What do you mean by the bass and the kick drum can “cancel each other out”?

If you play a kick drum or a bassline by themselves, they sound fine. But sometimes when you play them together, you lose some of the bass due to a weird phasing effect.

Back in the days of vinyl, a record could actually sometimes skip due to the producer using stereo bass (for vinyl cutting purposes, it’s better if bass is in mono). The needles just couldn’t handle the phasing.

Interestingly, if you have perfectly out of phase bass, then you hear no bass at all. Sometimes you come across the occasional DJ booth where they have miswired the monitors and no matter how loud you turn it up you get no bass. That’s why I always go to soundcheck.

If you have a sub woofer in the studio, you might want to play around with the phasing switch at the back of the sub, as sometimes your sub bass actually takes the bass out of your studio due to the same reason.

Let’s talk gear. What equipment or software would you recommend for creating monstrous bass?

Over the years I’ve used a lot of gear. Keyboards wise, first there was the Roland MKS-70 aka the Super JX, which is the rackmount version of the JX-10.

I also still have a Roland JX-8P at my parents’ house which was one of my first ever synthesizers. Back in the early days of house Marshall Jefferson used that one a lot. His signature bass and pad sound actually came from the JX-8P.

I was so excited to find this machine because by the time I had even began making music this synth was already discontinued.

For my track ‘Tears’, that I made with Frankie Knuckles in 1989, I used the MKS-70. I still have the patch for that track at home.

I have to mention the Roland SH-101 too. I’ve got a Roland Juno-60 which I have used for a long time. The Roland Jupiter 8 is amazing but it’s massive.

I like my set up to be like an aeroplane cockpit, so I can reach everything without moving too much, so the Roland SH-101 is perfect.

For bass I like to have knobs and sliders to tweak a sound. The SH-101 is really fun to play with. These are the main machines that I’ve used over my career.

I always wanted a MiniMoog but I could never afford it so I only ever got to use one when I hired a studio. Eventually I bought a MiniMoog Voyager which combines the classic MiniMoog sound with the convenience of MIDI. I love it, it’s so phat!

So much of your music was made on hardware. What do you think of all the software that producers use today?

Let me tell you a story. Finnish producer Sasse, who runs the respected Mood Music label in Berlin, is known for his love of hardware, analogue gear, and synths. But when I met him he says that even though he owns all of that stuff, he still tends to use the digital emulators when he writes music.

He will only use the real, physical synths if he feels that the digital version isn’t as good. Very occasionally soft synths do not sound as good as the real thing, but a lot of the time, they do.

It’s nice to have everything analogue in your studio, but I remember the days of total recall and it was a pain in the ass. Mixing out of box is not as bad as it used to be.

What soft synths are you fond of?

Arturia’s plug ins are good for bass. Native Instruments’ FM8 is also good for bass, and at the moment that seems to be a ‘trendy bass’.

When choosing soft synths, I think it’s important to choose ones that are emulators of a real bass synthesizer. Arturia’s stuff is all software versions of real instruments.

I’m trying to go down the software emulator route. They’re not exactly the same as the hardware versions, but they’re good enough.

The fact is, physical synths are fun and awesome but they are quite annoying to use sometimes as you can’t recall sounds that you were working on previously and have to start all over again. But that’s what happens when you use circuits and wires to create electronic sounds.

Does EQ play an important role in bass?

I try to create bass that sounds good enough without any EQ effects so that I don’t have to go crazy later on with EQ.

Try to make your bass sound as good as possible without EQ. Sometimes bass can actually be too bassy, so a lot of the time I will use EQ to take away some bottom end if necessary.

My way of using EQ with bass is not to change the sound, but more to polish it. Sometimes you can’t tweak bass but you can add a little more bottom end or mid end. I only tweak the EQ when it is needed.

You said earlier that bass and kick drums have to work in tandem so as to not cancel each other out. Should bass be EQ’d above or below a kick drum?

A good tip is to peak the bass EQ and move it around the frequency range to find the sweet spot. Use your ears to find where it is most potent.

Also bass usually moves around the frequency range, whilst a kick generally stays at the same frequency.

You have to listen to both therefore, and tweak the EQ of both to avoid clashes. Sometimes I have to replace my kick drum as I find it doesn’t work with my bassline anymore.

One other thing – you can sample bass, but it is much better to control it with a synthesizer as EQ can only change so much. It’s about building the right sound from scratch rather than mashing an already existing sample into a hole it won’t fit.

Why is compression important for bass?

You need some experience with a compressor before you use one as it’s not the easiest thing to play with. It depends on the sound of a track, but generally bass improves with compression.

Sometimes after you’ve built a bassline in a track, one section will sound louder and one section will sound quieter. Compressors fix that problem – they equalize the level so it moulds better into the song.

Again you have to use your ears and must know what you’re doing. There is no universal rule for compressing bass. You have to discover when to use it.

I pretty much compress everything. Sometimes light, sometimes heavy, it depends on the sound. Some stuff doesn’t need compression at all. The universal rule in the studio is experiment and find your own way of using compressors.

What compressors do you use?

Actually my favourite just changed recently. My favourite is 6030 Ultimate Compressor, made my McDSP. This basically emulates a classic compressor, it sounds amazing, and is very easy to use. It’s also not very heavy on the processor so you can use a lot.

When choosing the right bass sound, there are often sound wave options, such as SAW or Square waves. Which one is best for club music?

Any sound wave works good for house music bass. SAW waves or square waves are the basic ones. Oscillators in modern synths can actually change anything into anything so it doesn’t matter too much which one you begin with.

Finally, how do you create a bassline that you can feel?

In clubs you feel sub bass. You can’t hear it though, but you can hear the highest frequency of a sub bass sometimes, which is the melodic part.

If you listen to a sub bass unit by itself, it’s just a muffled sound, you don’t really hear anything. Together with the music however, you can feel the bass.

Here’s an interesting fact about MP3s. In order to reduce file size most of the time MP3s actually remove frequencies below 10HZ and over 20KHZ. So MP3s lose their super sub bass and super highs. Human ears don’t just listen to what comes out of the speakers, they also hear things that you don’t consciously hear.

It’s like the same with dog whistles. Those high frequencies over 20K you can’t hear but they still affect you. MP3s get rid of those super high and super low elements to reduce file size, and that alters the sound. If I could, I would only play uncompressed files.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie and his love for Latin America

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Satoshi Tomiie recently completed a four week DJ tour of Latin America. Here in this exclusive monologue for Facebook, the label boss of Saw Recordings shares his DJ thoughts on the continent which, he says, is his favourite place in the world to tour. He also shares three big tunes that rocked his tour.

“Latin America is a very exciting place for travelling and DJing. I like its chaotic big cities, as they are always bustling.

From a DJing standpoint, the Latin American people love their electronic music and you always get a really good energy from the dancefloor.

I feel there is more give and take between the DJ booth and the dancefloor in Latin American nightclubs. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps it’s something to do with their unique culture. Latin America is a wild mix of peoples and cultures, and whenever cultures mix something interesting happens.

I’ve been going to Latin America for about 10 years as a DJ. Every year I return, the scene seems bigger and bigger. When I first went to Latin America, the scene was good, but it was still quite localised. Now it feels like a major continental movement. More and more people have got into electronic music in Latin America, and the opportunities for touring have increased a lot.

Argentina probably has the “most advanced” electronic music scene in the region because they’ve been into the music longer than all the other places. They also put on the biggest electronic music festivals – the Buenos Aires events are particularly spectacular.

Brazil also has a vibrant dance music scene, and it is probably the fastest growing one in Latin America.

There are also relatively new markets like Columbia and Guatemala which are fast changing. These countries are experiencing the same electronic music boom that has happened in many other countries across the world over the last 20 years.

Musically, Latin America is quite a different place compared with the rest of the world. Argentina especially, has its own sound and way of the dancefloor. In Argentina, they really appreciate deeper music so I can even play music at 122 BPMs in an arena for 5000 people when I start my set.

When I DJ, I love to start deep and build my set, but often I have to hold back as the bigger crowds require a higher energy. In Latin America, I can truly play whatever I want, regardless of how large the crowd is.

They go nuts for this music. The first time I played there it was like an epiphany. It felt like I was playing on a blank canvas, where you could experiment with sounds, and play incredibly deep music and slowly build your set over many hours.

It’s hard to not overstate how good this is for the DJ. For instance when I headline clubs in other countries, I generally have to start my set in third gear. There is always a warm up DJ before me, and by the time I begin my set people are already pumped up, and raring to go.

In Argentina though, I can build my set from first gear. Warm up DJs really understand how to warm up. Over the course of the night I then slowly shift up. That makes a huge difference to me as an artist. The open mindedness of the crowd in Latin America comes down to one simple fact: they truly value the journey of sound that DJs are capable of creating.

Every time I tour Latin America something crazy happens. This time, it was a volcano in Chile that caused me to miss two gigs (I told you Latin America was chaotic).

Some volcanic ash (check out the amazing photo!) prevented me from flying to Bolivia and Sao Paolo, so I ended up staying a few extra days in Buenos Aires. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those kind of situations.

I was actually lucky to get out of Buenos Aires in the end to make at least one gig in Brazil. Then I managed to fly to Chile a few days early for my gig there, to avoid all the volcanic ash problems around Buenos Aires. Above & Beyond, Kaskade, and the 16 Bit Lolitas all played on the same night which was different and fun. It doesn’t happen very often that I play alongside DJs like that.

Earlier on in the tour, I also managed to visit my favourite place in the entire world – Los Roques island. This is paradise for me. If I wasn’t a traveling DJ, I would never have found out about this amazing, off-the-beaten-path place.

Gigs wise, every one was quite special this time. The first gig in Venezuela was really good, and the two parties in Argentina were amazing. I played Pacha (now called Club Land) in Buenos Aires too, and as any DJ will tell you, it’s an extraordinary club to play.

The Brazilian party was fun too. The crowd was insanely good looking, as always. I don’t know how they do it, but Brazil always seem to have a gorgeous crowd. I was a little worried about what I would have to play, as really good looking crowds tend not to be hardcore electronic music fans, however I didn’t have to compromise on my music at all, amazingly.

My final gig in Guatemala was a great way to top it all off. And by the time I was on my a flight back to New York City I was already thinking about my next Latin American tour!”

(Interview by Terry Church, club photography by Agustin Carri Pérez)

Satoshi Tomiie’s Top 3 Latin American Tunes

Satoshi shares three dancefloor bombs that rocked his Latin American tour.

Deetron ‘Starblazer’ Rejected

It seems this has become a big summer tune. It has been in my sets since I got it, and it works everywhere I play it. It will be in my set all summer long probably.

Shlomi Aber ‘Slow Dancer’ (Wink Remix)

Another amazing Josh Wink work out. The arrangement is really impressive and towards the end of the song, he changed the vibe into something more musical – you can really listen to this outside of the dancefloor.

Frankie Knuckles Pres. Satoshi Tomiiie Feat. Robert Owens ‘Tears’ (Dyed Soundorom Revisited)

I’m not 100% sure if Dyed Soundorom did this remix himself, but I was hanging out at a party in NYC with all my friends and he played one track that sounded very familar. It was this. And I told him I needed to have it. Whoever did the remix, they did a really good job. They updated the original, but they still kept the classic vibe. They rearranged the structure and added some new beats. It was really cleverly done.

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How to write dance music: the kick drum

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Meticulous house producer Satoshi Tomiie is well known for his attention to detail. Ever since his magnificent debut single ‘Tears’, the 1989 house classic that he produced with the ‘Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie’s name has been synonymous with carefully crafted house goodness.

In a new series of interviews exclusive to Satoshi Tomiie’s Facebook page, the New York City producer, DJ, and label owner will share some studio tips, thought processes, and production tricks that he has acquired during a music career that stretches over 20 years.

Here in part one, Satoshi starts with that most basic element of dance music: the kick drum.

Where do you begin, when writing a new track?

I always start with the kick drums. It’s about finding the right sound firstly, and then changing that sound and tweaking it continuously, whilst you produce the music for the track.

The kick drum is the foundation of dance music, so this is the part that I spend the most amount of time on.

That’s quite surprising, that you always start with the kick drum.

I don’t have a formula for writing music, but basically, the kick and bass is the bottom foundation of a dance track and it always has been.

Back in the day, the kick originated from a drum machine, like the Roland TR-909 or 808 and slowly it moved into the sampler. The technology has changed, but really it’s still about the kick.

Is there really that much difference between one kick and the next?

Actually the tone of a kick drum changes quite significantly according to the vibe of a song. For example, if you take the kick from a rocky alternative track, and swap it with the kick from a techno track, the vibe of both songs will change completely. The aim is to find the appropriate kick drum for the song.

How many kick drum samples do you have?

I’ve collected countless samples of kick drums over the years. I try to not use the same kick drum more than once.

Why not?

If you use the same kick drum, the inspiration that you get from it can be limited. I’m always looking for new kicks. In fact, you could say my whole career has been about searching for the perfect kick drum.

Where do you get them from?

Sometimes I sample a kick from a record or a sample CD. Sometimes I’ll mix two kick drums together to create a new one, but that gets tricky as two different kick drums on top of each other can actually make the whole kick sound smaller as they cancel each other out.

It’s called phasing. The same thing happens if you wire a pair of stereo speakers backwards. It basically cancels out the bottom end. So when you layer kicks you have to tweak the phases on one kick drum so you feel both simultaneously.

So you’ve got your kick drum sorted, what’s next?

Well as I mentioned earlier, I continually tweak the kick whilst writing a track. Sometimes I will switch a kick half way through writing a track, or even when I’ve finished a track if I feel it’s not quite appropriate. I always go back and forth between the lower foundation of a track and the mid-range musical part, as well as the high end hi hats. It’s a balance really.

My tracks usually develop pretty organically. I will get the idea for how the track will go, as I write it. That could be a lead or a bassline, or the lyrics – it all happens when I write it.

Like sometimes I will set out wanting to write a deep house track, but the writing process will end up leading me to something else.

Why is that?

Some producers can easily adjust the style of music they want to do – you always hear of producers who just copy what’s currently hot. I can’t. My music just happens. Also, some people change their engineer when they want to change sounds, but because I do everything myself I can’t do that.

So your music happens quite naturally. Where does it lead after the kick drum?

After the kick, I put a beat together by adding snares and hi hats to build a loop. This is the easiest part for me.

It’s about finding the right sounds to go with the kick, and the right breaks too.

How long are your loops generally?

I tend to stick to a four bar or eight bar loop first, and then I will make the arrangement later. You’ve got to prepare your ingredients before you can cook, and to me, arranging a track is the cooking part.

Part two of Satoshi Tomiie’s guide to writing dance music will be on his Facebook page soon.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie & Hector Romero talk 10 years of Saw Recordings

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When Satoshi Tomiie and Hector Romero launched their New York City label Saw Recordings in 2001, they had simple aims. “The idea was to make an imprint so I could release my original productions, plus introduce new music from up and coming producers,” explains Satoshi. “Ultimately, we wanted it to become a home for quality dance music regardless of genre.”

In a scene that moves as swiftly as electronic music, it’s impressive that a decade on Saw Recordings is exactly what its founders hoped it would be. With a relatively compact discography of 78 releases, the imprint epitomises the mantra, somewhat lost in today’s digital music universe, that quality not quantity matters.

As such, Saw has become a champion for new dance music talent. Many of today’s most respected underground producers started out on Saw, including Jim Rivers, Guy Gerber, Audiofly’s Anthony Middleton, and Luca Bacchetti.

Even though the label has seen some major changes, including the rise of digital and the fall of vinyl, it has always remained true to its aims. “When we started out 10 years ago, we were pretty much a vinyl label,” says Saw’s co-founder Hector Romero. “Nowadays we’re a digital only label and like everyone else, we’ve had to change with the times, but we’re still about promoting great music and new artists, and building a brand. For us, it was never just about selling music.”

Saw Recordings’ 10th anniversary release ‘Edizione’ is a perfect example of the label’s continued commitment to new talent. With seven quality club cuts from new and experienced Saw artists, the extended EP is like a gallery for underrated electronic music heroes.

“Many of the producers featured on ‘Edizione’ are new, and all of them are really hungry to grow and gain exposure,” says Hector Romero. “They are Saw’s most important artists, and all of them are proper talent with good futures ahead of them.”

Satoshi Tomiie came up with the EP’s title during a dinner in Rome, as he explains, “We had a great bottle of wine called Edizione, which someone explained, was a mixture of all these various grapes, that when combined, tasted amazing. We had been searching for a title for the 10th anniversary EP, and it just made sense.”

Romero oversees A&R duties at Saw and was tasked with finding the tracks for ‘Edizione’, a process that took about six months. “A&R is what I love to do,” he says. “I love sitting at my computer and going through tons of promos and listening to the links that people send me. A&R is about finding that needle in a haystack, and when you do find that needle, it feels great.

“The haystack is so huge these days of course, but it has to be done. When Satoshi is cooped up in his studio working on music, I spend my time listening to all the promos that we get sent, and I try to respond to every producer who sends us their stuff.”

Part of the concept of ‘Edizione’ was freedom, as Satoshi explains: “Once we had found the producers that we wanted for the EP, we tried to be as open and free as possible. We didn’t want to restrict them by giving them a certain sound or feeling to reach in the studio, instead we gave them the freedom to do whatever they wanted for the release.”

The resulting record is a melting pot of uncompromising, underground club music. There are moments of techno awe (Toby Tobias), raw house grooves (Mabaan Soul), a punchy progressive/techno hybrid (Doomwork), blissful deep house (Matt Masters), hynotic, acid-infused melodic techno (Matthias Heilbronn and Joeski), and proper, four-to-the-floor NYC house (Mes and Mabaan Soul).

‘Edizione’ sums up the label’s approach in 2011 perfectly. In fact, it encapsulates Saw Recordings’ attitude towards music in general. And as cheesy as it sounds, it is heart warming to know that a decade on it is the label’s passion for quality dance music – above all else – that drives it into the future.

‘Edizione’: Track By Track

Saw Recordings’ Hector Romero guides us through the label’s 10th anniversary release.


Toby Tobias ’5AM’

This track was actually produced about three or four years ago. We had always really liked it, but were never sure about when to release it. We got in touch with Toby Tobias to ask it it was still available, and he did a special re-edit which we loved.

It’s one of those nice deep tracks that works just as well at an afterhours as it does early on in a set. I knew we had to have it, because there have been multiple times in the past when the track has come on on my iPod, and it was so good, I stopped what I was doing to find out its title.


Matthias Heilbronn, Joeski ‘My Fix’

Joeski and Matthias have been around in NYC for a few years now. They’re both great DJs, and Matthias is a great house producer. They recently started collaborating on some great music, and ‘My Fix’ is very old skool Chicago style with spoken words and a very trippy feel.

I fell in love with the track right away. We released this as a single in January, and it did very well so we felt it deserved to be in ‘Edizione’ too.


Mes ‘Back To Basics’ (Mabaan Soul Remix)

Mabaan Soul were always really into this track, which was originally produced by Satoshi under his Mes alias. They asked if they could have the parts, and their remix turned out really chunky, with a great shuffle groove.

It fitted perfectly with ‘Edizione’. Their remix works well on the floor, and Satoshi always gets a big reaction when he plays it out. It went down big time in Guendalina club in Southern Italy last year.


Luca Bear ‘Sierra Leone’

Luca Bear is starting to make some big noise, and he’s becoming a big Saw artist. He has had stuff out on Viva and other cool underground labels. He’s a great DJ too.

He lives in Northern Italy. I really like this mix. It’s definitely at forefront of cutting edge house. He just gave us two new tunes too, which we’re definitely going to sign.


Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’

Mabaan Soul are a duo from Italy who are young and have a bright future ahead of them. They’ve had a few releases out on Saw, and they have a very unique sound.

Their music is chunky and raw, with lots of drums and heavy beats, and they sound almost like how Todd Terry used to sound back in the day. This track ‘Yo’ is very in-your-face, it goes bang, like yo!


Doomwork ‘My Crooner’

This track has been sitting around for a couple of years with us. It has a little bit of a progressive house and tech house feeling. It’s very well produced and quite clean. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the release actually.

Doomwork are definitely on the up. We’ve had them warm up for us at gigs in Italy, and again, they’re important artists to Saw. They always let us hear their new stuff first, so we get first pickings on all of their releases.


Matt Masters ‘It’s Always Delayed’

Matt Masters is one of my favourite producers from London, that’s for sure. Matt is a talented guy, and his music is really deep.

His track for ‘Edizione’ is very well produced. The groove is tech house, and because it’s deep, it’s suitable for afterhours or starting a DJ set. It’s got these lush pad sounds in it, which are perfect for setting the mood of a party.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie’s new studio

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Saw Recordings’ Satoshi Tomiie recently finished building his dream studio in his apartment on Wall Street in New York City. With the new studio now fully operational, the house music veteran plans to release a plethora of new music in the coming months. We sat down with Satoshi to find out more about his new production base.

Tell us about your new studio.

It took me four years to build it. The reason it took so long is because I built the studio in my new apartment, and there was a lot of paperwork to do. I’ve never liked commercial studios and it was always my dream to build a studio in my apartment, so I could roll out of bed and produce music all day in my pajamas if I wanted to!

I’m really happy it’s finally finished! The studio is small but its dimensions were calculated exactly for acoustic perfection. I hired a studio designer to build it for me. He has built studios in NYC for 25 years, and his knowledge and expertise was amazing.

A studio inside your apartment sounds dangerous for your neighbors! Is it soundproofed?

We did our best to soundproof it. It’s completely self-contained, and because it’s a room within a room there’s a gap between the two walls which means not that much sound gets out. And the floor is floated on rubber feet, so the bass doesn’t travel at all and that’s the most annoying frequency for neighbors.

What gear have you got in there?

I’ve got a 55-inch TV monitor. I have a pair of Yamaha NS10 monitors and a pair of Adam S3A speakers with a sub. I’ve produced beats on the NS10s for years, so my ears are very tuned to their sound. I’ve been recommended Neumann speakers in the past, so I’d like to try out those sometime too.

Hardware wise, I’ve only got two synths in the studio. One is a Roland SH-101, which is a really simple analog synth that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and that’s really my go-to synth for writing quick basslines and melodies. The other is a Moog Voyager.

I use Ableton Live to write and arrange tracks, and then Pro Tools to mix it down. I know a lot of people who use Logic for everything, but Ableton works for me and I’m really used Pro Tools.

So these days you’re a plug in driven producer mainly – name some of your favourite plug ins.

My main plug ins come from Waves, and for instruments I’ve got some Arturia plug ins, including the Moog and ARP emulators. Native Instrument does some pretty cool stuff – I have their whole collection which is really great when you’re looking for a particular instrument.

Any caveats about the software approach?

I’ve noticed that if you have too many plug ins and sound choices, you spend too much time looking for a sound, when you should be spending that time creating and writing music. Also sounds and plug ins tend to move in trends in dance music, which is something I always try and avoid.

What do you mean by trends?

Even things like synth patches are affected by trends, and you’ll hear a whole lot of new music come out around the same time that all use the same patches. So it’s best not to jump on new patches and plug ins when they first come out. Things have definitely become so much easier with digital, but on the other hand there are too many choices for the producer today, and that includes plug ins.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #11 Live From Mexico City

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #10 – FRANKIE KNUCKLES TRIBUTE SET FROM TOKYO @ AIR PT.2

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Satoshi Tomiie returned to Japan for a very special two evening tribute to Frankie Knuckles. Part One was Satoshi’s opening set for the evening and Part Two has a B3B set between Satoshi Tomiie, DJ Nori & Ko Kimura alternating two tracks at a time. Satoshi kicks off with Frankie Knuckle’s remix of Sound Of Blackness “Pressure” (which he performed drums, percussion and keyboard.)

Enjoy the second installment of the Frankie Knuckles tribute set from AIR Tokyo.

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07

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Satoeski

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07 Live from L’Aquila, Italy

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What a night at SET Action Stage in L’Aquila! Amazing setup at the club, sound system, crowd and everything. One of the best gigs from my ITALIA TOUR 2014, it’s definitely very worthy to be on the podcast. At this party I started my set with something kind of dark and moody, then slowly building up the energy to the next level. Only with the right combination of the club and crowd lets me do the right job.

Enjoy!

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Satoshi Tomiie’s Italy Tour: April 2012

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Italy is one of my favourite countries to DJ in. The crowd are always passionate and they really love partying, so I’m super excited about my tour of Italy this month.

I’ll be visiting Genova, Livorno, Torino, Terni, and Montesilvano, which are all great places to play at, as well as Rome, which will be particularly special as the capital will be hosting my first ever Popup party!

Here are the dates, and to my Italy friends, see you soon!

Friday April 6 2012
TOUCH – Via Vestina, 191 – 65015 Montesilvano (PE) – Italy

Saturday April 7 2012
ROTONDA DEL VALENTINO – Corso Massimo D’Azeglio, 11 – 10126 Torino (TO) – Italy

Sunday April 8 2012
QUEENCY – Via Del Sersimone, 9 – 05100 Terni (TR) – Italy

Tuesday April 10 2012
SECRET VENUE (POPUP PARTY) – Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1 – 00154 Roma (RM) Italy

Friday April 13 2012
KING CLUB – Via Provinciale Pisana, 639/a – Livorno (LI) – Italy

Saturday April 14 2012
BLACK BUDDA – Via XII Ottobre, 182/Rosso – Genova (GE) – Italy

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How to write dance music part 3: Drum loops, percussion and melody

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New York house hero Satoshi Tomiie continues his dance music production tutorial series, with another insightful and educational lesson. This time the boss of SAW Recordings, who has produced electronic music since the late 1980′s, covers drum loops, percussion and melody.

Part 1 and Part 2 of your tutorial series covered kick drums and bass. Why do you always start writing your tracks with a kick drum and a bassline?

I get inspiration from a bassline and a good kick. I can’t just come up with hooks like a singer/songwriter. I usually start my tracks there, and then see how it goes.

Maybe it’s because I’m a DJ, but that’s how I produced from day one.

So what comes next?

Now comes the fun part! Actually, all of it is fun for me, but this is the part when your track really comes together.

After I’m happy with my bass and kick drums, next comes the other drum elements. Usually that will be some kind of hi hat, clap, and snare. I don’t go too crazy programming the drums at this stage as I think it’s important to leave some room to play later on.

Once I’ve got a basic drum arrangement looping, that’s when I’ll begin to add in percussion hits, and sometimes, percussion patterns.

By working this way, the idea is to try and build a basic groove with the drums and bass first, and then start slowly building your track up on top. If you have good foundation with the bass and kick drums, building a track up is usually fun and it will flow well. If you don’t have the right basic foundation, you will have a problem building up a track, and you’ll have to go back and rebuild the foundation again from scratch.

What do you do after you have a basic drum, percussion and bass loop going?

After the drums, bass and percussion, comes the keyboard parts and synths. It’s difficult to give advice about hooks or melodies as not all dance tracks have hooks or melodies and a lot of tracks today are more like drum tools – effective without being musical.

The hook is also probably the most difficult part of a track to write, but if you want melody in your dance track, it’s best to start programming it early on, around the same time that you’re building the kick drums and bass. Otherwise later you will find that there isn’t enough room for it to do its work.

Also, sometimes you just don’t need a melody. Dance music is designed to move people, and often you can be just as effective on a dancefloor by using really tight beats and a killer bassline. Sometimes a hook sounds too much.

What sort of synths do you use to write melody?

When I write melodies, I tend to use a different synth sound every time as I don’t like to repeat what I’ve done before. Inspiration can be limited for me if I use the same synths over and over. Some producers like to have their synths set up like a band – they always use the same synths and settings for every song – but unfortunately I can’t work like that. If I could, I could probably write my tracks 20 times faster!

I use the same kind of synths that I mentioned in my bass tutorial. I also sometimes use samples, like for instance piano samples – I’ve got some awesome ones of an actual electric piano. I also have a real Fender Rhodes electric piano but it’s quite bulky and takes up a lot of space in my studio so I don’t use it that often.

A lot of dance music producers aren’t classically trained musicians, but most will know that keys are important. What can you tell us about them?

In terms of keys, I like using flats as I think they sound better for dance music than sharps. My favourite keys are ones like C Minor, F Minor, G Minor, and B Flat Minor.

A lot of people have asked me in the past about tuning – how to tune your drums to a key, and I always tell them that it isn’t that crucial. If you strike a metal object, generally it doesn’t have a melodic pitch, at least not so much of a melodic pitch as to be recognisably melodic. Percussion for the most part has a pitch that is so unclear that you can get away with it on any key.

Of course, you have to use your ears – if something sounds like a key clash, you might have to pitch it up or down to make it fit better into the main key of a track. Sometimes the ambient noise of a drum loop will have a pitch, so that’s when you might have to pitch your drum loop up or down to make it fit better.

Also, sometimes it’s actually good to have something out of key too, like for instance, if you want to draw attention to a particular percussion hit.

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How To Write Dance Music Part 2: “Bass”

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In June, New York DJ/producer and Saw Recordings boss Satoshi Tomiie kicked off a new series of music production lessons with a note on the importance of ‘kick drums’.

Here in part 2 of his guide on how to write dance music the veteran house music producer discusses that most crucial element of club music: bass.

Let’s talk bass.

Bass is probably the most important part of a dance music track. Bass is a really important part of a song in general. It is fundamental along with the rhythm.

Since electronic music is played in an environment where bass is emphasized and music is played very loud, you generally hear bass with your whole body. Without a good kick drum or a killer bassline, your experience in a club would be much less enjoyable.

Since we listen to electronic music so loudly, it’s important that bass is placed in exactly the right way.

What are the rules?

Bass should always try to work in tandem with the drums and percussion, as the rhythm section is the foundation of a track.

For the relationship to work between bass and drums, it has to work in drum patterns. In the past, bass worked sometimes with the melody section of a song, but in recent times as bass sequencing has become more advanced it has become more used as a tool for working a dancefloor.

So bass should talk to your drums. It’s kind of like a harmony, not between notes, but it terms of timing and placement. Sonically as well, bass has to fit with the drums and percussion, and sound treatment, such as EQ and compression, is important here.

How do you create the perfect bassline?

There are so many ways to work with bass. I prefer to play my bass by hand. Some use a computer and a mouse to place bass notes on a sequencing grid. Others use arpeggiators. It’s really the choice of the producer.

How do you play bass “by hand”?

I use my fingers and a keyboard. Once I’ve picked my kick drum for a track and I’m happy with it (see Satoshi’s guide to creating the perfect kick drum) I play around with the sound and pattern of my bass on a keyboard.

It’s all about finding the right placement for the bass. Its relationship to the kick drum is very important as they occupy the same frequency range and if you’re not careful they can cancel each other out.

Sometimes the bassline can be the hook of the song, sometimes it’s really the support act. I don’t plan the process of my productions, I just go with the flow and sometimes basslines become melodic, and sometimes they are just sub notes.

You can also use multiple basslines to work together, but that’s not easy as you need to find the right balance. One tip – try marrying a mid range bass to a sub bass. That can work nicely.

When bass and kick drums play together you have to ensure that they don’t sonically cancel each other out, so you have to really play with the phases of the bass – where it peaks, where it dips, so it doesn’t ruin the kick drum. Ultimately though, you have to judge with your ears.

What do you mean by the bass and the kick drum can “cancel each other out”?

If you play a kick drum or a bassline by themselves, they sound fine. But sometimes when you play them together, you lose some of the bass due to a weird phasing effect.

Back in the days of vinyl, a record could actually sometimes skip due to the producer using stereo bass (for vinyl cutting purposes, it’s better if bass is in mono). The needles just couldn’t handle the phasing.

Interestingly, if you have perfectly out of phase bass, then you hear no bass at all. Sometimes you come across the occasional DJ booth where they have miswired the monitors and no matter how loud you turn it up you get no bass. That’s why I always go to soundcheck.

If you have a sub woofer in the studio, you might want to play around with the phasing switch at the back of the sub, as sometimes your sub bass actually takes the bass out of your studio due to the same reason.

Let’s talk gear. What equipment or software would you recommend for creating monstrous bass?

Over the years I’ve used a lot of gear. Keyboards wise, first there was the Roland MKS-70 aka the Super JX, which is the rackmount version of the JX-10.

I also still have a Roland JX-8P at my parents’ house which was one of my first ever synthesizers. Back in the early days of house Marshall Jefferson used that one a lot. His signature bass and pad sound actually came from the JX-8P.

I was so excited to find this machine because by the time I had even began making music this synth was already discontinued.

For my track ‘Tears’, that I made with Frankie Knuckles in 1989, I used the MKS-70. I still have the patch for that track at home.

I have to mention the Roland SH-101 too. I’ve got a Roland Juno-60 which I have used for a long time. The Roland Jupiter 8 is amazing but it’s massive.

I like my set up to be like an aeroplane cockpit, so I can reach everything without moving too much, so the Roland SH-101 is perfect.

For bass I like to have knobs and sliders to tweak a sound. The SH-101 is really fun to play with. These are the main machines that I’ve used over my career.

I always wanted a MiniMoog but I could never afford it so I only ever got to use one when I hired a studio. Eventually I bought a MiniMoog Voyager which combines the classic MiniMoog sound with the convenience of MIDI. I love it, it’s so phat!

So much of your music was made on hardware. What do you think of all the software that producers use today?

Let me tell you a story. Finnish producer Sasse, who runs the respected Mood Music label in Berlin, is known for his love of hardware, analogue gear, and synths. But when I met him he says that even though he owns all of that stuff, he still tends to use the digital emulators when he writes music.

He will only use the real, physical synths if he feels that the digital version isn’t as good. Very occasionally soft synths do not sound as good as the real thing, but a lot of the time, they do.

It’s nice to have everything analogue in your studio, but I remember the days of total recall and it was a pain in the ass. Mixing out of box is not as bad as it used to be.

What soft synths are you fond of?

Arturia’s plug ins are good for bass. Native Instruments’ FM8 is also good for bass, and at the moment that seems to be a ‘trendy bass’.

When choosing soft synths, I think it’s important to choose ones that are emulators of a real bass synthesizer. Arturia’s stuff is all software versions of real instruments.

I’m trying to go down the software emulator route. They’re not exactly the same as the hardware versions, but they’re good enough.

The fact is, physical synths are fun and awesome but they are quite annoying to use sometimes as you can’t recall sounds that you were working on previously and have to start all over again. But that’s what happens when you use circuits and wires to create electronic sounds.

Does EQ play an important role in bass?

I try to create bass that sounds good enough without any EQ effects so that I don’t have to go crazy later on with EQ.

Try to make your bass sound as good as possible without EQ. Sometimes bass can actually be too bassy, so a lot of the time I will use EQ to take away some bottom end if necessary.

My way of using EQ with bass is not to change the sound, but more to polish it. Sometimes you can’t tweak bass but you can add a little more bottom end or mid end. I only tweak the EQ when it is needed.

You said earlier that bass and kick drums have to work in tandem so as to not cancel each other out. Should bass be EQ’d above or below a kick drum?

A good tip is to peak the bass EQ and move it around the frequency range to find the sweet spot. Use your ears to find where it is most potent.

Also bass usually moves around the frequency range, whilst a kick generally stays at the same frequency.

You have to listen to both therefore, and tweak the EQ of both to avoid clashes. Sometimes I have to replace my kick drum as I find it doesn’t work with my bassline anymore.

One other thing – you can sample bass, but it is much better to control it with a synthesizer as EQ can only change so much. It’s about building the right sound from scratch rather than mashing an already existing sample into a hole it won’t fit.

Why is compression important for bass?

You need some experience with a compressor before you use one as it’s not the easiest thing to play with. It depends on the sound of a track, but generally bass improves with compression.

Sometimes after you’ve built a bassline in a track, one section will sound louder and one section will sound quieter. Compressors fix that problem – they equalize the level so it moulds better into the song.

Again you have to use your ears and must know what you’re doing. There is no universal rule for compressing bass. You have to discover when to use it.

I pretty much compress everything. Sometimes light, sometimes heavy, it depends on the sound. Some stuff doesn’t need compression at all. The universal rule in the studio is experiment and find your own way of using compressors.

What compressors do you use?

Actually my favourite just changed recently. My favourite is 6030 Ultimate Compressor, made my McDSP. This basically emulates a classic compressor, it sounds amazing, and is very easy to use. It’s also not very heavy on the processor so you can use a lot.

When choosing the right bass sound, there are often sound wave options, such as SAW or Square waves. Which one is best for club music?

Any sound wave works good for house music bass. SAW waves or square waves are the basic ones. Oscillators in modern synths can actually change anything into anything so it doesn’t matter too much which one you begin with.

Finally, how do you create a bassline that you can feel?

In clubs you feel sub bass. You can’t hear it though, but you can hear the highest frequency of a sub bass sometimes, which is the melodic part.

If you listen to a sub bass unit by itself, it’s just a muffled sound, you don’t really hear anything. Together with the music however, you can feel the bass.

Here’s an interesting fact about MP3s. In order to reduce file size most of the time MP3s actually remove frequencies below 10HZ and over 20KHZ. So MP3s lose their super sub bass and super highs. Human ears don’t just listen to what comes out of the speakers, they also hear things that you don’t consciously hear.

It’s like the same with dog whistles. Those high frequencies over 20K you can’t hear but they still affect you. MP3s get rid of those super high and super low elements to reduce file size, and that alters the sound. If I could, I would only play uncompressed files.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie and his love for Latin America

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Satoshi Tomiie recently completed a four week DJ tour of Latin America. Here in this exclusive monologue for Facebook, the label boss of Saw Recordings shares his DJ thoughts on the continent which, he says, is his favourite place in the world to tour. He also shares three big tunes that rocked his tour.

“Latin America is a very exciting place for travelling and DJing. I like its chaotic big cities, as they are always bustling.

From a DJing standpoint, the Latin American people love their electronic music and you always get a really good energy from the dancefloor.

I feel there is more give and take between the DJ booth and the dancefloor in Latin American nightclubs. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps it’s something to do with their unique culture. Latin America is a wild mix of peoples and cultures, and whenever cultures mix something interesting happens.

I’ve been going to Latin America for about 10 years as a DJ. Every year I return, the scene seems bigger and bigger. When I first went to Latin America, the scene was good, but it was still quite localised. Now it feels like a major continental movement. More and more people have got into electronic music in Latin America, and the opportunities for touring have increased a lot.

Argentina probably has the “most advanced” electronic music scene in the region because they’ve been into the music longer than all the other places. They also put on the biggest electronic music festivals – the Buenos Aires events are particularly spectacular.

Brazil also has a vibrant dance music scene, and it is probably the fastest growing one in Latin America.

There are also relatively new markets like Columbia and Guatemala which are fast changing. These countries are experiencing the same electronic music boom that has happened in many other countries across the world over the last 20 years.

Musically, Latin America is quite a different place compared with the rest of the world. Argentina especially, has its own sound and way of the dancefloor. In Argentina, they really appreciate deeper music so I can even play music at 122 BPMs in an arena for 5000 people when I start my set.

When I DJ, I love to start deep and build my set, but often I have to hold back as the bigger crowds require a higher energy. In Latin America, I can truly play whatever I want, regardless of how large the crowd is.

They go nuts for this music. The first time I played there it was like an epiphany. It felt like I was playing on a blank canvas, where you could experiment with sounds, and play incredibly deep music and slowly build your set over many hours.

It’s hard to not overstate how good this is for the DJ. For instance when I headline clubs in other countries, I generally have to start my set in third gear. There is always a warm up DJ before me, and by the time I begin my set people are already pumped up, and raring to go.

In Argentina though, I can build my set from first gear. Warm up DJs really understand how to warm up. Over the course of the night I then slowly shift up. That makes a huge difference to me as an artist. The open mindedness of the crowd in Latin America comes down to one simple fact: they truly value the journey of sound that DJs are capable of creating.

Every time I tour Latin America something crazy happens. This time, it was a volcano in Chile that caused me to miss two gigs (I told you Latin America was chaotic).

Some volcanic ash (check out the amazing photo!) prevented me from flying to Bolivia and Sao Paolo, so I ended up staying a few extra days in Buenos Aires. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those kind of situations.

I was actually lucky to get out of Buenos Aires in the end to make at least one gig in Brazil. Then I managed to fly to Chile a few days early for my gig there, to avoid all the volcanic ash problems around Buenos Aires. Above & Beyond, Kaskade, and the 16 Bit Lolitas all played on the same night which was different and fun. It doesn’t happen very often that I play alongside DJs like that.

Earlier on in the tour, I also managed to visit my favourite place in the entire world – Los Roques island. This is paradise for me. If I wasn’t a traveling DJ, I would never have found out about this amazing, off-the-beaten-path place.

Gigs wise, every one was quite special this time. The first gig in Venezuela was really good, and the two parties in Argentina were amazing. I played Pacha (now called Club Land) in Buenos Aires too, and as any DJ will tell you, it’s an extraordinary club to play.

The Brazilian party was fun too. The crowd was insanely good looking, as always. I don’t know how they do it, but Brazil always seem to have a gorgeous crowd. I was a little worried about what I would have to play, as really good looking crowds tend not to be hardcore electronic music fans, however I didn’t have to compromise on my music at all, amazingly.

My final gig in Guatemala was a great way to top it all off. And by the time I was on my a flight back to New York City I was already thinking about my next Latin American tour!”

(Interview by Terry Church, club photography by Agustin Carri Pérez)

Satoshi Tomiie’s Top 3 Latin American Tunes

Satoshi shares three dancefloor bombs that rocked his Latin American tour.

Deetron ‘Starblazer’ Rejected

It seems this has become a big summer tune. It has been in my sets since I got it, and it works everywhere I play it. It will be in my set all summer long probably.

Shlomi Aber ‘Slow Dancer’ (Wink Remix)

Another amazing Josh Wink work out. The arrangement is really impressive and towards the end of the song, he changed the vibe into something more musical – you can really listen to this outside of the dancefloor.

Frankie Knuckles Pres. Satoshi Tomiiie Feat. Robert Owens ‘Tears’ (Dyed Soundorom Revisited)

I’m not 100% sure if Dyed Soundorom did this remix himself, but I was hanging out at a party in NYC with all my friends and he played one track that sounded very familar. It was this. And I told him I needed to have it. Whoever did the remix, they did a really good job. They updated the original, but they still kept the classic vibe. They rearranged the structure and added some new beats. It was really cleverly done.

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How to write dance music: the kick drum

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Meticulous house producer Satoshi Tomiie is well known for his attention to detail. Ever since his magnificent debut single ‘Tears’, the 1989 house classic that he produced with the ‘Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie’s name has been synonymous with carefully crafted house goodness.

In a new series of interviews exclusive to Satoshi Tomiie’s Facebook page, the New York City producer, DJ, and label owner will share some studio tips, thought processes, and production tricks that he has acquired during a music career that stretches over 20 years.

Here in part one, Satoshi starts with that most basic element of dance music: the kick drum.

Where do you begin, when writing a new track?

I always start with the kick drums. It’s about finding the right sound firstly, and then changing that sound and tweaking it continuously, whilst you produce the music for the track.

The kick drum is the foundation of dance music, so this is the part that I spend the most amount of time on.

That’s quite surprising, that you always start with the kick drum.

I don’t have a formula for writing music, but basically, the kick and bass is the bottom foundation of a dance track and it always has been.

Back in the day, the kick originated from a drum machine, like the Roland TR-909 or 808 and slowly it moved into the sampler. The technology has changed, but really it’s still about the kick.

Is there really that much difference between one kick and the next?

Actually the tone of a kick drum changes quite significantly according to the vibe of a song. For example, if you take the kick from a rocky alternative track, and swap it with the kick from a techno track, the vibe of both songs will change completely. The aim is to find the appropriate kick drum for the song.

How many kick drum samples do you have?

I’ve collected countless samples of kick drums over the years. I try to not use the same kick drum more than once.

Why not?

If you use the same kick drum, the inspiration that you get from it can be limited. I’m always looking for new kicks. In fact, you could say my whole career has been about searching for the perfect kick drum.

Where do you get them from?

Sometimes I sample a kick from a record or a sample CD. Sometimes I’ll mix two kick drums together to create a new one, but that gets tricky as two different kick drums on top of each other can actually make the whole kick sound smaller as they cancel each other out.

It’s called phasing. The same thing happens if you wire a pair of stereo speakers backwards. It basically cancels out the bottom end. So when you layer kicks you have to tweak the phases on one kick drum so you feel both simultaneously.

So you’ve got your kick drum sorted, what’s next?

Well as I mentioned earlier, I continually tweak the kick whilst writing a track. Sometimes I will switch a kick half way through writing a track, or even when I’ve finished a track if I feel it’s not quite appropriate. I always go back and forth between the lower foundation of a track and the mid-range musical part, as well as the high end hi hats. It’s a balance really.

My tracks usually develop pretty organically. I will get the idea for how the track will go, as I write it. That could be a lead or a bassline, or the lyrics – it all happens when I write it.

Like sometimes I will set out wanting to write a deep house track, but the writing process will end up leading me to something else.

Why is that?

Some producers can easily adjust the style of music they want to do – you always hear of producers who just copy what’s currently hot. I can’t. My music just happens. Also, some people change their engineer when they want to change sounds, but because I do everything myself I can’t do that.

So your music happens quite naturally. Where does it lead after the kick drum?

After the kick, I put a beat together by adding snares and hi hats to build a loop. This is the easiest part for me.

It’s about finding the right sounds to go with the kick, and the right breaks too.

How long are your loops generally?

I tend to stick to a four bar or eight bar loop first, and then I will make the arrangement later. You’ve got to prepare your ingredients before you can cook, and to me, arranging a track is the cooking part.

Part two of Satoshi Tomiie’s guide to writing dance music will be on his Facebook page soon.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie & Hector Romero talk 10 years of Saw Recordings

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When Satoshi Tomiie and Hector Romero launched their New York City label Saw Recordings in 2001, they had simple aims. “The idea was to make an imprint so I could release my original productions, plus introduce new music from up and coming producers,” explains Satoshi. “Ultimately, we wanted it to become a home for quality dance music regardless of genre.”

In a scene that moves as swiftly as electronic music, it’s impressive that a decade on Saw Recordings is exactly what its founders hoped it would be. With a relatively compact discography of 78 releases, the imprint epitomises the mantra, somewhat lost in today’s digital music universe, that quality not quantity matters.

As such, Saw has become a champion for new dance music talent. Many of today’s most respected underground producers started out on Saw, including Jim Rivers, Guy Gerber, Audiofly’s Anthony Middleton, and Luca Bacchetti.

Even though the label has seen some major changes, including the rise of digital and the fall of vinyl, it has always remained true to its aims. “When we started out 10 years ago, we were pretty much a vinyl label,” says Saw’s co-founder Hector Romero. “Nowadays we’re a digital only label and like everyone else, we’ve had to change with the times, but we’re still about promoting great music and new artists, and building a brand. For us, it was never just about selling music.”

Saw Recordings’ 10th anniversary release ‘Edizione’ is a perfect example of the label’s continued commitment to new talent. With seven quality club cuts from new and experienced Saw artists, the extended EP is like a gallery for underrated electronic music heroes.

“Many of the producers featured on ‘Edizione’ are new, and all of them are really hungry to grow and gain exposure,” says Hector Romero. “They are Saw’s most important artists, and all of them are proper talent with good futures ahead of them.”

Satoshi Tomiie came up with the EP’s title during a dinner in Rome, as he explains, “We had a great bottle of wine called Edizione, which someone explained, was a mixture of all these various grapes, that when combined, tasted amazing. We had been searching for a title for the 10th anniversary EP, and it just made sense.”

Romero oversees A&R duties at Saw and was tasked with finding the tracks for ‘Edizione’, a process that took about six months. “A&R is what I love to do,” he says. “I love sitting at my computer and going through tons of promos and listening to the links that people send me. A&R is about finding that needle in a haystack, and when you do find that needle, it feels great.

“The haystack is so huge these days of course, but it has to be done. When Satoshi is cooped up in his studio working on music, I spend my time listening to all the promos that we get sent, and I try to respond to every producer who sends us their stuff.”

Part of the concept of ‘Edizione’ was freedom, as Satoshi explains: “Once we had found the producers that we wanted for the EP, we tried to be as open and free as possible. We didn’t want to restrict them by giving them a certain sound or feeling to reach in the studio, instead we gave them the freedom to do whatever they wanted for the release.”

The resulting record is a melting pot of uncompromising, underground club music. There are moments of techno awe (Toby Tobias), raw house grooves (Mabaan Soul), a punchy progressive/techno hybrid (Doomwork), blissful deep house (Matt Masters), hynotic, acid-infused melodic techno (Matthias Heilbronn and Joeski), and proper, four-to-the-floor NYC house (Mes and Mabaan Soul).

‘Edizione’ sums up the label’s approach in 2011 perfectly. In fact, it encapsulates Saw Recordings’ attitude towards music in general. And as cheesy as it sounds, it is heart warming to know that a decade on it is the label’s passion for quality dance music – above all else – that drives it into the future.

‘Edizione’: Track By Track

Saw Recordings’ Hector Romero guides us through the label’s 10th anniversary release.


Toby Tobias ’5AM’

This track was actually produced about three or four years ago. We had always really liked it, but were never sure about when to release it. We got in touch with Toby Tobias to ask it it was still available, and he did a special re-edit which we loved.

It’s one of those nice deep tracks that works just as well at an afterhours as it does early on in a set. I knew we had to have it, because there have been multiple times in the past when the track has come on on my iPod, and it was so good, I stopped what I was doing to find out its title.


Matthias Heilbronn, Joeski ‘My Fix’

Joeski and Matthias have been around in NYC for a few years now. They’re both great DJs, and Matthias is a great house producer. They recently started collaborating on some great music, and ‘My Fix’ is very old skool Chicago style with spoken words and a very trippy feel.

I fell in love with the track right away. We released this as a single in January, and it did very well so we felt it deserved to be in ‘Edizione’ too.


Mes ‘Back To Basics’ (Mabaan Soul Remix)

Mabaan Soul were always really into this track, which was originally produced by Satoshi under his Mes alias. They asked if they could have the parts, and their remix turned out really chunky, with a great shuffle groove.

It fitted perfectly with ‘Edizione’. Their remix works well on the floor, and Satoshi always gets a big reaction when he plays it out. It went down big time in Guendalina club in Southern Italy last year.


Luca Bear ‘Sierra Leone’

Luca Bear is starting to make some big noise, and he’s becoming a big Saw artist. He has had stuff out on Viva and other cool underground labels. He’s a great DJ too.

He lives in Northern Italy. I really like this mix. It’s definitely at forefront of cutting edge house. He just gave us two new tunes too, which we’re definitely going to sign.


Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’

Mabaan Soul are a duo from Italy who are young and have a bright future ahead of them. They’ve had a few releases out on Saw, and they have a very unique sound.

Their music is chunky and raw, with lots of drums and heavy beats, and they sound almost like how Todd Terry used to sound back in the day. This track ‘Yo’ is very in-your-face, it goes bang, like yo!


Doomwork ‘My Crooner’

This track has been sitting around for a couple of years with us. It has a little bit of a progressive house and tech house feeling. It’s very well produced and quite clean. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the release actually.

Doomwork are definitely on the up. We’ve had them warm up for us at gigs in Italy, and again, they’re important artists to Saw. They always let us hear their new stuff first, so we get first pickings on all of their releases.


Matt Masters ‘It’s Always Delayed’

Matt Masters is one of my favourite producers from London, that’s for sure. Matt is a talented guy, and his music is really deep.

His track for ‘Edizione’ is very well produced. The groove is tech house, and because it’s deep, it’s suitable for afterhours or starting a DJ set. It’s got these lush pad sounds in it, which are perfect for setting the mood of a party.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie’s new studio

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Saw Recordings’ Satoshi Tomiie recently finished building his dream studio in his apartment on Wall Street in New York City. With the new studio now fully operational, the house music veteran plans to release a plethora of new music in the coming months. We sat down with Satoshi to find out more about his new production base.

Tell us about your new studio.

It took me four years to build it. The reason it took so long is because I built the studio in my new apartment, and there was a lot of paperwork to do. I’ve never liked commercial studios and it was always my dream to build a studio in my apartment, so I could roll out of bed and produce music all day in my pajamas if I wanted to!

I’m really happy it’s finally finished! The studio is small but its dimensions were calculated exactly for acoustic perfection. I hired a studio designer to build it for me. He has built studios in NYC for 25 years, and his knowledge and expertise was amazing.

A studio inside your apartment sounds dangerous for your neighbors! Is it soundproofed?

We did our best to soundproof it. It’s completely self-contained, and because it’s a room within a room there’s a gap between the two walls which means not that much sound gets out. And the floor is floated on rubber feet, so the bass doesn’t travel at all and that’s the most annoying frequency for neighbors.

What gear have you got in there?

I’ve got a 55-inch TV monitor. I have a pair of Yamaha NS10 monitors and a pair of Adam S3A speakers with a sub. I’ve produced beats on the NS10s for years, so my ears are very tuned to their sound. I’ve been recommended Neumann speakers in the past, so I’d like to try out those sometime too.

Hardware wise, I’ve only got two synths in the studio. One is a Roland SH-101, which is a really simple analog synth that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and that’s really my go-to synth for writing quick basslines and melodies. The other is a Moog Voyager.

I use Ableton Live to write and arrange tracks, and then Pro Tools to mix it down. I know a lot of people who use Logic for everything, but Ableton works for me and I’m really used Pro Tools.

So these days you’re a plug in driven producer mainly – name some of your favourite plug ins.

My main plug ins come from Waves, and for instruments I’ve got some Arturia plug ins, including the Moog and ARP emulators. Native Instrument does some pretty cool stuff – I have their whole collection which is really great when you’re looking for a particular instrument.

Any caveats about the software approach?

I’ve noticed that if you have too many plug ins and sound choices, you spend too much time looking for a sound, when you should be spending that time creating and writing music. Also sounds and plug ins tend to move in trends in dance music, which is something I always try and avoid.

What do you mean by trends?

Even things like synth patches are affected by trends, and you’ll hear a whole lot of new music come out around the same time that all use the same patches. So it’s best not to jump on new patches and plug ins when they first come out. Things have definitely become so much easier with digital, but on the other hand there are too many choices for the producer today, and that includes plug ins.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #11 Live From Mexico City

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #10 – FRANKIE KNUCKLES TRIBUTE SET FROM TOKYO @ AIR PT.2

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Satoshi Tomiie returned to Japan for a very special two evening tribute to Frankie Knuckles. Part One was Satoshi’s opening set for the evening and Part Two has a B3B set between Satoshi Tomiie, DJ Nori & Ko Kimura alternating two tracks at a time. Satoshi kicks off with Frankie Knuckle’s remix of Sound Of Blackness “Pressure” (which he performed drums, percussion and keyboard.)

Enjoy the second installment of the Frankie Knuckles tribute set from AIR Tokyo.

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07 Live from L’Aquila, Italy

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What a night at SET Action Stage in L’Aquila! Amazing setup at the club, sound system, crowd and everything. One of the best gigs from my ITALIA TOUR 2014, it’s definitely very worthy to be on the podcast. At this party I started my set with something kind of dark and moody, then slowly building up the energy to the next level. Only with the right combination of the club and crowd lets me do the right job.

Enjoy!

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Satoshi Tomiie’s Italy Tour: April 2012

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Italy is one of my favourite countries to DJ in. The crowd are always passionate and they really love partying, so I’m super excited about my tour of Italy this month.

I’ll be visiting Genova, Livorno, Torino, Terni, and Montesilvano, which are all great places to play at, as well as Rome, which will be particularly special as the capital will be hosting my first ever Popup party!

Here are the dates, and to my Italy friends, see you soon!

Friday April 6 2012
TOUCH – Via Vestina, 191 – 65015 Montesilvano (PE) – Italy

Saturday April 7 2012
ROTONDA DEL VALENTINO – Corso Massimo D’Azeglio, 11 – 10126 Torino (TO) – Italy

Sunday April 8 2012
QUEENCY – Via Del Sersimone, 9 – 05100 Terni (TR) – Italy

Tuesday April 10 2012
SECRET VENUE (POPUP PARTY) – Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1 – 00154 Roma (RM) Italy

Friday April 13 2012
KING CLUB – Via Provinciale Pisana, 639/a – Livorno (LI) – Italy

Saturday April 14 2012
BLACK BUDDA – Via XII Ottobre, 182/Rosso – Genova (GE) – Italy

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DJ Chart: Satoshi Tomiie’s Winter Bombs

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Here are my favourite 10 club tracks of the moment, which I’ve filtered for releases that are available on Beatport.

All of these tracks are on Beatport including Guti’s ‘Keep It’ which features a remix from me – my first track in two years!


SLG ‘I Love You But I’ve Chosen Disco’ (Axel Bowman Remix) [Pets Recordings]


Tough dirty electronic house with disco sprinkles and plenty of weirdness from the Polish producer.


Glimpse, Martin Dawson ‘Wildlife’ (Instrumental) [Leftroom Limited]

I’ve been playing both the instrumental and the vocal version of this great old school sounding house track. Love the beat structure and the epic synths on this.


Martin Dawson ‘Think About It feat. Nicholas Ryan Gant’ (Maceo Plex Remix) [Pets Recordings]

I really like Maceo Plex’ super-slow deep house grooves. This track is full of deep melodies, but at the same time it’s pretty underground.


T Ski Valley ‘Catch The Beat’ (Deetron Rollerskate Instrumental) [Peppermint Jam]

Deetron shows off his versatility here, with a groovy filtered disco jam for late sleazy nights in basements.


Jonny Rock, Luke Solomon ‘Megamixx (Mr. G’s Movin’ Remix)’ [Disco 45]

Mr. G’s music is always smart and dancefloor focused. This is deep funky techno.


Felipe Venegas, Felipe Valenzuela ‘Troia’ [Melisma]

Melisma is a label run by Cadenza contributor Dani Casarano. It always puts out quality tech house. This track is typically dark and moving. I’m currently working on a collaboration with Dani.


Guti ‘Keep It’ (Satoshi Tomiie Remix) [SAW]

‘Keep It’ is one of the biggest tracks of the year for me, from my good friend Guti. It’s got a great piano line in it, which is perfect for me. I had to remix it. This is my first production from my new studio which I built in New York. Finally, some new music from me!


Jay Shepheard ‘Fuzzy Border’ [Electric Minds]

This is an old school house track with UK garage vocals and keys. Go figure! I always love these nods to classic sounds, if they bring something fresh to the groove.


Joakim ‘Find A Way’ (Soul Clap Remix) [Tigersushi]

This is something completely different. Warm melancholic pop with beautiful melodies and vocals, the track suddenly kicks off into driving electronic epic house. One for the end of the night.

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How to write dance music part 3: Drum loops, percussion and melody

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New York house hero Satoshi Tomiie continues his dance music production tutorial series, with another insightful and educational lesson. This time the boss of SAW Recordings, who has produced electronic music since the late 1980′s, covers drum loops, percussion and melody.

Part 1 and Part 2 of your tutorial series covered kick drums and bass. Why do you always start writing your tracks with a kick drum and a bassline?

I get inspiration from a bassline and a good kick. I can’t just come up with hooks like a singer/songwriter. I usually start my tracks there, and then see how it goes.

Maybe it’s because I’m a DJ, but that’s how I produced from day one.

So what comes next?

Now comes the fun part! Actually, all of it is fun for me, but this is the part when your track really comes together.

After I’m happy with my bass and kick drums, next comes the other drum elements. Usually that will be some kind of hi hat, clap, and snare. I don’t go too crazy programming the drums at this stage as I think it’s important to leave some room to play later on.

Once I’ve got a basic drum arrangement looping, that’s when I’ll begin to add in percussion hits, and sometimes, percussion patterns.

By working this way, the idea is to try and build a basic groove with the drums and bass first, and then start slowly building your track up on top. If you have good foundation with the bass and kick drums, building a track up is usually fun and it will flow well. If you don’t have the right basic foundation, you will have a problem building up a track, and you’ll have to go back and rebuild the foundation again from scratch.

What do you do after you have a basic drum, percussion and bass loop going?

After the drums, bass and percussion, comes the keyboard parts and synths. It’s difficult to give advice about hooks or melodies as not all dance tracks have hooks or melodies and a lot of tracks today are more like drum tools – effective without being musical.

The hook is also probably the most difficult part of a track to write, but if you want melody in your dance track, it’s best to start programming it early on, around the same time that you’re building the kick drums and bass. Otherwise later you will find that there isn’t enough room for it to do its work.

Also, sometimes you just don’t need a melody. Dance music is designed to move people, and often you can be just as effective on a dancefloor by using really tight beats and a killer bassline. Sometimes a hook sounds too much.

What sort of synths do you use to write melody?

When I write melodies, I tend to use a different synth sound every time as I don’t like to repeat what I’ve done before. Inspiration can be limited for me if I use the same synths over and over. Some producers like to have their synths set up like a band – they always use the same synths and settings for every song – but unfortunately I can’t work like that. If I could, I could probably write my tracks 20 times faster!

I use the same kind of synths that I mentioned in my bass tutorial. I also sometimes use samples, like for instance piano samples – I’ve got some awesome ones of an actual electric piano. I also have a real Fender Rhodes electric piano but it’s quite bulky and takes up a lot of space in my studio so I don’t use it that often.

A lot of dance music producers aren’t classically trained musicians, but most will know that keys are important. What can you tell us about them?

In terms of keys, I like using flats as I think they sound better for dance music than sharps. My favourite keys are ones like C Minor, F Minor, G Minor, and B Flat Minor.

A lot of people have asked me in the past about tuning – how to tune your drums to a key, and I always tell them that it isn’t that crucial. If you strike a metal object, generally it doesn’t have a melodic pitch, at least not so much of a melodic pitch as to be recognisably melodic. Percussion for the most part has a pitch that is so unclear that you can get away with it on any key.

Of course, you have to use your ears – if something sounds like a key clash, you might have to pitch it up or down to make it fit better into the main key of a track. Sometimes the ambient noise of a drum loop will have a pitch, so that’s when you might have to pitch your drum loop up or down to make it fit better.

Also, sometimes it’s actually good to have something out of key too, like for instance, if you want to draw attention to a particular percussion hit.

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How To Write Dance Music Part 2: “Bass”

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In June, New York DJ/producer and Saw Recordings boss Satoshi Tomiie kicked off a new series of music production lessons with a note on the importance of ‘kick drums’.

Here in part 2 of his guide on how to write dance music the veteran house music producer discusses that most crucial element of club music: bass.

Let’s talk bass.

Bass is probably the most important part of a dance music track. Bass is a really important part of a song in general. It is fundamental along with the rhythm.

Since electronic music is played in an environment where bass is emphasized and music is played very loud, you generally hear bass with your whole body. Without a good kick drum or a killer bassline, your experience in a club would be much less enjoyable.

Since we listen to electronic music so loudly, it’s important that bass is placed in exactly the right way.

What are the rules?

Bass should always try to work in tandem with the drums and percussion, as the rhythm section is the foundation of a track.

For the relationship to work between bass and drums, it has to work in drum patterns. In the past, bass worked sometimes with the melody section of a song, but in recent times as bass sequencing has become more advanced it has become more used as a tool for working a dancefloor.

So bass should talk to your drums. It’s kind of like a harmony, not between notes, but it terms of timing and placement. Sonically as well, bass has to fit with the drums and percussion, and sound treatment, such as EQ and compression, is important here.

How do you create the perfect bassline?

There are so many ways to work with bass. I prefer to play my bass by hand. Some use a computer and a mouse to place bass notes on a sequencing grid. Others use arpeggiators. It’s really the choice of the producer.

How do you play bass “by hand”?

I use my fingers and a keyboard. Once I’ve picked my kick drum for a track and I’m happy with it (see Satoshi’s guide to creating the perfect kick drum) I play around with the sound and pattern of my bass on a keyboard.

It’s all about finding the right placement for the bass. Its relationship to the kick drum is very important as they occupy the same frequency range and if you’re not careful they can cancel each other out.

Sometimes the bassline can be the hook of the song, sometimes it’s really the support act. I don’t plan the process of my productions, I just go with the flow and sometimes basslines become melodic, and sometimes they are just sub notes.

You can also use multiple basslines to work together, but that’s not easy as you need to find the right balance. One tip – try marrying a mid range bass to a sub bass. That can work nicely.

When bass and kick drums play together you have to ensure that they don’t sonically cancel each other out, so you have to really play with the phases of the bass – where it peaks, where it dips, so it doesn’t ruin the kick drum. Ultimately though, you have to judge with your ears.

What do you mean by the bass and the kick drum can “cancel each other out”?

If you play a kick drum or a bassline by themselves, they sound fine. But sometimes when you play them together, you lose some of the bass due to a weird phasing effect.

Back in the days of vinyl, a record could actually sometimes skip due to the producer using stereo bass (for vinyl cutting purposes, it’s better if bass is in mono). The needles just couldn’t handle the phasing.

Interestingly, if you have perfectly out of phase bass, then you hear no bass at all. Sometimes you come across the occasional DJ booth where they have miswired the monitors and no matter how loud you turn it up you get no bass. That’s why I always go to soundcheck.

If you have a sub woofer in the studio, you might want to play around with the phasing switch at the back of the sub, as sometimes your sub bass actually takes the bass out of your studio due to the same reason.

Let’s talk gear. What equipment or software would you recommend for creating monstrous bass?

Over the years I’ve used a lot of gear. Keyboards wise, first there was the Roland MKS-70 aka the Super JX, which is the rackmount version of the JX-10.

I also still have a Roland JX-8P at my parents’ house which was one of my first ever synthesizers. Back in the early days of house Marshall Jefferson used that one a lot. His signature bass and pad sound actually came from the JX-8P.

I was so excited to find this machine because by the time I had even began making music this synth was already discontinued.

For my track ‘Tears’, that I made with Frankie Knuckles in 1989, I used the MKS-70. I still have the patch for that track at home.

I have to mention the Roland SH-101 too. I’ve got a Roland Juno-60 which I have used for a long time. The Roland Jupiter 8 is amazing but it’s massive.

I like my set up to be like an aeroplane cockpit, so I can reach everything without moving too much, so the Roland SH-101 is perfect.

For bass I like to have knobs and sliders to tweak a sound. The SH-101 is really fun to play with. These are the main machines that I’ve used over my career.

I always wanted a MiniMoog but I could never afford it so I only ever got to use one when I hired a studio. Eventually I bought a MiniMoog Voyager which combines the classic MiniMoog sound with the convenience of MIDI. I love it, it’s so phat!

So much of your music was made on hardware. What do you think of all the software that producers use today?

Let me tell you a story. Finnish producer Sasse, who runs the respected Mood Music label in Berlin, is known for his love of hardware, analogue gear, and synths. But when I met him he says that even though he owns all of that stuff, he still tends to use the digital emulators when he writes music.

He will only use the real, physical synths if he feels that the digital version isn’t as good. Very occasionally soft synths do not sound as good as the real thing, but a lot of the time, they do.

It’s nice to have everything analogue in your studio, but I remember the days of total recall and it was a pain in the ass. Mixing out of box is not as bad as it used to be.

What soft synths are you fond of?

Arturia’s plug ins are good for bass. Native Instruments’ FM8 is also good for bass, and at the moment that seems to be a ‘trendy bass’.

When choosing soft synths, I think it’s important to choose ones that are emulators of a real bass synthesizer. Arturia’s stuff is all software versions of real instruments.

I’m trying to go down the software emulator route. They’re not exactly the same as the hardware versions, but they’re good enough.

The fact is, physical synths are fun and awesome but they are quite annoying to use sometimes as you can’t recall sounds that you were working on previously and have to start all over again. But that’s what happens when you use circuits and wires to create electronic sounds.

Does EQ play an important role in bass?

I try to create bass that sounds good enough without any EQ effects so that I don’t have to go crazy later on with EQ.

Try to make your bass sound as good as possible without EQ. Sometimes bass can actually be too bassy, so a lot of the time I will use EQ to take away some bottom end if necessary.

My way of using EQ with bass is not to change the sound, but more to polish it. Sometimes you can’t tweak bass but you can add a little more bottom end or mid end. I only tweak the EQ when it is needed.

You said earlier that bass and kick drums have to work in tandem so as to not cancel each other out. Should bass be EQ’d above or below a kick drum?

A good tip is to peak the bass EQ and move it around the frequency range to find the sweet spot. Use your ears to find where it is most potent.

Also bass usually moves around the frequency range, whilst a kick generally stays at the same frequency.

You have to listen to both therefore, and tweak the EQ of both to avoid clashes. Sometimes I have to replace my kick drum as I find it doesn’t work with my bassline anymore.

One other thing – you can sample bass, but it is much better to control it with a synthesizer as EQ can only change so much. It’s about building the right sound from scratch rather than mashing an already existing sample into a hole it won’t fit.

Why is compression important for bass?

You need some experience with a compressor before you use one as it’s not the easiest thing to play with. It depends on the sound of a track, but generally bass improves with compression.

Sometimes after you’ve built a bassline in a track, one section will sound louder and one section will sound quieter. Compressors fix that problem – they equalize the level so it moulds better into the song.

Again you have to use your ears and must know what you’re doing. There is no universal rule for compressing bass. You have to discover when to use it.

I pretty much compress everything. Sometimes light, sometimes heavy, it depends on the sound. Some stuff doesn’t need compression at all. The universal rule in the studio is experiment and find your own way of using compressors.

What compressors do you use?

Actually my favourite just changed recently. My favourite is 6030 Ultimate Compressor, made my McDSP. This basically emulates a classic compressor, it sounds amazing, and is very easy to use. It’s also not very heavy on the processor so you can use a lot.

When choosing the right bass sound, there are often sound wave options, such as SAW or Square waves. Which one is best for club music?

Any sound wave works good for house music bass. SAW waves or square waves are the basic ones. Oscillators in modern synths can actually change anything into anything so it doesn’t matter too much which one you begin with.

Finally, how do you create a bassline that you can feel?

In clubs you feel sub bass. You can’t hear it though, but you can hear the highest frequency of a sub bass sometimes, which is the melodic part.

If you listen to a sub bass unit by itself, it’s just a muffled sound, you don’t really hear anything. Together with the music however, you can feel the bass.

Here’s an interesting fact about MP3s. In order to reduce file size most of the time MP3s actually remove frequencies below 10HZ and over 20KHZ. So MP3s lose their super sub bass and super highs. Human ears don’t just listen to what comes out of the speakers, they also hear things that you don’t consciously hear.

It’s like the same with dog whistles. Those high frequencies over 20K you can’t hear but they still affect you. MP3s get rid of those super high and super low elements to reduce file size, and that alters the sound. If I could, I would only play uncompressed files.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie and his love for Latin America

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Satoshi Tomiie recently completed a four week DJ tour of Latin America. Here in this exclusive monologue for Facebook, the label boss of Saw Recordings shares his DJ thoughts on the continent which, he says, is his favourite place in the world to tour. He also shares three big tunes that rocked his tour.

“Latin America is a very exciting place for travelling and DJing. I like its chaotic big cities, as they are always bustling.

From a DJing standpoint, the Latin American people love their electronic music and you always get a really good energy from the dancefloor.

I feel there is more give and take between the DJ booth and the dancefloor in Latin American nightclubs. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps it’s something to do with their unique culture. Latin America is a wild mix of peoples and cultures, and whenever cultures mix something interesting happens.

I’ve been going to Latin America for about 10 years as a DJ. Every year I return, the scene seems bigger and bigger. When I first went to Latin America, the scene was good, but it was still quite localised. Now it feels like a major continental movement. More and more people have got into electronic music in Latin America, and the opportunities for touring have increased a lot.

Argentina probably has the “most advanced” electronic music scene in the region because they’ve been into the music longer than all the other places. They also put on the biggest electronic music festivals – the Buenos Aires events are particularly spectacular.

Brazil also has a vibrant dance music scene, and it is probably the fastest growing one in Latin America.

There are also relatively new markets like Columbia and Guatemala which are fast changing. These countries are experiencing the same electronic music boom that has happened in many other countries across the world over the last 20 years.

Musically, Latin America is quite a different place compared with the rest of the world. Argentina especially, has its own sound and way of the dancefloor. In Argentina, they really appreciate deeper music so I can even play music at 122 BPMs in an arena for 5000 people when I start my set.

When I DJ, I love to start deep and build my set, but often I have to hold back as the bigger crowds require a higher energy. In Latin America, I can truly play whatever I want, regardless of how large the crowd is.

They go nuts for this music. The first time I played there it was like an epiphany. It felt like I was playing on a blank canvas, where you could experiment with sounds, and play incredibly deep music and slowly build your set over many hours.

It’s hard to not overstate how good this is for the DJ. For instance when I headline clubs in other countries, I generally have to start my set in third gear. There is always a warm up DJ before me, and by the time I begin my set people are already pumped up, and raring to go.

In Argentina though, I can build my set from first gear. Warm up DJs really understand how to warm up. Over the course of the night I then slowly shift up. That makes a huge difference to me as an artist. The open mindedness of the crowd in Latin America comes down to one simple fact: they truly value the journey of sound that DJs are capable of creating.

Every time I tour Latin America something crazy happens. This time, it was a volcano in Chile that caused me to miss two gigs (I told you Latin America was chaotic).

Some volcanic ash (check out the amazing photo!) prevented me from flying to Bolivia and Sao Paolo, so I ended up staying a few extra days in Buenos Aires. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those kind of situations.

I was actually lucky to get out of Buenos Aires in the end to make at least one gig in Brazil. Then I managed to fly to Chile a few days early for my gig there, to avoid all the volcanic ash problems around Buenos Aires. Above & Beyond, Kaskade, and the 16 Bit Lolitas all played on the same night which was different and fun. It doesn’t happen very often that I play alongside DJs like that.

Earlier on in the tour, I also managed to visit my favourite place in the entire world – Los Roques island. This is paradise for me. If I wasn’t a traveling DJ, I would never have found out about this amazing, off-the-beaten-path place.

Gigs wise, every one was quite special this time. The first gig in Venezuela was really good, and the two parties in Argentina were amazing. I played Pacha (now called Club Land) in Buenos Aires too, and as any DJ will tell you, it’s an extraordinary club to play.

The Brazilian party was fun too. The crowd was insanely good looking, as always. I don’t know how they do it, but Brazil always seem to have a gorgeous crowd. I was a little worried about what I would have to play, as really good looking crowds tend not to be hardcore electronic music fans, however I didn’t have to compromise on my music at all, amazingly.

My final gig in Guatemala was a great way to top it all off. And by the time I was on my a flight back to New York City I was already thinking about my next Latin American tour!”

(Interview by Terry Church, club photography by Agustin Carri Pérez)

Satoshi Tomiie’s Top 3 Latin American Tunes

Satoshi shares three dancefloor bombs that rocked his Latin American tour.

Deetron ‘Starblazer’ Rejected

It seems this has become a big summer tune. It has been in my sets since I got it, and it works everywhere I play it. It will be in my set all summer long probably.

Shlomi Aber ‘Slow Dancer’ (Wink Remix)

Another amazing Josh Wink work out. The arrangement is really impressive and towards the end of the song, he changed the vibe into something more musical – you can really listen to this outside of the dancefloor.

Frankie Knuckles Pres. Satoshi Tomiiie Feat. Robert Owens ‘Tears’ (Dyed Soundorom Revisited)

I’m not 100% sure if Dyed Soundorom did this remix himself, but I was hanging out at a party in NYC with all my friends and he played one track that sounded very familar. It was this. And I told him I needed to have it. Whoever did the remix, they did a really good job. They updated the original, but they still kept the classic vibe. They rearranged the structure and added some new beats. It was really cleverly done.

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How to write dance music: the kick drum

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Meticulous house producer Satoshi Tomiie is well known for his attention to detail. Ever since his magnificent debut single ‘Tears’, the 1989 house classic that he produced with the ‘Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie’s name has been synonymous with carefully crafted house goodness.

In a new series of interviews exclusive to Satoshi Tomiie’s Facebook page, the New York City producer, DJ, and label owner will share some studio tips, thought processes, and production tricks that he has acquired during a music career that stretches over 20 years.

Here in part one, Satoshi starts with that most basic element of dance music: the kick drum.

Where do you begin, when writing a new track?

I always start with the kick drums. It’s about finding the right sound firstly, and then changing that sound and tweaking it continuously, whilst you produce the music for the track.

The kick drum is the foundation of dance music, so this is the part that I spend the most amount of time on.

That’s quite surprising, that you always start with the kick drum.

I don’t have a formula for writing music, but basically, the kick and bass is the bottom foundation of a dance track and it always has been.

Back in the day, the kick originated from a drum machine, like the Roland TR-909 or 808 and slowly it moved into the sampler. The technology has changed, but really it’s still about the kick.

Is there really that much difference between one kick and the next?

Actually the tone of a kick drum changes quite significantly according to the vibe of a song. For example, if you take the kick from a rocky alternative track, and swap it with the kick from a techno track, the vibe of both songs will change completely. The aim is to find the appropriate kick drum for the song.

How many kick drum samples do you have?

I’ve collected countless samples of kick drums over the years. I try to not use the same kick drum more than once.

Why not?

If you use the same kick drum, the inspiration that you get from it can be limited. I’m always looking for new kicks. In fact, you could say my whole career has been about searching for the perfect kick drum.

Where do you get them from?

Sometimes I sample a kick from a record or a sample CD. Sometimes I’ll mix two kick drums together to create a new one, but that gets tricky as two different kick drums on top of each other can actually make the whole kick sound smaller as they cancel each other out.

It’s called phasing. The same thing happens if you wire a pair of stereo speakers backwards. It basically cancels out the bottom end. So when you layer kicks you have to tweak the phases on one kick drum so you feel both simultaneously.

So you’ve got your kick drum sorted, what’s next?

Well as I mentioned earlier, I continually tweak the kick whilst writing a track. Sometimes I will switch a kick half way through writing a track, or even when I’ve finished a track if I feel it’s not quite appropriate. I always go back and forth between the lower foundation of a track and the mid-range musical part, as well as the high end hi hats. It’s a balance really.

My tracks usually develop pretty organically. I will get the idea for how the track will go, as I write it. That could be a lead or a bassline, or the lyrics – it all happens when I write it.

Like sometimes I will set out wanting to write a deep house track, but the writing process will end up leading me to something else.

Why is that?

Some producers can easily adjust the style of music they want to do – you always hear of producers who just copy what’s currently hot. I can’t. My music just happens. Also, some people change their engineer when they want to change sounds, but because I do everything myself I can’t do that.

So your music happens quite naturally. Where does it lead after the kick drum?

After the kick, I put a beat together by adding snares and hi hats to build a loop. This is the easiest part for me.

It’s about finding the right sounds to go with the kick, and the right breaks too.

How long are your loops generally?

I tend to stick to a four bar or eight bar loop first, and then I will make the arrangement later. You’ve got to prepare your ingredients before you can cook, and to me, arranging a track is the cooking part.

Part two of Satoshi Tomiie’s guide to writing dance music will be on his Facebook page soon.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie’s South American tour: DJ chart

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Satoshi Tomiie’s sound is a beautiful old mess at the moment, as his latest DJ chart shows.

With jacking Chicago house tools, conceptual jazz-driven grooves, acid workouts, and European techno swing, the New York-based DJ, producer and label owner seems to be in a summer mood as he gears up for a major tour of South America.

Beginning this Saturday, the boss of Saw Recordings will play some big gigs in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala. His June 2011 top 10 DJ chart features experimental funk from Kenny Larkin, powerful sound panorama by Robert Babicz, classic house feelings from Franck Roger, and 303-cheekiness from Josh Wink.

There are also raw beat tools by Gabriele Baldi and Mabaan Soul, and a big house anthem from Deetron. The chart gives some insight into the DJ sets that Satoshi has planned for his South American fans.

Satoshi Tomiie’s South American tour chart

Here we guide you through his chart, track by track.

Deetron ‘Starblazer’

Deetron’s summer house bomb is set to be one of the big tunes of the year. End of.

Franck Roger Stick To It

France’s underrated master of quality house music drops a sublimely funky acidic house groove, that does an extra fine job of updating the soul and feel of classic, instrumental driven house. The instruments run this riotous party record like the Star Wars Cantina band in that dodgy bar back on Mos Eisley (before Han shot that alien bitch dead). Unreleased, so you’ll just have to wait.


UNER ‘BassBoot’

Seriously funky synthesizer-driven house with a heavy bass riff that floats happily like a drunken jazz player on an old Moog keyboard.


Robert Babicz ‘Time Shift’

Irreverent deep acid house from Cologne sound wizard Robert Babicz, that inevitably ends up in an orgy of synthesizers and melody. Meticulously produced, of course.


Wi-fi Soul Beetle In Dixan [Gabriele Baldi Remix]

Gabriele Baldi seizes control of Wi-fi Soul’s ‘Beetle In Dixan’ with some nasty claps, simple FX trickery, and some very clever kick drum placements. A raw beat tool with plenty of short breakdowns to play with.


Jimpster ‘Alsace & Lorraine’ (Josh Wink Interpretation #1)


Retaining the euphoric funk of the original, Philly’s Josh Wink works his usual winky wonky magic into the rhythm of Jimpster’s Alsace & Lorraine, adding oomph, unexpected builds, and a little bit of acid. Superb.

Scuba ‘Feel It’

Sound vagabond Scuba proves, yet again, that he’s one helluva versatile cat with a dirty late night house anthem. With enveloping pads, heavy stabbing bass, and a rolling snare build up (remember those?!), ‘Feel It’ seems to bridge genres and decades.

Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’ (Gavin Herlihy Remix)

Saw Recordings’ hot Italian duo Mabaan Soul turn in an impressively raw house track, with just the right amount of digital trickery to keep the beats fresh. Gavin Herlihy then added some carnival fun.

Anonym ‘Go Deeper’ (Kenny Larkin Remix)

Stand-up comedian/Detroit techno experimentalist Kenny Larkin shows how to build proper anticipation on the dancefloor, with a stripped back jazzy house number that’s so elegant, you can reach out and touch its soul.


Doomwork ‘Flashlight’

Doomwork’s ‘Flashlight’ shows there’s more to the Italian duo than mainroom techno/prog tools. The beach house vibe on the track is just perfect for lazy summer raves.

(Words: Terry Church)

Satoshi Tomiie’s South American tour dates: June 2011

June 4 Pacha, Buenos Aires, Argentina
June 9 Set Cafe, Santa Curz de la Sierra, Bolivia
June 10 Clash Club, Sao Paolo, Brazil
June 11 Zucker Club, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
June 17 Espacio Riesco, Santiago, Chile
June 18 Parque De La Industria, Guatemala City, Guatemala

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Satoshi Tomiie & Hector Romero talk 10 years of Saw Recordings

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When Satoshi Tomiie and Hector Romero launched their New York City label Saw Recordings in 2001, they had simple aims. “The idea was to make an imprint so I could release my original productions, plus introduce new music from up and coming producers,” explains Satoshi. “Ultimately, we wanted it to become a home for quality dance music regardless of genre.”

In a scene that moves as swiftly as electronic music, it’s impressive that a decade on Saw Recordings is exactly what its founders hoped it would be. With a relatively compact discography of 78 releases, the imprint epitomises the mantra, somewhat lost in today’s digital music universe, that quality not quantity matters.

As such, Saw has become a champion for new dance music talent. Many of today’s most respected underground producers started out on Saw, including Jim Rivers, Guy Gerber, Audiofly’s Anthony Middleton, and Luca Bacchetti.

Even though the label has seen some major changes, including the rise of digital and the fall of vinyl, it has always remained true to its aims. “When we started out 10 years ago, we were pretty much a vinyl label,” says Saw’s co-founder Hector Romero. “Nowadays we’re a digital only label and like everyone else, we’ve had to change with the times, but we’re still about promoting great music and new artists, and building a brand. For us, it was never just about selling music.”

Saw Recordings’ 10th anniversary release ‘Edizione’ is a perfect example of the label’s continued commitment to new talent. With seven quality club cuts from new and experienced Saw artists, the extended EP is like a gallery for underrated electronic music heroes.

“Many of the producers featured on ‘Edizione’ are new, and all of them are really hungry to grow and gain exposure,” says Hector Romero. “They are Saw’s most important artists, and all of them are proper talent with good futures ahead of them.”

Satoshi Tomiie came up with the EP’s title during a dinner in Rome, as he explains, “We had a great bottle of wine called Edizione, which someone explained, was a mixture of all these various grapes, that when combined, tasted amazing. We had been searching for a title for the 10th anniversary EP, and it just made sense.”

Romero oversees A&R duties at Saw and was tasked with finding the tracks for ‘Edizione’, a process that took about six months. “A&R is what I love to do,” he says. “I love sitting at my computer and going through tons of promos and listening to the links that people send me. A&R is about finding that needle in a haystack, and when you do find that needle, it feels great.

“The haystack is so huge these days of course, but it has to be done. When Satoshi is cooped up in his studio working on music, I spend my time listening to all the promos that we get sent, and I try to respond to every producer who sends us their stuff.”

Part of the concept of ‘Edizione’ was freedom, as Satoshi explains: “Once we had found the producers that we wanted for the EP, we tried to be as open and free as possible. We didn’t want to restrict them by giving them a certain sound or feeling to reach in the studio, instead we gave them the freedom to do whatever they wanted for the release.”

The resulting record is a melting pot of uncompromising, underground club music. There are moments of techno awe (Toby Tobias), raw house grooves (Mabaan Soul), a punchy progressive/techno hybrid (Doomwork), blissful deep house (Matt Masters), hynotic, acid-infused melodic techno (Matthias Heilbronn and Joeski), and proper, four-to-the-floor NYC house (Mes and Mabaan Soul).

‘Edizione’ sums up the label’s approach in 2011 perfectly. In fact, it encapsulates Saw Recordings’ attitude towards music in general. And as cheesy as it sounds, it is heart warming to know that a decade on it is the label’s passion for quality dance music – above all else – that drives it into the future.

‘Edizione’: Track By Track

Saw Recordings’ Hector Romero guides us through the label’s 10th anniversary release.


Toby Tobias ’5AM’

This track was actually produced about three or four years ago. We had always really liked it, but were never sure about when to release it. We got in touch with Toby Tobias to ask it it was still available, and he did a special re-edit which we loved.

It’s one of those nice deep tracks that works just as well at an afterhours as it does early on in a set. I knew we had to have it, because there have been multiple times in the past when the track has come on on my iPod, and it was so good, I stopped what I was doing to find out its title.


Matthias Heilbronn, Joeski ‘My Fix’

Joeski and Matthias have been around in NYC for a few years now. They’re both great DJs, and Matthias is a great house producer. They recently started collaborating on some great music, and ‘My Fix’ is very old skool Chicago style with spoken words and a very trippy feel.

I fell in love with the track right away. We released this as a single in January, and it did very well so we felt it deserved to be in ‘Edizione’ too.


Mes ‘Back To Basics’ (Mabaan Soul Remix)

Mabaan Soul were always really into this track, which was originally produced by Satoshi under his Mes alias. They asked if they could have the parts, and their remix turned out really chunky, with a great shuffle groove.

It fitted perfectly with ‘Edizione’. Their remix works well on the floor, and Satoshi always gets a big reaction when he plays it out. It went down big time in Guendalina club in Southern Italy last year.


Luca Bear ‘Sierra Leone’

Luca Bear is starting to make some big noise, and he’s becoming a big Saw artist. He has had stuff out on Viva and other cool underground labels. He’s a great DJ too.

He lives in Northern Italy. I really like this mix. It’s definitely at forefront of cutting edge house. He just gave us two new tunes too, which we’re definitely going to sign.


Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’

Mabaan Soul are a duo from Italy who are young and have a bright future ahead of them. They’ve had a few releases out on Saw, and they have a very unique sound.

Their music is chunky and raw, with lots of drums and heavy beats, and they sound almost like how Todd Terry used to sound back in the day. This track ‘Yo’ is very in-your-face, it goes bang, like yo!


Doomwork ‘My Crooner’

This track has been sitting around for a couple of years with us. It has a little bit of a progressive house and tech house feeling. It’s very well produced and quite clean. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the release actually.

Doomwork are definitely on the up. We’ve had them warm up for us at gigs in Italy, and again, they’re important artists to Saw. They always let us hear their new stuff first, so we get first pickings on all of their releases.


Matt Masters ‘It’s Always Delayed’

Matt Masters is one of my favourite producers from London, that’s for sure. Matt is a talented guy, and his music is really deep.

His track for ‘Edizione’ is very well produced. The groove is tech house, and because it’s deep, it’s suitable for afterhours or starting a DJ set. It’s got these lush pad sounds in it, which are perfect for setting the mood of a party.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie’s new studio

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Saw Recordings’ Satoshi Tomiie recently finished building his dream studio in his apartment on Wall Street in New York City. With the new studio now fully operational, the house music veteran plans to release a plethora of new music in the coming months. We sat down with Satoshi to find out more about his new production base.

Tell us about your new studio.

It took me four years to build it. The reason it took so long is because I built the studio in my new apartment, and there was a lot of paperwork to do. I’ve never liked commercial studios and it was always my dream to build a studio in my apartment, so I could roll out of bed and produce music all day in my pajamas if I wanted to!

I’m really happy it’s finally finished! The studio is small but its dimensions were calculated exactly for acoustic perfection. I hired a studio designer to build it for me. He has built studios in NYC for 25 years, and his knowledge and expertise was amazing.

A studio inside your apartment sounds dangerous for your neighbors! Is it soundproofed?

We did our best to soundproof it. It’s completely self-contained, and because it’s a room within a room there’s a gap between the two walls which means not that much sound gets out. And the floor is floated on rubber feet, so the bass doesn’t travel at all and that’s the most annoying frequency for neighbors.

What gear have you got in there?

I’ve got a 55-inch TV monitor. I have a pair of Yamaha NS10 monitors and a pair of Adam S3A speakers with a sub. I’ve produced beats on the NS10s for years, so my ears are very tuned to their sound. I’ve been recommended Neumann speakers in the past, so I’d like to try out those sometime too.

Hardware wise, I’ve only got two synths in the studio. One is a Roland SH-101, which is a really simple analog synth that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and that’s really my go-to synth for writing quick basslines and melodies. The other is a Moog Voyager.

I use Ableton Live to write and arrange tracks, and then Pro Tools to mix it down. I know a lot of people who use Logic for everything, but Ableton works for me and I’m really used Pro Tools.

So these days you’re a plug in driven producer mainly – name some of your favourite plug ins.

My main plug ins come from Waves, and for instruments I’ve got some Arturia plug ins, including the Moog and ARP emulators. Native Instrument does some pretty cool stuff – I have their whole collection which is really great when you’re looking for a particular instrument.

Any caveats about the software approach?

I’ve noticed that if you have too many plug ins and sound choices, you spend too much time looking for a sound, when you should be spending that time creating and writing music. Also sounds and plug ins tend to move in trends in dance music, which is something I always try and avoid.

What do you mean by trends?

Even things like synth patches are affected by trends, and you’ll hear a whole lot of new music come out around the same time that all use the same patches. So it’s best not to jump on new patches and plug ins when they first come out. Things have definitely become so much easier with digital, but on the other hand there are too many choices for the producer today, and that includes plug ins.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #11 Live From Mexico City

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #10 – FRANKIE KNUCKLES TRIBUTE SET FROM TOKYO @ AIR PT.2

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Satoshi Tomiie returned to Japan for a very special two evening tribute to Frankie Knuckles. Part One was Satoshi’s opening set for the evening and Part Two has a B3B set between Satoshi Tomiie, DJ Nori & Ko Kimura alternating two tracks at a time. Satoshi kicks off with Frankie Knuckle’s remix of Sound Of Blackness “Pressure” (which he performed drums, percussion and keyboard.)

Enjoy the second installment of the Frankie Knuckles tribute set from AIR Tokyo.

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07

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Satoshi Tomiie Podcast #07 Live from L’Aquila, Italy

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What a night at SET Action Stage in L’Aquila! Amazing setup at the club, sound system, crowd and everything. One of the best gigs from my ITALIA TOUR 2014, it’s definitely very worthy to be on the podcast. At this party I started my set with something kind of dark and moody, then slowly building up the energy to the next level. Only with the right combination of the club and crowd lets me do the right job.

Enjoy!

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Satoshi Tomiie’s Italy Tour: April 2012

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Italy is one of my favourite countries to DJ in. The crowd are always passionate and they really love partying, so I’m super excited about my tour of Italy this month.

I’ll be visiting Genova, Livorno, Torino, Terni, and Montesilvano, which are all great places to play at, as well as Rome, which will be particularly special as the capital will be hosting my first ever Popup party!

Here are the dates, and to my Italy friends, see you soon!

Friday April 6 2012
TOUCH – Via Vestina, 191 – 65015 Montesilvano (PE) – Italy

Saturday April 7 2012
ROTONDA DEL VALENTINO – Corso Massimo D’Azeglio, 11 – 10126 Torino (TO) – Italy

Sunday April 8 2012
QUEENCY – Via Del Sersimone, 9 – 05100 Terni (TR) – Italy

Tuesday April 10 2012
SECRET VENUE (POPUP PARTY) – Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1 – 00154 Roma (RM) Italy

Friday April 13 2012
KING CLUB – Via Provinciale Pisana, 639/a – Livorno (LI) – Italy

Saturday April 14 2012
BLACK BUDDA – Via XII Ottobre, 182/Rosso – Genova (GE) – Italy

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DJ industry praise SAW Recordings’ new release

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Marco Carola, Loco Dice, Reboot, Lee Burridge, 2000 And One, Davide Squillace, SIS, Adam Port, Hernan Catteneo, Lee Curtiss – the DJ praise for SAW Recordings’ new release, Guti’s ‘Keep It’, is absolutely huge.

Here is what the DJ industry is saying about the three tracker:

Reboot: Nice EP again from Guti. Will be playing these.

Carlo Lio: ‘Keep It’ (Original Mix) is great! Emotional yet raw! Will definitely be giving this a play. Satoshi’s take is also very cool.

Loco Dice: BAMMMMMM!!!!

Lee Burridge: Keep It is really cool. I’ll be playing it. Good work Guti.

Phonique: All three of the tracks here are great! Playing!

Marc Romboy: Hey Satoshi! You should make many more remixes buddy! Your remix is ACE!

Marco Carola: BAM! Nice track for me. Will test it.

2000 And One: Cool piano tune from Guti! Will test it out.

Davide Squillace – “Big up to my pal!! 5/5 for Keep It!!”

Layo: Oh yeah! This is another nice remix from Satoshi! Support!

Hernan Cattaneo: Excellent release, especially Satoshi’s remix!

Mihalis Safras: Smoooth knockin’ mix from Satoshi. Will try it out.

Anja Schneider: I love it when Guti plays the piano!

Karotte: Keep It is a great piano track. Love it and will play!

Cirillo: Keep It is very good! Thanks for sending.

Nick Warren: A great original and a cracking remix by Satoshi! Support.

Daniel Stefanik: BAM! is the one here. It has a nice groove!

Yousef: Keep It is certainly a grower. I’m Guti’s biggest fan. Good work.

Karlos Sense (Ibiza Sonica): BAM! for me. Full support on Ibiza Sonica Radio.

Paul Hamill (Across The Line – BBC Ulster): Satoshi Tomiie Remix for me on this. Wicked stuff.

Kiko Martínez (DocePulgadas Radio Show Spain): Satoshi Tomiie remix is for me, great work! Support.

Jose Maria Ramon (Ibiza Global Radio): Wow! Always music with a touch of magic on it! Love Guti! Support from Ibiza Global Radio.

ONLY FOR DJ’s Magazine: Reviewed in Only For DJ’s magazine.

Sergio B (deejay.es): Excellent! Good Guti tune and great Satoshi remix. The keyboard sounds have a 90′s energy.

Wally Lopez: Oh I love this! Will play the original!

AFFKT: I love the organic feeling of the tracks! Great work Guti.

Adam Port: The Satoshi Tomiie Remix is my pick here! BAM! is also DOPE!

Greg (Catz n Dogz): This is such a FANTASTIC Satoshi Tomiie Remix!

Ali (Tiefschwarz): Gut besser Guti! Gonna play it!

Anthony Collins: Nice EP by Mr Guti. Keep It is well done. Will try it out.

Shlomi Aber: BAM! is sounding cool to me. Will test it!

SIS: BAM! Is the strongest and most suited track to my sets. Support!

Coyu: Keep It is basic but effective. Nice. Good job Gutierrez! The remix of Satoshi is great too. Great release.

Chaim: The original of Keep It ROCKS! LOVE IT!

Rocky (X-Press 2): Satoshi’s mix and Bam! are both doing it for me!! May play on the radio show.

Martin Eyerer: Cool new Guti release. Liking the original.

Lee Curtiss: Satoshi Tomiie’s remix is the standout here. Will try it out for sure!

Luca Bacchetti: “I love all the versions! Good to see my friend Guti on Satoshi’s label!

Andy Baxter (Pacha / Café Mambo Ibiza): Sounds great as always. Satoshi takes the gold though!

Steve Parry (Juice FM UK): Great tracks, Satoshi’s mix is my fave, but they’re all good.

Sébastien B (Paris One Radio): We will playlist this Satoshi remix. Good one.

Diversions – (CHRY 105.5FM Toronto) – “Keep It sounds great – simple yet effective track!”

Makossa (Radio FM4 / Vienna): Great EP, great tracks. Loving the Satoshi Tomiie Remix.

Corin Arnold (Music Editor BLN.FM): Downloading for bln.fm. Satoshi Tomiie’s mix is of course superb, the original is pretty spot on too.

Toni Moreno (Ibiza Global Radio): Amazing tracks! Full support on Ibiza Global Radio.

Scan Mode (DJ Magazine Spain): Keep It is amazing!

Rafael (Raveline Magazine): Satoshi Tomiie Remix, what a bomb!

Soundwall.it: Bravo Guti! Nice!

Tsugi Magazine France: Nice EP. Like the Satoshi Tomiie Remix.

De:Bug Magazine France: Considering for review.


Download Guti ‘Keep It’ from Beatport

Go to Beatport.com Get These Tracks Add This Player

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How to write dance music part 3: Drum loops, percussion and melody

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New York house hero Satoshi Tomiie continues his dance music production tutorial series, with another insightful and educational lesson. This time the boss of SAW Recordings, who has produced electronic music since the late 1980′s, covers drum loops, percussion and melody.

Part 1 and Part 2 of your tutorial series covered kick drums and bass. Why do you always start writing your tracks with a kick drum and a bassline?

I get inspiration from a bassline and a good kick. I can’t just come up with hooks like a singer/songwriter. I usually start my tracks there, and then see how it goes.

Maybe it’s because I’m a DJ, but that’s how I produced from day one.

So what comes next?

Now comes the fun part! Actually, all of it is fun for me, but this is the part when your track really comes together.

After I’m happy with my bass and kick drums, next comes the other drum elements. Usually that will be some kind of hi hat, clap, and snare. I don’t go too crazy programming the drums at this stage as I think it’s important to leave some room to play later on.

Once I’ve got a basic drum arrangement looping, that’s when I’ll begin to add in percussion hits, and sometimes, percussion patterns.

By working this way, the idea is to try and build a basic groove with the drums and bass first, and then start slowly building your track up on top. If you have good foundation with the bass and kick drums, building a track up is usually fun and it will flow well. If you don’t have the right basic foundation, you will have a problem building up a track, and you’ll have to go back and rebuild the foundation again from scratch.

What do you do after you have a basic drum, percussion and bass loop going?

After the drums, bass and percussion, comes the keyboard parts and synths. It’s difficult to give advice about hooks or melodies as not all dance tracks have hooks or melodies and a lot of tracks today are more like drum tools – effective without being musical.

The hook is also probably the most difficult part of a track to write, but if you want melody in your dance track, it’s best to start programming it early on, around the same time that you’re building the kick drums and bass. Otherwise later you will find that there isn’t enough room for it to do its work.

Also, sometimes you just don’t need a melody. Dance music is designed to move people, and often you can be just as effective on a dancefloor by using really tight beats and a killer bassline. Sometimes a hook sounds too much.

What sort of synths do you use to write melody?

When I write melodies, I tend to use a different synth sound every time as I don’t like to repeat what I’ve done before. Inspiration can be limited for me if I use the same synths over and over. Some producers like to have their synths set up like a band – they always use the same synths and settings for every song – but unfortunately I can’t work like that. If I could, I could probably write my tracks 20 times faster!

I use the same kind of synths that I mentioned in my bass tutorial. I also sometimes use samples, like for instance piano samples – I’ve got some awesome ones of an actual electric piano. I also have a real Fender Rhodes electric piano but it’s quite bulky and takes up a lot of space in my studio so I don’t use it that often.

A lot of dance music producers aren’t classically trained musicians, but most will know that keys are important. What can you tell us about them?

In terms of keys, I like using flats as I think they sound better for dance music than sharps. My favourite keys are ones like C Minor, F Minor, G Minor, and B Flat Minor.

A lot of people have asked me in the past about tuning – how to tune your drums to a key, and I always tell them that it isn’t that crucial. If you strike a metal object, generally it doesn’t have a melodic pitch, at least not so much of a melodic pitch as to be recognisably melodic. Percussion for the most part has a pitch that is so unclear that you can get away with it on any key.

Of course, you have to use your ears – if something sounds like a key clash, you might have to pitch it up or down to make it fit better into the main key of a track. Sometimes the ambient noise of a drum loop will have a pitch, so that’s when you might have to pitch your drum loop up or down to make it fit better.

Also, sometimes it’s actually good to have something out of key too, like for instance, if you want to draw attention to a particular percussion hit.

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How To Write Dance Music Part 2: “Bass”

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In June, New York DJ/producer and Saw Recordings boss Satoshi Tomiie kicked off a new series of music production lessons with a note on the importance of ‘kick drums’.

Here in part 2 of his guide on how to write dance music the veteran house music producer discusses that most crucial element of club music: bass.

Let’s talk bass.

Bass is probably the most important part of a dance music track. Bass is a really important part of a song in general. It is fundamental along with the rhythm.

Since electronic music is played in an environment where bass is emphasized and music is played very loud, you generally hear bass with your whole body. Without a good kick drum or a killer bassline, your experience in a club would be much less enjoyable.

Since we listen to electronic music so loudly, it’s important that bass is placed in exactly the right way.

What are the rules?

Bass should always try to work in tandem with the drums and percussion, as the rhythm section is the foundation of a track.

For the relationship to work between bass and drums, it has to work in drum patterns. In the past, bass worked sometimes with the melody section of a song, but in recent times as bass sequencing has become more advanced it has become more used as a tool for working a dancefloor.

So bass should talk to your drums. It’s kind of like a harmony, not between notes, but it terms of timing and placement. Sonically as well, bass has to fit with the drums and percussion, and sound treatment, such as EQ and compression, is important here.

How do you create the perfect bassline?

There are so many ways to work with bass. I prefer to play my bass by hand. Some use a computer and a mouse to place bass notes on a sequencing grid. Others use arpeggiators. It’s really the choice of the producer.

How do you play bass “by hand”?

I use my fingers and a keyboard. Once I’ve picked my kick drum for a track and I’m happy with it (see Satoshi’s guide to creating the perfect kick drum) I play around with the sound and pattern of my bass on a keyboard.

It’s all about finding the right placement for the bass. Its relationship to the kick drum is very important as they occupy the same frequency range and if you’re not careful they can cancel each other out.

Sometimes the bassline can be the hook of the song, sometimes it’s really the support act. I don’t plan the process of my productions, I just go with the flow and sometimes basslines become melodic, and sometimes they are just sub notes.

You can also use multiple basslines to work together, but that’s not easy as you need to find the right balance. One tip – try marrying a mid range bass to a sub bass. That can work nicely.

When bass and kick drums play together you have to ensure that they don’t sonically cancel each other out, so you have to really play with the phases of the bass – where it peaks, where it dips, so it doesn’t ruin the kick drum. Ultimately though, you have to judge with your ears.

What do you mean by the bass and the kick drum can “cancel each other out”?

If you play a kick drum or a bassline by themselves, they sound fine. But sometimes when you play them together, you lose some of the bass due to a weird phasing effect.

Back in the days of vinyl, a record could actually sometimes skip due to the producer using stereo bass (for vinyl cutting purposes, it’s better if bass is in mono). The needles just couldn’t handle the phasing.

Interestingly, if you have perfectly out of phase bass, then you hear no bass at all. Sometimes you come across the occasional DJ booth where they have miswired the monitors and no matter how loud you turn it up you get no bass. That’s why I always go to soundcheck.

If you have a sub woofer in the studio, you might want to play around with the phasing switch at the back of the sub, as sometimes your sub bass actually takes the bass out of your studio due to the same reason.

Let’s talk gear. What equipment or software would you recommend for creating monstrous bass?

Over the years I’ve used a lot of gear. Keyboards wise, first there was the Roland MKS-70 aka the Super JX, which is the rackmount version of the JX-10.

I also still have a Roland JX-8P at my parents’ house which was one of my first ever synthesizers. Back in the early days of house Marshall Jefferson used that one a lot. His signature bass and pad sound actually came from the JX-8P.

I was so excited to find this machine because by the time I had even began making music this synth was already discontinued.

For my track ‘Tears’, that I made with Frankie Knuckles in 1989, I used the MKS-70. I still have the patch for that track at home.

I have to mention the Roland SH-101 too. I’ve got a Roland Juno-60 which I have used for a long time. The Roland Jupiter 8 is amazing but it’s massive.

I like my set up to be like an aeroplane cockpit, so I can reach everything without moving too much, so the Roland SH-101 is perfect.

For bass I like to have knobs and sliders to tweak a sound. The SH-101 is really fun to play with. These are the main machines that I’ve used over my career.

I always wanted a MiniMoog but I could never afford it so I only ever got to use one when I hired a studio. Eventually I bought a MiniMoog Voyager which combines the classic MiniMoog sound with the convenience of MIDI. I love it, it’s so phat!

So much of your music was made on hardware. What do you think of all the software that producers use today?

Let me tell you a story. Finnish producer Sasse, who runs the respected Mood Music label in Berlin, is known for his love of hardware, analogue gear, and synths. But when I met him he says that even though he owns all of that stuff, he still tends to use the digital emulators when he writes music.

He will only use the real, physical synths if he feels that the digital version isn’t as good. Very occasionally soft synths do not sound as good as the real thing, but a lot of the time, they do.

It’s nice to have everything analogue in your studio, but I remember the days of total recall and it was a pain in the ass. Mixing out of box is not as bad as it used to be.

What soft synths are you fond of?

Arturia’s plug ins are good for bass. Native Instruments’ FM8 is also good for bass, and at the moment that seems to be a ‘trendy bass’.

When choosing soft synths, I think it’s important to choose ones that are emulators of a real bass synthesizer. Arturia’s stuff is all software versions of real instruments.

I’m trying to go down the software emulator route. They’re not exactly the same as the hardware versions, but they’re good enough.

The fact is, physical synths are fun and awesome but they are quite annoying to use sometimes as you can’t recall sounds that you were working on previously and have to start all over again. But that’s what happens when you use circuits and wires to create electronic sounds.

Does EQ play an important role in bass?

I try to create bass that sounds good enough without any EQ effects so that I don’t have to go crazy later on with EQ.

Try to make your bass sound as good as possible without EQ. Sometimes bass can actually be too bassy, so a lot of the time I will use EQ to take away some bottom end if necessary.

My way of using EQ with bass is not to change the sound, but more to polish it. Sometimes you can’t tweak bass but you can add a little more bottom end or mid end. I only tweak the EQ when it is needed.

You said earlier that bass and kick drums have to work in tandem so as to not cancel each other out. Should bass be EQ’d above or below a kick drum?

A good tip is to peak the bass EQ and move it around the frequency range to find the sweet spot. Use your ears to find where it is most potent.

Also bass usually moves around the frequency range, whilst a kick generally stays at the same frequency.

You have to listen to both therefore, and tweak the EQ of both to avoid clashes. Sometimes I have to replace my kick drum as I find it doesn’t work with my bassline anymore.

One other thing – you can sample bass, but it is much better to control it with a synthesizer as EQ can only change so much. It’s about building the right sound from scratch rather than mashing an already existing sample into a hole it won’t fit.

Why is compression important for bass?

You need some experience with a compressor before you use one as it’s not the easiest thing to play with. It depends on the sound of a track, but generally bass improves with compression.

Sometimes after you’ve built a bassline in a track, one section will sound louder and one section will sound quieter. Compressors fix that problem – they equalize the level so it moulds better into the song.

Again you have to use your ears and must know what you’re doing. There is no universal rule for compressing bass. You have to discover when to use it.

I pretty much compress everything. Sometimes light, sometimes heavy, it depends on the sound. Some stuff doesn’t need compression at all. The universal rule in the studio is experiment and find your own way of using compressors.

What compressors do you use?

Actually my favourite just changed recently. My favourite is 6030 Ultimate Compressor, made my McDSP. This basically emulates a classic compressor, it sounds amazing, and is very easy to use. It’s also not very heavy on the processor so you can use a lot.

When choosing the right bass sound, there are often sound wave options, such as SAW or Square waves. Which one is best for club music?

Any sound wave works good for house music bass. SAW waves or square waves are the basic ones. Oscillators in modern synths can actually change anything into anything so it doesn’t matter too much which one you begin with.

Finally, how do you create a bassline that you can feel?

In clubs you feel sub bass. You can’t hear it though, but you can hear the highest frequency of a sub bass sometimes, which is the melodic part.

If you listen to a sub bass unit by itself, it’s just a muffled sound, you don’t really hear anything. Together with the music however, you can feel the bass.

Here’s an interesting fact about MP3s. In order to reduce file size most of the time MP3s actually remove frequencies below 10HZ and over 20KHZ. So MP3s lose their super sub bass and super highs. Human ears don’t just listen to what comes out of the speakers, they also hear things that you don’t consciously hear.

It’s like the same with dog whistles. Those high frequencies over 20K you can’t hear but they still affect you. MP3s get rid of those super high and super low elements to reduce file size, and that alters the sound. If I could, I would only play uncompressed files.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie and his love for Latin America

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Satoshi Tomiie recently completed a four week DJ tour of Latin America. Here in this exclusive monologue for Facebook, the label boss of Saw Recordings shares his DJ thoughts on the continent which, he says, is his favourite place in the world to tour. He also shares three big tunes that rocked his tour.

“Latin America is a very exciting place for travelling and DJing. I like its chaotic big cities, as they are always bustling.

From a DJing standpoint, the Latin American people love their electronic music and you always get a really good energy from the dancefloor.

I feel there is more give and take between the DJ booth and the dancefloor in Latin American nightclubs. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps it’s something to do with their unique culture. Latin America is a wild mix of peoples and cultures, and whenever cultures mix something interesting happens.

I’ve been going to Latin America for about 10 years as a DJ. Every year I return, the scene seems bigger and bigger. When I first went to Latin America, the scene was good, but it was still quite localised. Now it feels like a major continental movement. More and more people have got into electronic music in Latin America, and the opportunities for touring have increased a lot.

Argentina probably has the “most advanced” electronic music scene in the region because they’ve been into the music longer than all the other places. They also put on the biggest electronic music festivals – the Buenos Aires events are particularly spectacular.

Brazil also has a vibrant dance music scene, and it is probably the fastest growing one in Latin America.

There are also relatively new markets like Columbia and Guatemala which are fast changing. These countries are experiencing the same electronic music boom that has happened in many other countries across the world over the last 20 years.

Musically, Latin America is quite a different place compared with the rest of the world. Argentina especially, has its own sound and way of the dancefloor. In Argentina, they really appreciate deeper music so I can even play music at 122 BPMs in an arena for 5000 people when I start my set.

When I DJ, I love to start deep and build my set, but often I have to hold back as the bigger crowds require a higher energy. In Latin America, I can truly play whatever I want, regardless of how large the crowd is.

They go nuts for this music. The first time I played there it was like an epiphany. It felt like I was playing on a blank canvas, where you could experiment with sounds, and play incredibly deep music and slowly build your set over many hours.

It’s hard to not overstate how good this is for the DJ. For instance when I headline clubs in other countries, I generally have to start my set in third gear. There is always a warm up DJ before me, and by the time I begin my set people are already pumped up, and raring to go.

In Argentina though, I can build my set from first gear. Warm up DJs really understand how to warm up. Over the course of the night I then slowly shift up. That makes a huge difference to me as an artist. The open mindedness of the crowd in Latin America comes down to one simple fact: they truly value the journey of sound that DJs are capable of creating.

Every time I tour Latin America something crazy happens. This time, it was a volcano in Chile that caused me to miss two gigs (I told you Latin America was chaotic).

Some volcanic ash (check out the amazing photo!) prevented me from flying to Bolivia and Sao Paolo, so I ended up staying a few extra days in Buenos Aires. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those kind of situations.

I was actually lucky to get out of Buenos Aires in the end to make at least one gig in Brazil. Then I managed to fly to Chile a few days early for my gig there, to avoid all the volcanic ash problems around Buenos Aires. Above & Beyond, Kaskade, and the 16 Bit Lolitas all played on the same night which was different and fun. It doesn’t happen very often that I play alongside DJs like that.

Earlier on in the tour, I also managed to visit my favourite place in the entire world – Los Roques island. This is paradise for me. If I wasn’t a traveling DJ, I would never have found out about this amazing, off-the-beaten-path place.

Gigs wise, every one was quite special this time. The first gig in Venezuela was really good, and the two parties in Argentina were amazing. I played Pacha (now called Club Land) in Buenos Aires too, and as any DJ will tell you, it’s an extraordinary club to play.

The Brazilian party was fun too. The crowd was insanely good looking, as always. I don’t know how they do it, but Brazil always seem to have a gorgeous crowd. I was a little worried about what I would have to play, as really good looking crowds tend not to be hardcore electronic music fans, however I didn’t have to compromise on my music at all, amazingly.

My final gig in Guatemala was a great way to top it all off. And by the time I was on my a flight back to New York City I was already thinking about my next Latin American tour!”

(Interview by Terry Church, club photography by Agustin Carri Pérez)

Satoshi Tomiie’s Top 3 Latin American Tunes

Satoshi shares three dancefloor bombs that rocked his Latin American tour.

Deetron ‘Starblazer’ Rejected

It seems this has become a big summer tune. It has been in my sets since I got it, and it works everywhere I play it. It will be in my set all summer long probably.

Shlomi Aber ‘Slow Dancer’ (Wink Remix)

Another amazing Josh Wink work out. The arrangement is really impressive and towards the end of the song, he changed the vibe into something more musical – you can really listen to this outside of the dancefloor.

Frankie Knuckles Pres. Satoshi Tomiiie Feat. Robert Owens ‘Tears’ (Dyed Soundorom Revisited)

I’m not 100% sure if Dyed Soundorom did this remix himself, but I was hanging out at a party in NYC with all my friends and he played one track that sounded very familar. It was this. And I told him I needed to have it. Whoever did the remix, they did a really good job. They updated the original, but they still kept the classic vibe. They rearranged the structure and added some new beats. It was really cleverly done.

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Interview: Luca Bear & his ‘Sierra Leone’ single [Saw Recordings]

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Meticulous house producer Satoshi Tomiie is well known for his attention to detail. Ever since his magnificent debut single ‘Tears’, the 1989 house classic that he produced with the ‘Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie’s name has been synonymous with carefully crafted house goodness.

In a new series of interviews exclusive to Satoshi Tomiie’s Facebook page, the New York City producer, DJ, and label owner will share some studio tips, thought processes, and production tricks that he has acquired during a music career that stretches over 20 years.

Here in part one, Satoshi starts with that most basic element of dance music: the kick drum.

Where do you begin, when writing a new track?

I always start with the kick drums. It’s about finding the right sound firstly, and then changing that sound and tweaking it continuously, whilst you produce the music for the track.

The kick drum is the foundation of dance music, so this is the part that I spend the most amount of time on.

That’s quite surprising, that you always start with the kick drum.

I don’t have a formula for writing music, but basically, the kick and bass is the bottom foundation of a dance track and it always has been.

Back in the day, the kick originated from a drum machine, like the Roland TR-909 or 808 and slowly it moved into the sampler. The technology has changed, but really it’s still about the kick.

Is there really that much difference between one kick and the next?

Actually the tone of a kick drum changes quite significantly according to the vibe of a song. For example, if you take the kick from a rocky alternative track, and swap it with the kick from a techno track, the vibe of both songs will change completely. The aim is to find the appropriate kick drum for the song.

How many kick drum samples do you have?

I’ve collected countless samples of kick drums over the years. I try to not use the same kick drum more than once.

Why not?

If you use the same kick drum, the inspiration that you get from it can be limited. I’m always looking for new kicks. In fact, you could say my whole career has been about searching for the perfect kick drum.

Where do you get them from?

Sometimes I sample a kick from a record or a sample CD. Sometimes I’ll mix two kick drums together to create a new one, but that gets tricky as two different kick drums on top of each other can actually make the whole kick sound smaller as they cancel each other out.

It’s called phasing. The same thing happens if you wire a pair of stereo speakers backwards. It basically cancels out the bottom end. So when you layer kicks you have to tweak the phases on one kick drum so you feel both simultaneously.

So you’ve got your kick drum sorted, what’s next?

Well as I mentioned earlier, I continually tweak the kick whilst writing a track. Sometimes I will switch a kick half way through writing a track, or even when I’ve finished a track if I feel it’s not quite appropriate. I always go back and forth between the lower foundation of a track and the mid-range musical part, as well as the high end hi hats. It’s a balance really.

My tracks usually develop pretty organically. I will get the idea for how the track will go, as I write it. That could be a lead or a bassline, or the lyrics – it all happens when I write it.

Like sometimes I will set out wanting to write a deep house track, but the writing process will end up leading me to something else.

Why is that?

Some producers can easily adjust the style of music they want to do – you always hear of producers who just copy what’s currently hot. I can’t. My music just happens. Also, some people change their engineer when they want to change sounds, but because I do everything myself I can’t do that.

So your music happens quite naturally. Where does it lead after the kick drum?

After the kick, I put a beat together by adding snares and hi hats to build a loop. This is the easiest part for me.

It’s about finding the right sounds to go with the kick, and the right breaks too.

How long are your loops generally?

I tend to stick to a four bar or eight bar loop first, and then I will make the arrangement later. You’ve got to prepare your ingredients before you can cook, and to me, arranging a track is the cooking part.

Part two of Satoshi Tomiie’s guide to writing dance music will be on his Facebook page soon.

(Words: Terry Church)

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How to write dance music: the kick drum

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Meticulous house producer Satoshi Tomiie is well known for his attention to detail. Ever since his magnificent debut single ‘Tears’, the 1989 house classic that he produced with the ‘Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie’s name has been synonymous with carefully crafted house goodness.

In a new series of interviews exclusive to Satoshi Tomiie’s Facebook page, the New York City producer, DJ, and label owner will share some studio tips, thought processes, and production tricks that he has acquired during a music career that stretches over 20 years.

Here in part one, Satoshi starts with that most basic element of dance music: the kick drum.

Where do you begin, when writing a new track?

I always start with the kick drums. It’s about finding the right sound firstly, and then changing that sound and tweaking it continuously, whilst you produce the music for the track.

The kick drum is the foundation of dance music, so this is the part that I spend the most amount of time on.

That’s quite surprising, that you always start with the kick drum.

I don’t have a formula for writing music, but basically, the kick and bass is the bottom foundation of a dance track and it always has been.

Back in the day, the kick originated from a drum machine, like the Roland TR-909 or 808 and slowly it moved into the sampler. The technology has changed, but really it’s still about the kick.

Is there really that much difference between one kick and the next?

Actually the tone of a kick drum changes quite significantly according to the vibe of a song. For example, if you take the kick from a rocky alternative track, and swap it with the kick from a techno track, the vibe of both songs will change completely. The aim is to find the appropriate kick drum for the song.

How many kick drum samples do you have?

I’ve collected countless samples of kick drums over the years. I try to not use the same kick drum more than once.

Why not?

If you use the same kick drum, the inspiration that you get from it can be limited. I’m always looking for new kicks. In fact, you could say my whole career has been about searching for the perfect kick drum.

Where do you get them from?

Sometimes I sample a kick from a record or a sample CD. Sometimes I’ll mix two kick drums together to create a new one, but that gets tricky as two different kick drums on top of each other can actually make the whole kick sound smaller as they cancel each other out.

It’s called phasing. The same thing happens if you wire a pair of stereo speakers backwards. It basically cancels out the bottom end. So when you layer kicks you have to tweak the phases on one kick drum so you feel both simultaneously.

So you’ve got your kick drum sorted, what’s next?

Well as I mentioned earlier, I continually tweak the kick whilst writing a track. Sometimes I will switch a kick half way through writing a track, or even when I’ve finished a track if I feel it’s not quite appropriate. I always go back and forth between the lower foundation of a track and the mid-range musical part, as well as the high end hi hats. It’s a balance really.

My tracks usually develop pretty organically. I will get the idea for how the track will go, as I write it. That could be a lead or a bassline, or the lyrics – it all happens when I write it.

Like sometimes I will set out wanting to write a deep house track, but the writing process will end up leading me to something else.

Why is that?

Some producers can easily adjust the style of music they want to do – you always hear of producers who just copy what’s currently hot. I can’t. My music just happens. Also, some people change their engineer when they want to change sounds, but because I do everything myself I can’t do that.

So your music happens quite naturally. Where does it lead after the kick drum?

After the kick, I put a beat together by adding snares and hi hats to build a loop. This is the easiest part for me.

It’s about finding the right sounds to go with the kick, and the right breaks too.

How long are your loops generally?

I tend to stick to a four bar or eight bar loop first, and then I will make the arrangement later. You’ve got to prepare your ingredients before you can cook, and to me, arranging a track is the cooking part.

Part two of Satoshi Tomiie’s guide to writing dance music will be on his Facebook page soon.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Interview: Mabaan Soul talk about ‘Yo’ and their unique sound

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Perhaps one of the more coherent things to have emerged out of an after party, the Mabaan Soul project formed when Fabio Cicchetti and Lorenzo Avallone played music together at an afterhours spot in 2007 in Viareggio, Tuscany.

What began as an impromptu back to back session had soon turned into a flourishing DJ and studio partnership. Mabaan Soul saw their first release on London’s Metroline Recordings in 2009, and soon after they were remixing one of house music’s biggest producers, Satoshi Tomiie, who asked the pair to rework his ‘Back To Basics’ track for his high profile New York imprint Saw Recordings.

Cicchetti, 25, and Avallone, 24, have worked closely with Satoshi Tomiie and Hector Romero’s Saw label ever since. Their debut Saw EP ‘On The Beat’, was released in June last year. With four outstanding groove-driven house tracks, hip shaking percussion loops, and clever rhythmical and musical changes, the EP proved that Mabaan Soul were big on ideas.

Today sees the release of Mabaan Soul’s much anticipated follow-up single ‘Yo’. The track’s raw beats and funky house grooves sound quite like a classic Todd Terry track, or a sick house groove that DJ Sneak, Luciano, or Ricardo Villalobos might throw on.

With much buzz brewing around Mabaan Soul, we called Fabio Cicchetti and Lorenzo Avallone in Italy to find out more about their unique sound and their relationship with Saw Recordings.

How did you first connect with Satoshi?

We met Satoshi two summers ago when he played in La Canniccia Club in Tuscany, here in Italy. We told him that we DJed and also made tracks, so afterwards we sent him some of our works, including our first release on Metroline LTD.

He replied and told us that he liked our music and would play it out at his next gig. That was very cool for us! So we started to send him more of our music, and then he asked us do a release for Saw, as well as a remix for him.

‘Yo’ is our second release for SAW, and it comes with a remix from Gavin Herlihy which we are very happy about it. Saw is a big label for house music, and Satoshi and Hector are great people.

Tell us more about ‘Yo’.

When we started working on the track, we wanted to create something for the floor that got people dancing hard. [laughs]

Specifically, we wanted to use two breakdowns that linked together so that it caused a bit of confusion on the floor, as well as anticipation. The result is that people always throw their hands up in the air when the beat kicks back in.

It really works in this way. Satoshi has played the track out a lot with some big reactions from the floor. I would probably call it a “big up” track.

We and all the Saw crew believe a lot in the project and with Gavin Herlihy’s remix the release is super cool.

So you guys are very focused on making people dance. Why is that the most important thing for you?

I guess it depends really on where we want to be when we start a new work. Our music is always for the dancefloor, but there are different moods and levels on a dancefloor. Not everything is about full on dancing.

How would you describe your sound then?

Our basic idea is to mix the present and past, to mix old grooves with new grooves. For instance, we love putting classic house grooves with modern dub synths and vocal stabs. We also love so much, the breaks in a house music track. We’ve tried to create our own style.

I can hear that you guys love breaks. There’s quite a lot of rhythm sections without a kick drum in your music.

We do a lot of that in general in our tracks. We love creating rhythms out of hi hats, as that can make the groove on a track. That’s very important for us.

It’s the same with the bass. All sounds on a track are important, but we play close attention to mixing the old with the new.

Let’s talk influences. You’re obviously a fan of classic house. Which DJs/producers got you first into electronic music?

We like DJs that have an impact on the floor. We’ve partied a lot in Italy and in Europe, and I can say that there are some DJs that are miles ahead of all others, in terms of music and the impact they have on the people.

For us, it’s guys like Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, Luciano, DJ Sneak, and Sven Vath. They are all bomb DJs. Their sets are involving and people dance non stop when they play.

I could definitely hear the Luciano, DJ Sneak, and Villalobos influence in your music.

All of those guys are big names, and of course, anyone who is interested in underground music knows them. But for productions, our influences stretch much further.

For example we love Seth Troxler, Guy Gerber, and all of the Metroline artists like Fog, Rio Padice, and Metroline’s label head Phiorio. Plus we dig the fantastic grooves on Crosstown Rebels.

Overall, both our DJ sets and productions need a different, stylistic approach. When we start working on a new track, we always think long and hard about what sound and which kind of groove we want to create, and which synth is better with which bass. Of course, it also depends on what kind of sound we want to create. When we plan our DJ sets it’s important for us to research the club.

What do you mean?

Like, which type of clubbers go to the party, what’s the party like, and all the others things that can affect the way you DJ.

What’s your studio like?

We share our studio with our friend Giacomo Picchi, who DJs under the name Acid. We work with Logic and Ableton Live, and use lots of good plugins such as Sonalksis, Waves, and others. We have a new Mackie Universal Control Pro as a mixer and our favourite platform is Mac OSX.

Actually, at the moment we’re buying some new analog gear, including a new compressor/limiter, a new EQ, plus three new effects.

Have you always been a fan of Satoshi Tomiie?

Yeah! Ever since I first heard him play at Kama Kama in Camaiore maybe six or seven years ago. I love the precision that he has with his mixing. That was awesome for me.

How did you first get your music released on Metroline?

The Italoboyz helped us so much. We are big friends with them, and they’ve played a lot of our tracks in their sets. I passed them one of our CDs in Milan about three years ago which had some of our music.

Some months later, they got in touch to say that they liked our work very much and that they had been playing a lot of our music out, specifically two tracks, ‘Bow Bells’ and ‘SkA’.

That encouraged us to send our music to more labels, and in August 2009 we released our first EP ‘New Orleans’ on Metroline, which included ‘Bow Bells’ and ‘SkA’. We got some great feedback.

Any examples?

DJ Sneak, for instance! He loves ‘Bow Bells’ so much he said.

Are you still running your afterparties in Viareggio?

Yes, we play a lot for our friends here when we can find the right place. As you can imagine, the parties are usually pretty funny.

Our official DJ sets in clubs happen about two or three times a month.

Finally, what do you have planned for the future?

We are working on a release for Carlo Lio’s label Rawthentic Music and, of course, we want to release more stuff on Metroline and Saw. We’re just really happy to be able to work closely with Saw Recordings and Satoshi.

Listen / download Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’ [Saw Recordings] from Beatport

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Satoshi Tomiie & Hector Romero talk 10 years of Saw Recordings

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When Satoshi Tomiie and Hector Romero launched their New York City label Saw Recordings in 2001, they had simple aims. “The idea was to make an imprint so I could release my original productions, plus introduce new music from up and coming producers,” explains Satoshi. “Ultimately, we wanted it to become a home for quality dance music regardless of genre.”

In a scene that moves as swiftly as electronic music, it’s impressive that a decade on Saw Recordings is exactly what its founders hoped it would be. With a relatively compact discography of 78 releases, the imprint epitomises the mantra, somewhat lost in today’s digital music universe, that quality not quantity matters.

As such, Saw has become a champion for new dance music talent. Many of today’s most respected underground producers started out on Saw, including Jim Rivers, Guy Gerber, Audiofly’s Anthony Middleton, and Luca Bacchetti.

Even though the label has seen some major changes, including the rise of digital and the fall of vinyl, it has always remained true to its aims. “When we started out 10 years ago, we were pretty much a vinyl label,” says Saw’s co-founder Hector Romero. “Nowadays we’re a digital only label and like everyone else, we’ve had to change with the times, but we’re still about promoting great music and new artists, and building a brand. For us, it was never just about selling music.”

Saw Recordings’ 10th anniversary release ‘Edizione’ is a perfect example of the label’s continued commitment to new talent. With seven quality club cuts from new and experienced Saw artists, the extended EP is like a gallery for underrated electronic music heroes.

“Many of the producers featured on ‘Edizione’ are new, and all of them are really hungry to grow and gain exposure,” says Hector Romero. “They are Saw’s most important artists, and all of them are proper talent with good futures ahead of them.”

Satoshi Tomiie came up with the EP’s title during a dinner in Rome, as he explains, “We had a great bottle of wine called Edizione, which someone explained, was a mixture of all these various grapes, that when combined, tasted amazing. We had been searching for a title for the 10th anniversary EP, and it just made sense.”

Romero oversees A&R duties at Saw and was tasked with finding the tracks for ‘Edizione’, a process that took about six months. “A&R is what I love to do,” he says. “I love sitting at my computer and going through tons of promos and listening to the links that people send me. A&R is about finding that needle in a haystack, and when you do find that needle, it feels great.

“The haystack is so huge these days of course, but it has to be done. When Satoshi is cooped up in his studio working on music, I spend my time listening to all the promos that we get sent, and I try to respond to every producer who sends us their stuff.”

Part of the concept of ‘Edizione’ was freedom, as Satoshi explains: “Once we had found the producers that we wanted for the EP, we tried to be as open and free as possible. We didn’t want to restrict them by giving them a certain sound or feeling to reach in the studio, instead we gave them the freedom to do whatever they wanted for the release.”

The resulting record is a melting pot of uncompromising, underground club music. There are moments of techno awe (Toby Tobias), raw house grooves (Mabaan Soul), a punchy progressive/techno hybrid (Doomwork), blissful deep house (Matt Masters), hynotic, acid-infused melodic techno (Matthias Heilbronn and Joeski), and proper, four-to-the-floor NYC house (Mes and Mabaan Soul).

‘Edizione’ sums up the label’s approach in 2011 perfectly. In fact, it encapsulates Saw Recordings’ attitude towards music in general. And as cheesy as it sounds, it is heart warming to know that a decade on it is the label’s passion for quality dance music – above all else – that drives it into the future.

‘Edizione’: Track By Track

Saw Recordings’ Hector Romero guides us through the label’s 10th anniversary release.


Toby Tobias ’5AM’

This track was actually produced about three or four years ago. We had always really liked it, but were never sure about when to release it. We got in touch with Toby Tobias to ask it it was still available, and he did a special re-edit which we loved.

It’s one of those nice deep tracks that works just as well at an afterhours as it does early on in a set. I knew we had to have it, because there have been multiple times in the past when the track has come on on my iPod, and it was so good, I stopped what I was doing to find out its title.


Matthias Heilbronn, Joeski ‘My Fix’

Joeski and Matthias have been around in NYC for a few years now. They’re both great DJs, and Matthias is a great house producer. They recently started collaborating on some great music, and ‘My Fix’ is very old skool Chicago style with spoken words and a very trippy feel.

I fell in love with the track right away. We released this as a single in January, and it did very well so we felt it deserved to be in ‘Edizione’ too.


Mes ‘Back To Basics’ (Mabaan Soul Remix)

Mabaan Soul were always really into this track, which was originally produced by Satoshi under his Mes alias. They asked if they could have the parts, and their remix turned out really chunky, with a great shuffle groove.

It fitted perfectly with ‘Edizione’. Their remix works well on the floor, and Satoshi always gets a big reaction when he plays it out. It went down big time in Guendalina club in Southern Italy last year.


Luca Bear ‘Sierra Leone’

Luca Bear is starting to make some big noise, and he’s becoming a big Saw artist. He has had stuff out on Viva and other cool underground labels. He’s a great DJ too.

He lives in Northern Italy. I really like this mix. It’s definitely at forefront of cutting edge house. He just gave us two new tunes too, which we’re definitely going to sign.


Mabaan Soul ‘Yo’

Mabaan Soul are a duo from Italy who are young and have a bright future ahead of them. They’ve had a few releases out on Saw, and they have a very unique sound.

Their music is chunky and raw, with lots of drums and heavy beats, and they sound almost like how Todd Terry used to sound back in the day. This track ‘Yo’ is very in-your-face, it goes bang, like yo!


Doomwork ‘My Crooner’

This track has been sitting around for a couple of years with us. It has a little bit of a progressive house and tech house feeling. It’s very well produced and quite clean. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the release actually.

Doomwork are definitely on the up. We’ve had them warm up for us at gigs in Italy, and again, they’re important artists to Saw. They always let us hear their new stuff first, so we get first pickings on all of their releases.


Matt Masters ‘It’s Always Delayed’

Matt Masters is one of my favourite producers from London, that’s for sure. Matt is a talented guy, and his music is really deep.

His track for ‘Edizione’ is very well produced. The groove is tech house, and because it’s deep, it’s suitable for afterhours or starting a DJ set. It’s got these lush pad sounds in it, which are perfect for setting the mood of a party.

(Words: Terry Church)

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Feature: Satoshi Tomiie’s new studio

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Saw Recordings’ Satoshi Tomiie recently finished building his dream studio in his apartment on Wall Street in New York City. With the new studio now fully operational, the house music veteran plans to release a plethora of new music in the coming months. We sat down with Satoshi to find out more about his new production base.

Tell us about your new studio.

It took me four years to build it. The reason it took so long is because I built the studio in my new apartment, and there was a lot of paperwork to do. I’ve never liked commercial studios and it was always my dream to build a studio in my apartment, so I could roll out of bed and produce music all day in my pajamas if I wanted to!

I’m really happy it’s finally finished! The studio is small but its dimensions were calculated exactly for acoustic perfection. I hired a studio designer to build it for me. He has built studios in NYC for 25 years, and his knowledge and expertise was amazing.

A studio inside your apartment sounds dangerous for your neighbors! Is it soundproofed?

We did our best to soundproof it. It’s completely self-contained, and because it’s a room within a room there’s a gap between the two walls which means not that much sound gets out. And the floor is floated on rubber feet, so the bass doesn’t travel at all and that’s the most annoying frequency for neighbors.

What gear have you got in there?

I’ve got a 55-inch TV monitor. I have a pair of Yamaha NS10 monitors and a pair of Adam S3A speakers with a sub. I’ve produced beats on the NS10s for years, so my ears are very tuned to their sound. I’ve been recommended Neumann speakers in the past, so I’d like to try out those sometime too.

Hardware wise, I’ve only got two synths in the studio. One is a Roland SH-101, which is a really simple analog synth that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and that’s really my go-to synth for writing quick basslines and melodies. The other is a Moog Voyager.

I use Ableton Live to write and arrange tracks, and then Pro Tools to mix it down. I know a lot of people who use Logic for everything, but Ableton works for me and I’m really used Pro Tools.

So these days you’re a plug in driven producer mainly – name some of your favourite plug ins.

My main plug ins come from Waves, and for instruments I’ve got some Arturia plug ins, including the Moog and ARP emulators. Native Instrument does some pretty cool stuff – I have their whole collection which is really great when you’re looking for a particular instrument.

Any caveats about the software approach?

I’ve noticed that if you have too many plug ins and sound choices, you spend too much time looking for a sound, when you should be spending that time creating and writing music. Also sounds and plug ins tend to move in trends in dance music, which is something I always try and avoid.

What do you mean by trends?

Even things like synth patches are affected by trends, and you’ll hear a whole lot of new music come out around the same time that all use the same patches. So it’s best not to jump on new patches and plug ins when they first come out. Things have definitely become so much easier with digital, but on the other hand there are too many choices for the producer today, and that includes plug ins.

(Words: Terry Church)

Satoshi Tomiie Tour Schedule

DATECLUBCITY
2014-09-06The HoldLiverpool
2014-11-21TROOP CAFEKobe, JP
2014-11-22WOMBTokyo, JP

Satoshi Tomiie Biography

東京生まれ、クラシックのピアノ教育を受けジャズを聴いて育った富家はバンド活動などを経て学生時代にクラブへ通いはじめる。フランキー・ナックルズに渡したデモテープがきっかけでハウス・クラシックスとなった『TEARS』を発表、その後NYへ渡りDEF MIX PRODUCTIONSの一員としてハウス・ミュージックの礎を作った。2000年に初のアーティスト・アルバム『FULL LICK』をリリース、高い音楽性で周囲を驚かせより幅広いジャンルで一気にファンを増やした。

富家哲とパートナーHector Romeroで立ち上げたSAW.RECORDINGSはスタートから現在まで幅広いジャンルのDJたちから熱いサポートを受け、10周年を記念したアルバム『EDIZIONE』を2011年2月にリリースする。SAWはDJユースなシングルはもちろん、スイスのCHABによる初アーティスト・アルバムはじめ、『Undulation』 シリーズ、富家自身によるMIX CDシリーズ『ES』『ES-B』などそのときどきで衝撃的な作品を発表。またマイアミWMCやイビザのPACHAでのレーベルパーティはクラバーの中では定番になっていた中、ここ日本ではAIRで富家とHECTORのみならず、彼らがイチオシするアーティストを紹介する「SAW@AIR」を2008年からスタート。未だ知られていない才能にスポットライトを当て、ジャンルにとらわれることなくクオリティ高い音楽を紹介していくという富家哲の思想が貫かれているのがSAWの特徴。このことがグローバル・シーンでの高く信頼される要因となっている。 つづきをよむ click to read the rest

Talk about house music and its impossible not to talk about Japan's Satoshi Tomiie. Since starting out in the late 80s he has been one of the scene's most important and influential figures who has crafted endless dancefloor anthems as well as turning his hand to more pop inclined work, headline DJ sets around the world and all the while staying as relevant as anyone in the game. And it all started in Tokyo clubs during Satoshi's youth, where he was forging himself a great reputation as a talented DJ in the early days of house.

Also a lifelong student of jazz and classical piano, Satoshi soon started producing and had a huge impact right from his very first record. The debut single 'Tears' - co-produced in 1989 with Chicago's 'Godfather of house' Frankie Knuckles - was an instant club hit and is today considered one of house music's most important moments. Soon after, Satoshi relocated to New York City to get fully involved with the exciting early 90s electronic music scene. It immediately paid off, and because he was an accomplished musician as well as dexterous DJ, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame) asked Satoshi to join him on his tour, and the rest is history.

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Satoshi Tomiie Contact Information

Satoshi Tomiie Profile
BULLITT BOOKING
Agents - Arash Shirazinia, Ryan Saltzman & Rodrigo Frutos
e-mail: booking@satoshitomiie.com
Phone: +1 202 338 8040
Fax: +1 202 338 8343
3207a M St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
Satoshi Tomiie Profile
FUTIQUE MANAGEMENT
Eriko Hase
e-mail: eriko@futic.com
Satoshi Tomiie Profile
OMNIVERSE PRODUCTIONS
Amministratore Unico
Valentina Cecchini
Mob: +39 335 8491430
Fax: +39 0549 909740 (Da Italia)
Fax: +378 0549 909740 (Da Estero)
e-mail: info@omniverse.sm