Dirtyphonics is a French electronic band and DJ trio from Paris consisting of members Charly, Pitchin and Pho. After signing to AudioPorn Records in 2008, Dirtyphonics released their debut single “French F**k*” which reached number 1 on the Beatport Charts. Quickly rising to worldwide success, Dirtyphonics has worked with the likes of Linkin Park, Skrillex, NERO, Steve Aoki and many more. We sat down to chat with them about their top 5 favorite plugins as well as workflow and collaboration for their new EP on Dim Mak Records.
Splice: Can you tell us about some of your favorite plugins? Which ones do DirtyPhonics use most lately?
Charly: I would say Serum by Xfer Records. It is easy work with and understand plus it sounds awesome. Every control is straight to the point and right there. There are very few windows, sub‑windows and sub-menus. They keep things neat and not over complicated. It also has a great selection process with the wavetables.
Pitchin: The beauty is that you can go online and search for wavetables from synths such as Access Virus TI, Massive and import them into Serum. You get the same starting point but use Serum’s controls instead.
Charly: Another favorite is Native Instrument’s Kontakt. This plugin was always around since the beginning and we’ve used it with Shimon a little bit back in the days. We use it to create our own patches and build our sound library from there.
Splice: Are you taking those Kontakt sample patches and using that as starting points for new songs to give everything a consistency?
Pitchin: Yeah. The main “starting patch” that we use is a sub patch. We’ve found this one sub sound that we love and instead of reopening the plugin each instance, we use our sub patch each time we start a song.
Splice: Do you guys do you own mastering?
Charly: Yeah, pretty much so. From start to finish, the product that you hear online comes straight from the studio. Mastering engineers will tell you that Ozone is so complex that you could totally mess up a track in a mix if you over use it or not use it properly. But there’s a balance we’ve learned over the years to use it in a way that works for our music and us.
Charly: With regards to other plugins, we used WizooVerb on so many songs but its a PC based plugin. Now that we’re on Mac, there is no equivalent to the WizooVerb and really wish we could use that one on Mac.
Pitchin: We are having a hard time to find one that’s similar. The company has been bought by some other plugin company and they haven’t updated it.
Splice: Is there another reverb that you are comfortable with?
Charly: No and that’s the problem.We use other reverbs and most of the time we’ll use them only in the writing process. Then, when we’re finishing the song, we’ll switch to PC just to use WizooVerb.
Splice: What do you like so much about that reverb?
Charly: It sounds very good and doesn’t eat up a lot of resources. There’s some sort of warmth about it that is very transparent. A lot of the reverbs add a lot of higher frequencies and as a result sound digital and we haven’t found something that is as good as that.
Splice: What about one more?
Pitchin: Even though you should never use your eyes to mix something, it helps. There is also another feature that I like where you see a frequency that you don’t like, point at it and the EQ will subtract it out for you. It helps you move quicker and is a good starting point.
Splice: Let’s move on now to talk about your upcoming EP. Could you tell us a bit more about “Write Your Future”?
Charly: Sure, let’s start with “Power Now” and the concept behind it. The main thing on the EP is that we wanted to write and work with a lot of vocalists. We haven’t done this as much in the past. We’ve worked with vocals on some remixes we’ve done, but not on our original tracks.
Splice: Were those collaborations with vocalists/singers in the studio live or were artists sending stuff back and forth?
Charly: It’s a little bit of both. Every single song had a different story. For “Power Now”, we have Matt Rose, who used to be the singer with The Qemists. We’ve been friends with him for years and he’s been sending us stuff online for us to use in our tracks if we wanted to. We decided to put one of his vocal tracks into “Power Now” and it worked out really well. All we had to do was to work with Matt to tighten up some parts but other than that, it was pretty easy.
Pitchin: Matt also wrote the lyrics to “Since You’ve Been Gone”. He actually sent us the lyrics together with a chord progression that was played on a piano.
Charly: Yeah. We didn’t have a song that the lyrics would fit on so we started writing the song around the lyrics and used the chord progression as the starting point. That’s how “Since You’ve Been Gone” came about and it was the first time we produced a song this way.
Pitchin: It was a pretty fun, creative process and like the fastest track that we produced.
Charly: The last song on the EP was a collaboration with Paul Fenech. Actually, Paul Fenech started it and Julian Hardy continued writing the song in Paris while we were on tour. When we came back, we were like “this is awesome” and we started to work on it. We reworked the whole structure a little bit. Then, we had this very melodic breakdown that was contrasting with this heavy in‑your‑face base drop. We wanted to go a little step further in the contrast. We were like, “Let us put like a very strong vocal all over the breakdown.” To be honest, we had a couple different people sending us stuff that didn’t work for us. Some stuff were good and some stuff didn’t really work out. But for this last song, Julian’s writing totally nailed it. We’re really proud of this EP and can’t wait for the world to hear it!
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March 23, 2015