Lee Mortimer goes Loopy.
Reported by Tom Cypher
Submitted 14-11-11 07:34
One of the hottest DJs of the moment, Lee Mortimer is renowned for putting his own unique take on bass-fuelled house music and has made a name for himself as a producer par excellence with tracks signed to Foolís Gold, Dubsided, CR2 and Made to Play. Heís also provided remixes for bands such as Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads and Bombay Bicycle Club, as well as remixing tunes by the likes of Foamo, DJ Zinc, Dave Spoon & Pete Tong to spine-tingling effect. Following the recent release of Leeís Loopmasters sample pack, ĎWearhouse Musicí we ask him a few production-based questions.
What was it that inspired you to start producing?
Iíve always been into dance music, even when I was very young. I also loved computer games like all kids and I got a piece of software free with a magazine for my Commodore Amiga. It was called OctaMED and was a very basic sample sequencer. It came with a few rave samples and I got some off my cousin who was also into dance music. I would spend hours putting samples together and playing round. I was probably about 11 years old at the time. Years later I got OctaMED for PC and eventually got a copy of Propellerheadís Reason 2.5. Reason opened up so many new doors and the first track I made on it got signed to Jesse Roseís label.
Which do you prefer producing, sample packs or singles?
Making a sample pack was very new to me so it was a lot of fun doing it. Just sitting down and making noises is quite liberating, as you donít have to really think about creating a whole track. With producing singles, everything you do has to be perfect so you can get a little bogged down sometimes. I couldnít just make sample packs forever though as itís so rewarding finishing a great track.
Describe your studio set up
Itís pretty basic really. I run everything off my laptop PC with an extra external screen. I have Yamaha MSP5 monitors, an Edirol UA-25 sound interface and an M-Audio Radium 49 midi controller. Thatís all the hardware I use. In terms of software, Iíve always used Reason since version 2.5 all the way up to the new version 6. It really taught me everything I know about producing. Itís everything in one box and thatís its beauty. You never have to worry about it crashing either. Itís the most stable software known to man!
Recently Iíve introduced Ableton Live as I wanted to start using 3rd party plug-ins which Reason doesnít allow. Love is great for manipulating and time-stretching audio. It does it flawlessly.
My favourite plug-in is Native Instrumentís Massive. Renowned for great bass sounds is perfect for what I do. Endless modulation settings really bring your sounds to life. Iíve also just got NIís Razor which, again, is great for bass. Iíve just scratched the surface of it and canít wait to dig deeper and use it in some tracks. If the presets are anything to go by then itíll pay for itself pretty soon!
Whatís the biggest challenge youíve faced in the studio?
I always put off using anything other than Reason as I thought it would take ages to learn something new. Rewiring to Ableton was dead easy though and Iím so glad I did. I didnít want to have to spend time learning new software instead of making tracks but in reality it was one of the best things Iíve done recently. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to progress.
Have you ever had any technological disasters?
I havenít at all really. Both when DJing and producing Iíve not had anything major happen. I narrowly avoided a disaster during my last gig in Brisbane, Australia. The night before one of the speakers caught fire and the whole club had to evacuate! Thank God that didnít happen on my watch.
What's your 'must have' piece of kit and why?
Iíd have to say Properllerheadís Reason. I still use it in every song to program my drums and all the synths still sound great. Itís like my security blanket!
What's the most expensive piece of kit you own?
Itís probably my Yamaha monitors even though they werenít really that expensive. You could probably get a pair for just under £400 now.
The MSP5s are really clear and you know if your mix sounds good on them then it will sound good anywhere. I recently moved studio and naturally you worry how they will sound in a new room but I neednít have. Thereís always a nice sweet spot when you sit about 3 or 4 foot away no matter where you put them. As theyíve only got 5Ē woofers you donít get overloaded with false bass. If Iíve been in a studio with a sub woofer then I find I come away with not enough bottom end. These work great for the music I make.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest pack for Loopmasters?
I starting working in the studio with Aquasky about a year ago and they asked me if I wanted to get involved with their Monster Sounds sample packs. Iíd never done one before and thought it sounded cool so I began creating a palette of what I believe to be all the essential elements in making a track. Thereís drums, big synths, FX, vocal hits and of course lots of my trademark basslines. I spent many weeks making samples that will hopefully be great building blocks for producers of all levels.
What else are you working on at the moment?
Iíve been doing a few collaborations lately. Laidback Luke and I have just finished a new track which will be out in the New Year. Probably for Miami WMC. Iíve also been working with AutoKratz, TAI and a few others which are still work in progress but very exciting! Iíve also been making slightly different music under the name Tymer. The first EP will be out on my Wearhouse Music label soon.
Who or what has inspired you the most this year?
Thereís a guy from LA called Clockwork who I signed to Wearhouse Music who has been making some great tracks and getting support from the likes of Crookers, Steve Aoki, AC Slater, Foamo and even Armin van Buuren. Other new artists Iíve been into are Speaker Bomb, Maurice (BLKSQR) and Sunko.
What have you got planned for 2012?
Iíd like to put together a follow-up compilation to the Wearhouse Music All Night Long comp I put out a few months ago. It was basically all unreleased tracks exclusive to the label by amazing producers such as Black Noise, Rico Tubbs, Reset!, Blatta & Inesha, Calverton, Aniki, Nom de Strip, TJR and loads more.
On the production side Iíd like to explore more tracks under the Tymer name which ranges from straight-up house to future garage stuff. Iíll still be pumping out some big bass business too!
You can now download Wearhouse Music from here. Producers can expect to find a fantastic collection of bass loops, drum loops, synth loops, oneshot drum samples, vocal samples and more!
All photos courtesy of Lee Mortimer. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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