14/07/2017
Behind the Marimba Jam Approach: An Interview with Auntie Flo

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London-based producer Auntie Flo has been catching all the right eyes and ears in recent times with his refreshing and insightful approach to both electronic music music and its making. His preference for rocking out live in recording mode to deliver a raw feel to his productions has rendered  his own signature through his ‘Marimba Jam’ tag. Following on from his edition of ‘Love Me Again’ on Ninjatune, he has put the process to Skinnerbox’s new cut ‘Gender’ (Listen to the track and the full EP below). This week, he took us through the approach and more to mark the release of the record.

Set the scene for us… where and when did you produce your remix of ‘Gender’?

I live in London in a tiny flat and have a small studio set up there- space is a premium!. It kinda sprawls over my bed and I have to surround myself in hardware when I sit down to produce. I built my own desk to make this as easy as possible, and synths / drum machines sit on different shelves at different levels. 

Have you developed a particular approach to remixing or is it more a go with the flow process?

Every time I produce I try to change the set up and experiment with new sounds and hardware. I’ve been trying to build a work flow where I can jam everything and record in one take as much as possible. I find this works well with remixes and means you don’t spend days and days on them. A few months ago I did another marimba jam remix for ninja tune, so I thought I’d do the same here. I hooked all my hardware up and recorded all the drums in one take, playing them all live. I think hooked up a marimba sampler to an arpeggiator and played a few lines live. I edited it a little but wanted to keep it sounding raw, capturing the essence of the live jam..

In your mind or your body is there a particular time for idea creation and another for technical sound design or do both go hand in hand when you work?

I don’t produce every day, or even every week which means that I always make the most of the time I do have. I kinda build up a quota of inspiration and then sit down and see what happens. 

What were the elements from the original mix that immediately caught your interest?

The original is so good! So I wanted to do it justice… however what I ended up with was pretty different to the idea in my head at the start, so hopefully the skinnerbox guys like it. I find if the remix is too different it may as well be a new track. 

Can you give us an insight into the key production tools that were used in the production process?

For this remix the percussion is all Roland 727 and my MFB drum machine hooked up to a kaoss pad. I recorded in logic. 

Are you someone that strives to learn new techniques in the studio and new uses for your tools?

Yes, I’m always trying to change my set up to challenge myself and try something new… sometime it works better than others! I’m learning all time too, feel like I’ve still got a way to go to get to where I want to be.

Are there any areas where you feel your skills could be better developed?

Def with the final mix downs and general punchiness of my stuff. Although I never want it to sound too polished or clean. Rough and lo fi gives a better vibe. 

People often attempt to categorise your sound. We’re not going to ask you to do that yourself but, instead, could you share with us 3 words that in your mind reflect what it is that your productions embody? 

Unique. Different. Non-pointless! 

Skinnerbox – ‘Gender’ EP is out now on digital and 12″ vinyl. Buy/Stream here.