Drum & Bass producer Objectiv has only been releasing music under his alias since 2017, but in that time has built a respectable reputation for himself. His fast-paced and techy sound design helped him finish off 2019 strongly with releases on labels such as Flexout Audio and Lifestyle Music.
We chatted with Felix about his passion for synthesis, and some tips and tricks when it comes to creating D&B.
When I met you a few months back, I remember you telling me that if someone explained a sound to you that you could go and recreate.
Yeah pretty much, that’s what Dan (Klinical) says. He likes it because when we sit down and make a tune we’ll talk about a sound and I’ll say “I’m in, I can do it”. That’s because all I really taught myself for so long was sound design.
Rather than learning how to make drums sound nice, which I’ve only started doing in the last 8 months, I really just tried to work on sound design. I was just a bit obsessed with it for some time. I used to screenshot people’s Instagram’s if they were showing a clip of a tune and look at what they were doing and how they done it.
So, you wanted to know it inside out and understand how and why a sound is being made?
Exactly. I really like the understanding of what different filters do and the power of resonance in things.
You can completely shift a sound and twist it. The power of the band-reject in Massive is so good, you can make the sound twist into itself.
What was it that sparked that interest in your bass sound design?
Maybe it was because I was so massively into Dubstep. I loved the deeper stuff but then I went mad on the more aggressive stuff that was just all about the bass. I would pick up on basses in songs rather than just other little bits. I would rewind songs on my little iPod Touch and re-listen to that one little bass bit.
Do you think that attention to detail that you liked is reflected in your music and sound design?
I would say so. If I’m making a tune I’ll spend a few hours doing little bits, the things that only happen once in the song but won’t happen again. For example, I’d listen to ‘Shaking Hands’ by Noisia about 800,000 times because of one little bit of bass on the second drop.
Well if everyone aspires to Noisia’s level then D&B is in good hands.
It’s their attention to detail, it’s so cool. It’s the mark of a good tune when you can get that replay-ability from the little bits.
What about your go-to synths? What are you making your sounds on?
I pretty much make everything on Serum now. It’s just amazing. It’s so versatile, it’s got its own sound and you can sort of get away with not using that much processing after making the sound.
If I use Massive, you can only get so far with the sound and then you have to do a lot to get it to the point of it actually being feasible. Whereas with Serum, you’ve got brilliant plugins within it.
Definitely! The FX within Serum is really nice.
It’s really cool. The distortion is gnarly and you can do pre and post distortion, as well as using it in a filter. You’ve got bandpass in there and by using resonance peaks you can make some really interesting sounds.
Can you talk me through your process a little bit? If you were to open Serum what would then go and do?
I kind of draw in all my own wavetables. I rarely ever use their wavetables, I’ll just use variations of sine waves. Pretty much every sound I make comes from a Sine wave. Every time I’ll just put extra harmonics into a Sine wave basically.
I like using different harmonics and then using FM (Frequency Modulation) within two oscillators to kind of create an almost kind of ‘jump-uppy’ sound. That gritty and resonance-y ‘womf womf’ sound.
What happens next with your post-processing? Once you’ve got your sound what plugins are you using?
I use a lot of Trash2, I use it on pretty much everything. I’d put it on myself if I could. You can use it in small doses on most things, it’s wicked. Multiband Distortion, Saturation, it is beautiful. You can really warm up your low end with it and thicken it out.
I use RC-20 for noise. You can add a nice bit of white noise and it’s got a nice distortion on it as well. FilterFreak by Soundtoys has nice distortion in it and then you can drive the input which messes with the sound nicely.
A lot of Logic’s own stuff I use as well. The Overdrive in Logic can really squash the dynamics out of sounds. It can really bring a new tone and thickness to a sound.
If someone who had just started producing and really wanted to concentrate on their sound design approached you for advice, what would your number one piece of advice be?
Read the manual. You’ll get a big insight into how everything works. As well, watch a billion tutorials. I’ve spent 100’s and 100’s and 100’s of hours watching tutorials, but at the same time don’t take them for gospel. Use them in your own way and reverse engineer those tutorials.