London’s Point Blank music school is one of the coolest places to learn the wonderful craft of electronic music production. Not only do students come away with a host of new skills, but they’re taught by instructors like Ninja Tune artist Raffertie and legendary Chicago house vocalist Robert Owens. Such is the case with today’s video, which we’re excited to premier to the world, of the two aforementioned artists working together in the studio to teach the finer points of vocal recording. Read on for our exclusive chat with Raffertie (aka Benjamin Stefanski) about the experience, and check out the instructional video of the session below.
When did you first encounter Robert Owens’ music, and what did you think of it?
I’ve known about Robert’s music for some time. In truth, I can’t remember exactly which record I heard first, but I remember being captivated by it. His vocal style defined a sound which still echoes in contemporary electronic music of now.
How do you feel that the music you make now relates to the original Chicago house sound?
There are certain influences from Chicago house I have used in my music, but these tend to manifest themselves in very different-sounding results, so I wouldn’t say that my music directly relates to it. Probably the closest I have got to a direct influence is “Mimetic” from my EP Visual Acuity, released by Ninja Tune.
Are there specific elements of old Chicago house that have become go-to sounds for you?
Synth stabs and short, sharp, percussive basslines are two of the features that really grab my attention when listening to Chicago house, and I have used these features in a variety of my music.
What was the best part of working with Robert on this session?
Robert works very quickly and so do I. The first few hours of making a piece of music is critical for me, and can often be the defining stage of the creative process. When working with vocalists, it often requires a lot of time for the producer to write the material and then wait for the vocalist to write something to that music, and then by the time you get into the studio with that person, it takes a while to get back into the original idea you had. Working with someone like Robert, who can hear an idea and record a vocal very quickly in a studio setting, allows a much more organic workflow.