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My Favorite Machines

Skip & Die talk about their favorite piece of studio gear

By Dan Cole
skipdie

Newcomers Skip & Die epitomize how the internet is breaking down global borders, bringing artists from different worlds together and creating a whole new wave of different sounds. Formed originally as a collaboration between South African vocalist Cata.Pirata and Dutch producer Jori Collignon (of C-Mon & Kypski), the group expanded their lineup to create a multi-instrumental, Afro-house, electro, digital cumbia, moombahton-styled live group. Touring intensively, they’re currently breaking through with their new album, Riots In The Jungle, and will more than likely be playing a festival near you soon.

We caught up with Collignon to find out what special ingredients went into making their unique, genre-defying sounds.

Tell us about your favorite piece of gear.

Well, I love my upright piano. I have a modest but great synth collection (OSCar, Jupiter 6, Moog Voyager, Nord Lead/Wave, Mopho) but my favorite piece of gear, when it comes to making the Skip & Die record, is this golden microphone. It’s a Lawson L47MP MKII and yes, it’s real gold. Almost everything on the Skip & Die album was recorded with this microphone. But part of the reason for that is my complete microphone collection consists of a SM57, a SM58, and the MK47.

How did you come across it?

When I started building up my own studio, my main target was to have a really good mic and a great stereo pre-amp. If I could record a great signal I could always mix it somewhere else. For the pre-amp, I chose the API A2D. The Lawson is not a very commonplace microphone. It’s still handmade by Mr. Lawson in Nashville. When I ordered mine, I spoke to the man himself on the telephone. He put me through to his wife, because she handles the administration. It’s a beautiful instrument, built with care.

Do you use it for particular recordings?

I used it to record the horn sections, the drums, the piano and Hammond, and all of the vocals. I borrowed some other microphones to try out some different characters, but I basically always ended up using the Lawson. I colored it sometimes with the API pre-amp. Its great distortion can be heard on the cowbells at the end of “Killing Aid.” No plugins were used for that sound.


For most of the drums, I used it as an overhead mic and used the SM57 close by. We built many crazy little setups the mic in a box taped to the bottom of the floor tom, stuff like that. It was fun but most of those sounds ended up quite far away in the mix. There’s a dent in the side of my mic. During a drunk studio session one of my bandmates bumped into it and it fell to the floor. It’s not so bad; I like instruments with little scars. The next day he had totally forgotten about it. He asked me, “Man! What happened to your microphone?!”