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At the Controls

Producer extraordinaire Ewan Pearson on landmark collaborations and his own studio heroes

By Christine Kakaire
ewanpearson

When you think of traditional song-based music, there’s an assumption that the starring artist is surrounded by a cast of supporting characters who help to bring their project to life. None is more important than the producer: the songwriter, editor, arranger, and conceptual visionary who can articulate, mould, oversee, and complete the artist’s sound signature.

Within electronic dance music, the producer is no less prevalent, but with a DJ-centric scene that is better known for “tracks” than “songs,” and a composition process that is more accessible and affordable than ever, the role has become less and less defined. Where exactly does the electronic music producer fit into the equation?

As we found out, the answer is: everywhere.

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At the Controls

Behind-the-scenes producer Benno De Goeij on working with Armin Van Buuren and other trance superstars

By Christine Kakaire
benno

Occasionally, Benno De Goeij and Armin Van Buuren will produce together under the name of Gaia. More often than not, their regular studio sessions are released under the latter’s solo name. It’s a winning formula that has served them both well: De Goeij prefers to work as a team and simply doesn’t want the attention or the attendant pressures that come with being labelled the world’s #1 DJ, a title that Van Buuren has carried for much of the last decade.

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At the Controls

Ricardo Villalobos and Ellen Allien collaborator Tobias Freund on inspiration and life behind the scenes

By Christine Kakaire
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At the Controls is a series of interviews conducted last year that peeks under the curtain of electronic music production, to highlight the behind-the-scenes people whose contributions have had a lasting impact across the dance music landscape.

Tobias Freund is a pillar of Berlin techno. Alongside his house-leaning releases as tobias. and darker tones as Pink Elln, he has undertaken a range of acclaimed collaborations through his lengthy career: modern classical fusions with Max Loderbauer as nsi., sweeping soundscapes with Ricardo Villalobos for Odd Machine, and open-ended improvisation for the outfit formed with Atom TM.

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At the Controls

Behind the scenes of Tall Paul's and Fergie's big hits sits engineer Dave Parkinson

By Christine Kakaire
dp

Dave Parkinson has had a smattering of releases under his own name, but the rest of his crammed discography reads intriguingly like a tale of two producers. Alongside an extensive inventory of engineering work, he’s been behind many well-known tracks from Simon Patterson, Fergie, Gavyn Mytchel, and Tall Paul, covering bracing hard dance to sprawling trance, and more recent housier fare that has placed him within the mighty Toolroom Records stable.

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At the Controls

Desolat co-owner Martin Buttrich on working with Loco Dice, Timo Maas, Tom Jones, and Sugababes

By Christine Kakaire
mb

At the Controls is a series of interviews conducted last year that peeks under the curtain of electronic music production, to highlight the behind-the-scenes people whose contributions have had a lasting impact across the dance music landscape.

Martin Buttrich has been a stalwart of electronic music for two decades, but this year he appears to be on the cusp of something big. For many years, he was the silent studio partner of Timo Maas, guiding him towards landmark tracks like his signature remixes of Azzido da Bass and Tori Amos. Buttrich also bolstered the productions of his Desolat label co-owner Loco Dice, as he ascended to the highest ranks of popular DJs. But a few years ago, Buttrich began to ease himself into the spotlight more and more.

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