Tell us a bit more about “LA/NY”
“LA/NY” is a new song off my latest album, Outlier. It is a bit of a different direction for me, because I wanted to put forth a killer pop tune that also shined a light on my love of a fuzzy guitar solo.
Outlier is an album built on exquisite tension: like an endless push-and-pull between desire and resistance, determination and self-sabotage, the instinctive need to belong and the urge to strike out on your own. My songs were produced by Michael Shuman (Queens of the Stone Age and Mini Mansions) and it’s an album full of guitar-drenched sounds that’s wildly unpredictable and immediately magnetic.
What amp/pedals did you use for “LA/NY”?
It was all done within Studio One, using the PreSonus Ampire plug-in. Specifically, I used the Wild Drive, Demolition Drive, Equalizer and Delay pedals running into the Blackface Twin model amp paired with a 2×12 American Cabinet.
(NOTE: if you’re a PreSonus Sphere Member, you can download her exact Ampire Preset here)
How did you first discover PreSonus?
I first discovered PreSonus while working at a music shop in Austin, TX. They sold audio recording equipment from all different brands, but I noticed that PreSonus had the most intuitive software (Studio One Artist) included, as well as the best price point.
What was your first PreSonus product?
It was the Studio 1810c audio interface, but I have since upgraded to a Studio 1824c. I’ve got the FaderPort to the right of my computer keyboard. I also now have their Revelator io24 that you see me using in the video above, of course!
How long have you used Studio One?
About three years now.
What are your Top three favorite features about Studio One?
My favorite aspect of Studio One is how easy it is to use. The drag & drop aspect helps me work really quickly and efficiently. I also really love using Impact for drum sounds, Presence for sample-based instrument sounds, the Mai Tai polyphonic synthesizer, and Ampire for pedal FX and amp modeling.
With masterpieces such as “Alive,” “Falling Deeper,” and “Vertigo,” people from all over the world began to feel a deep connection with Kisnou’s music, counting for more than 7 million total streams on Spotify alone in 2020. Featured on BBC, New Balance, TV commercials and countless Spotify playlists, his music is often defined as otherworldly: perfect for anyone who wants to experience a real sonic journey.
From ambient to electronic, from orchestral to indie, Kisnou is a never-ending adventure that explores worlds of atmospheric sounds and storytelling. Featuring bittersweet poetry, untold stories, cold atmospheres, field recordings, and broken song structures, each song is a deep cinematic experience you will not forget.
Kisnou began making music using FL Studio back in 2015, eventually working for years within the Ableton Live software environment before recently discovering Studio One and PreSonus Sphere’s creative workflow environment.
In his words:
So… at the beginning, I really had no knowledge, never played an instrument. I just jumped and went for it. I felt like I had some stories to tell.
I’m a self-taught producer. It’s pretty easy to learn so many things online. I also used to listen to a lot of music, every day—while drawing or doing homework, while coming home from school. It was a part of me and of my life, every day. Many people are surprised when I say that I’m self-taught, especially those who are musicians or producers as well. It makes me feel happy, but I have always been down to Earth and very respectful. For example, in 2020 an American writer sent me one of his books, as a thank you gift because he loved my music. The book is called Wounded Tiger, and the author is such a wonderful person. It is a book about World War II and the true stories of multiple people that lived through that moment of history. I can’t say much about it but the author is trying to find the right chance to make a movie out of it… and I might be a part of the soundtrack team. Fingers crossed!
I graduated in 2019 and got my Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music, but since 2017 I have been making music for a good fan base online that has grown quite fast. I hit my first million streams on a song, and from there it started to get even better! I had an income, collaboration opportunities, and a licensing partnership with Marmoset Music that got me some really good placements! One of my songs was featured in a New Balance commercial and a Tomorrowland video. Now music is my full time job. I currently have around 150,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone.
The first artist who actually truly inspired me to make music was Koda. He is a talented guy from Los Angeles who wrote some beautiful songs. His songs were just pure magic for me, they resonated like nothing else. I felt like the lyrics were talking to me. My favorite song from him is “Angel.” I loved the video as well, so much that I contacted the video artist a couple of years ago and we created the music video for my song “In The Origin, We Breathe.”
Other inspirations include: The Cinematic Orchestra, Bersarin Quartett, Sorrow (a great electronic/garage music producer), Pensees, and Owsey. I come from the Ableton world, so I am also very much into electronic music, future garage, and ambient. I am in love with atmospheres, long reverbs, evolving sounds, textures and so on.
Lately I have been listening to the YouTube channel Cryo Chamber. Some songs are a bit too dark sometimes, but you can find such incredible atmospheres. I find it very inspiring.
You know, I live in the countryside, so I am always spending time in nature. I feel like I am lucky to be living here, but at the same time you might feel isolated or lonely quite often. It depends on the mood I guess.
I used Ableton for 3-4 years, made great songs thanks to that DAW, but somehow… I wasn’t really feeling comfortable there. I was slowly getting sick of it, even if the creative tools, the stock plugins and workflow were amazing.
By chance I found out about Studio One and then I started to see what you could do with it and it slowly got my interest, until I finally decided to make the switch.
Currently, I just try to make Studio One adapt to my workflow and that was quite easy. The possibility to internally customize shortcuts and create macros is just wonderful in my opinion. I have many macros mapped around my keyboard, and have others on the buttons of my mouse. I have mapped CTRL + ALT as a hold command on one of the two main side buttons, then on the other one I have a Macro that activates the bend marker view, automatically swaps to the Bend Tool so that I can do my edits and then press it again to deactivate the bend view.
On the four lower side buttons I have mapped the editor, channel, inspector and browser for quick tasks. Though If I hold control and press those buttons, or ALT, I have other sets of commands to help me out.
One more functionality that I love is the Transform to Audio Track command, which prints a MIDI file into audio, but it’s better compared to what I’ve seen in other DAWs I’ve used in the past (FL Studio, Ableton, or Pro Tools) because I can print the MIDI to audio and preserve the instrument—so that If I ever want to revert back to the plug-in, I can do that at any given moment. I can choose to render the insert FX or not, which is also great.
In other DAWs, I either had to make a copy of the plug-in, print one to audio and leave the other there, just disabled. Sometimes I printed a MIDI file into audio feeling that it was perfect, then days later, I felt like I wanted to edit the plugin… and I couldn’t do it anymore because I had not copied the plug-in instance before printing.
Lastly, I’m pleased to be a featured artist on PreSonus Sphere!
The presets I created revolve around the use of white noise, layering and distortion: aspects that I have been exploring in the last months to create a sort of vintage but modern, textured sound. Warm, lush pads and pluck sounds, distorted reverbs and atmospheres were my North Star when creating these presets.
There’s 20 presets in all in this pack: FX chains, pad sounds for Presence, some Macros, Mai Tai patches, and a custom reverb of mine… enjoy!
Hassan has produced records for some major artists in the Middle East, and was also one of the judges on the Arab Idol show (the equivalent to American Idol in the Middle East) for four seasons, which aired on MBC. Hassan started releasing his own records featuring other artists in the region, starting with this track, back in the days when he was predominantly still working in Logic and Ableton Live:
Here’s a more in-depth account of his history and evolution with DAWs and how he’s settled upon Studio One and PreSonus Sphere, in his own words:
I started producing a long time ago, using Logic when it was owned by E-magic (the good old days!) I loved Logic, but I felt limited until I got introduced to Ableton Live. I spent a bit of time on my own experimenting with it, but it was too daunting to use for ongoing projects until I took a quick crash course in London on Ableton Live, and then I switched when I felt comfortable using it. I didn’t switch 100 percent, though, because there were many things that were better done in Logic… but Ableton was a game changer, producing music in a completely different mindset… minimalism yet experimental!
The idea of racks, drum kits, and so on was endless, and it felt like a modular system that I could change according to my needs… BUT Ableton was also limiting in many ways: it was very unstable, and lacked many features—as if they were stubborn to actually fix or introduce features. So I started looking somewhere else after years of using Ableton and experimenting with the folks at Bitwig. (I even have a 1.0 badge, I think I had the beta before they released the first version!)
Bitwig were actually adding all the things to Ableton Live that the community wanted but, again they took their own route… which isn’t what I needed until finally I got introduced to Studio One.
I first tried Studio One 3 and was intrigued, but I couldn’t rely on it 100 percent until version 4 was out, which introduced Impact XT and Sample One XT. That changed everything for me, having its ease-of-use in my production environment—yet I also get the all-in-one kind of vibe, which I have never found in any DAW available and trust me… I have looked in every corner!!!
Studio One was the first DAW that lets me produce my whole record from writing ideas to final mixes in one place. That never happened before: it was always either Logic and Pro Tools or Ableton and Logic etc. Now it’s ONLY Studio One, and after all these years that’s really something special to note, in my opinion!
The workflow in Studio One is unbeatable: the Macros are pure magic, the ability to have Key Commands to assign uncommon commands makes Studio One very powerful. Production is a breeze, yet I have all these powerful tools: I can integrate Melodyne and ReVoice Pro via ARA, and I can use Layers while recording and Patterns for beatmaking.
Studio One is the most stable DAW I have ever used, it handles anything I throw at it. I have a big appetite when its comes to production, from producing pop records to scoring music to picture/video… and Studio One 5 is keeping up at my speed! Last but not least, the folks at PreSonus are amazing at consistently striving to achieve the best DAW out there; they are very active online, enthusiastic and most importantly… they listen to the community.
And that to me is priceless.
And one other thing—my newest projects have started to incorporatethe new Show Page in Studio One Version 5 for performing live perfectly in sync with my session tracks! Exciting!
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Want to capture the sound of other industry professionals? How about collaborate with a Grammy nominated artist?
With Exchange, you’re able to use presets and sounds from select PreSonus Artists in your own projects. Under the “Browse” section, you’ll also find thousands of downloadable assets from other Sphere Members, and the ability to upload your own unique sounds.
In this last episode, Jacob takes a look at the PreSonus Sphere Exchange tab and demonstrates how to import an Artist’s sound into your Studio One song session.
When you join PreSonus Sphere your membership comes with Studio One Professional, Notion plus the native software instruments, effects and plug-ins that PreSonus offers.
Studio One Professional is a powerful and intuitive DAW that works for you – made only more powerful by the full catalog of plugins – while Notion is an easy way to create full scores, sheet music for individual instruments, or guitar tabs and chord charts. Sphere members can also enjoy ongoing software upgrades when new versions are released.
In this Sphere episode, Jacob takes us through a demo of the “Products” tab, and all that is included.
With a PreSonus Sphere membership you get access to exclusive masterclasses in the “Learn” section.
Here you can dive into practical recording topics from industry professionals, covering recording tips, manipulating compression, perfecting EQ on a track, general mixing/mastering techniques, and more! Beyond the recording side, you can explore PreSonus Sphere product-specific videos like dialing in your guitar tone with Ampire, navigating Studio One and learning Notion.
In this episode, Jacob shows us the layout of the “Learn” tab, and how to navigate this “one stop shop” of classes.
I am from Guangzhou, China, a metropolitan city close to Hong Kong where many imports and exports occur. As a child, I didn’t have the luxury of accessing music at the touch of my fingertips, like I do now. I remember going to secret spots on the weekends to pick out records among piles and piles of CDs with broken cases, which were smuggled in from overseas and were damaged by the customs. My mom had a Sony stereo set with a CD player and two cassette slots… it was pretty fancy in the ’90s. I was obsessed with recording my favorite songs to the cassette tapes. And then my mom bought a Walkman with recording ability through its built-in mic—I figured out how to play music in the background with my mom’s stereo and record bedtime stories I wrote. I paid for all of those CDs, but none of the profits went to the creators.
My family wanted me to follow in their footsteps and become a visual artist or a designer, but I was already obsessed with music. I always wanted to play the piano. So at the age of 16, I decided to pursue music secretly. I found two incredible music teachers on the Internet and started taking lessons, unbeknownst to my family. I learned how to read, play, and study music with strict and intense classical training. It was really difficult at the time because I didn’t know if anything would come from it, and I had to make money on the side to pay for the lessons. Looking back, I’m glad I took that risk. It was totally worth it. A year later, I was accepted to the Communication University of China, the best music and technology program in China, to study music. My music career began.
The next part of my journey called for a relocation to the states, so I moved to Los Angeles after college. I started at Paramount Recording Studios and climbed the career ladder there. The learning never stops in Los Angeles; every day I pick up something new and practice until it becomes a habit. I am so inspired by the music culture in L.A., everyone I meet is just so talented, driven and inspiring. You don’t have to learn how to read music to be able to create music. How it sounds and how it connects with people is the most important part of the business.
The PreSonus audio products that I’ve been using are the StudioLive 16.0.2 digital mixer and their award-winning Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software Studio One Professional, which I mostly use for producing.
Its ease of use, flexibility and Macros are among the top features that led me to choose working creatively in this environment. Other DAWs usually require third-party software to program Macros, whereas with Studio One it is integrated natively as part of the DAW workflow itself.
Another particularly useful feature about Studio One that I find useful is the ARA integration (with Melodyne pitch correction) to the Studio One software engine. It saves so much time and I can edit vocal audio clips in real time at any stage of the process.
I love the quick-nudge capability inside of an audio clip. It’s a fast workflow and I don’t have to clean up the edit point or cross-fades every time I make an edit.
In short, Studio One flows really well, it’s quick and intuitive. No downtime for creativity. Truly amazing!
If you’re a musician working with other artists, or working alone and trying to keep your folders organized and neat, the PreSonus Sphere Workspaces tab is an indispensable tool for file sharing and organization.
Collaboration has never been easier; share whole songs or individual instrument stems, with quick listening right inside the Workspaces page—no downloading needed! In this Sphere episode, Jacob Lamb takes us through some of his thoughts on how Workspaces can be utilized in his studio, for both song creation and teaching students.
Discovering new sonic universes to explore is what being a musical artist is all about!
Let’s dive into RMB Justize’s discussion about his worlds of sound, and how he does it all with PreSonus Sphere:
“Versatility and persistence are a deadly combination of characteristics. They are much-needed weapons to have in an artist’s arsenal.”
Based in Chicago, IL with ties to the DMV area… Taylor Gang’s in-house producer Ryan “RMB Justize” Baker grew up in a musical household, his mother being a classical violinist for the Chicago Sinfonietta, exposing RMB’s ears as early as six years old.
“I caught the music bug from Mom, for sure. I remember turning 11 or 12 and having nothing but a voice recorder and a Yamaha DJX keyboard. Skateboarding was the thing back then, with influences ranging from Sum 41 to Incubus to The Neptunes and Noreaga. A couple of years later I finally dove into making music with computers, using every piece of software I could get my hands on until now. But… then came PreSonus Studio One, which changed it all for me.
“The interest came from an artist I worked with at the time—he wouldn’t stop mentioning it! After spending countless months into years on ProTools, FL Studio and Reason, I wanted a program that could do it all. I’m a religious template maker, as most are, so the workflow determines the imagination most if not all of the time and Studio One takes care of the madness with ease. Let’s just focus on the music and pushing envelopes more than finding where to click certain stuff. PreSonus did it right, ranging from AudioBox interfaces I’ve owned in the past, all the way to the new Quantum which gives me more than enough power to control the room.”
Since the premiere of Studio One version 5 in July of 2020, RMB has become a power user… eventually convincing a few fellow producers and artists to try it, if not make a full switch.
“There have been times where I’ve walked into big label studio sessions and people look confused because they’ve never seen Studio One in person! Once I show my way of doing certain things, using certain plug-ins in certain ways, they’re overly surprised. It’s hands-down the fastest program, which lets me flex my mind-work and turn my rough thoughts (even voice notes) into full records. I’ve had people come to my studio for sessions and look surprised when they ask why I use it. You have to try for yourself to find your workflow.”
Honorably noted, PreSonus Sphere has made his processes for online collaboration, recording, mixing, and mastering an album-quality one-stop-shop, helping the migration become a breeze. Especially during times of a pandemic where people can’t communicate like they normally would, it’s a necessity.
“I think all DAWs should have an ecosystem such as PreSonus Sphere, whether you’re just getting started or an A-list musician. The tools available make it seamless to share files and keep up to date on things like deadlines and most recent notes/mixes, rather than scrambling through emails and hard drives (which we can all relate to, I’m sure). Having that system in one spot, one site, one page, actually kept me in line when finishing a label record and staying up to date without confusion.” (Chevy Woods—Since Birth)
Recently focusing more on production and audio engineering as well, the AAF import feature has been a godsend.
“I still find myself walking people through how to convert sessions to AAF rather than tracking out. There is no other program that will line the session up identically with automation and fades, to say the least, which saves more time than I expected. That’s just a small piece of my realization, of how capable this DAW is. Cheers, PreSonus!”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, RMB’s main focus is to create cutting-edge music, knowing he has the perfect DAW to do so, with no issues.
Let’s find out more about them and what’s new in the Pigface camp in these surreal times we’re in:
Martin: I’ve had a long storied career – starting in 1979 when I joined Public Image Limited (the band started by Johnny Rotten when the Sex Pistols imploded) for a 5 year spell that included world tours and their most successful albums. A few years with Killing Joke (who just opened for Tool last year) some work with Nine Inch Nails (appearing on the Grammy award winning Wish) touring with Ministry and founding my own band Pigface – an industrial ‘supergroup’ that has included Mary Byker (PWEI, Gaye Bykers On Acid), Chris Connelly (Revolting Cocks, Ministry), Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God), Danny Carey (Tool), Curse Mackey (Evil Mothers), En Esch (KMFDM), Lesley Rankine (Silverfish, Ruby), Charles Levi (My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult), Bobdog Catlin (Evil Mothers), Bradley Bills (Chant), Andrew Weiss (Ween, The Rollins Band), Greta Brinkman (Moby, Druglord), Orville Kline (Porn and Chicken), Gaelynn Lea, Dirk Flanigan (77 Luscious Babes), Leanne Murray (Beer Nuts), Chris Harris (Project 44), Mike Reidy (Worm), Leyla Royale, Andrew Apocalypse, Ali Jafri, Roger Ebner, Bruce Lamont, Jesse Hunt, Dai, C.A.M., J Lamar, Just Chris (courtesy of Add-2) and Rona Rougeheart.
I started my own label Invisible Records in 1988 and, after a few short years it was obvious I should open my own studio – I bought Steve Albini’s tape machines (an 8 Track ½” and a ¼” machine both by Otari.) As digital started to enter our lives my studio became a hybrid of cool quirky analog, circuit bent pieces, and whatever digital interfaces were affordable at the time.
More and more of my time was spent either in the studio or out recording live events with my band in the US or over in China where I travelled a couple of times. I’ve always been impressed by how supportive PreSonus is to artists– either with no nonsense customer support when needed or by carefully crafting new pieces of equipment that just make sense. I think the piece that illustrated their support of artists for me was the now “classic” Faderport– when most companies were trying to sell multi-fader automation they (and then I) realized that most of us only needed one channel to write volume and pan automation – so, that, I guess, cemented everything for me.
It feels like things are really coming to fruition now, with support from PreSonus and my good friend and audio engineer, Mark Williams. I got to see the StudioLive 64S Series III console mixer in action first at Mark’s studio in Baton Rouge where he laid out all of the tracks, but then we got to work at River City Studio, which is an amazing recording facility, right there at the PreSonus office building. Everyone was so welcoming, people jumping out of meetings to say hi that I had met speaking at PreSonuSphere years ago (you should bring that back!) and I even met the CEO. Mark and I were able to tweak the tracks there and then finish up any tweaks remotely from Chicago.
All of this made the need for a StudioLive 64S console essential for my studio– with so much catalog and multi-track sessions it will be an essential hub of our next few years of activity as a band and as a label. I have the ability to quickly communicate the power of these live shows we have been creating. We recorded many of the shows during our 2019 tour – the line up was just AMAZING and, just be reading through the names you’ll know this was nothing to roll the dice with – the new format allows seamless passing of sessions, follow up tweaks, and easy workflows. Not only has the StudioLive 64S made the mixing of the live tracks from the last tour possible, it’s enabling possibilities of making other shows available for the fans who want more material from us.
Mark: I met Martin the first time in 1993 while working in college radio at the University of Alabama. I worked for him as a field representative for Invisible Records for about 5 or 6 years. Martin contacted PreSonus about one of his ACP88’s and became an Endorser for the company. Throughout the years, PreSonus has outfitted his studio with products including: the ADL600, Central Station, Fadeport, Digimax 96, and their award-winning DAW software, Studio One.
I’ve worked on numerous recording projects and mixes throughout the years with Martin and in November 2016, we recorded the Pigface 25th anniversary concert at the Chicago House of Blues using 2 StudioLive RM32 rackmount mixers and Capture recording software.
In 2019, I supplied Martin with a Quantum interface to record all Pigface live concerts with. The front-of-house (FOH) engineer for the final concert at Thalia Hall sent me all 32 channels of the recording. I synced up the 26 channels from the multitrack with 6 additional channels from the board mix and FOH feed.
Breaking down the 32 channels, 48khz recording down by song was quite an undertaking, as it was a massive amount of data to go through.
Martin flew down the last week of February 2020 so we could mix the album in my studio. The heart of our system was an IMAC with 32 gigs of RAM with a few external terabyte drives, a StudioLive SL64 console mixer, Scepter 8 monitors and Avantone Mixcubes. We went through each song to evaluate what we would use. As we did that, we created template fat channels for each musician. We had 3 drummers, 3 bassists, 2 guitarists, a DJ, 3 saxophones, cello, viola, violin, sitar and more vocalists than I can remember.
Basically we mixed everything “live” using the StudioLive 64S, relying on the console for dynamics processing and effects. We did some simple edits in Studio One. However, to maintain the integrity of the recording, we didn’t repair or fix anything. We used the recording as is in all its chaos and beauty. We didn’t correct any timing, pitch (i.e. no Auto-Tune!). I wanted to stay true to the Pigface form for the live energy.
A couple of days went by of mixing in my studio and then went to River City Studio. I was able to store the presets for the StudioLive 64 on the iMac. We just carried it up to the studio and plugged it in. The scenes loaded up quickly and easily. The transition from my studio to the PreSonus studio was seamless. We were able to get a different perspective in PAE HQ due to the different room and monitoring.
Then, we finalized the mixing in my studio and I uploaded the mixes online for filesharing, as Martin had to fly home to Chicago. He and I tweaked the final mixes over the next month easily to get to the final product that has been pressed to a beautiful Double LP. Y’all need to check it out… click on the link below for more info!
The mix that we did there is what is being used for the live video concert on October 10th.