We rarely come across a producer (let alone a producer duo) who’s sound feels so natural in its early stages. Back when we were hosting the very first FKOFOKUS session in London, we heard their beats getting dropped by our boy Beezy – and we’ve kept a close eye on them since.
Discovering that the newly founded Encrypted Audio (more on that venture very soon) had picked them up and had signed a few releases, we figured it was time for Korrupt to find out more. Who might this dangerous duo be? Sweden‘s Kloudmen…
Hi Kloudmen, how are you guys? Hi, we’re both doing fine! Lots of school work though. It’s soon time for graduation; so both of us are finishing our final thesis in game development sound design/music at the University of Skövde here in Sweden.
That sounds awesome! If you can remember, when and what was your first encounter with electronic music? How would you say it’s impacted your life since? Martin: Hmm… I think the sounds of Prodigy, Scooter, Bomfunk MC’s and some early hands-up/eurotrance tunes caught my attention when I was younger.
What really made an impact on my life was when I first heard UK grime – I could spend hours on finding new tunes on YouTube! One day I accidentally clicked on a DMZ tune and that was the moment dubstep got me hooked.
David: I don’t remember exactly when, but as Martin, the sound of The Prodigy got me hooked when I first heard them. I used to listen a lot to happy hardcore, techno and trance when I was a kid. The fast 4/4 beat with harmonic melodies really got me going. I never took notice of the lyrics in tunes, I was all about the melodies and the cool FX sounds.
The impact that music made on my life was really big. When I was around 10 I got a loop-based music program for the computer. There I could play around for hours, building loops that I thought sounded good (which probably sounded really crappy). When I turned 14, a friend of mine told me about this music program, Fruity Loops, where you could create your own sounds. One of the big names in the genre (hands-up) I was listening to at that moment was also working in FL, so I just had to get it. I think that was the start of my career in music production.
How would you describe your signature sound? D: It’s hard to describe. We try to keep our tunes interesting with small details and we do lots of foley. We mostly keep the bass notes around D-flat to E-flat to give the track a heavy bottom end. We also tend to use lots of pads as we both love pads and drones! Heavy bass music with some melodic ingredients… I’m more into the melodic/techy dubstep and Martin is into the deep “dungeon” sound. So we try to merge that into one piece.
M: Yeah it’s hard to describe. We make music that we think represents our definition of dubstep. I am honestly a little shocked that our music has been gaining so much support from different DJs and producers around the world! Almost overwhelming, because neither me nor David thought that our music would be supported by any producers, in the dubstep scene, that we look up to.
Why the name Kloudmen? D: Martin and I were at my place in the studio (bedroom) just goofing around in Logic Pro. That week we had lots of discussions about an artist name, but we never ended up with one we both liked. Then Martin talked about a conspiracy theory about Rainman in the music industry. A few moments after I was gazing out the window at the cloudy sky, and said to Martin, “Kloudmen”. We looked at each other and knew that we had found our alias. Since then, we’ve named some of our tracks after different cloud types that we think represent the vibe in the track. For example, Arcus is a cloud that looks a “doomsday cloud” rolling in over the city.
What are your goals in the future? In terms of collaboration, which one artist would you like to perform with? One of our goals (and probably many other bedroom producers) is to release an EP on vinyl on a label that believes in our sound. Another goal/dream has always been to be in the headlines of a night in Fabric in London. But just playing our tunes out on a decent system is enough for us. To choose only one artist is hard, but if we had to choose – we would probably choose some one of the MCs in the UK (like Flowdan or SP:MC).
How do your productions come about? Is there a specific work flow you apply when you build a beat? D: We tend to produce lots of music individually, writing many ideas that we both can continue working on together. For example, if I come up with a cool idea I send it over to Martin and if he likes the idea we meet up at my place (or the other way around) to work on it.
M: I think it is important to produce alone sometimes. Both of us are getting the space to do whatever we want without getting judged about what we come up with. When we are working together it’s always one of us that is constantly listening critically. Therefore you get constant feedback when you’re in the “throne” (studio chair). When one of us gets stuck or loose the flow, the other one takes over. It’s a really good workflow for us and often the tunes almost write themselves.
D: We’ve also both built our own sample libraries (which are constantly growing) – where we have access to everything from farts to live orchestras. All the sounds have been gathered over the years from field recordings, vinyl sampling, resampling abandoned projects and synthesizer sessions. When we create a track, most of the sounds are our own.
What is the most favorite venue you’ve played? Do you have a favourite sound system you would like to play? We haven’t played in a venue yet unfortunately, or at least in any place worth mentioning (just small local clubs).
What’s your production set up like? What’s your favourite piece of gear in the Kloudmen production chain? M: I’ve been working in Logic for over 2 years now on my MacBook Pro with an external monitor. Got a pair of Adam A7X monitors and a Duet 2 soundcard. I’ve also got a simple midi-keyboard from Oxygen and two Gemini Pt 2400 vinyl players that we tend to use as a source to find new samples. I bought a Zoom H6 handrecorder last autumn and that would probably be my favourite piece of gear.
D: I work in Ableton Live 9 on an iMac 27” with a pair of Focal CMS65 as monitors. I have a MOTU Ultralite MK3 soundcard, Virus TI2 keyboard, Akai MPD26 controller, Roland TR- 505 drum machine, Zoom H4n with a sweet ass contact microphone and I recently ordered a SubPac S1 that I’m really interested in trying out. I also got some ethnic flutes and an old gramophone. My favorite piece of gear is my Virus TI2. Love that monster!
Of the synthesisers you use, which one would you say is your favourite? Why would you recommend it? M: David is the one who introduced me to many good synthesisers, but the one that got my attention recently must be Alchemy from Camel Audio. Once you get over the learning curve it’s amazing! Working well as a sampler too. For me, it’s a must have. It has lots of good presets and works well for both sound design and music production. I also love Logic’s native plugin called EFM1.
D: My current favourite synthesiser is the recently released Kaivo from Madrona Labs. It’s a semi-modular software synthesiser that combines granular synthesis with physical modelling which give you lots of possibilities to experiment and come up with cool sounds. I would recommend it to those who want to try a different way of making sounds with a software synthesiser.
What can you tell us about the FKOF mix you’ve put together? It’s basically a brief showcase of the Kloudmen sound. It’s not really a “traditional” mix. We let many tracks run for much longer than we usually do. The mix starts out quite mellow and reaches its climax at the last few tracks. We have included some tracks from really skilled producers – like as Content, Max Mudie, LX One and Tr4sig. We feel the tracks from these guys fit well with our sound.
If there is one production tip for the bedroom producers out there, what would it be? Instead of giving you tips on compressor presets, synth patches and so on we want to give another tip for all the bedroom producers. Our tip would be that you never should be afraid of failure. Don’t see hard critique as a bad thing, it will only make you grow – if you’ll let it!
What producer(s) in your opinion are the ones to watch in the future and why? We have come across many talented producers over the past months. To name a few: Max Mudie, Step-A-Side, Deceit, and Eva808. All of these people are brilliant producers, their music really gets us going. We think all of them will grow and get more recognition.
Do you have any final words / shouts to conclude the interview? Shout outs to the tretiotre crew, Basement Movement, Dubzy, Cheeze Maurice, Maximilian, Linny Hex, CJ (Dubstep Bastards) and finally a big shout out to all the people that have supported our music. Big love!
Click to DOWNLOAD (134MB)
- Kloudmen – Afterwork [dub]
- Content – Pirate Activity [FKOFd009]
- Kloudmen – Mind [dub]
- Kloudmen – Opacus [dub]
- Kloudmen – Desert Mike [Free]
- Kloudmen – Thundra [dub]
- Kloudmen – Nosey [dub]
- Max Mudie – Echo [dub]
- Kloudmen – Untitled [dub]
- Kloudmen – Adrenaline VIP [dub]
- Kloudmen – Kompakt [dub]
- Kloudmen – Untitled [dub]
- Kloudmen – Misery [dub]
- LX One – You VIP [Wheel & Deal Records]
- Kloudmen – Conkers [dub]
- Tr4sig – Scanners [Free]
- Tr4sig – Spoke Too Soon [dub]
- Kloudmen – Win [dub]
- Kloudmen – H.A.A.R.P [dub]
- Kloudmen – Untitled [dub]
- Kloudmen – Shifter[dub]
- Kloudmen – Arcus [Free]
- Kloudmen – Hask [dub]