With the first of Janus Rasmussen‘s two ‘Vín – Remixes’ EP’s being released today, we delve back into his creative process and the recording of his debut album ‘Vín‘ in the second part of our two-part interview…
So when you’re producing other artists, with all their different genres and styles, does that affect your own music?
It just excites me. I’ve never wanted to only produce one type of music, even though, when I write for myself, it is usually electronic. If I am producing another artist or something, like with Heiðrik for example, then there are no electronic elements on the record at all and that really excites me because there is a challenge to think completely differently.
His music follows a much more traditional, song-based format. Something that i noticed elements of in Vín, certainly with some of the structures and melodies, how does that type of music influence you?
That music is still really exciting to me because I grew up with a Rock & Roll background and so it’s still really natural to create music that way. I always want to go back to producing that music because I always learn something new which really helps me reflect on my own work.
As a producer, your role on each album is so different, whether it’s doing everything from making beats to writing songs & melodies to where you’re more like a movie producer, pulling strings and getting people into the room. I’ve even produced albums where I didn’t play a single note, just did a little bit of editing.
Would you ever entertain the idea of having a role like that for your own music?
Well, It’s always fun when I get to work with session players as a producer and I had some drummers I brought in for the record and also I have a good friend who i like to have sit in with me sometimes. Like i said, it can be pretty intimidating sitting alone sometimes and I’ve always been in bands, so I like having a good friend on hand. It also makes it easier sometimes because when you’ve been sitting alone for so long you tend to overthink everything, so just having some reassurance that it’s all totally fine is really good.
With all of the varied production project you’ve done, are there any projects that you wish you could work on?
Yeah I would love to do some film work or theatre work. Scoring is something I really, really want to do. I did a little bit of scoring for a small horror movie and that was so much fun, so i’d love to do more. It’s mainly a lot of sound design because with horror there really isn’t any space for traditional music because so much of it is about creating a suspense, so it’s more like musical drones.
Was there something on the record that you were really proud of, that you necessarily think that anyone would care about? Was there anything that you wanted to achieve with the record that you succeeded with or was there something that you wanted but ended up achieving something else?
Haha well probably all of those things, that’s the eternal struggle of making music, sometimes you’re successful and sometimes you fail miserably!
One song I return to a lot is ‘14’, it has such a song-like structure and it feels as if there could almost be a vocal on it sometimes. I love the sampled percussion on it too, like you’re dropping drumsticks or something?
Haha yes I think I just set up the mic on the floor and threw the drumsticks onto my piano, then take the whole clip into Ableton’s Simpler plug-in and adjust the slice modes and sensitivity until it made some kind of sense. Then, using the Ableton Push, i’d start playing between the samples and get all of these unusual rhythms because of them being so roughly cut and the slicing being imperfect.
I actually feel that the song ‘14’ turned exactly the way I wanted, so I was super happy about that. It doesn’t happen a lot and it was literally one of the quickest songs to write for the record. Listening back it’s super simple and not a lot of channels and but still sounds huge.
Usually, songs tend to sound bigger the fewer channels they have, because then those few elements that are there can really shine.
Like the bass, it really shines on that track.
Thank you! I ended up designing it myself. I was actually gonna say that I’m really proud of that bass sound, it’s a combination between a Roland Juno 60 and the Operator plug-in in Ableton, so the sub frequencies are coming from the Operator plug-in and then the top pluck/click is from the Juno 60. That’s why it sounds kind of analog, but it’s actually a kind of FM sound.
I was going to ask if you had any feelings towards using analog & digital sounds together but i think that answers it…
Usually when I need something to go really low or really clear I use FM synths. It’s just so insanely clean even in the super sub frequencies, and in that way I feel like FM is almost better, because you can just somehow produce something that’s just so hard to do with analog synths.
I have a lot of analog synths that were a part of the record but I don’t really care what I use to create something, so long as it sounds nice, i will use it. The Roland Juno 60 is the main lead synth on the record, but I also used plenty of software synths like Arturia’s Pigments too.
I am really proud of some of the sounds I got with the Juno 60 though and some of the songs on the record like December have this super bell-like self-oscillating filter sound that’s super clean and then I would use the pitch bend exactly as I triggered the note so it does this descending pitch and then I put that into a Roland Space Echo with a long feedback tail and then reverse it all in Ableton. You end up with this insanely special sound that sounds super eerie, and I used that a lot on Vín. That was one of the sounds that I thought would be a big part of the album but I think that a lot of those songs didn’t actually end up on it in the end.
I also had an original Korg MS-20 for a while, that would make these really subby basses but no matter how much you filtered it out, it would have this slight amount of white noise over it and I would really love using that on songs. To me synths sound a bit boring unless there’s a bit of dirt, though wavetables & VST synths have come a really long way. You can now make something in a few clicks that would actually take a long, long time to make with analog synth.
I actually tend to use a lot of samples and wavetables, like even just a drum sound and just turn it into a synth. It’s a fun time to make music!
So looking at the bigger picture, was this record a stepping stone towards another record? Or are you just focused on this moment and making this all it can be?
Yeah I’m still just seeing what’s gonna happen. I have my first tour with Christian Löffler coming up now and I’m on his KI Records label. But, it’s my first album under my own name, so it’s probably gonna take a bit more time for it to grow and people to hear it. I’ve been in the business long enough now to know that things don’t happen just like that. I’m always cautious with my expectations.
I’ve always wanted to write my own music, so this is the first step, but I do have this idea that I just want I want to push myself a little more. That’s why I like having my own project now. The music on the album is so vibrant and has all of these differing genres and I don’t have to ask anyone for permission, so that aspect I really like. I just need to trust myself and that is a task in itself. I also feel that sometimes when I work with somebody else, something is compromised. You have to compromise when you’re working with someone else, but sometimes it’s fun to see what you’d do by yourself and how much further you would push the idea.
The first of Janus’ ‘Vín – Remixes’ EP’s are released today on KI Records.
You can see Janus’ live dates & purchase his debut album ‘Vín’ & ‘Vín Remixes’ here>>>
Missed part 1 of our interview with Janus? Check it out part one right here >>>
Tags: Delhia de France, Janus Rasmussen, march, music interview, Remix, Vin, Vín - Remixes
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