Let’s bring it on again. With the support of our Friends from TURNLAB we present you another great room of the week. We’ve had a really nice talk with Metrobox (also known from the new formation Fellowship Of The Funk) originally from Belgium about music, record collecting and studio equipment. It’s time to dive into some great pictures of his setup in Berlin, Germany.
When did you officially start being a producer?
“Since 1998, with the discovery of Scream Tracker thanks to a friend I knew from school. It was nothing like the essentially analog way I record and make music right now, but we had a lot of fun and I sure learned a lot, experimenting and all that. I still remember hooking up our first midi controller, which turned out to be quite the challenge at that time.”
Tell us more about yourself. How about a little biography?
“I was born in Borgerhout, which is somewhat the Kreuzberg of Antwerp (Belgium). Thanks to the vicinity of the harbor, it’s a great neighborhood if you like all kinds of spices and mediterranean food. No place for xenophobes, obviously. With a couple of nice bars and venues and a whole lot of childhood memories, it’s really one of my favorite places to be.
When it comes to music, I like it all, as long as it’s original and honest. I’m pretty sure there’s good music in practically every corner of the world. You just have to look for it. For me, records are a great way to do just that. I can spend hours on discogs, decks and youtube, but my heart goes out to the record shops and the people that work in them. The vast amount of excellent crate digging places throughout Berlin is definitely one of the main arguments why I moved here a couple of years ago. Hard Wax, Rotation, Audio In, Mitte Music, HHV, Oye, Space Hall and so many more. What would the world be without wax? I wouldn’t want to know.”
“Same goes for making music. I love the convenience of DAWs like Logic and Live and off course I’ve got a couple of plugins I frequently use, but for me personally making music is all about playing, programming, recording, arranging and mixing analog and acoustic instruments. It’s great fun, it allows me to express myself in a very direct and unique way and above all it feels really zen and inspiring to be surrounded by such a cosy bunch of knobs, keys, strings, faders, flickering lights and buttons, all eagerly waiting and ready to go.”
No world without vinyl. So, you collect vinyl records as well?
“That’s a good one. I’ve added 789 records on discogs already thanks to the patient assistance of my lovely lady a couple of months ago, but that’s far from all of them. I guess it’ll be at least 2000, including jazz, funk, rock, dub, trip and hip hop, soul, world, rhythm & blues, disco, house, techno and even a couple of classical recordings.”
Can you tell us some artists you recently worked with or some collaborations you participate?
“Making music on my own is something I couldn’t live without. Literally. Nevertheless, I’ve gotta admit I’ve already had several pleasant experiences working with other artists. Back in Antwerp I did some joint studio sessions with Nightgames, the results of which we released as Terravoid. Now and then I still play one of the very rare 12” test pressings of “Butslap”, a track as intense as it’s poetically subtle name. Klangmodule was a similar co-op with Max Cue. Konsonanz and it’s magical FCL remix still make me all warm inside.
Last year I did a couple of tracks with Marcin Czubala for Mobilee and 8bit. The resulting live sets together in Poznan, Berlin and Barcelona will always remain in my heart. A little later We Play House head honcho Red D invited me to do vocals for a couple of tracks he was working on with Social Disco Club, which led to my first (official) appearance on his finest of imprints.
Since december I’ve enjoyed several exciting studio sessions with Marcus Vector. I met him at a Belgian bar night I used to host with a friend in a small club in Mitte. We struck a common groove and pretty soon we had a great quartet of tracks in our hands. At that point we choose to release them as Fellowship Of The Funk, available on 12” only in a limited pressing of 300 copies. At the moment it’s available through Decks exclusively and if there’s any left in a few weeks, it’ll be in selected record shops worldwide too.”
Your studio looks amazing. Can you provide us an excerpt of the equipment you use? “Yamaha MG24/14fx, KRK V8 Series 2, CME UF6, AKG C414, TC Helicon Voicelive Touch2, Neve 5032, MFB-522, Roland TR-909, Roland SH-101, Roland Juno 60, Moog Minimoog Voyager OS, Eventide Eclipse, Drawmer 1968 ME, T-Rex Squeezer, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, Dunlop Cry Baby, Maison Humbucker, Washburn active bass, UAD Solo laptop, NI Maschine, MOTU Ultralite and Midi Express 128, Macbook Pro, Yamaha S211 flute, Sennheiser HD25 II, Rodec MX180, one Technics SL1200 and one Technics SL1210.”
That’s stunning. If you had to choose, what are your favourite machines?
“Well, there’s the Roland machines from the 80ies which I obviously love and then there’s the very limited Minimoog Voyager OS, my precious. OS stands for Old School, referring to the 100% analog tribute to the original Minimoog it is. It doesn’t even have midi, but it does come with the optional cv expander for even more cable fun!
In the dynamics section, the Drawmer 1968 mercenary edition dual channel vacuum tube compressor takes care of most of the work. It’s beautiful, it sounds great and it has the mythical “BIG” mode. Need I say more?”
Yeah, we love vintage gear as well. Not only their appearance in the studio, also the sound is something special. At the end, let us know what record is your choice for the lonely Island?
“Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life. It’s been an endless joy and inspiration to listen to that record over and over again.”