SoundOnSound magazine recently featured a lengthy interview with Hal Ritson on techniques used to get the characteristic vocal sounds of Deep House music, with case studies taken from Duke Dumont’s Blase Boys Club Part 1 EP.
“Hal Ritson is one of the most in-demand producers on the deep-house scene. Here, he reveals the secrets behind the genre’s distinctive vocal sounds.
“A vocal that doesn’t have some level of electronic manipulation in it somehow doesn’t feel like it belongs in electronic music. You have to do something… Electronic production is all about using technology to create sound. If you haven’t used the technology, it feels like you’ve got an acoustic session vocal guesting in the middle of an electronic track. It doesn’t feel like it belongs there.” So says Hal Ritson, the multi–talented songwriter, producer and multi–instrumentalist who has spent the last 15 years making the world of electronic music a more interesting place. From his original releases, mash–ups and remixes as half of the Young Punx, to the exacting sample replays he’s created for some of the biggest dance and urban artists as Replay Heaven, Ritson combines acoustic and electronic elements with considerable flair and imagination, not so much straddling the divide as completely obliterating it. In recent years, he has provided additional production to a range of electronic artists, including deep-house DJ and producer Duke Dumont.
Hal Ritson’s studio — in the old Stock, Aitken & Waterman studios in London — with outboard and software both in easy reach courtesy of Ritson’s Zaor studio furniture.“I work with quite a lot of electronic producers this way, where they’re in charge of the overall aesthetic and they are hands–on…” READ MORE
For their January 2014 issue MusicTech Magazine met up with Hal Ritson for an artical and video music production tutorial on how mimic vintage drum recording vibes with both a 60s breakbeat vibe and 70s disco vibe.
On Saturday 23rd January, the world’s leading music industry conference, MIDEM, was kicked off by a panel discussion with Hal Ritson and Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls discussing the artist’s perspective on new models for the promotion of music in the digital economy. Other speakers following included Pharrell, Ed O’Brian of Radiohead and Fallout Boy.
The official MIDEMNET blog reported as follows:
Artists are getting in early with their views on digital music innovation this MidemNet – the opening panel on day one features Amanda Palmer (centre, of Dresden Dolls and now solo fame) and Hal Ritson from The Young Punx (left)… It also made history as the first ever MidemNet session to kick off with a ukulele cover of Radiohead’s Creep (Palmer), interpretive dance (Ritson) and a sock puppet (representing Paul Van Dyk).
Ritson talked about his own online activities, saying an artist has to do three things nowadays: first, get people to listen to the music; second, get some emotional contact with them; and third, find a revenue stream from somewhere.
“We’ve totally embraced the point that writers of music blogs are totally taking over as the new tastemakers of music,” he said. So Ritson looks at blogs giving away free music not as a threat, but as the modern equivalent of radio promo. “You’re getting people to hear your music,” he said.
Ritson’s organisation has someone whose job is to monitor the music blogs, and maintain a relationship with the key sites. “We try to manage the release of material to the blogs pro-actively, so that on the same day, five of the key blogs might get our new track,” he said.
The Young Punx did a deal with a German beer company, for example, with the brand putting on music events, and the band integrating the brand into its podcasts. “So they were giving away our music, they were paying us to be associated with their brand – the revenue was coming from them, and everyone was happy.”
Through the course of last year, Germany became the third most important market for The Young Punx, as measured by Facebook fans. “That came from us not selling many records, but many many people hearing our music – and we got paid!… You don’t measure success by sales any more. How many people are enjoying what you have to offer, and then you have to ask whether my business is profitable.”
Ritson also gave what may prove to be the key tip for how to ‘use’ social media to connect with fans – “you have to do it passionately and personally. People are interested in the artists, not in somebody from the marketing department”.