On July 5th, 2017 at the EDM Production Discord we held a Q&A with Opiou.

Here is the transcription of the live session.

Q&A

A big thank you to everyone on the Discord for asking questions and participating!

What's your favourite hardware synth and why

Opiuo: my fave HW synth is easily my prophet 6, its much more raw than the 12 & I like the new school feel of it over the 8. plus theres no menus to get lost in, its straight up.

My next ep is almost all prohpet 6 pads n leads.

Any particular influences for your apparel/aesthetic?

Opiuo: its basically all the things I like, the colours that make me feel like me

if you could see my house you'd see where my asthetic comes from :wink:

I wanted to know what your current live performance setup is, and also if you are still doing the band and what that config is

Opiuo: I use 2 laptops running ableton (not synched)... one has synths only (diva, FM8, serum) & the other synth has backing beats and tracks and loops... then I have 2 yamaha DTX12 drum machines that I've loaded in synths, basslines, drums, vocal chps, anything really from the track so I can play it live. I have sections inside the "beats" laptop that allows me to play the song with or without the parts I wanna play on the drum machines or not (kinda as a backup incase the DTX's go down)

often all that will be coming from one laptop might be the bassline, and I'll play the drums live, or the other way around and I'll play the main part of the bassline live

Re the band: its completely different... I have live drums, guitars, bass guitar, sax, percussion... we run 2 backing laptops with things that are hard to play live... some basslines are impossible to replicate... some drums are too crazy, but that main parts are played. I also run another laptop with a midi keybard drunning synths and 2 or us have drum machines playing all the big synth hits

I'd need to make a video to really explain the band... it goes deep

what do you think of the analog vs. digital battle?

Opiuo: I dont really care as long as the sound you're trying to make is possible. analogue is definitely richer and fuller for some tones, and its the reason I own a Minimoog & prophet, but then theres noises I use soft synths for that an analogie synth would struggle to make... I love both of them just as much.

what was the process like with expanding from a one man live show to a full band? how does having a live setup influence your productions when you are creating and writing new tracks?

Opiuo: it was 6 months of sitting in a room and working out how to do it... I wanted it to sound just as phat as a dj, but live. it was hard and long process. but I enjoyed the shit out of it. I am back to playing solo more now as I need to keep the flow going to do both. if I did one only I'd miss the other too much. and yeah as Im doing one style of performanc more it definitely influences my productions. now Im back to making ridiculous electronic noises as Im playing solo mostly (except out big red rocks show)

do you feel like the current music scene encourages or discourages independent artists from creating full length albums?

Opiuo: I think the music scene will aways be more into shorter length releases as the general population dont have attention spans that take to listen to an album... which is unfortunate as I love albums! we are heading even more into an area where a single is the way to go often as spotify etc encourage playlists (which I dig as well)

I think as an artists tho its important to do an album. it makes u into a "real" artist in some peoples eyes, and it also allows for a moment in time to be captured from your creative brain... which is why we here aren't we? to change the world!! :wink:

yeah, do what you feel is right for you. make an album because you want to not because you want to get big

what's your whole approach like when you start the sound design phase of things? mindset, certain habits etc?

Opiuo: I usually like to create break downs and build up seperate to the guts of the track. it gives me time to be more creative and not have to stick to the exact idea I already have.. then try merge them and usually this creates new ideas as well

What does your typical mixing process look like? What sounds do you mix first and last? Do you have any tips or tricks for mixing?

Opiuo: mixing is a huge adventure. I mix as I go as I hate mixing. its boring. I'd prefer to be making the noises I want. So as I go I often start with my kick being a s big as I need it. then build my bass around it, and my drums, and layers the fit inbetween. that whay Im not trying to mash to many things on top of each other as they simply cannot fit anymore

what advice would you give to someone who doesnt know what to do/what direction to go? (music production wise)

Opiuo: its all about you. its about what makes you feel good. its about expression. just try a million different things and go with what feels right. theres no correct genre or style to make. we'd be fucked if there was as we'd all sound the same. get creative. dont listen to other music like yours for a while and see whwre you end up

It is often said that serendipity and "right place at the right time" plays a role in success. Are there any notable personal milestones you attribute to chance encounters?

Opiuo: right place right time is massive in this world, but with the internet being as much of a huge player in musical (and any creative world) success its hard to know when that right place was. I noticed my music start to take off in late 2009 early 2010 thru chat rooms and blogs and the likes, then more shows started to come via bigger and bigger raido and DJs supporintg what I did. but I cant pick any certain giant moments off the top of my head that changed everything. its been a constant ride of continuing to do what I do and many small moments creating much much bigger moments. I have my own personal milestones that are things I'll remember for ever, but I doubt they really played a role in my "success".

Whose music has inspired you the most?

Opiuo: damn... thats a haaaaard question..

heres what I think off the top of my head from the early days til beginning producing: beastie boys, rage againt the machine, deftones, prince, michael jackson, james brown were all massive for me early on.. then into the world of tipper, noisia, the days of break beat acts like rogue element & i reckon chris carter was one of the most massive for me... he had such clean crisp beats and such a funky reality

What non-musical thingys inspire you?

Opiuo: fuck, everything inspires me! from the sunrise to the smell of this coffee in front of me. to meeting people completely different to me, to travel, to getting wasted and staying up all night with my best friends... its all good & inspiring in the right doses! hell, this chat session has got me inspired

If your hard drive was wiped and you had to start over from zero, what would be the first vsts you would re download?

Opiuo: if I started from zero, and only allowed 1 vst, I'd probably hit up something like serum... its crazy & I think I've only just touched the surface. if it was a synth for life I dunno... maybe my virus polar, Im so in love with it, and still use it somehow on every song.

I make a lot of my bass with my polar

How to mix bass?

Opiuo: there are a lot of frequencies in bass that sound sick to keep in there, but they fuck up the top end. its about getting rid of that shit. also I buss 4-8 versions of the bass line on average to hi passed channels with different effects on them to expand on the hi end and really make that shit rip. lots of spreading & uses of camel phat, volcano, bit crushing, distortion like guitar rig, saturn etc to make the hi end come to life.

is that "keep subs in mono" rule still set in stone?

Opiuo: nah I dont always follow that rule. I only do if it makes the song better by riding of any phasing and potential clashing, but sometimes its cool to feel the low end move about...

Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? What do you want to accomplish?

Opiuo: I'd love to still be doing what I do for a living,. this is my dream right here. I dont know if you guys know Im half deaf from multiple operations to remove cysts from behind my left ear. so every day I can hear is a good day. I love to make music and to change peoples days and make them feel good. I like to keep my goals simple, but in sayin that I aim as high as humanly possible every fucking day. I wanna do a big film score, make crazy albums, tour the world and see the craziest parties in the craziest locations, set up a music school for kids with no money... ahhhhhhhhhh so much shit ha....

Lets talk about drums, Do you create or sample? If you sample how do you choose. or if you create whats that process like

Opiuo: : I do a mix of both sampling and creating. I usually layer 3-6 sounds to get my kicks & snares. its about punch in some tracks, and smooth butter in others... it really depends. I never have sometng set in stone, but I always love drums to carry a song

I shape sounds, and bounce them then reimport and resample, then process again til I get what I want

how do you create your pads/ambience ... the same way or something different?

Opiuo: pads and ambience come from many sources, but mostly a synth (prophet 6, virus polar) recorded in as audio and processed later. bussing around like I do with my hi end of my bass. I like to try to play a lot of it in realtime so theres;no going back. its good fpr productivity, but sucks if you wanna change notes...

How do you know when a track's finished?

Opiuo: I never know when its finihsed.. I just have to sit at the back of my studio & to close my eyes and listen and hope that I dont think of new things to add. I see shapes and I know its done. :wink:

what do you think about gimmicks? like marshmello etc

Opiuo: gimmiks are mostly weird. they take away from the music.

Thongs or jandals?!

Opiuo: jandals

Out of artists you met, who was the craziest person you partied with and could you keep up?

Opiuo: I think the craziest parties were that crazy I dont even remember them... fuck.

Festivals Vs Club gigs ...pros and cons? Slumming it in the bush with hippies Vs shiny club people?

Opiuo: I like festivals but they dont have to be slumming it in the bush... they can be done in style

how did you learn about production? Obviously, the internet was big when you started

do you think there a lost element when learning from youtube videos and not just discovering how a DAW works and how production works with no knowlage

Opiuo: I didnt use the internet much when I started at all. i just played around and tried shit. i still do

have you ever struggled with feeling like in earlier stages of your production game that you weren't making progress and how did you overcome that challenge? I know sticking with it is key but mentally to motivate yoruself when you aren't making headway after a plateau

Opiuo: I still suffr from this. it never goes away. its part of being creative.. you just gotta keep on going!

How do you create such funky grooves? do you play things in live? make use of the ableton groove pool and various settings?

Opiuo: I dont use albeton to write. and I dont play it in. I just place the grooves by hand and move it ever so slightly to get the right feels

im a beginner with no music background, how do I be good like you , where should I start( other than messing around)? And where can I get CONNECTIONS?

Opiuo: beginner with no background is the most exciting part of a career ever. you have no limitations or expectations. make whatever the fuck you want and just put it out there. show people. be proud of what you do. but challenge yourself to always get better

Do you still use Logic right?

Opiuo: logic X, altho I id make a track in ableton last month

Why those over for example, FL Studio?

Opiuo: I just started wiht logic. no reason why. actually... reason was first, then logic soon after

do you check your mixes through different listening environments (phone, laptop, car, etc) or are you just super familiar with your current monitoring setup ?

Opiuo: yeah I alway use lots of different listening environments... car,phone, laptop, 3 studio sets, lounge

Why those over for example, FL Studio?

Opiuo: I just started wiht logic. no reason why. actually... reason was first, then logic soon after

Do you have a ridiculous amount of half (if that even) finished tracks that you've accumulated over the years, or do you commit to a song/track or wipe the shitty projects?

Opiuo: yeah I got loads of half done things

Have you hung out with people you were once a fan of? Any big names?

Opiuo: I always meet people I have been fans of. sometimes I find out then they are even fans of mine.its crazy still that feeling

should new producers target young demographic ?

Opiuo: I dont think anyone should target a demographic. I think you should make whatever makes you feel good. are you writing for yourself or for someone else then?

stick to your brand. its who you are. make something that is individual and you! that sticks out much larger than trying to fit in

besides synths, do you use a lot of hardware?

Opiuo: my hardware set up is: minimoog, prophet 6, virus polar, H9 effect pedal, kush tweakers

If you could choose one book to be stuck on a desert island with, what would it be?

Opiuo: my one book would be blank. id rather write my own story than read somene elses

What did The Marvelettes ever do to you? Did they cut into a set of yours?

Opiuo: never met the marvelettes but I dig their postman jam

Regarding your collab with koan how did that all end up happening?

Opiuo: ryan from inspected asked me to be a part of it. thise guys are all fucking incredible producers, it was an honour

Thank you so much @opiuo for taking the time to be here and telling us magical things!!! :sparkles:

Opiuo: love you guys!!!!!!

have an epic day

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