Members: Emil Reinke, Pierre-Angelo Papaccio
Occupation: Producers, DJs
Current Release: twocolor's new single "Passion" is out via Virgin.
Equipment Recommendations: Ableton Live, we've tried a lot of DAWs but this one is the best for us. Ozone izotope is very good, if you are interested in mastering.
If you enjoyed this interview with twocolors and would like to stay up to date on their work, visit their website for more information. They are also on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.
What was your first studio like?
We actually had our first studio in our bedrooms when we were kids, set up on our desks with two speakers, a midi keyboard, a sound card and headphones.
How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
We currently use the Yamaha HS 8 and the Avantone MixCubes as speakers, the Apogee Quartet sound card, headphones from beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO and a microphone from VOX-O-RAMA Type 47. We don't have a lot of analog gear, which has been working well for us.
The digital studio promises endless possibilities at every step of the process. What is it that you actually need from these potentials and how do go about you selecting it? How do you keep control over the wealth of options at the production stage?
That is true, there are many possibilities and many paths that lead to the goal.
After a while, we realised that we don't have to try to rethink everything five times over when producing, but simply go with our gut feeling in order to stay in the flow. That's how we produce the best songs.
A studio can be as minimal as a laptop with headphones and as expansive as a multi-room recording facility. Which studio situation do you personally prefer – and why?
Both have their advantages, but if we had to choose it would definitely be the minimal set up. We feel that a multi-room recording facility can be consciously or subconsciously intimidating and put one under a lot of pressure.
From traditional keyboards to microtonal ones, from re-configured instruments (like drums or guitars) to customised devices, what are your preferred controllers and interfaces? What role does the tactile element play in your production process?
We think the Apogee Quartet is great and the Saffire Pro 40 is also very good. We haven't actually used any controllers other than a midi keyboard and a guitar.
We actually start every song with piano chords or guitar riffs, which is why the instruments are our most important elements.
How would you describe the relationship between technology and creativity for your work? Using a recent piece as an example, how do you work with your production tools to achieve specific artistic results?
The relationship is very important, as we try to translate what we have in our heads using technology that is available to us. It’s definitely a symbiosis that once you've mastered it well, there are really no limits.
Some of the tools we use are all wave plug-ins, especially the CLA series. We also love the Serum Vst.
Within a digital working environment, it is possible to compile huge archives of ideas for later use. Tell me a bit about your strategies of building such an archive and how you put these ideas and sketches to use.
We work on many ideas at the same time and bring them to a point where we can decide whether it will be just a demo, maybe a single or maybe a song we give to someone else. We sometimes also get back to ideas months later and add a new sound or element, which brings it back to life for us.
Despite the aforementioned near endless possibilities, many productions seem to follow conventional paths. How do you retain an element of surprise for your own work – are there technologies which are particularly useful in this regard?
Samples databases are an extremely creative tool, if you manage to use them in such a way that they match your own sound.
Production tools can already suggest compositional ideas on their own. How much of your music is based on concepts and ideas you had before entering the studio, how much of it is triggered by equipment, software and apps?
We try to get as close to done as possible in one day on a new song. We only trust the vibe, what the mood is like, what fits, what doesn't at all, the whole process is more natural and not influenced by technology.
Usually, we go into a session with one topic and interesting samples. Everything that comes along is spontaneous, akin to surfing the waves and letting them take us wherever they make take us.
How important is it for you that you personally create or participate in the creation of every element of a piece – from sound synthesis via rhythm programming to mixing?
This is very important to us. It gives us the opportunity to design every part and make everything sound the way we would like it to.
It’s like building ones own house, brick by brick. Unfortunately, this is very time-consuming.
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
I would say when we started to master our songs ourselves with Izotope ozone 8. We now have a much larger field of vision when producing and it has become much easier to finish songs.
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offers potential for machines to contribute to the creative process. Do you feel as though technology can develop a form of creativity itself? Is there possibly a sense of co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
Technology and algorithms keep getting smarter and help us with our work. But they remain just a tool for us at the end of the day.
Do you personally see a potential for deeper forms of Artifical Intelligence in your music?
Absolutely! We are editing and EQing audio. Recognising interference frequencies and filtering out crooked sounds - that is a huge potential for AI.
What tools/instruments do you feel could have a deeper impact on creativity but need to still be invented or developed?
Maybe tools that make it even easier to visualize music. That would be extremely cool for live music.