From DJ to curator of Hidden Recordings, Deepak Sharma has been entrenched in techno for over a decade. As a selector for Hidden Recordings, he began to expand the reach of his soundscape in order to better appreciate all music, particularly Techno.
He’s been invited numerous times to Brooklyn’s famed Output nightclub and has appeared on line-ups with Ben Klock, DVS1, Ben Sims, Len Faki, Steffi, Kirk, DeGiorggio, Black Asteriod, Phil Moffa, Cell Injection, Savas Pascalidis, and Dustin Zahn to name a few.
We caught up with him for this weeks instalment of Studio Talk.
Hey Deepak, thanks for taking the time to speak with us, firstly, how did you first get into the technical side of music production and where/how did you learn your craft?
After I fell in love with clubs, I was always curious about DJ’ing which eventually lead to an interest in producing. In 2003, I met who became my production partner for over a decade, Dieter Krause. He’s a big hardware aficionado and very technically savvy so I learned a lot from those early years about studio set-up and how everything interacts with each other. I think our backgrounds, mine as a DJ and his as a studio engineer helped our partnership grow as they incorporated two very different angles on how things should sound.
What would you say were the biggest challenges you faced when you started making music?
DJ’ing and producing are often intertwined for an artist, although I’m not sure it should be. They are very different disciplines, social vs. solitary. It took me a while to understand that and to rewire my brain for the extensive study and understanding that producing encompasses.
What was your first studio set up?
Fruity Loops was helpful in learning drum programming, and Ableton in 2006 and has been a staple for me ever since.
What is your current studio set up?
It’s focused on simplicity and efficiency. A RME Babyface Propowers the set-up that includes a pair of Mackie HR624mk2 speakers on stands, an AKAI MPK25keyboard and AKAI APC 40which helps when I’m in the mood of playing live what I’ve created.
What is your DAW of choice?
I work through Ableton and use it for production, but also for editing and mixing recordings.
What are your favorite plugins?
By studying Reaktor, I’ve been able to create my own instruments through their building blocks and create distinct sounds that bring uniqueness to what I’m producing. For example, the wobbly bass-line and synth sounds in my track, ‘Annapurna’ come from this instrument along with the bass-line for another track of mine, ‘Bias Test’.
What is your approach to sound design/sampling?
Living in NYC is a playground of source material, which has a lot of construction and loud, harsh sounds such as the subway and the constant traffic. The subsequent sound designing is really fun for me to see what kind of textural, syrupy sounds can be uncovered. The better understanding of sound design you have and why things sound they way they do helps in manipulating, experimenting and discovering.
What advice would you give to the modern electronic musician?
Keep. Making. Them. A friend of mine in NYC, Phil Moffawho I highly respect and regard a friend and mentor said to me one time, ‘Make 100 tracks. Then make 100 more.’ I think he got that from DJ Spider, but it stuck with me that you have to put the work in to get anything out of the studio worth sharing.
What is your current live/club set up?
I’m a DJ at heart, so vinyl for special shows and USB to streamline during extensive travel.
What have been your highlights of the past 12 months?
My record label, Hidden Recordings achieved it’s 40th release which I produced and enlisted Developer from Modularz to remix along with our two featured label artists at the moment, JC Laurent and Yuuki Sakai. Each of them also have a vinyl release this year, which makes me feel like our sound as a label is well represented.
As a DJ, I feel like I’m starting to turn heads again. I was able to play in Europe for the first time in Dublin, Berlin and a label night in Nice with JC Laurent. On top of that, invites to play came from Elsewhere where I shared the bill with Steve Bicknell, Bas Mooy, I/Y, Abdulla Rashim, Paul Birken, and Delta Funktionen. Recently, I played the infamous Output Grayscale party with the likes of Claro Intelecto, Developer, Antenes, Lenny Posso and Anthony Parasole.
What are your upcoming releases?
On Hidden Recordings, we are releasing JC Laurent’s 4th EP (our 41st overall!) named Distressed World and includes a slick Oliver Deutschmann Redub. We feel fortunate to have Oliver on the release since he’s in high demand these days through his work on Mote Evolver and consistent gigs through Europe including Berghain.