Kermode invites us behind the scenes to share how he made his new Producer Dojo Chameleon EP.
Jeanot, congratulations on the release of the Chameleon EP. How long ago did you begin working on it and at what point did you identify the songs for the EP?
I started the EP just under a year ago, around last August. I actually wrote the EP in reverse order, so with Subconscious and Paladin first. When I had started those songs, I had just finished writing electro for several years and was wanting to make a shift back to bass music. Those two songs we’re the logical progression and transition since they are essentially just slowed down electro tunes, that kind of Rezz-y midtempo style.
Where are you from originally and how long have you been producing music?
I’m from, and still based out of Vancouver Canada, or just outside of Vancouver. We have a pretty cool underground bass scene, which really helped me get my footing in the scene.
I started producing 7 or 8 years ago while I was in the tail end of high school. It was all because of my friends actually. We’d all come to school and compete to show each other the coolest Dubstep track on our shitty phone speakers. It was almost like my first introduction to DJing now that I think about it, all of us just finding and playing music for each other to get the best reaction.
What new skills have you acquired as a direct result of your work on this EP release?
I definitely acquired a better understanding of controlling the low end of tracks. Prehistoric Nucleus, Chameleon, and Centipede especially all have pretty tight subs.
Do you have a favorite song on the EP and why?
Thats a tough question haha kind of like asking someone what their favourite kid is. If I had to pick one though it’s probably the title track. Chameleon is pretty symbolic for me actually. This EP was about going back to my roots, and chameleons were my favourite animal as a kid, so it really represented that nostalgia factor. More obviously is the Chameleon represents me changing colours, going from electro and house and back into bass music. Not only that, but I also think it has the best drums and synths on the whole record!
Congratulations on becoming a premiere Sensei for Producer Dojo. What do you enjoy most about teaching and are there particular topics or areas of development that you recommend potential students reach out to you for help with?
I think it’s just so rewarding helping people develop skills and achieve goals that had such a massive impact on my life. Music absolutely changed my life for the better, and if I can contribute in any way to other people’s journeys in music, it is absolutely fulfilling.
I think I really excel at teaching synthesis, Ableton, engineering, and overall helping with song development. Those are certainly my favourite areas to teach!
What are the next steps for Kermode? Are there any special collaborations planned for the future?
The next steps are continuing to develop this project as a well rounded bass act. Once we are in a post covid world, I really want to be in a place where I can be touring on the regular, so growing a stronger audience around my new sound is important.
I have tons of collabs in the works! Unfortunately though music takes SO long to come out when it includes others, so there isn’t much I can speak of right now, but look forward to it. 😉
You made 2 awesome new products for the Producer DJ marketplace. Tell us about them.
Well first is actually the project file for the title track off the EP, Chameleon! It includes both the fully engineered final project, an early version with raw un processed synths and patches, as well as a video walk through from myself. It’s an awesome way to look under the hood and learn a ton! Or just snag a bunch of cool synths and sounds 😉
Even more awesome though is my sample pack Organica! Organica is a pack all about fusing the real world with the synthetic. It’s a drum and FX pack where every single sound is sourced or layered with real world sounds, but processed into a whole new realm. Every sound has this sense of realism which gives it a truly authentic and human feel, while still sounding out of this world. The drums are really cool, but even more amazing is all the effects. There are some really unique texture and perc loops I think when people have, will find a lot of cool use for in filling out a track. It’s a unique pack with a lot of soul, I think people will like it!
What are your top 5 favorite VST’s right now?
Well when it comes to synthesis I STILL love Serum. I’m just so fast with it now it’s hard to move over to something like Phase Plant
When it comes to mixing I can’t recommend Soothe 2 and Spiff enough! They’re both so easy to use and make it on to almost every sound in a track
Otherwise I love Fab Filter Pro R for reverb, and Izotope Trash 2 for bonkers distortion!
What is your recording studio setup like? What hardware/software do you depend on?
I am a SUPER in the box producer. I love being able to take my laptop anywhere and not feel like I’m missing something important. I pretty much do everything with Ableton stock, the plug-ins mentioned earlier, and some random plug-ins here and there.
As for my studio set up, I have a pair of Adam A7Xs, but after a recent move, the room I’m in coloured them so oddly I can barely use them right now. I ended up investing in some Audeze MX4s and I’m in LOVE. They are the most detailed buttery headphones I’ve ever tried, and I love that I don’t have to worry about a room colouring the sound anymore.
How do you prepare for a live performance and what equipment do you use?
Anytime I have a live show I usually spend a day or two just digging for new music. Once that’s all downloaded I import them into Ableton and create “clip packs”. Essentially warping them and making start points for the important parts of the tracks.
After that I just start making the set, usually with a theme or energy in mind.
As for the equipment, I rock my laptop, Ableton, and an APC40 MK2
Who do you learn from these days? Can you recommend a few key Youtube channels or websites to check out?
At this point I learn a lot from non-electronic producers. Although I still have a TON to learn when it comes to production, I find more inspiration hearing how a rapper comes up with a song, or how a video game composer comes up with a mood.
For production though, I think Mr. Bill and Pensados Place are phenomenal resources (besides Ill.Gates and the Dojo of course <3 )
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
I just wanted to express immense gratitude to my listeners and to the dojo! To the dojo for giving me a platform to share my art, samples, and education. And even more importantly, to every listener who supports me and makes my life what it is. You all give me the inspiration to keep making records like this one! Much love
– Stream/Download the Kermode Chameleon EP
– Visit Kermode’s Producer Dojo Marketplace for products or book him for a lesson!