For those of you who’ve been following MakeItGood over the past year or so, you’ll have noticed the MakeItGood x FKOF series taking off – in 2011 we released 58(!) interviews and mixes/ free downloads. If the past few weeks are anything to go by, the next 12 months are going to be much more of the same (if not better). So today, just in case you didn’t believe me, there’s the following interview and fantastic 120-140bpm mix from Essex’s PanLeft. We hit him up for a spot on the series and he has definitely not disappointed…
Who is PanLeft?
PanLeft is a 24 Year old Music Producer hailing from Chelmsford Essex, producing tracks influenced from various genres of Electronic Dance Music, such as house, garage & dubstep.
What got you into mixing and producing bass music? How would you describe your production style?
I think as my brother is a DnB producer & DJ I was always quite inspired by what he was up to. But saying that; I’ve never made anything above 140bpm! My productions to date are quite varied – I write tracks between about 120 & 140 bpm. Often I like to include some ‘off grid’ drum patterns, some pads, maybe an arpeggio or two, and there is definitely always a lot of bass.
What software do you use to produce your tracks?
I mainly use Ableton Live 8 and Soundforge 10. I have used Reason 3.0 in the past as well. After making the switch to Ableton nearly 2 years ago, I think I’ve watched every production masterclass on YouTube, read every article in the production magazines… I think I like it a bit too much as it goes! I create a lot of my tracks live using my Akai APC40 and play a lot of the instrumental parts live using a midi keyboard, and often record some guitar parts in as well. I’ve also borrowed quite a lot of hardware over the last year or so, from friends or my brother, such as a Roland SH-201, a MicroKorg and Roland 303. However I think most of my tracks have come from the use of VSTs! I would love to start collecting and using more hardware though.
Turntables or CDJs?
I would love to say turntables & the use of vinyl, but I think I simply missed the boat. By the time I was getting into producing music, CDJs had already become club standard and for someone who was just getting into the scene, buying a few MP3s and burning them to a blank cd was a lot cheaper than buying everything on vinyl (not to mention a lot less effort to carry around). Having said that, I’m already moving away from the use of CDJs. I put together a lot of my sets in Ableton Live now, using my APC40. I admit it doesn’t make me a ‘true DJ’, but with Serato & Traktor being so wide spread now days, who really is. The use of Ableton for DJing means I can create my own FX chains, trigger loops and do live edits. Which makes it much more unique in my opinion.
How long have you producing and DJing?
I started off writing music in a band when I was about 16, with two other friends. We started to become more inspired by EDM and started adding synthesizers and playing along to pre-programmed backing tracks. It never really went anywhere but it was a lot of fun and I would love to do it again. About the same time the band started to fizzle out, the guy who owned the studio (now a good friend and someone who I still make music with) started inviting us to stay after practice and try our hand at using software to create music. For me, it could be a lot more personal, plus I could work on music in my bedroom, so I felt I didn’t have to wait until a Friday Night rehearsal to make music. We finished a few tracks together and it was good learning curve. For me, it was always produce tracks first and get DJ bookings after. So my DJing experiences are pretty limited _ I’d say I’ve been DJing for about a year; only a few clubs and parties. I do really enjoy the buzz of it so am now on the hunt for more bookings, now I feel I have a few tracks of my own that I could play out at least.
What’s been your best gig and if you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be?
It’s a bit of a strange one. At the end of last year I went travelling around some parts of South East Asia. I turned up to a club on one of the islands off Thailand and asked whether they needed any DJs for that night. They said for me to bring my CDs and they might be able to squeeze me in..at this stage I had no CDs! I made a mad dash to the convenience store and started frantically burning CDs using my laptop. I didn’t have a permanent maker so had no idea what tracks were on what CD! I ended playing to about 300 people in this bar that sprawled out onto the beach, and into the sea. There were locals spinning fire sticks and all sorts. Was mad and something I’ll never forget! If I could DJ alongside anyone I think it might have to be Joy Orbison. I have been inspired quite a lot by him over the past couple of years.
Who are your top 5 producers at the moment; and why?
- Joy Orbison - When I first heard ‘Hyph Mngo' I was blown away. As I said above I'm really inspired by his tracks, plus seeing him at Glastonbury and Fabric were incredible.
- Deadboy - Again I really like his sound unfortunately still haven’t had a chance to see him DJ.
- Four Tet - ‘There is Love in You' is a great album and whilst the whole of Glastonbury was watching Stevie Wonder, I went to see Four Tet in a small, dark but intimate Dance Tent. It was probably the highlight of the Festival for me! I would love to adapt his style of playing live.
- Burial - His use of sampling is amazing – and how many dubstep producers get nominated for a Mercury Prize? Truly amazing. Would love to see this guy play live. Not sure that will ever happen.
- There’s a few more in the bass music scene I could chose from, James Blake, Fantastic Mr Fox or Jamie XX. But I am going to chose the DnB producer Rockwell. His Dnb fascinates me. It’s seems ridiculously complicated and well layered. People should check out a mix called ‘Data Transmission Podcast 115' I think I've listened to this mix so many times I've worn out the MP3!
What’s the future of dubstep – where do you see the genre going?
I really liked the early sounds of dubstep; when it was simply Drums, Bass, a few nice samples and maybe a catchy melody. When it went very wobbly and that mid range bass sound really took off, I kind have switched off and got bored. As long as people keep writing good tunes then it will stay alive. I must admit, I prefer certain other producers adaptations of the sound, such as SBTRKT & Fantastic Mr Fox, who are finding new ways to explore dubstep influences, this will really keep it fresh!
Any forthcoming releases we can look forward to?
At present all of my tracks are unsigned. I have been in discussions with a few labels about signing a few but as yet nothing has materialised. I will carry on making tunes, creating bootlegs and mixes as I enjoy it so much. I’ve got a few things in the pipeline.
Have you got any advice to upcoming DJs/ Producers?
If you enjoy it, then keep at it. I would never suggest someone gets into DJ’ing or producing thinking they are going to get signed over night and be playing Fabric the next week. Learn a few tips from other producers, some tutorials are good ways to get yourself going - however being as original as possible is pretty important.
PanLeft’s mix is a superb 120-140bpm journey of all things awesome. We’ve had it on the stereo since Jett sent it over a few weeks back and it’s still as fresh now as when we first heard it. Grab the free download and hit Jett up on Twitter or SoundCloud if you enjoy it!DOWNLOAD
1. MK - Burning
2. 11:11 - Tourist Trap (Jamie Jones remix)
3. PanLeft - Kingscross
4. Joy Orbison - Jels
5. Darksky - Armour
6. Koreless - 4D
7. PanLeft - Electrika
8. Wild Combination - Palace (Mono4 remix)
9. Burial - Vial
10. Kavsrave - Deluded
11. PanLeft - HRTS
12. Synkro - Inhale
13. XXXY - You Always Start It
14. Nicolas Jaar - What My Last Girlfriend Put Me Through (PanLeft edit)