Hitmakers - a new name in sound design has recently launched under the helm of english producer and sample pack mastermind Mike Dixon.
“Hitmakers is an exclusive sample label dedicated to providing only the most cutting edge high quality loops and sounds for the mainroom dancefloor. We provide a whole host of varied content for genres such as EDM, Electro, Progressive House and Mainroom House in formats such as constructions kits, synth presets, midi and genre focused packs."
With two release already out on Loopmasters and several heavyweights waiting in the wings for release - we thought it time to find out what’s cooking in the studio and unlock the mystery behind one of the UK’s newest sound design labels!
All Things Sampling?
Hi Mike - ok let’s talk about your new sample pack ‘EDM Anthem Tools’ and ‘Progressive Electro’ out on Loopmasters – what’s the idea behind this pack and how did you approach the process of creating it?
We really wanted to focus on giving young producers the chance to play with the big boys production-wise when it comes to the EDM game. Most people don't have access to huge studios with professional acoustics and monitors and we wanted to make the process of creating club bangers as easy as possible by providing samples that rocked straight out of the box. We aren't into elitism or snobby behaviour at Hitmakers and want to provide fat beats and drops for everybody with a passion for mainroom dance music.
All our samples packs approach the production process slightly differently, as we want to give people malleability as well as structure when getting into making their own tunes. In EDM Anthems Tools we broke down all the best bits of 10 big room tunes to give people the chance to see how it all comes together while still giving you the chance to maximise the use of the samples themselves. Progressive Electro focused on a more loop based approach with drag and drop capability through BPM and grid integration. The bottom line for Hitmakers is that our sounds have to be extremely well produced and intuitive for the end user regardless how they choose to use them.
These packs are not the usual array of bass lines, and derivative loops - they are a really well thought out and fresh collection that fuses inspiration and usability - is this the way you see sample pack production moving?
Absolutely, the way every producer works is different and we want to embrace that through our offerings. Putting malleable tools like synth patches and MIDI to young and inexperienced producers encourages creativity and by setting just the right amount of limits and parameters we want to encourage producers to really nail that upfront and personal sound. Hitmakers is 100% dedicated to putting club-ready hooks and drops into your hands in just about any way that we can.
How did the project opportunity come about - was this just a natural progression in terms of career workload and your personal production style, or right time, right place?
I've been working in the music industry for over 10 years now in a variety of capacities including label manager, producer, sound designer and A&r man across a variety of dance music labels focusing on trance, dance & house music. Hitmakers consists not only of my mixing, engineering and producing expertise but encompasses a whole host of mainroom producers (most of whom are currently on tour) and the opportunity to make something great out of dormant projects and unfocused inspiration. The fact that we've all got access to acoustically sound studios, top-end monitors and a host of analogue equipment meant that this felt like a great time to kick off our wide range of products.
How was the overall production experience of the first two packs EDM Anthem Tools and Progressive Electro given the spread in styles across these two packs?
EDM as a genre is a combination of a multitude of production techniques coming from Trance, Hardstyle, Progressive House, Electro and more and we wanted to cover the wide range of offerings of the modern festival and club sound. Anthemic and massive synth and pad sounds are combined with techier-triplet leads all underpinned by huge tuned kicks and kits.
As most of the sources come from digital sources we made sure our acoustic environment was perfect and synths such as the Virus Classic and the Moog Voyager were routed into an analogue signal path to give our samples that extra bit of punch. We wanted to combine the best of depth of analogue gear (for bass and drum summing for example) with the punch and brightness of digital synths. The vibe in the studio was great throughout as we went through different moods and approaches.
What is your studio setup for production at the moment; are there any stand-out plugins or key bits of gear you use time after time to get a certain sound?
Currently we are using Genelec 8040 BPM active monitors in our soundproofed studio summing all our external gear into the UAD Apollo interface. The Virus Classic is having a great renaissance as an understated digital synth and it's responsible for some of the huge, euphoric leads in Progressive Electro for example. Native Instruments are always in regular use in the Hitmakers studio and we use Massive in combination with the Softube line of plug-ins to process the sound for maximum headroom and punch.
What’s your favourite studio gear currently?
The Elektron Octatrack is a great sampler and flawless when it comes to programming drums. The on-board processing and sequencer really fattens up sine-based kicks and the swing function makes it very easy to get the right feel on triplet hi-hats and rides. We also use all of Fabfilter's plug-in's such as the ProQ and ProC for separation and precise editing jobs.
How would you define your production sound at the moment?
Melodically rich hard style influenced EDM with a penchant for tuned percussion drops and tightly programmed drums. I let a creative compositional idea shine through and then maximise the volume and punch of all elements within the mix. It's important for me that all of mine and the hit makers music translates properly across a range of systems, from the club and festival sound system to the smallest iPhone speaker.
You also have 'Progressive Bombs' (construction kit based toolkit) and Essential EDM Presets (contains Massive/Sylenth patches plus wav loops of sounds) soon to be released…but what else in the pipeline that producers are crying out for?
We are currently putting the finishing touches on a large pack which combines the construction kit themes with patches, midi and loops catering for all types of producers. This pack will be focusing specifically on the up and coming sound of Melbourne bounce which combines bouncy, thick leads with pumping drums.
Thanks for your time and look forward to your next releases…