kryptogram recently released a funky house single called “Sneak Away With Me” on his new album called krypt. vol2. The album touches all the disco sounds, deep house, and 90’s r&b feeling bass. Originally from Serbia, Igor fled to the States to escape the Balkans War in his home country. Finding a new home in Chicago, krypto couldn’t help but hear house music. This played a huge role in his musical style as he was influenced by Chicago house, 90s UK garage, and early-2000s disco-house. Take a listen to the track while you look over the equipment and you can hear a lot of the instruments being used distinctly all throughout the song. For a new How It Was Made feature, kryptogram breaks down “Sneak Away With me” from the new album, while also going into some of the larger details from the LP.
“‘Sneak Away With Me’ came about randomly one night of May 2020. I was in a YouTube rabbit hole, looking through random channels and stumbled upon this Japanese single from the early 80s. Within the hour I had the idea almost fully executed,” explains kryptogram. “I wanted to make it as raw as possible to preserve the original sample, but added the synth line as a twist because no one really expects it. That kind of synth line is very common in Serbian music, which I grew up playing, so it was cool to combine the various influences and genres and create this song.”
1. Beyerdynamic DT990 Headphones
I’ve had these since 2014, they’ve been my go-to producing headphones since then. They’re open-back, which allows me to hear more accurately and clearly. Most of the time when I’m mixing, I’ll use my monitors (Yamaha HS80M) but go back and forth between them and these headphones. I used these to finish up all the mixes on vol 2.
2. Neumann U87
I just got this mic 3 months ago, it’s been something I wanted to get for years. I’ve used it many times at various studios and I’ve always loved how my vocals sounded on it. The first song I wrote and recorded on it was “Never Enough” – track 2 from the project. I also used it for ‘L.U.V.’ + a bunch of sound recordings: claps, snaps, and other FX.
The Apollo completely changed my sound when I got it a few years ago. It’s unbelievably easy to use when tracking and I use loads of UAD plugins on all of my productions. A few standouts + musts for me are Studer A800, Oxford Inflator, Manley VOXBOX, and the LA-2A.
4. Korg Kronos
This is the main synth I use across all of my productions; second to my MacBook – it’s the one thing that I couldn’t imagine working without. I’ve had for it several years and have used it on almost every song I’ve released since 2016. The Rhodes sounds are lush, and the various Korg sound engines including the Polysix + MS20 allow me to use it as the analog versions. Most of the time I’m playing it live and recording audio directly in, and other times if I need to be a bit more detailed, I’ll use it with midi and write out everything in the piano roll. It’s on every song on vol2, including the arp that opens up “Never Enough,” and the synths / bass / Rhodes / and some drums on the majority of the other songs.
5. Roland Juno G + Roland EM-2000
On the opposite side of my Kronos, I have my two Rolands: the Juno G, and the EM-2000. The Juno I got a few years ago and I love it. It doesn’t have just the typical Juno sounds, there are a lot more sound-designed presets as well. I use it for pads + textures. The EM-2000 was my dad’s arranger from the early 2000s. He was a live musician and got this one shortly after we moved to the US from Serbia. It’s the keyboard I learned how to play piano on, and to this day it has some of my favorite piano and Rhodes sounds ever. Every time I play it, a wave of nostalgia comes over me and makes me feel like a kid again. It’s been in storage for years, but I dug it out in October when I got COVID and was bored in my house for 2 weeks. I’ve been using it in my setup since then, and it provided the synth chords for “L.U.V.,” as well as the Rhodes on “How Long Have You Been Away?” & “More Than I Love You.”
6. Ensoniq DP/4
The Ensoniq DP/4 is my main outboard effects processor, it’s unbelievably powerful and has a very unique sound that I haven’t heard replicated in any plugins. It was made famous by many 90s/2000s French house producers, who used it for a very specific flanger/phaser sound. Daft Punk was one of these producers, and you can hear it very clearly on “Fresh” & “Music Sounds Better With You.” I kept hearing this type of phasing sound over and over again and found out it was the DP4 and had to have it. Besides the flanger, I use it for a lot of delays and reverbs. It’s on a majority of the tracks on vol2.
7. Lexicon MX200
My other outboard effect unit is the Lexicon MX200, this was the first outboard FX I ever bought. I didn’t use it that much before this project but revisited it for some vocal FX. Mainly used it for delay + chorus on “Favorita,” “Olvidar,” and “3000.” It’s an efficient unit and gets the job done quickly. I wish you could set the tempo on the display but unfortunately, it’s just tap tempo, which is kind of annoying.