Recently, the mighty Maya Jane Coles teamed up with M.F.S Observatory for a two-part EP that combines both of their signature sounds into a catchy and effective tech house release. “Know About” leans more to the techno side of things, where “Watch & Learn” featuring Kid Enigma) goes more house.
“I’ve been playing out M.F.S: Observatory’s productions for years now and always been a big fan of the duo’s work. Mattia and I met some time ago at one of my London gigs. We clicked and would always share music, eventually leading to this collaboration which I’m so excited about. I very rarely do collaborations with other producers so it’s a special one. I was also always into Chicago-based Kid Enigma’s vocals and one day decided to hit him up to see if he would be able to record a feature for me. We hadn’t met but he was amazing to work with. Super friendly and professional. This hook line he recorded ended up making its way onto of the collaboration tracks and it was a perfect fit.” – Maya Jane Coles
Working alongside such prominent figures can be quite an experience, so we invited M.F.S Observatory to break down the release for the latest installment of How It Was Made.
1. Roland TR-8S
We used TR8-S for the kick and the drum parts of “Know About,” we made the claps, the hi-hats, and the ride. This is one machine we certainly could not live without, it is the first essential piece in our studio – the Roland TR-8S, the next generation of the TR-8. Born from the most famous and influential drum machine ever made, the TR-8S combines the best of its Roland heritage with modern production techniques and professional sound design that we love. For the collaboration EP, we found ourselves trying different combinations, and interesting loops, before having the lightbulb moment, knowing this was the arrangement we needed for this track, and we didn’t look back.
2. Arturia MicroFreak
Freak by name, freak by nature. We used this one for the pad in the background of the “Know About” track, we immediately knew this one was perfect for the track, fitting the vibe and helping build the atmosphere we were searching for in the collaboration EP. This machine seems to have a never-ending pit of melt in your mind sounds, and we love how this particular pad breathes life into the energetic vibe of the track. The MicroFreak is a must-have for us, and we are often using this to add melodies and emotion to our tracks, also don’t underestimate the basslines to be created from this little machine.
3. Moog Minitaur
Another essential piece is the analogue bass synthesizer from Moog. We like to use this one with an external plug-in like the Arturia Buchla plug-in (this recreated the rare 1973 Buchla Synthesizer) also with the Sub Boom Bass2 along with our Microfreak. When utilized with our other machines, this one really pops for us and often is bringing together the elements of our tracks.
4. Subboom Bass II
For the Sub bassline, we love using the Subboom Bass II from the Rob Papen house, which is incredibly powerful with beautiful libraries. Sometimes we find ourselves effortlessly gliding through all of the amazing possibilities before landing on something we love.
This plug-in was so helpful for the bassline of “Know About,” we made the sub bassline after that Maya made the other part of the bass in the collaboration. For us, this bass represents the M.F.S: sound we love to propel, playful and animated sounds to make you move. This is also particular what we loved about collaborating with Maya, or any group for that matter. Different experiences and knowledge can bring fresh ideas to the table, that maybe would be missed when working alone, offering new avenues of creativity.
5. Arturia Analog Lab
Another plugin that we use a lot is the Analog Lab from the Arturia house. This one we used for some background strings for “Know About,” an element of the track we actually really love. This is another big favorite of ours that we could play around with for days on end. We used this one a lot for the synths, chords, strings, and also for some basslines. We found this plugin powerful, and perfect for the job at hand here, in this certain EP, we have a lot to thank the Analog Lab for. The library is extensive and full of excellent sounds, that takes the possibilities of production to new heights for us.
Grab your copy here.