Fresh from the debut single and collab with Spearhead Record founder BCee – Sunshine on SIGMA’s relaunched Beats, Bass, Ruth Royall continues to light up the drum & bass world with the latest enchanter New Ride via Our Space.
From starting her career at 14 voicing the X-Factor video game to recording a jazz album in the famous Abbey Road Studios to ascending to smash hit drum & bass royalty, Ruth Royall has already had a richly diverse musical career and shows no signs of slowing down.
With a background in jazz and soul, the producer, songwriter, and vocalist’s unique musical style has led to opportunities from collaborating with heavyweights such as Pola & Bryson, Ekko & Sidetrack, and Nookie to joining legendary duo Fred V & Grafix on their 2018 farewell tour. In addition to fronting Paper Dragon, a Bristol-based DnB and House collective recently dubbed as “redefining modern artistry” by Nitelife magazine, Ruth Royall has landed critical acclaim for her solo work from BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Spotify New Music Friday, and UKF and received 2 nominations for the best vocalist at the Drum and Bass Awards.
Words and photos by Ruth Royall
The instrumental for New Ride was sent to me by Phonetic back in 2021. I absolutely fell in love with the track and decided I wanted to work on it. I’ve found myself doing a combination of co-production and collaboration on a lot of my music. I love how collaboration can spark new ideas and take my music to places I wouldn’t expect. I had a studio built in my garden by ukworkroom.co.uk at the start of this year which has been an absolute game-changer, this is where I do most of my vocal recording and production.
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Ukworkroom.co.uk garden studio
I use a vintage AKG 414 for all of my vocals. I did start out using the Re20 but I’ve found I love the warmth and clarity that the 414 gives. A friend once told me I needed to ‘find my soul mic’ which I love. I really feel like I have found my soul mic with the 414. The large-diaphragm condenser means the recordings are so much more crisp and precise than when I was using the dynamic. This coupled with my Focusrite pre-amp allows me to process and produce my vocals with so much more detail, that they can really sit beautifully in a mix.
AKG Vintage 414 Microphone
I use a Focusrite ISA One Pre-amp which creates a really warm tone. Although I make dance music, I love to approach my vocals with a gospel, soulful feel. Using vintage hardware gives this tone and I use it on all of my recordings. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out the settings to get the best sound possible for my voice. Vocals are so unique that there isn’t a formula that works for everyone, you need to take time to get to know the equipment and find what works for you.
Focusrite ISA One Pre-Amp
I pretty much always use ‘Valhalla Vintage Verb’ on my vocals. You just can’t beat it.
For anyone out there who is looking for a cost-effective, classy reverb, I can’t recommend it enough. I do also use ‘Shimmer’ from the Valhalla collection but I find the Vintage Verb is such a versatile reverb plug-in and translates so well from track to track.
Valhalla Vintage Verb
I absolutely love ‘Nectar’. Grafix introduced me to it after we worked on our track ‘Zephr’ together and I’ve used it ever since. I generally only use it for compression but you can use it for all sorts. It has a great EQ function and its pre-sets are super varied.
To finish the track off I did a mixing and final production session in my studio with Axel Boy,
We took the instrumental stems, balanced them, and used eq to make it all sit correctly, we bought the vocals in and tweaked their production until they worked well in the mix. We added some drum reinforcement and worked on making the drop pop more dynamically. All in all, we are very pleased with how it came out.