Interview: Emre Ramazanoglu
Interview: Emre Ramazanoglu
Emre Ramazanoglu is a drummer, engineer, mixer and songwriter with an impressive career that spans nearly twenty years. He spoke to Dave Hill about his workflow, his interests and what it's like working with some of the biggest names in pop music. They also talked about Regroover and Drumatom and how Emre uses them in his recent projects. Image credit: mikedolbear.com
Emre Ramazanoglu: How I use Regroover and drumatom² in my projects:
Dave: So when did you start playing drums?
Emre: When I was about 14, I think, something like that. Yeah, probably about 14.
D: And who were like, your early inspirations or, what brought you to drums?
E: Tony Williams and John Bonham.
D: Yeah, great. Those are cool heroes!
D: How did you transform from being a drummer, to an electronic music producer?
E: I was always doing it simultaneously, even in weird little ways. I first started doing really basic recordings with like, four-tracks and things using my headphones when I was really young, and all that kind of thing. So yeah, I've always been doing it at the same time,
D: Okay, so it's always been mixed. So was it like an MPC, or what was your first electronic music setup, or music producer setup?
E: An Akai, and I remember three of us club together and bought an S 3000 in between us. So, yeah. That was the first thing.
D: So how do you approach composing, and music production now? What is kind of your standard approach?
E: Depends on who I'm working with I think. Lucky that I've got a lot of different stuff, so I will, and I'm reasonably flexible in a few different platforms and things, so I just kinda use what they want. Whatever works best, sometimes, mainly Pro Tools, I just mainly work in Pro Tools. Will work in Ableton too, or just completely stand alone, or just use a piano or something, but yeah. Just sort of, just really depends.
D: So working with fashion houses, let's talk about that. That was sort of, peaked out on your resume as unusual.
E: I have, yeah, for a long, long time.
D: Okay, and how did that start?
E: With uh, two different fashion producers. And they do music for catwalk shows, and I ended up engineering, kind of mixing them and writing lots of stuff with them, and that's carried on for a lot of years now. So I have a little team of people that I work with, and we do bespoke stuff at really short notice, or just kind of complicated mixes of tracks.
D: Cool, interesting. And so why do they go for original music?
E: Sometimes. Not always
D: Okay. Yeah, yeah it's interesting.
E: Sometimes they want it, sometimes they, you know, can't clear a track or something, and so we use something that makes them feel the same way.
D: And what are the requests like? What do they ask you to do?
E: Insane stuff. Totally bonkers! (laughs)
D: What's an example? Give me an example.
E: Best request I had was making it sound like marble chips sliding through glycerin (laughs)
D: Marble chips sliding through glycerine? Wow, okay.
E: That was the best request ever.
D: Okay, and so what did you do, to solve that?
E: I think everyone laughed, and they took away that request (laughs)
D: Okay good, fair enough. What's a recent project that you've been involved with? That's public, that we could, link to in the post.
E: Noel Gallagher's album, that should be released. Just engineered and mixed that and played on, I think three tracks on the end. But yeah, that was amazing. It went really well, I'm so extremely happy.
D: How was it like to work with Noel?
E: Ahh, it's great, top guy. Really good, really good musician, a lot of fun.
D: Have you played drums recently, on a record?
E: Yeah, on Noel's, on Étienne Daho, a sort of big French artist. He's great, a lovely, lovely guy.
D: So you're playing drums, you're engineering, producing as well?
E: Yeah. Lot, lots of mixing and producing, and then a big shift in the last four or fives years of going into lots more writing. So I do lots of writing. But I've always kind of written stuff,but I'm more technically shifting away from just doing producing to doing writing. So that's pretty good. So really great, yeah.
D: What's your advice to new composers, or music producers coming up, what would be your advice to help them try and have a career like you have had?
E: They should probably make a great record themselves and put it out online, have it do well. And that's about their only shot, I would say. And if you just do something yourself, focus on your own projects, make something good. Put it out online, make sure lots of people notice it. Do it again, and then people will come to you. That's pretty much how it works.
D: What's the best music production tip you're ever received? Or the best advice you ever got?
E: It's not your record, that's quite a good one (both laugh). That's probably the most important one if you're producing, really.
D: Yeah, so unpack that a little bit. So I think I know what you mean, but explain that a little more, what that means.
E: So it's very easy to get very possessive over your stuff, and if you're producing it for someone else, you're doing it for someone else, it's not your sound, I mean it's not your baby, often, I mean it kind of feels like it, but. Ultimately, it's their record.
D: So, let's talk a little bit about Accusonus. So you got turned on to Regroover, just recently.
E: I started off with Drumatom, that's what it was.
D: Oh Drumatom.
E: Yeah, I think Alex gave it to me, I got in touch, and I said "this looks amazing, gotta check it out" and we chatted a bit and he sent it over. And that day I used it on a track for like, a quite a big artist, and it separated out the bass drum and hi hats from the overheads, so I could play a part and then it perfectly separates the kick and hi hats. I was like, oh god! How the hell!
D: Who was that artist, the first artist that you used Drumatom on?
E: Clare Maguire, at the time. So she was gonna make a comeback single, I used it on Noel's record as well actually, I used Drumatom on it, because there's a lot of mono tracks of full mixes and stuff, so I used that. And separating stuff out is very, very clever. God, it's such a good product. It's just perfect for doing brutal isolation, of drums, it's amazing.
D: Very cool.
E: And I use it quite a lot. Not often for bleed stuff so much, sometimes, but more for separating out things that you'd never be able to do ever. So I can play, rather than playing parts in two bits, I play the kick drum and I play the hats, I can play both of them together and separate them. It's awesome, so you get stuff that's really, really, really cool!
D: So why is separating them out so important?
E: Oh, so I can process them. And just vary the levels if I need to, more than I would when I play. So maybe I could have a loud bass drum quiter, so I can bring it harder, and then turn it down, or to get that timbre, or play the hats quieter, and then boost some other part and use EQ or, fudging around with rides on a single track. So it's very useful. Really brilliant, let's me do some wild stuff.
D: Alright, now let's talk about Regroover. So then, now, something totally different, Alex sent you Regroover to check out, and you made a little video that I think we're gonna include in this blog post.
E: I used it on a session instantly, and chopped out loads of bits, which was great. But it's great being able to split things out. So clever however those guys are doing it. I really, don't quite know how they are doing it but it's very, very, very clever (coughs) But yeah, I think I can, I used it on one section to take a drone out completely, of a loop.
D: Oh, okay, okay.
E: So a definite drone, or siren I think, in it, like a moving pitch siren, took it out completely. Because you couldn't do it. I mean I guess you could've chased EQ, or use a shelf EQ or something, but this just took it out. Gone, just clean drums. Oh my god, amazing.
D: So can you imagine that being a part of your process going forward?
E: Oh it is, I use it quite often, actually. More than you think. And sometimes on sample-based stuff, to get rid of the music. Just take the drums out. Isolate hits, or split it up. Yeah, it's super useful. I don't know how many people know about it, but it's, it is brilliant.
D: Right, so it can be like a producer secret for now.
E: Yeah, but it's getting more and more, sort of, user friendly in each iteration, it's getting easier and easier to use. Because initially it was quite like, oh! okay. And now it's really clever. And to be able to split all the parts against each other and make beats in it, yeah, it's pretty useful. It's getting really comprehensively good.
D: Excellent. Good, so is there anything else we didn't cover? I just wanted to keep this quick, be respectful of your time. Anything else you would think that would be really helpful to music producers playing with Regroover or trying to make a record, or anything else that you'd add?
E: Reference tracks you like, listen to what the artist, where they come from, I think that's really important. And what they like. If you're mixing, I think listen to the demo. That applies more in the UK than the US, I think. Listen to the demo when you mix, it's really important. Yeah, I think there's a lot of sort of specific, technical stuff but it's not as important as those things.
D: I think it's, yeah, that's often the case, right, it's more about the conceptual and the kind of professionalism, of your approach, I think is more important.
D: Okay, well thank you so much, Emre I'm glad we were able to connect, and good luck to you on your music career which continues to sound amazing. I heard some great tracks checking out your music, so, I'm excited to hear more, and I'll check out this Noel Gallagher album too, that's pretty cool.
E: Nice one, man, have a really good day.
D: Yeah, you too.
E: Have a good weekend, yeah.
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