Brighton-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Steven Bamidele is a rare talent. He’s been fusing neo-soul, alt-pop, and jazz for almost a decade now, previously under the name Mirror Signal, gaining support from the likes of Majestic Casual and Gilles Peterson. Now releasing material under his birth name, Steven’s affinity with huge vocal layers, artful synth sounds and soft guitar licks is working wonders like never before. Raised on Marvin Gaye, Radiohead and his mother’s choir vocals, his musical style will draw you in and keep you hooked and eager for more.
Fortunately, his next EP, Uncrowded, is arriving imminently. We caught up with Steven to learn about his in-the-box production process, and why he just can’t get enough tape saturation. His mix engineers, Camden Clarke (Decoy Studios) and Scoop Monty, share their wisdom, too, explaining which plug-ins ensure Steven’s falsetto-laced vocals shine over his smooth beats.
Hey, Steven. What’s your most recent plug-in purchase?
Waves Gold, plus a few other individual Waves plug-ins. I’m using the J37 Tape more than anything – it has such a beautiful warm tape sound and it’s sprinkled all over this EP. I love the wow setting; I set the rate low and the depth at medium, which creates a lovely vibrato. Then, I whack up the saturation and the delay but low-pass the delay so it’s subtle. My mix engineer Tom Bellis and I used the saturation and delay features to add some beef and extra groove to the drums on Other Side. I’d highly recommend getting them, especially now you can subscribe monthly.
What’s the best free plug-in you own?
iZotope Vinyl. It makes everything sound crap in the best way. I used it loads on my track Lighting Fire.
What’s the best value plug-in you own?
Valhalla Room. It’s a stunning reverb with a soft and understated sound, very versatile and sounds great on anything. I tend to set the decay time high and bring the high cut and depth right down, which works nicely for my vocal. I’ve always loved reverb and I think it’s all about how you apply it and the context it’s in. I see it as more of an instrument in itself than an effect.
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