Ant Orange is a regular to CDR Berlin and someone we’ve wanted to pick the brain of for a while. Everything about the jazz-meets-house artist is unexpected, unique, and completely refreshing. You know that feeling when someone is so brilliantly themself?
Ant Orange gives us insight into his first CDR and the origins of his sound and set up….
When and where did you first attend CDR? What do you recall?
I was new to Berlin and was going to everything, usually alone. The guest was Dabrye, one of my favourite producers and the venue was at a place near Ostbahnhof. It was really cold and I sat at the back the whole time, feeling uncool.
How did you hear about CDR?
I guess I discovered it through posters on the streets? It’s so long ago…
Any other noteworthy CDR memories?
Hearing my tune at the summer party last year was pretty amazing and completely took me by surprise. I don’t think there’s a better feeling than seeing people dance to your music. Other than that, seeing Tim Exile and his machine, and hearing Ron Trent talk about Frankie Knuckles and the industry in general was pretty interesting. Generally, seeing a few people turn up for a party only to find a bunch of music nerds sat around chin-stroking always amuses me.
How long have you been making music and how would you describe your journey?
I started playing the guitar when I was 12. I’ve always tried to make what I’m listening to at the time. Back then I was into metal and hiphop. I used to stay back after school nearly every day, making terrible, terrible cheese on oldschool Cubase.
At some point I got into weed and electronica, then Es, LSD, drum n bass, hard house and psytrance all at once. I still have the first “dance” tune I ever made on Fruityloops when I was 17. I got really deep into hiphop, drum n bass, jungle and breakcore, and was making and DJing that for 5-6 years in Leeds.
Since then I’ve gradually got more into house, garage, disco and funk. I always loved this stuff, but it took me a long time to really appreciate and understand the subtleties of it. I think with jungle and breakcore it feels necessary to spark and maintain interest with chops and drops, but crafting a loop which can catch you and keep you hooked for 5-10 minutes is a lot more rewarding and interesting for me.
Right now I’m often DJing in bars where it’s more about maintaining a vibe than making people dance, and that kind of fits where I am as a producer.
Have you a favourite club and/or soundsystem?
Right now I think my favourite combination of sound and space is Prince Charles. It’s never too full and they’re booking some nice line-ups at the moment. For a while I was at Horst Krzbrg every weekend. And I sometimes go to this little place called Panorama Bar!
Please give a brief (as you set fit) description of your current production set up.
My setup is pretty much 100% software, besides a few Midi controllers, a cheap recording device and an occasional bit of guitar. I use Ableton Live, a few VSTs (mostly Native Instruments) and a sample bank I’ve built up over the years.
Have you a favourite piece of equipment? Something you always return to or at the centre of your studio. Please could you tell us about it? When/where did you pick it up? What makes it special?
It’s hard to be that romantic about software! I always find myself using NI Massive when I need to get something down quickly – just because I know how to make it do what I want, and it can do some weird and unpredictable stuff if you tickle it right.
Any projects or tracks your working on at the moment that you’d like to let us know about?
I have some really nice keys, Rhodes, acoustic bass VSTs and am trying to build more jazz musicality into my stuff, and also trying to create a Madlib-esque dirty rawness to everything – trying to make high-quality software sound like old instruments, recorded badly. I’m also trying to make things as wonky as possible. So what I’m working on is basically dirty jazz wonk.
Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
Make weird stuff. Make what you want, not what you think you should. Make it as good as you can, because it’s worth it when you see lots of people hearing it loud on a good system. But also, you’ll probably cringe hard anyway, so don’t worry too much about it – just finish it and submit it.
To keep up to date with Ant’s doings and creations, visit facebook.com/ant.orange.music