People: Interview with dubstep producer David Orton
We caught up with Leeds based music producer David Orton after the release of his latest single 'Superhero' on Saturday. David is currently signed to Plasmapool and is a member of the Creative Arts Network Collective. Take a look at his Collective profile here or listen to more of his music on SoundCloud.
David, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! How long have you been making music?
I’d say it’s been about 7 years (I think?). I started learning the drums at the age of 8 and guitar and piano at 10, but it wasn’t until I started joining bands in Secondary School when I actually started to write and perform. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to play at some great festivals such as Glastonbury and also to support Will Young as part of a band I was in back home. I’ve never taken those moments for granted and it was a great time! It was only when I went to Leeds College of Music that I really started to write music by myself however. I do miss playing with a live band but I feel that the material I’m writing at the moment allows me to really express my music the way I want to, at least that’s what I’m trying to do anyway…
There seems to be a really loose crossover between bass music, electronica and dub step at the moment, with artists releasing albums which jump in and out of a range of 'genres', how would you describe your sound?
Haha, I have no clue! You could sum it up as “Electrofunkymelodicmusic-step” maybe? Whatever it is I’m writing, I always aim to write a song that sounds completely different to my previous work. In all honesty I’d just get really bored writing the same music all the time and it also encourages me to stay creative and keeps things fresh; some days I’ll write a film score, another day it might be some ambient music, or even a dubstep song about biscuits (yep, you read that correctly…biscuits). I take a lot of influence from producers like Madeon, Porter Robinson, Koan Sound and Skrillex to name a few, so they’ve influenced my music in some way. Then there are people like The Beatles, Bon Iver and Stevie Wonder who are by no way associated with the EDM scene but have really inspired me musically.
Can you share a little about your create process? What software, hardware are you working with?
The creative process is different every time to be honest. I’m all about the melodies in a track, so I’ll usually load up a piano on Logic Pro and jam around on the keyboard until I come up with a melody that I think is good enough for a track. Still, there have been times when I’ve made a Synth patch and deliberately written a track to accommodate that sound; it’s a different approach each time and it really depends on how I feel. Some days I’ll know exactly what the song will sound like before I even start and it’ll be finished within a few days, whereas there are other times when it can literally take months for me to finish a track which can drive you crazy!
I currently use Logic Pro as my main DAW and I primarily use Sylenth and Massive as my main synthesisers. I feel like I know my way around them and I can usually think of a sound in my head and make it on the software which is handy. I’ve also started using FM8 too, but that’s in a whole new world of it’s own and I’m still getting to grips with it to be honest! I’m trying to get a live set on the go at the moment using Ableton Live with the Launchpad. I recorded a short music video earlier this year, which you can check out here.
I feel that Ableton is the perfect DAW when it comes to playing live as it gives me a lot of freedom to perform and manipulate my tracks.
If you could feature anyone on one of your tracks who would it be and why?
It’s got to be Ellie Goulding. Aside from the fact that I might have a small crush on her I think she’s got a great voice that works really well with electronic music, her track with Madeon is incredible!
What does your workspace/studio look like?
It’s nothing fancy by any means, but it’s all I need for now. Whilst I’ll write most of my ideas at this table, I’ll usually take my Mac out the house somewhere to continue writing. Creatively things can get bit stale for me when I’m in the same room all the time so I like to write wherever I can. Sometimes it’ll be on the train, or it might be in a coffee shop for example (plus the orange wall paint in my room is incredibly tacky, I’ve tried to mask it with my gig tickets but it’s still pretty bland!).
Your latest single Superhero just came out featuring Natalie Holmes on Plasmapool Media Entertainment. Natalie also features on your track Anxiety, how did working with her come about and have you got any plans to work together in the future?
Woop! Another release and another happy David! We both currently study at Leeds College of Music so that’s where we met and since then we’ve become good friends and go to the same church. I approached Natalie when writing Anxiety last year and it was definitely a winning formula having her sing on my tracks, which is why I asked her again for Superhero. Superhero was one of those tracks I finished in a few days like I mentioned earlier and working with Natalie again was a great pleasure, she has a great knack for song writing and a great voice.
Thanks David, all the best with the future and we look forward to seeing more of your work up in the Collective!