Producer, DJ, label head, radio show host, former international breakdancer, full-time funnyman… Gold Coast-bred party-starter Wongo is no one trick pony.
With a big few years under his belt, by now you’ve probably already cut shapes to Wongo tunes. With a new album not far off, we caught up for a quick chat.
What’s your current studio set up? (take some pics if u want)
3 Note Pads
A Tape Measure (to measure the db)
Juiced up $5k IMAC
Logic Pro X
Virus TI-2 (I also use this as my sound-card)
Komplete Kontroller + Komplete Ultimate
Arturia Vintage Collection
Black Octopus and Splice Samples
UAD Plug ins
Waves H Delay X1000
With the above, i can not go wrong
How did you get into production? DJ that turned to production or producer that turned to DJ’in?
I was starting to get into dance music, I didnt DJ or Produce but i was going to nightclubs that played music i hadn’t heard before. My best mate Little Fritter showed me a track he was working on with Chardy back in 2004 maybe, Called the Baboon Swing. Within a week i bought a desktop computer and logic
What’s an average day in the studio like for Wongo?
I split my days in the studio to business or pleasure now. On a business day, I do as much writing and creating for others before I get stuck into my emails for the rest of the day.
If its a pleasure day, I will put my phone in another room, open logic and not leave till I am happy with an idea. Usually, take a few 20-minute breaks throughout the day, but I can be in here for 9 hours some days and not be drained.
If i confuse business and pleasure days i get super anxious and stressed so i do my best to keep them seperate.
Let’s talk about drum processing. What’s your favorite technique to process drums? Which plugins do you use? Do you process your drums together on a buss or work on them individually?
It’s different every time but generally, I put a lot of energy into my kick drums, I either find a sample or I use Bassizm to create the kick that’s in my head.
I always EQ out a little bottom end, then I push it in the default Logic distortion plugin and then i add more bottom end after that. That way I can get a bit of mid-top crunch while keeping the bottom much cleaner
I process all other drums separately and I try to only Bus the drums when it comes to that final touch of compression or limiting I want to add.
What about Bass…What’s your goto synth for basslines? Favorite processing plugins for bass?
I’m 99.9% on the Virus or Serum. I find I work very fast within plugins, so I am able to create what I’m after quite quickly. Very rarely I will use a sampled bass but I have.
Guitar Rig is a great way to find extra textures and layers on my bass. So I usually bus out my bass, eq all the bottom end out of it and then add Guitar Rig on a low volume.
You can only have one plugin compressor, EQ and reverb – what are they and why?
Compressor – Logic’s compressor is everything to me. I find I’m able to get what I want out of it much more precisely and quickly than other compressors. Honourable mention: Waves dbx-160 for paralleled drums.
EQ – UAD Pultec Pro – I get to add so much warmth and vibe from this thing. I haven’t put a track out in 6 years without this.
Reverb – Lexicon Hall/Plate – great filler for that really short reverb or to send sounds right to the back of the mix.
Name one feature that stands out in Logic?
In my opinion, Logic’s buses are fucking sick. I sometimes have 4 busses chained for different reasons and it’s just so easy to connect up and keep track of. (Annoying AF for bouncing individual stems tho)
How do you keep things fresh and exciting? What influences your productions today?
I have this thing where depending on my mood and goal in the studio, I will spend my morning listening to that kind of music. I wrote a Calvin Harris-style track the other day, so I spent the morning listening to him and the choices he made in specific tracks. Helps me keep focus and not turn them into techno records lol
Care to share a studio tip with us?
Number 1 tip and I’m sure it’s been said before is that you CAN NOT wait for inspiration to hit you in the studio. If you are wondering why you aren’t getting tracks finished its because you aren’t trying hard enough. Fresh air is great but unless you sit yourself in that chair nothing is going to happen. It’s not always gold but you will learn something new every time which in turn creates more chances to write gold.
Where do you go from here?
I find being creative does something to my brain that nothing else does. Not even video games and that’s big for me haha. Being creative is honestly an escape and way I can block out all the things I have to get done. It’s my meditation.