Jack Ruston, Sun Industries ‘Shiver’ & STN

Stretch That Note managed to grab some time with top producer and recording engineer Jack Ruston. Jack has recently been working with Sun Industries on an amazing track called 'Shiver' - already one of NME’s top 10 tracks of the week: STN modules make up a core part of the track.

Jack was kind enough to take the time to talk about STN's module use in the production and mix:

...The foundation that makes the whole thing work so well is the core sounds. The samples are really excellent. A lot of this sort of stuff is designed to sound amazing when you flick through but you can never get it to cut through or sit properly in a mix. These are samples that fit a real production. If you're going below the bass there are options, and if you're going above, likewise. You can tell that they're made by someone who has actually sat there and mixed tracks, produced records.

...I like the way that the bottom end is properly balanced. It's no good having levels of sub that just immediately eat up all the headroom, so that you can't even hear the point of the kick but the bus is clipping. Then you just have to start eq'ing things before you've even got started.

...So the core of the modules is awesome, but then you start adding the funky stereo stuff, the MS processing and phase manipulation. What's so cool about it is that you can use those layers almost like you'd use a reverb: Say you have a tight, contained, cutting snare sound, but you need to make it breathe, make it longer and wider. If you add a reverb you're just making it softer, but if you add a little crunchy, super-wide shaker sound, or clap, you're spreading it out but you're not softening it up. And the worst thing that can happen in mono is that your snare is tight, contained and cutting again. It's simple and effective, like a lot of clever stuff.

...If you then start looking at the processing the modules offer, you have this huge palette opening up. You can make the sound harder, softer, bring it backwards or forwards, make it more or less obvious, shorter or longer. The dials all do great things. It's not as if only one of them really sounds any good. So I like to play with those a bit to sit things in just the right place.

In relation to the Sun Industries tracks, Nick and I both discovered the STN modules while we were working on the project. He's an incredible producer of electronic sounds and took the samples in his own direction. It was great to get those multitracks from him and hear all those great sounds, great choices. In the mixes I sometimes added a layer as an ambience, a reverb really, or just a different layer to compensate for a direction that that mix was taking things sonically. I think they made both our lives easier on a number of levels...