How It Was Made: Cubicolor - Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night

Dutch deep house trio Cubicolor take us inside their studio with video and images to show off how they made their new album, 'Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night.'
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Cubicolor Press Photo

Cubicolor

Anjunadeep signees Cubicolor released their new album Hardly A Day, Hardly a Night on February 21. The album finds the trio honing in on their melodic sound, bringing together soft, hypnotic melodies with the gentle, but at times soaring vocals from singer Tim Digby-Bell, who joined after the collaborating on the first album.

Hardly A Day, Hardly a Night went through various iterations. A first copy was finished in 2018, but then scrapped just before it was announced. Then they locked themselves away (figuratively) in Amsterdam and cranked out what is now their sophomore album.

With the album out now, we decided to have them do a How It Was Made feature to take us into the studio and show off their wares. This feature is a little different because they also added some videos. Listen to the album and pick up a copy here.

Cubicolor CAT

LOOK AT THIS CAT

Speakers:

Cubicolor Speakers

Speakers being built

We've tried out a couple of brands of studio monitors in the past but none of them really could meet our requirements. What we were looking for was an honest pair of speakers that could play anything from Drake to Rachmaninov, without needing subs.

Cubicolor Speakers

Almost there

Most products on the monitor market that we've listened to always had a downfall. When a monitor had enough bass, then the sound was too artificial. When the sound was honest, there wasn't enough bass, etc. etc.

So a couple of years ago we decided we'd just try to build our own. We did a lot of research and eventually came up with a design. Those speakers turned out better than we had imagined. Of course we had no clue beforehand whether or not we could make something that was any good at all.

That was a big eye opener for us. Either we got really lucky or we have some talent creating studio speakers. The first pair we made significantly outperformed the pair of brand monitors we had. From that moment we had our own monitors as main monitors in our studio.

Cubicolor Studio

After our first taste of speaker building we continued to make our second pair. The idea for the second pair was to see how small we could go without sacrificing our requirements. We ended up building a pair of 2-way monitors that can play from 20hz to 20khz and are truly spectacular speakers. The design for these was quite risky but it worked out really well. Either we're quite lucky or we actually have some skills!

OB6:

We love the OB6. It's not a super versatile synth by itself but the oscillators just sounded really good to us. We used the OB6 a lot on our second album. To bring out more possibilities we created a Reaktor patch to have a lot more modulation options. Some of the lead sounds on our album were created this way. OB6 plus Reaktor is a killer combo!

Reaktor:

Cubicolor Reaktor

The patch!

We have quite a library of self-cooked Reaktor instruments. We're always looking for unique new sounds and Reaktor is definitely a go-to program to get those. Some instruments are made in a couple of hours, some we spent days and days on. But it is always very gratifying to know that you are listening to something, that you have made, that no one has ever heard before. A good example is the lead synth sound of a track we did called “Down The Wall.”

Tape:

Cubicolor Studio

We've got a little collection of tape machines. From really old to just old ;) Using tape brings something to the table that plugins still cannot come close to. It will still take a good few years before tape simulations start coming close to the real thing. For Cubicolor we've used our Telefunken M15 for all the masters and used the Telefunken M5 (we have 3 of those!) for some track bounces here and there.

Stratocaster:

We have a 1972 Stratocaster that we've used for Cubicolor guitar parts. It just has that magic to it that most guitars do not have. Wouldn't trade it in for any master-built guitar that you can get now, no matter how expensive. For live stuff we tend to run it through the Axe FX + MFC 101, with a feed going to Ariaan's modular set up of course.

Cubicolor New Studio

Studio

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