Few names have stood the test of time in house music like that of Armand Van Helden. His work has spanned decades, and recently, his smash hit Give Me Your Loving featuring the vocals of Lorne received a massive remix from Martin Ikin. We loved the remix and invited Martin to break down his remix process, and below, he highlights the vintage and modern gear he used in the process.
Words and photos by Martin Ikin
I'm a bit of a hardware junkie, so I always try to use as much of it as possible in my tracks. That’s not to say you can’t do the same job with software these days, I just find it more fun when it’s hands-on.
Obviously it was a huge honour to be asked to remix Armand Van Helden, so here’s a little insight into all the gear I used in the remix.
I always like to start with a good bass sound, which usually comes from my Minimoog or my Jupiter. This time it was on my old classic Minimoog - A synth that’s just a joy to program as you always end up with something fat! Definitely the one synth I couldn’t live without. It pretty much gets used on everything I do.
Another old favourite of mine is the Roland SH 101. Always super punchy, easy to use, and fun to program. The SH is doing the main synth sound just before the drop.
The Roland JU-06A emulates both the old classic JUNO 60 & the JUNO 106. A recent purchase but I can’t get enough of this right now. I’m using this in JUNO 60 mode and it does the lead synth parts over the main groove.
The old Ensoniq MIRAGE needs a lot of love and care, as it uses the old single-sided floppy disks for loading sounds. It’s one of the original 8 BIT sampling keyboards from 1984/85 with an analogue filter. But that’s exactly why I use it, it’s soooo gritty and dirty. It’s on pad and string duty on this track.
Another synth from 1985 is the Korg POLY800 MK2. Mine has been modded by Circuit Benders so you can control the filter, res, delay and fm by knobs instead of menu diving. This thing is also super gritty. Being used for some more pads and fx in the breakdowns.
I know there are a million 909 samples out there and I’ve got them all too, but it’s still fun to use the real thing when you can. I used it for the Snare and Ride in this track.
All my synths run through my old Makie 32-8 desk. I've had this since about 1992. I don’t mix through it anymore as there is no need. Easier to do that in Logic Pro now. But it's a great hub that all my hardware can plug in to. It makes it really easy to call up any synth or drum machine without the need to plug things in and out all the time. This is wired to the inputs on my MOTU interface which feeds the computer and Logic Pro.
This is the MOTU interface that connects the inputs from my desk to the Mac.
Also shown here, which is pretty essential for a setup with lots of hardware is the Emagic UNITOR 8 Midi Interface. This gives me 8 Midi Ports instead of one. Enabling me to connect all the synths and drum machines via Midi.
In the middle of the pic is my Neve 33609 Compressor. I use this on my bass and drums. It helps to add some punch.
Below that is the Summit Audio DCL-200 Valve Compressor. I use this for recording Vocals through. But not used in this track.