After a massive remix for Disclosure, Higgo recently kicked off 2021 with a release on the newly established label 21HNG. "Sleeping Alone" blends the sultry R&B vocals of Poppy Baskcomb with luscious layers of chord stabs and shifting basslines. Higgo has captured British summertime, and it has us moving and grooving. We invited him to walk us through the process for another installment of How It Was Made.
Words and photos by Higgo
1. MacBook Pro
I work pretty much exclusively in-the-box, so my MacBook Pro is absolutely essential for me. I can plug in literally a single cable and have my monitors, piano, microphone, and display all ready to go instantly! Ableton Live has been my DAW of choice for a few years now - some people say it looks like an excel spreadsheet, but the simplicity and function-centric design really work for me.
This is a real gem from the stock plug-ins within Ableton Live, I use it in basically all of my projects. Vocal chops are a large part of my production and feature heavily in my remix of "Closer." I load the full vocal into Simpler, then go through and pick out snippets that I want to chop - I can then play these back like an instrument with my MIDI keyboard, pitch them up and down, just play about with them, and have fun!
3. Korg SV-1
This 88-key beast is really important for my creative process - I've played the piano since I was about 6 years old, so this is how I like to lay down most of my melodic ideas. All of the keys, pads, strings, and basses in my "Closer" remix were either recorded from this or played into Ableton Live as MIDI. Often, I'll just sit there and record a big loop of ideas, then go back with my mouse/keyboard and chop out a section that sounds good - I can then clean this up, fix any timing issues and add FX from there.
4. PURE Evoke-2XT
The PURE is a bit of a secret weapon of mine for mixing tracks. These were pretty pricey when they came out around 2008/9, but now can be picked up dirt-cheap on eBay - I got mine for about £20. It still sounds great today though! Even though we produce music on fancy studio monitors, most people will be listening to the finished product on the radio, on headphones, or on a small Bluetooth speaker. The Evoke is really handy at the end of a long studio day and lets me know immediately if a vocal is too prominent, claps are too quiet, etc.