After a string of successful collaborations, KDN Q and BETAQS have relaunched under their joint alias, Nights In Reverse, fusing their bass sound and evolving it into something more rave-centric. Released on May 28th, their latest single "The Need" features emotive house vocal lines alongside ethereal dance pads and electric synth lines, that move and evolve as the track reaches its high points. The nostalgic nature of the melody is counterbalanced by thumping Jersey-style drums and a rich bass sound that’s become a characteristic of the duo's production style. No wonder Nights In Reverse have been likened to "Bicep meets bass” and already supported by such tastemakers as Jaguar, Jeremiah Asiamah, Billy Da Kid, and Ben Malone across 1Xtra, BBC Radio 1, Reprezent, and KISS FM. They break down "The Need" for a new How It Was Made feature.
Words and photos by Nights In Reverse
KDN Q - Ableton Live Suite 10
BETA95 - FL Studio
We each have our home setups, that we both use the majority of the time as we each have pretty set out roles for each track. I (BETA95) usually look after sound design, drums, bass, and mixdown. While KDN Q does the arrangement, chord progressions, and melody, as well as sample searching for things like vocals.
Now Covid restrictions have started to ease here in the UK, we can link up and do more work together which is great and saves us lots of time sending files via WeTransfer. This track was very much made in the box, there wasn’t too much hardware in use, although I’ve just made my first hardware synth purchase so for future records, we will be able to implement that too. But overall, we try to maximize what resources we have, and have always had the attitude that good music is good music regardless of how expensive your setup.
Every track idea is essentially born from KDN Q’s whiteboard, one of our most affordable and effective pieces of hardware! This is where we flesh out the arrangement for our tracks and any other ideas we might want to implement later.
3. Maschine Mikro 1st Gen.
I’ve had my Maschine since I was 16 and find it so useful for getting drum ideas down quickly, I run the software for it as a plugin in FL Studio, so it matches up with the project and then export the audio out when the loops are finished. The effects that come on board in the Maschine software are really good, especially a lot of the springy reverbs and delays that can add that little bit of movement to your snare sounds. In terms of sample selection, I tried to use punchy analogue samples like 808 snares, and layer them up with more left-of-field drum samples to add a classic, yet punchy and contemporary feel.
4. Novation Ableton Push 2 & Alesis V49
For melody, KDN Q uses a mixture of his Push 2 and midi keyboard. The Push 2 is really hands-on which makes it easy for him to toggle through sounds as he’s creating his midi, it can also give you color coding that reacts to keys and scales which is handy for theory and getting sketches down quickly. It is also completely native to Ableton which means Kade can control a lot of its features using the hardware. He will then usually move onto his midi keyboard, create the midi data for the whole track and then send it over to me to design the final sounds.
5. Xfer Serum:
My favorite synth plugin, the number of possibilities it gives you are unbelievable due to the amount of automation and LFO possibilities, pretty much anything can be controlled. Believe it or not, I actually made all of the sounds for this track in Serum. It’s always my go-to for creating rich bass sounds, it has a really good distortion module for helping with those too. As you hear in the track there are also some quite simple but slightly lo-fi pads. As well as glistening trancey sounding lead.
6. Xfer OTT:
A really cool and aggressive multiband compressor that I use a lot. It’s free too which is even better! I used it a lot across the record, most notably on the pads to add some extra character, to add some punch to the kick, and to add some crispness to the high-end of the trance lead. I tend to use it more in the process of "sound design" rather than for mixing specifically.
7. Melda Audio FX Bundle / MFree
We are both always striving to do as much as possible with free products, as this bundle is some of the best you can get. I probably use the Reverb the most which are called MConvolusionEZ, as well as MComb which is a weird spatial/delay plugin that is cool. I used the reverb to add some richness to the lead sound, and some spatial quality to the vocal. I also used another plugin from the bundle called MTremolo, which added the gated movement on the lead. For the track to evolve, I added subtle automation to a lot of the effects on various instruments, but most of the evolution comes from the development of KDN Q’s melodies which made my job easier when designing and mixing the sounds.
Nights In Reverse "The Need" is out now on NewState. Grab it here.