artist spotlight fourward studio drum and bass article

A quick talk with… Fourward

Austrian production duo Fourward have been producing music for 15 years, and once again they’ve released a huge new album. With tracks on labels such as Shogun, Ram, Eatbrain, and now Elevate, they are building on the success of expansion while moving in a wholly new direction.

 

Their diverse set of tracks from all ends of the genre gives everyone something to enjoy, we sat down with the duo to discuss the album, their new sound and direction, and where you can pick it up, enjoy!

What was the main inspiration for the album? Why was now the right time to release it?

After producing for fifteen years the risk of getting stuck with your music and creativity is very high. You can easily end up producing the same tune over and over again. From the viewpoint of an artist, this is the worst thing that can happen. So, the biggest Inspiration for this album was creating a fresh new sound without jumping on any bandwagons. Also, the risk of doing so was very inspiring because you might end up losing a lot of fans that don’t like your new sound.

After Dominik and Niki left the group and Ludwig and me (Lukas) continued as a duo, it was important for us to show that we were still in love with making music. It felt like the right time for a fresh start and fresh music.

What did you use to produce the album, what’s your setup?

 

We have been working with the same setup for many years now because it has been very stable. Whenever we’d think about making major changes though, we realize that we are in the middle of a major project and dont find the time to do so!

 

Software: windows 7 on a pc, cubase 9/10, native instruments (massive, fm8, absynth, kontakt, reaktor, molekular, monark), xfer serum, arturia vintage emulations, waves (scheps, diamond bundle), fabfilter bundle, kazroog (kclip3, trueiron), elysia (alpha compressor), u-he diva, soundtoys (decapitator, filters, delays, etc), izotope ozone & neutron plugins, xln addictive drummer & keys

 

Monitoring: old rmx fireface 800, mackie mk2 monitors, an acoustically treated room and audeze headphones

 

Hardware: dave smith prophet 08, studio electronics boomstar 4075, old korg ms20, behringer poly d, prophet12 (borrowed from a friend), fredenstein bento filled with a shadowhills preamp, elysia xpressor 500 and an elysia karacter 500. We record all kinds of sounds through a slate digital ml-1 mic, a neuman tlm-67mic and a zoom h4n field recorder.

 

What was the process for making the album? Is it a start-to-finish thing or does it come together more naturally over time?

 

The first phase of the process was creating new ideas, loops, and sketches that could potentially work as album tunes. Once we had around 30 to 40 of these ideas we filtered out all the crap and started working on the projects we felt the most and made versions to test in the club (this was not always possible because of the pandemic). Then we again filtered out the tunes that were not good enough or didn’t fit the vibe of the album. In the meantime, we started looking for vocals for a few tracks. We also got a lot of feedback from the label which helped us crystalize our initial ideas and worked them into an album. Once we had all the tunes for the album laid out, we started mixing and mastering. The overall process took us around 1,5 to 2 years and most of the tunes came together naturally over time. We came to understand that we cannot really force things but take our time to make a good album even though a deadline can help you stay focused.

What’s your usual process for collaborations? Who are your ideal Collab partners at the moment? 

 

Nowadays the collaboration process is mainly sending projects back-and-forth. We would love to get into the studio with other artists but that’s not always easy when you are living in different countries and the world is in lockdown.

 

We love to work with talented vocalists and are always looking for singers that like our sound and want to collaborate. Besides that, we really like the sound of Levela, The Prototypes, Sub Focus, Culture Shock, Dimension, Hybrid Minds, the whole Elevate roster, Koven, and many more.

How has your style changed from your perspective since the release of expansion?

 

We feel like ‘Expansion’ was still all over the place style-wise while ‘Lose Control’ feels more like an album where all the tunes complement each other and fit together. With ‘Lose Control’ we also have the feeling that we finally arrived at a point where we are happy with our production skills. Style-wise we are also very happy right now. ‘Lose Control’ has been another maturing lesson for us, leading us to understand that what we feel is way more important than what we think others want to hear…

 

The album is quite different stylistically from what you’ve produced before, what was the new direction you were aiming for?

 

If you listen to some of our earlier tunes, the ones we did in the very beginning and compare them to our actual sound, you will see, that there are many similarities. Sure, we have been on the techy, neurofunky side for quite some time now, but with ‘Lose Control’ it feels like we have managed to meld all those previous Fourward productions into a unique signature sound that can work on the dancefloor but also when you listen at home. We are definitely drawn to a more melodic sound that creates more emotion and feel than a sound that is focused on rhythmics and sound design only, although we still invest a lot of time into our sound design and groove.

 

Massive thanks to Fourward for sitting down and talking to us about what they’ve been hard at work on, you can pick the album up and listen to their exclusive guest mix for Studio Drum and Bass below. Happy listening!

 

https://Fourward.lnk.to/LoseControlFC

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