If you’re a fan of drum and bass you might be familiar with the name Royalston. With a penchant for breakneck tempo, cascading drums and a well tuned ear for melodic hooks, Royalston is among the top tier of producers working in Drum n Bass at the moment.
In his work as a trainer at Liveschool, Royalston imparts his hard won knowledge in the realms of Production, Arrangement and Engineering, giving our students the skills they need to take their productions to the next level.
Royalston’s releases span over a decade on cult labels like Hospital Records, Black Acre and Bad Taste Recordings, and at this point his knowledge of broken beat is basically a sixth sense rather than a skillset. His productions have racked up millions of plays on streaming services and during more normal times his tour schedule would see him performing regularly at home and abroad.
With an arsenal of hardware at his disposal, including a formidable Modular rig, Royalston conjures hardware driven workouts that find the perfect balance of production trickery, rhythmic knowhow and melodic progression.
His new single Black Phillip is an excursion into dark territory. Constructed around a menacing bass patch and an eerie horror movie sample, Black Phillip is probably not one to play around small children. Inspired by the raw power of the SH-101’s rudimentary sequencer the track came about in a way that will be all too familiar to hardware heads among us. We got Royalston to take us through the production of the track, starting with the overall vision for what he wanted to achieve
“It was really just supposed to be a techno-style live jam at 170bpm but then I got a bit carried away… “
“This was the original jam. It’s very bass- heavy and has a completely different bassline. At this stage I’m just chucking everything in to see what works. Listening back I want to make another version that sounds like this!”
With Elekton’s iconic drum synth Machinedrum providing the rhythmic backbone and a liberal helping of Moog subs, Royalstons mastery of machines allows him to throw down layers of ideas on the fly.
“Both parts were recorded into ableton as 20 minute long stems, that was the fun part. Then i added more a more structured arrangement and live percussion and more sound design elements”
After creating seven more versions Royalston arrived at a more solidified version of the tune, keeping in mind the context in which it would be played.
“Here I’m trying to make the track fit more into a DJ set with modern DnB – much punchier and louder. Although it’s a long way off being finished, it’s brighter and the bass is more controlled. I still hadn’t added the sample at this point.”
From this point it was a matter of adding the final touches to the track including adding the vocal sample and de-cluttering the arrangement.
“In the final version of the track, the sample has been added which gives a focus & new theme to the track. The bassline has been simplified to follow the riff – The track is busy enough without multiple basslines – this will allow the track to go louder, which helps when it’s played a DJ set.”
Stay tuned to hear more on Royalston’s upcoming productions including his forthcoming LP, due later this year.