DJ/producer Marc “MK” Kinchen has just added an SSL AWS 948 at the centre of his Los Angeles private production studio to aid in the creation of his forthcoming new album.
Kinchen is an industry veteran who continues to know what makes a dance floor move. His list of credits range from his own early 90’s productions like the house classics “Burning” and “Love Changes“, to Fourth Measure Men’s “For You” to his remix of Nightcrawlers “Push The Feeling On” and dozens more dancefloor remix hits… to working with Pitbull, to recent work like his versions of Storm Queen’s “Look Right Through” (DUB III), and Wankelmut’s “My Head Is a Jungle.”
Kinchen has produced a wealth of music throughout the last two decades and it is no coincidence that he has chosen to design his own studio around an SSL console as much of his work was created using an SSL analogue consoles in studios all over the world. Getting the SSL for his studio is a dream realized since he has wanted to go back to his analogue roots
MK told us, “I started out in the late 80’s. I was a teenager and was learning about music, but I was always really into gear. I was learning to produce and was lucky enough to have friends who could afford mixing boards and I would end up at their studios. The most supportive was Kevin Saunderson, the well known Detroit Techno Pioneer. I would go to his KMS Studio where he had this giant board and the funniest thing about it is that I already knew how to use it from reading so much about it.”
The success of “Burning” brought a flow of work to Kinchen. “In the early 90’s remixing became really popular. Record labels would hire you to take one of their records and do whatever you want with it and I got pretty good at that. The labels would literally send me a 2-inch tape and I would hire out any studio I wanted that fit the budget and a lot of times they had an SSL in the room, a big one. So I spent a lot of time in front of them, they were pretty expensive so I couldn’t afford one, but I used them a lot and just kind of wished I had one. Eventually I ended up being able to afford some of the equipment.”
Kinchen retains the kind of exuberant passion for making music that has always driven him. “As a producer you always want to have a mixer. With the AWS I bought it and it got delivered and I was so excited I took pictures of it outside and stuff and then I had to go on the road for two weeks the next day. All the time I was like ‘I can’t wait to get home’, like a kid in a candy store really. So I really haven’t had much time to use it. So far I have only mixed one song on it which was “Reverse Skydiving” by Hot Natured. It was great — I spread everything across the faders and EQ’d my kick drum and hi-hats, and messed with the levels. It’s so convenient the way the console works with Logic and Pro Tools, and the way you can switch from analogue to DAW, it’s perfect.”
The fear of losing the warmth of analogue and a physical human connection to music and spontaneous creativity in this digital age is something that Kinchen is very vocal about.
“With a computer you are using the mouse to grab something and then you have to roll over and grab something else. Here I am able to move more than one thing at a time. Being able to grab the bass and the kick drum and move them together, you just can’t do that with a mouse. Back in the 90’s I mixed songs that weren’t automated, I used to just hit record and mix the song live with the mutes and you can’t beat that. Sometimes when you are writing your drops and automating everything you kind of lose a little bit as opposed to going live and thinking ‘oh if this comes out right now, it will be perfect’ and you just hit it. A lot of young kids don’t realize that because they have never done it before. It is really the immediate rush that comes with creating and mixing on the spot.”
For Kinchen the analogue connection translates into directly into the sound.
“I can really hear the difference between digital and analogue, it’s just a warmth to the sound. I am able to make the mix sound bigger because I can really separate the sounds better and get a grasp of what’s going on, more than if I was just mixing inside the sequencer. For example EQ’ing with the trackbar and mouse just doesn’t feel the same as being able to reach out and grab things quicker. Working inside the box, just that little bit of time scrolling over from low to high frequency actually does make a difference because your ear has adjusted by the time you get to the high frequency. With the AWS, I can definitely work quicker, and it just sounds better. And having the SSL EQ in your personal studio, right in front of you — that’s the real thing.”
“I love my AWS. I’m excited to learn more about its workstation-control features and to see what else I can do with it.”