July 2, 2012

Massive Dance Week Las Vegas: Sultan and Ned Shepard Interview

While in Las Vegas for Massive Dance Week at the Wynn/Encore hotel, Lonely Paul and I got a chance to sit down with the artists performing that week to chat about studios, music, gear, and Vegas in general. In addition to some of the well established acts we talked to, we also had a chance to sit down with younger up and coming producers. Sultan and Ned Shepard are known by many as remix artists but they also work on their own original music with their host of performance and production tools.

We discussed these things in a video on our YouTube channel but if you want to see the full interview, check out the transcript below.

What’s going on here at the Wynn Encore?

Sultan: It’s insane. You got every big act DJ, celebrity, everyone. It’s just the place to be and if you’re not here you are missing out.

Tell us what you’re normal studio sessions are like. What kind of equipment do you usually use?

Ned: We use Pro Tools for sequencing and recording, then we have a various arsenal of synths, hardware, software, Moog Voyager, and guitars.

Sultan: Gibson, Fender, a whole bunch of other guitars.

Ned: Wurlitzer, vintage keyboards, a lot of soft synths.

Sultan: A lot of Korg stuff, we mix it up.

Ned: We jam out songs and we reinterpret them electronically.

What’s happening right now with electronic music that is exciting you?

Ned: Electronic music is in the spotlight as far as what’s fresh and what’s popular. It’s been a long time coming, especially in the U.S. When it merged with hip hop and R&B, it sort of sparked some interest from people in the U.S. What people aren’t realizing is that instead of a guitar, kids are picking up a laptop and Ableton and programming beats. Its second nature for them because they’ve grown up with this technology around them. What’s amazing is not someone who is 25, wants to go out to a club, and who’s into it, but that you see a 13 year old be even more into it. This is the next generation. This is the music of the future.

Sultan: He’s got his 9 year old nephew texting him daily asking him about MIDI and how to setup keyboards.

Ned: It took him an hour what it took me weeks to learn. It was just second nature. Their brains are wired for it and they are really receptive to all these sounds.

Would you find the UniqueSquared Mobile Studio to be something useful for your productions?

Sultan: Hell yeah!

Ned: Even just having it outside the Wynn…the amount of artists you have coming through the Wynn Encore this weekend…if you got everyone in here at the right time you could make a couple of hits.

Sultan: We are always traveling so we always do our ideas on laptops, but we never get to produce a full finished record on the road. With something like this, you got everything at your disposal.

How does it feel to be a part of what’s happening now with dance music in Las Vegas?

Ned: It feels really good. Guys like Tiesto and David [Guetta] are extremely supportive of younger producers and people who are up and coming. They’ve been great in terms of pushing the music forward and making the pie bigger for everybody in terms of exposing dance music to everybody. To be apart of that and be here and playing and feel it, it feels really good.

Well hopefully we can get all those guys on the bus to work on some music.

Sultan: We are moving to LA in a month. So we are going to have at least a week or two to setup our studio fully. If you guys parked the bus outside our house and we could work on it for 5 days, we wouldn’t turn that down [laughs].

What do you think about the gear on the Mobile Studio?

Ned: I think you guys got most of the basics covered. I think you could produce a pretty good track with everything you have here. You have all the basic sequencers, you have everything you are going to need. You have Ableton and Pro Tools, everything most people work on. You have Massive.

Sultan: They got amps man. I don’t even have an amp. They got so many amps.

Ned: I think you’re pretty good to go as far as putting down some ideas. You got the vocal booth set up.

Sultan: This is like a producers playground, a producers dream. You guys are giving people access to more than what your regular producer would have in a studio. Having the chance to experiment with different gear too is a whole other positive on its own.