The swift production style of DJ duo Kolonie

By Ema Sabljak

“Speed and always moving forward,” is the favoured approach to music production of DJ and producer duo Kolonie.

It is that very approach that was integral in producing their newest progressive trance and house single, Moments.

Kolonie is formed by Shane Long and Kane Harris, who have been developing their sound for a while, previously working under a different alias – Long & Harris.

They emphasise that working together is a big part of ensuring the quality of their tracks, adding: “One positive of being in a duo is that one of us can pick up things the other may not and as long as you are both on the same page musically, I think this will usually end up making a better track!”

Electronic dance music has, of course, been a part of their lives since they first fell in love with it as teenagers, with Kane first developing an appreciation for trance and Shane’s first love being UK garage.

From deep house with musical elements that linked them closer to nu-disco, their sound started to evolve to become what is now characteristic for Kolonie. The DJ pair add: It still has elements of old school trance in there and the vocal chops of UKG which just emulates from us growing up and it is what we would call the Kolonie “sound”

For fans, that sound is often associated with chopped up and warped vocals that are present in many of their tracks.

While Shane studied music at school, Kane’s only official education in music production comes from a basic 6-week production course.

The majority of their skillset comes from experimentation and getting to know the process on their own, they add: “We both wish we were better at physically playing an instrument because this element definitely slows us down in the studio, but we are improving and learning all the time and I think that’s the main thing.”

As producers, you might recognise them from some of their original works such as Celestial Highway, Olympus and Torn Vision, with their productions often hitting the Beatport chart.

Their newest original single, Moments, takes inspiration from their track Torn Vision, as the duo themselves explain: “For us that’s one of our favourite tracks we have produced and we try to use that as a benchmark going forward.”  That track in their minds forms a great basis for a “rolling dance-worthy” progressive tune, which is at the heart of their production ambitions.

Moments came together naturally, according to Kolonie: “The main concept came together in a day – albeit a long one. Then we probably spent another full day in total just tightening the mix and improving some bits here and there.

“I think the best tracks do seem to just fall together and are almost effortless. We both believe in sitting on a track and going back to it on fresh ears.”

Taking inspiration from the advice they received in the past, which fuels their fast and forward-moving approach to production, they try to have prepared templates, samples and sounds organised to keep them moving in the production phase.

“When in the creation and writing phase, you don’t want anything to slow you down once you’re really in the zone. You don’t want to lose that idea or that flow that you can get locked into.

“You want to be quick enough to almost keep laying parts of the track down as you go, rather than listening to the same part over and over again – that’s when you get stuck in a rut.”

The duo usually relies on the same drum samples, essentially creating their very own sample pack to ensure their styles is clear in each track.

“We dig sounds out of there so when you listen to the tracks you are easily able to identify, ‘yup, that’s a Kolonie track’.”

After that, they stick to their principle of continuously moving forward while laying down the bassline and chords.

“Sometimes everything can change if you end up coming up with a great hook and it doesn’t fit with certain elements, we just try and stay open-minded and happy to keep trying different things and in the end hopefully it will all fit together nicely.”

In tune with moving swiftly through production stages, their studio is stripped back and aligns itself to the principle of “less really is more”.

“We don’t use any hardware whatsoever, and to be honest I think this would probably slow us down. We use some of the fab filter range along with Waves, the lexicon for reverbs and that’s pretty much it.”

They do the initial master, but usually, prefer if “a third party has a listen to the track” as an additional ear helps them catch things they missed and to ensure the master reaches its full potential.

Their single Moments comes as part of ZeroThree’s Unified Vol.10. A few of the influences that you might be able to hear in the track come from Grum, Pryda and Ilan Bluestone.

Kolonie has upcoming DJ gigs at A State of Trance in Utrecht on the 23rd February and at the Ministry of Sound in both London and Liverpool in March and April respectively.

 

Ema Sabljak

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