Next week, Ikonika (a.k.a. Sara Abdel-Hamid) will release 'Position,' a seven-track effort that features some of the London producer's most purely club-focused work to date. Following her synth-driven and '80s-referencing 2013 LP, 'Aerotropolis,' the new EP marks something of a new direction for Ikonika, particularly in the title track's distorted drums and obvious nods to ballroom. Still, this isn't exactly surprising; after all, the longtime Hyperdub affiliate and Hum + Buzz co-founder has been gradually refining her sound ever since she first appeared on wax in 2008. And while part of that evolution can simply be chalked up to additional experience, both in the club and behind the boards, part of the process can undoubtedly be attributed to changes in her production set-up. Curious about what tools are guiding her workflow these days, we asked Ikonika to detail the five most important pieces from her studio.
Allen & Heath Xone 92
I got this mixer for £700 on eBay. I actually bought it because every time I saw one in the club I would panic 'cos they're a bit annoying to use. So I got it, learnt it, and it's now my favorite mixer. There's always this Xone vs. DJM debate. I could give you the pros and cons, but it's just whatever the user feels comfortable using to be honest. But [the Xone] sounds better to me, there's this analog push behind it. I go crazy for the EQing and using the filters as kinda isolators. I [have also] used it in my live set, together with the returns and the MIDI clock for my effects.
Emagic Unitor 8
It could really just be any MIDI interface really, but I never had one before until I went a bit crazy on eBay recently and bought more synths.
PSP MixSaturator VST
I use it when my drums are sounding a bit flat. I usually bus out my kicks, claps, and snare to this, making use of the 'bass' function and bringing up the warmth.
Pro Co RAT distortion pedal
I still haven't let go of my Moog Little Phatty. It's still one of those synths that keeps surprising me and is central to everything I do. I usually buy little guitar pedals especially for it and the RAT pedal is my favorite one to run. I'm getting more and more into dirty sounds at the moment and this just gives me another option to the Moog's filters.
I tried this synth at Bok Bok's originally and immediately fell in love with it. I wish I had one while making my first album, LOL. It can really pull at your heartstrings. I love the cheap sounds, the spring in the keys, the lightness of it physically, and the way it looks. It sounds a bit shallow, but if a synth looks ugly, I just won't buy it. LOL.