Words By Miki Hellerbach
The Producer’s Voice is a new series for GUAP where we highlight the stories of instrumental crafters. We hope to bring their stories to the forefront instead of kept behind the artist they are producing for.
Daniel Loumpouridis is doing production his own way, and slowly but surely it’s paying off.
“I really pride myself on the ability to give people what they didn’t know they wanted, while at the same time what they did know that they needed. Satisfying what they were looking for, but giving something they didn’t expect. I love taking what an artist suggests and flipping it on its head. Not ignoring but giving more than they thought they wanted. It’s gonna lose me some gigs but it’s also gonna get me some gigs. I’d rather you come to me for my sound, my thought process.”Daniel Loumpouridis for GUAP 2021
Chicago bred producer Daniel Loumpouridis grew up really bad at sports, however, he maintains he needed an outlet to feed his youthful competitive drive. He chose music through his father’s influence from his 80s club days and artists like David Bowie and New Order while also being drawn to rock bands like Linkin Park. Then while taking a theory class in high school he met Freddy Kennett who was working on a DJ project called Louis The Child at the time. When he asked him to produce for him, Loumpouridis said Kennett told him, “No, do it yourself!” Loumpouridis would then basically apprentice under Kennett and learn the basics of Ableton and the importance of all things involving sound design. This eventually led to them co-producing the career launching track for Louis The Child “It’s Strange” feat. K. Flay (who also went to their high school).
Post high school while Louis The Child went to “go get famous” in Loumpouridis words, the now burgeoning producer went to college and honed his craft. He realized his niche was creating sonic worlds for unsigned artists and bringing their musical visions to life from the ground up. He was going to school, working, and doing around 7 sessions a week. Then he’d go to LA over the summers to stay with Freddy and work even more. He’s now been living in LA on his own for two years working with various artists and continually reaching milestones like receiving a text from Wyclef Jean saying that a song he produced was “dope.” It’s only up from here.
I asked Daniel Loumpouridis to give the backstory of three of his top instrumentals. Take a read.
“It’s Strange” by Louis The Child feat. K. Flay
“Throughout my and Freddy’s junior and senior year of high school I would go over to his house 2-3 times a week and we’d sit in this closet space where he’d drive then I’d sit behind him. For the first six months I was just learning. Then a little while later we started collaborating and experimenting. We would be up til 4 or 5 AM just working. One day we went to CVS to get snacks at midnight. We got Mango Arizonas and Starbucks Iced Coffee. It was blizzarding pretty hard and we took a picture of this streetlight because it was illuminating all these snowflakes in this pixelated halo. So we came back and tried to make a song that sounded like that picture.
That’s where the “bleep bloops” in the beginning of that song came from. It’s an FM8 (synth) run through Izotope’s Trash 2 (distortion plug-in). We would just cycle through their pre-sets until we found something kind of cool, then manipulate it to what we needed. The programming was 3 to 4 different layers. He and I would craft these big long phrases based on that one motif at the beginning. It was all about making sure it didn’t sound like it came out of a computer. I think it’s so important making sure you don’t hear Ableton and it’s just the canvas. When you look at the Mona Lisa you aren’t looking at the canvas and the Mona Lisa you’re just looking at the painting on top.
The drums are from this 9th Wonder sample pack that Flume used for their first records. There’s also the sound of us walking through the snow up to his parents house murmuring and laughing in there as a sort of ASMR thing pre-Billie. We were really into James Blake’s first record then, it’s one of the reasons I’m a producer. We’d been binge listening to it all night and that’s why you get those weird pitch bent percussive noises that are scattered tonally but deliberate. We made the instrumental sans the drop in the song and sent it to K. Flay. She sent back the greatest top line and we were running around like, “It’s a hit!”
A month or two later, Freddy took me out of school to play me the drop he made in his car. I said it would never work and he was like, “No, this is the song. We need to have this here.” He knew. I’m the indie guy making the weird textures and he’s the guy dropping this ridiculous synth break so everyone will lose their minds. I’ve never been happier to have been wrong.”
“Paper Cut” by bennytheghost feat. Calica
“That one I was a co-producer on. Ben is my roommate. He and I have worked together for like 5 years now. I developed his first project and we have a really close collaborative relationship. He brought me the first draft of the song and said, “This isn’t hitting right.” But the bones were all there. What he and I did was that intro with the big bass stabs and that vocal sample. We created more sonic dissonance to feed the energy of the song rather than the song being a top line. We tried to blend the idea of a Pop song over something that’s pretty gross in the best way. I was trying to serve the arrangement that the other producer Joe had already laid out. Ben and I wrote out the entire second verse and wrote those guitar lines and that riff that got changed to a synth at some point. Then we sent those to Joe and he brought my sounds into the fold of his vision.”
“U Don’t Give A Fuck” by Daniel Loumpouridis
“That song came to me in the shower. I had just graduated college and a girl had just absolutely destroyed me. I had gotten dumped in February and this was June or July. So I had enough distance from the breakup that I could be aware of it without it crushing me when I thought about it. But whenever I would go to write lyrics about it they sounded terrible.
Instead, my process became sitting in my dad’s office, with my mic in front of me, and my headphones on late at night. I would make beats then put on heavy Kanye autotune and just freestyle. That’s why most of the lyrics are muddled and tough to discern cuz it’s all first take and improvised. So I was showering and I got the main melody in my head. At the time I was listening to Toro y Moi’s ‘Outer Peace’. I jumped out of the shower sat down at my computer, produced a beat, and sang the melody over it.
The beat is exactly how it was on that first day and was made just so I could sing that melody on top of it. The snare is this ratty, high mid, barely even there sample. I liked the idea of doing a trappy high hat pattern with an analog hat sound. So it has this Jake One hat. I used the Gentlemen Kontakt piano drenched in valhalla reverb. I recorded everything an octave up then pitched it all down and it gave it this crazy glassy tone. Also, I had this spring reverb black box made for me by a friend of mine, Carter Vale. I was running my guitar through that then through a guitar amp and miking that. So for the bends you get this white noise shimmer that falls off afterwards. The bass in there is from the Prophet Rev 2, the greatest instrument ever made. I will die on that hill. The outro with the triplet feel is from when me and Freddy in high school went to Home Depot with a field recorder and just started banging on stuff. All those percussive sounds are from that sample pack we made.”
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