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.
Redinho is a producer that favours a more instictual approach to production that is quick but done in an almost meditative state.
Though Redinho was born and mostly raised in London, much of his musical beginnings are rooted in his time spent in California during his youth and young adulthood. He recalls being really taken by film soundtracks from movies like Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop during a period when he was in Cali from ages 6 to 8. The well crafted 80s pop sound would, as Redinho says, “plant some seeds.” Then around age 10 or 11 he would get himself a drum kit and begin to learn to play. He would play in a few bands with his brother and other friends which eventually lead to him trying his hand at recording them ie. producing. At age 18 though, Redinho would get himself a set of turntables which added an element of hip-hop into the skillset. This would prove to be hugely important moving forward.
Redinho remembers in those early days having a mixer that he thinks was stolen from a pub. He would use that, his turntable, and a 4 track to make as close to fully composed instrumentals as possible. Then when he got a computer he would use Cool Edit which is now Adobe Audition to make music until he moved back to California at age 21. He found himself in Berkeley, CA in the Bay Area and met the DJ who now goes by Ruckazoid who opened his eyes to truly using the turntable as an instrument. When he witnessed this, he realized it was the only thing he’d, at that point, ever really wanted to do.
When he moved back to London he also got really into electronic music. As he fused that with his Bay Area turntable influence he truly found a sound that was his own. A bit later on he would send a demo to a friend who worked at Warp (Indie British Label) who would eventually sign him to a new label he was helping build called Numbers. Redinho released his first EP on that label called Bare Blips in 2010. Then eventually a single “Edge Off” using the talk box effect style that would propel his career forward even more before releasing his self titled first album. This, as well as an unreleased song played in a DJ set at a club, would eventually connect him with legendary producer Hudson Mohawke. When he co-signed him the buzz built even more. Then Redinho worked as the musical director for Mohawke’s live band which toured his album Lantern in Europe, the US, and Japan from 2015-2016.
After taking a quick break in Greece, Redinho came back to London and connected in person with Riz Ahmed who he met on Myspace of all places. They would go on to form the group Swet Shop Boys with rapper Heems and he’d executive produce their debut album Cashmere. Since then after touring the world again and again Redinho has released two more solo albums and produced for countless other artists crafting quite the varied and intriguing catalogue.
I asked Redinho to give the backstory of three of his top instrumentals. Take a read.
“Sweet Relief” by Kimbra
“When I put my album out in 2014 she got in touch. I got why because I could see what she was interested in about what I was doing. She was trying to use her voice in interesting funk-soul electronic ways. She came to London for a week or so and I was pretty inexperienced working with singers. We were just trying stuff and not much was happening really. But then towards the end I had that beat which, typical to me, was way more complicated than it ended up being. It was 6 beats in a bar rather than your standard 4. I do that all the time without really realizing. It was really simple and she freestyled gibberish over it.
By the end of that week actually, nothing felt good. But also at the end of that week, we went around the corner with my brother to try something with him. That’s where “Square 1” came about. That one’s maybe a bit more interesting cuz I got the talk box out then. I was able to capture this cool thing Kimbra was doing on her voice live thing which made it into the main loop.
But then years later she sent me the vocal for “Sweet Relief” with lyrics and I flushed it out. There’s a really big instrumental blast that’s really synthy and that was initially a whistle she did. It works as the release of what she’s doing. She found an amazing range of melodies on such a simple loop.”
“T5” by Swet Shop Boys
“I love that f***ing track. I went into recording with those guys armed with beats. For some of them, I had done separate recordings. The first session I had with Heems he was In London for something else and I managed to get some verses. It was a fucking wild recording session. Then I left some gaps for Riz. I don’t think any ended up being used.
Anyway, one day Heems was coming over to record in Riz’s living room. I made a specific beat for that session because I didn’t think I had the fire yet. I also made a beat around then that ended up being “Zayn Malik”. But for “T5”, I really thought about being shameless about the sample in it being really not western. Everyone thinks the sample for that is from a Shenhai, which is like a clarinet from South Asia, but actually, I don’t even know what it is. It’s some weird double reed instrument from Indonesia.
I found that sample and just started building from there. I like when you don’t have to think too much, that’s when the good stuff happens. On the chorus, it almost goes into a double time thing with the claps. That clap thing I got very much from listening to Qawwali music, which is folk music from the Pakistan and India region. They use that feel a lot.
That one really went off live. The guys smashed it with their lyrics and everyone was singing it. We would play that first in the set and I would do this specific build up track for it. The Swet Shop Boys fans were rabid and so up for it. Also, I put some tiger growling sounds into that. Everything was on max.”
“Studio F” by Redinho
“A lot of that record was made really quickly. I like to work fast, I don’t like to think. That is partly laziness, but it’s actually the most pleasurable state to be in when it’s meditative. “Studio F” is a good example of that where it’s mad simple. I just distorted some drums, layered it up a bit, then got a rave section going.
I didn’t really think much of that track but my girlfriend liked it and kept wanting to hear it. For me, it actually reminded me of a sort of Aphex Twin ‘Selected Ambient Works’ thing for some reason. A lot of that stuff is quite mellow, but there was something about it that was quite eerie. There’s actually a version with a London rapper named Oscar #Worldpeace that I fucking love. But when I looked at the project it didn’t work aesthetically.
But yeah, it’s more of a meditation. The drums are from a Roland 707 and then it’s just 808s being pitched up and distorted. Then the rave bit is just like a vocal sample pitched around from the 80s or something. That track also ends really suddenly and I think that’s quite me.”