In The Studio With LO’99

Boasting 250,000 monthly Spotify listeners, Sydney based artist LO’99 has become a recognized name through the house scene, most notably throughout Australia. After remixing some of the biggest dance acts in the world, he has released a slew of originals through Medium Rare and most recently USA based imprint Insomniac.

He joins us today to delve into his studio (where he made recent Beatport #1 Tech House chart ‘Acid Worldwide’) and every little aspect of it. No detail is spared as LO’99 takes us through his monitors, the origins of the studio, the multitude of toys in the studio and more!


STUDIO

I’ve had quite a few studio spots around Sydney… the first proper joint was where the Wild FM Studios used to be right near Central Station, we moved in after that sort of finished up. Then I was in a variety of warehouse spaces, then a converted terrace in Surry Hills, then a converted terrace in Pyrmont (right near the Casino which was dangerous but fun), then finally where I am now. I can’t take any credit for how it was built though, we took the room off a well known pop producer who made the place pretty damn nice!! We have double doors, double glazed glass between main and live rooms, patch bays between the 2 rooms, proper sound treatment all over and to be fair everything you’d expect in a professional room build except some crazy quadratic diffuser action haha. Over the last 3 years I’ve been working on the road and in other rooms a lot + during COVID I’ve been mostly at home so I’ll mention bits on that too.

SOFTWARE

I’m on Ableton DAW-wise, but tbf I’ve used all the classics… Cubase originally, then Cakewalk, then Sonar, then Logic but now I’m loving Live!! I still have Logic X on my computer to open sessions from other people but I’ll only ever use it with someone else or to open a Logic session when doing net collaborations, it feels like driving a car on the other side of the road when I open it now. I couldn’t live or finish a song without using all these go to bits – Soundtoys Echoboy, Decapitator, Crystalizer, Alterboy and Panman, Valhalla verb bits, Waves Mercury, Izotope Trash, Nectar, and Ozone, Sonalksis filters (I LOVE THE DIGITAL GRIMEBOX – it’s all over my records), Fabfilter bits, Melodyne, Auto-Tune, LFO Tool, Lowender (this plug can add sub bass to any sound!!!). I’m sooooooo close to going into UAD land, I keep using it with people and it’s sorta dumb I haven’t made the move yet due to how much I love it. I reckon as soon as the next sale hits I’m going in on an interface and bunch of plugs!! 

Over the years I have bought sooooooo many soft synths, absolutely more than I need but I just get excited about things that can make sound and it’s so easy to buy software on the net so I’m like gimme gimme gimme. I probably don’t even have half of the bits I own on my computer atm now as I have just done a fresh install, so I’ll just mention the bits I’m actually using now… Diva, Spire, Sylenth, Massive, Massive X, Omnisphere, Synplant (look I don’t know what I re-installed this but it’s sorta cool isn’t it), M1, Rob Papen SubBoom, Lush-101, ABL Pro, Serum, Punchbox (THIS IS SICK FOR KICKS!!) + the Virus TI software is nuts too, obviously that needs the hardware to work but it runs like a full soft synth and it’s great to be able to go between that and then also turn your head and proper go in on the gear too. 

SOUND

My main monitors are Focal Twin6 Be’s!! I was going to don a pair of Adams but I’m pretty sure Klaus, Staylz and some of my other producer mates got me into these French badboiz and I love em!! My mate who I share the room with also has a pair of NS-10s and a sub and we have everything now wired into a d-box so we can switch around, reference back and forth and also shoot the sound to a little mono speaker to see what’s going on there. At home I have a pair of Genlec 5”s, nothing too crazy but they are clean and vibey. I also use headphones a lot at home and on the road!! Interface-wise I have a Metric Halo ULN8 and had all my gear wired in direct with big breakout cables but atm we are running everything through my mate’s Apogee Ensemble and at home I have an RME Fireface 400 which I’ve owned for aaaages – it used to be my main studio interface and I take that on the road with me too sometimes as it’s pretty small and easy to move about. 

HARDWARE

I’m running a DSI Poly Evolver, Roland Fantom, Minimoog Voyager (which has a broken Osc atm), a Virus Polar (which I’m running at home atm), a Korg M3 and an SE-02 (also at home now). It’s the Poly, Virus & SE-02 I use the most, but the Fantom & the M3 are so handy when I need a classic sound and obviously the Moog is fucking fun to use – it just hasn’t been as a go to for me as others recently. I’ve got a boutique 303 which I fucking love and have at home atm too. I don’t really have any proper old school analog drum machines, I’m mostly using samples but I do have the new Roland 808 and 909 re-up’s and have used them more so for live stuff. I have a bunch of different controllers & trigger things like Ableton Push’s and Akai pads I use to play soft synths (more on that later) and for live performance plus the new Roland 707 which I’m playing with and working out best live use now. I actually also still have my original MC-303 which I performed a techno version of Waltzing Matilda for my year 11 end of year piece when I was 16 or 17 haha – that’s more so just a nostalgia thing now 🙂 I used to play Bass and have a sick Ibanez but I sold that when I was 19 to buy vinyl and just bought a second hand bass so I can jam. I’ve got a Fender Strat which I bought from our old landlord who was moving but I can only play power chords so that’s more so for when someone with some 6 string skills is in the house.  


EXTRAS

I have a Polaroid camera in the room and for the last 6 years I’ve taken a photo of everyone I’ve done a session with – there’s been so many cool peeps in my room but some stand out random cool ones are Krayzie & Wish from Bone Thugs, Ben from Silverchair, even Mark from Stanton Warriors – who if you told 20 yo Tom he would have lost his mind haha (sorry if you’re reading this Mark!!). Still blows my mind who’s been in the room and it’s so cool to have all the different snaps, I found a few just now and the rest are in a box somewhere but I’ll do a big post on instagram of them all when I find them so follow me on there if keen 🙂 I would highly recommend grabbing a Polaroid for your studio!! Apart from the official studio camera, room, gear and software I think it’s super important for a studio to have some vibe. I had / still have a shit load, and when I say a shit load I mean ABSOLUTELY WAY TOO MANY toys all over the place… Mario / Sonic stuff, Street Fighter / Mortal Kombat stuff, Transformers, Astro Boy.. there’s been a lot of stuff like that all around the room but now I’m sharing the space taken I’ve taken most of that home as it was starting to look more like a comic / toy store than a studio. I think a few bits like that or some art are dope and important to bring some life and personality into a room.  It didn’t help that there was an Anime / Manga shop around the corner at the local cafe & every lunch spawned a new character in the studio. We also have a TV and a playstation in there, for some people that might be a bad idea but it always worked well in my rooms, I think finished a few GTA’s in various studios and still made a lot of music 🙂

Listen to LO’99’s newest ‘Acid Worldwide’ and his awesome set for Insomniac below.

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