Irish DJ and Producer TR ONE gives us a track by track walk through of his debut LP
A well respected figure within Ireland’s vibrant underground electronic music scene, TR ONE aka Eddie Reynolds is far from a newbie. Having written and released music for well over a decade now, he has however just put out his debut album ‘From The Studio Of’ on his Intrinsic Rhythm imprint.
Hailing from the South-eastern countryside town of Carlow in Ireland, he cites the likes of Dublin’s D1 Recordings, Kraftwerk and J Dilla as his early influences. And, there’s no mistaking his love for the vintage sounds of Chicago and Detroit in everything he does. After starting to dabble in production in the early 00s alongside fellow friend and producer Dean Feeney, the duo released their first EP ‘Inner Thoughts’ via Fine Art back in 2007. Fast-forward to over a decade on and the project only now consists of Reynolds himself, as his dedication to all things electronic remains unwavering.
A prolific producer, he has has gone on to write and release on some of Ireland’s finest imprints, such as Lunar Disko, Apartment, Bodytonic and Pogo: earning him respect and support from DJs and producers further afield in the process. In recent times, his endeavours have brought his work to scene-shaping British label Don’t Be Afraid as well as 393 Records. The perfect segue to putting his first full album together, which he’s decided to release himself from his base in Carlow.
As we’ve been keeping tabs on his activity for quite some time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a chat and find out more about the making of his record ‘From The Studio Of’ and how he likes to work.
So, how have things been going as we move out of COVID life?
“Not too bad, it’s been bit of a hectic year trying to catch up on lost time and launching the label and this album … but I won’t complain! The solitude of COVID life was probably good for me in a way, it was a well needed break.”
Did you discover any new or forgotten talents in the last few years?
“It made me reconnect with my machines and focus more on space and development in music. It’s so hard not to compare yourself to others but I think I finally broke those shackles. I’ve also got a rekindled fondness for Guinness which is probably not the best thing.”
In terms of your outlook, do you see yourself more of a live artist or a studio producer?
“The thing is, I’d probably class myself as somewhere in the middle. My recording and production process is based on live performance as I tend to record most tracks in one take, after I have my parts and structure developed. I find it gives tracks a certain life with nuances in sound, structure or effects which will never sound the same the second time. Of course this way has its negative side too but I enjoyed it for this album. I also performed my first live show in close to 10 years at the brilliant Open Ear Festival, which I really enjoyed.”
How do you feel about the state of play in Electronic music right now?
“I don’t know… I mean social media has dominated the landscape and changed people’s perception of what electronic music is, should be and how artists market themselves. I do sometimes worry about the legacy of Electronic music and what will trigger to the next generation of producers and DJs to aspire towards, particularly here in Ireland. Will brilliant independent artists eventually be harder to find as frustration swallows them up and they give up? The business element of Techno and House music has changed things. I guess we will just have to look harder in the future.”
What could we be doing better then?
“We’re trying to make a better landscape, but we can always try be more diverse and inclusive. We should try not to spend so much time on social media as the algorithm is changing how we book artists and listen to music. We should also really buy more music physically and digitally direct.”
Tell us about your general studio set up:
“The MPC 2500 is the kingpin and master for me. I use it to trigger all hardware I have and in my opinion, nothing matches its groove or swing. Then usually, I like to do 1 take recordings through a Soundcraft K1 desk into Cubase. The album lead single “Pitchshift” was the first time I structured and mixed down within the DAW, as Elaine lives in Sweden and we worked together remotely. It was actually quite enjoyable and made me think differently about the flow of track. It was also really nice bouncing back and forward with Elaine from the initial concept to making the finished track.”
Do you have any go to pieces of kit?
“Roland JX8P, Yamaha TG500, Yamaha DX Reface, Juno 106, Roland MC808, Korg Minilogue, Boss SE50 efx, I also used my memory man delay unit on every track on this album. “
How do you tend to work?
“I usually start with an 8 bar sequence on the MPC2500 and jam out through various kits and sounds. Then, I might work out a basic chord or bass structure and go from there. Sometimes though, I just jam out on the keys to see if anything clicks. There’s usually a trigger in this process that makes me think, ok we might have a track here but learning to let go and realise this isn’t going anywhere can still be a challenge!”
And how did it all apply to the making of your album “From the Studio Of”?
“The majority of the tracks were recorded throughout the pandemic, apart from the bones of ‘Pitchshif’t which was created years ago with previous Tr One member Dean Feeney. ‘Faux Outrage’ and ‘I’m Dreaming Again’ were others made just before pandemic but I think they really suit the album.
Only after a few more of the tracks did I realise, OK this could all sound good in album format. It was all mostly recorded at weekends or when I get spare time from my day job. I think there is a general melancholy sound to some of the tracks which captured my mood throughout the process. I decided to start my own label ‘Intrinsic Rhythm’ to release this and think Steffi Kelly’s brilliant and unique design has helped create an identity for it. The album is available in digital and across 2 EPs on vinyl format. Even though the vinyl market is highly saturated, I feel like people including myself will always connect more with a physical version of a release.”
Track by track
“This is actually the first time I’ve used field recordings and my voice in my own music! I live close to a river path (River Barrow) and recorded a few snippets on some walks down there which you can hear in the recording. I then sampled through the MPC, merged them with some ramblings on the mic and created the sound structure around the samples. I used the Memory Man delay on each synth sound here, generating the atmosphere.”
Pitchshift featuring Elaine Dowling
“This was originally an instrumental track me and Dean Feeney (Ex Tr One) jammed out like close to 10 years ago. I’d never done anything with it, but it was always something I thought could be something more. Only on revisiting things during the pandemic did I think – OK I think I could try get a vocal track together for it. I’ve known Elaine Dowling through mutual friends for years and always admired her brilliant voice. Her work with Colm K years ago in particular stuck with me and was delighted when she agreed to work with me on the track. She’s from Cork but lives in Sweden now and it was actually really enjoyable working remotely on the track. I gave her direction on what and where I would like things to happen within the track, and she really delivered with her unique and brilliant lyrics. We’ll definitely work together again :)…”
“This one was a real spur of the moment jam that came together over a weekend during the summer of 2021. You can hear my love of Detroit sounds throughout this track and in a way is my tribute to Kenny Larkin, John Beltran, Rob Rowland and that particular strain of deep techno. I particularly like when the track changes throughout and the bass finally kicks and it builds from then. Was fun to record and get together! I used heavy swing on the rim, clap and hat sounds in this track that are the glue within the groove.”
I’m Dreaming Again
“This one actually appeared on a DDR comp years and spent some time on my Bandcamp afterwards. I always really liked this track so was always open to getting it to a wider audience and felt it was just perfect for the album. The essence of this track was one of the dreamscape when you’re caught between being awake and asleep. It’s a personal favourite of mine from the album. I layered the JX8P with a TG500 pad sound through an arpeggiator to create the lead string sound.”
“This started as a MPC 2500 kick and snare and a bassline from the Korg Minilogue. The sound was tweaked until eventually I got this particular version and from there, patched it together using the TG500 and DX Reface. Probably the only track you can hum along to within the album! I always struggle to make the same track twice and I’m proud that one was created. I think it really suits the idea of Intrinsic Rhythm and the album for me, the title of course based on the benefits or logging off for a few days.”
“This was created initially as a synth jam on the Minilogue, a surprisingly powerful little machine. The lead synth sound was put into 1/1 or 1/2 timing on it’s step sequencer which gave the option of having each step a different modulated chord or key across 16 steps. So you can hear the movement throughout each bar and loop that is constantly changing. Always cool to mess with timing on a step sequencer and creating more from less as such. From there, I used a 909 kick and developed structure around the lead synth. I think the sounds are all a bit weird on this track but good weird. Think this tips about 130 bpm so up there with the faster tracks on the record!”
What Kind Of Dreams Do You Have
“My second dream based track on this record! The lead chord was developed in a JP-08 boutique which is really great for such a small machine. Rhodes sound on the DX is the one you hear coming in and out throughout the track. I’m happy on how this track sounded musically. I thought it needed a sample and had an idea of what I wanted. The sample is an interview with Scarlett Johansson conducted post lost in translation. The couple of samples I took thought really captured my mood throughout music and production in general. It started off as a dream for most of us but then you can struggle on thinking if you will ever be good enough.”
“This originally appeared on a 6 x LP D1 Recordings box set in 2019, but I always wanted to include it in a standalone record. When I think back wondering how I made it… I feel like it;s one of the strongest on the record. The beautiful chords from the JX-8P really hold it together. It started as a follow up to my “A Month Has Passed” track on Don’t Be Afraid but soon developed into something different and eternal. I aimed for an ambience within the track but an idea that the bass drum won’t let it rest.”
We Must Continue
“Again, this one started as a layered chord including 2 to 3 sounds and the heavily compressed bass note reacting to the chord and speaking back. I also aimed for movement within the drums and have the snare swung slightly to carry the tom-synth line beneath. It started this as a house track but turned into something slightly languid in sound. The main riff is almost accordion like in it’s sound, but really works well (I think!).”
“I wanted to do a straight up electro track I done a bunch of others like that on the same weekend but went for this one. I have a delay doubled back on the master giving a flanger type liquid effect. Musically it emerged almost IDM in sound but I wanted to keep it quite simple and emotionally rich. I quite like how the stutter in the kickdrum turned out.”
“I went through a 2 or 3 week period recording tracks slow in tempo but a with the idea of having a slightly off acid line. This was the pick of the bunch. The chords remind me of regret and what could have been. Acid is off key slightly but I like it. I was aiming for a Detroit Beatdown style with the drums and percussion. A quite mellow track and a few people’s favourite that have fed back opinions to me. I think it winds down the album nicely. A pitstop towards the end.”
“This is one of the more straight up deeper house tracks I tried to record for the album and in a fitting way, to inish the run of original tracks. At times there’s maybe too much going on but I could just be overly self conscious.
All the minor keys add some mood to proceedings. A lot of the body here is from the MC808, which is a very versatile machine and one I’m used before to write entire tracks (Bombay, Sometime Again Etc).”
Turning Point (Cignol Remix)
“I asked friend and cult Dublin based producer Cignol to do a remix and we decided on Turning Point. He delivered a beautiful acid tinged melodic version of the track, in which he flipped the whole track around and created his own unique version. He’s a brilliant producerand I’m very happy with the outcome including it as a bonus on the digital album release, as well as the first vinyl EP. No doubt you have checked Paul’s recent music so good.”
Minimal Nelson (Mihail P Remix)
“I also asked friend and outstanding Macedonian Deep Don Mihail P to remix Minimal Nelson. A shimmeringly beautifully arranged version which reminds me of classic Arne Weinberg material, his recent 12″ “Stream Of Thoughts” is worth your time and money!”