Citing Aphex Twin and Venetian Snares as influences, French musician Netsh has been capturing attention with his robotic, otherworldly productions that are reminiscent of the early Detroit electro days. Releasing his debut album ‘Neural Netshworks’ on La Chinerie’s Comic Sans Recordings late last year, the inimitable producer has quickly followed up with an outstanding collection of work ’50 tracks to enhance your robotic implants’. The first release on his newly launched Machine Learning Records label, the album is a donation driven project with all proceeds going to a charity that helps autistic children. At the mere age of 22, Netsh produces music at an alarming rate and with this fast work ethic in mind, there surprisingly isn’t a formulaic approach to his productions. Flowing through Netsh’s back catalogue, the records flirt with multiple genres including early rave-influenced sounds of hardcore and jungle as well as mellow ambient and contrasting techno affairs. We caught up with Netsh to find out the production process behind his music, the plans for Machine Learning Records and the story behind the charity donation release.
With ’50 tracks to enhance your robotic implants’ reaching the front page of Bandcamp’s IDM best-sellers, you must be proud to have made such a strong start to your new label ‘Machine Learning Records’. What are your plans with the label going forward?
Yes, I was totally chuffed to notice it, as the whole album has been made for charity, it’s really cool to see people involving in this cause. A series of EPs will be released on vinyl, with very few quantities (perhaps 150 or less). I have a bunch of EPs ready for the label, also other artists I like will appear on it of course.
Since you’ve stated the profits of the album will be going to a charity to help autistic children, is this a cause that is close to you?
Indeed, that’s quite important for me to help this cause, not only for personal reasons but autism has always been a rejected and set aside condition by society; deny was a common reaction since years for that case because people don’t really know what it is, so they rather look away than trying to understand. I know this harvest isn’t a big game changer in the world, but I hope it could help at my scale.
I’ve seen that you’ve cited Aphex Twin and Venetian Snares as influences before, what are some of your favourite tracks from them over the years?
Definitely, I am totally obsessed with the album Drukqs, vordhosbn was the first track I listened from AFX, and the one that made me want to produce music like that, it’s an important step in my musical education, the whole album is the perfect balance of complexity and emotions, I don’t think anyone could achieve this level of creativity in the next decades. From VSnares I really like his glitch stuff, not his most famous, but the track Ion Divvy from his album Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding has something very special, I feel it kind of a Cyberpunk mood but in its Braindance version, that’s another level of sequencing, as he always uses those crazy time signatures in his work.
As someone who has been dabbling in production for a few years now, I’m blown away by the sheer amount of tracks you put out. What does your workflow look like when you’re taking a track from start to finish?
I start a track by writing MIDI on Ableton to send to my synths, so I can directly write how the synth part will be in the track and don’t have to make a lot of arrangement in my DAW. After that, I’m writing drums patterns on my drum machines then I record all of a sudden in my computer and make a few arrangements on tracks (EQs, Panning, FX, etc..) in Ableton. I’m trying since years to optimize the more my workflow, I really hate wasting my time setting minor adjustments on a project, it cuts creativity and energy to spend 1 hour on a kick drum.
I was looking through your equipboard.com page and you seem to have amassed quite the collection of hardware, what piece do you enjoy using the most and what tips would you have for someone looking to branch out from solely using a DAW?
I really like the prophet Rev-2 at the moment, that was the piece that really missed in my studio, as I make all my pads with it now, I’m not using a synth VST anymore. I think having a proper polyphonic synth is essential in your set-up as you can really create whatever you want with it.
Well, I used to work only with a DAW years ago when I didn’t have the money to buy gear, I used Renoise then Ableton. My best tip would be to optimize your DAW template and project in the same way that you would optimize a gear workflow, for example, preparing a bunch of FX chain to process each instrument, so you don’t have to re-create the same processing chain every time you open your DAW. Time is a precious thing in production for me. As I said above, wasting it by setting the same EQ or Compressor every time cuts your creativity. When I start a track, I need to finish it within 3 or 4 max. hours or I know I’m going around in circles and wasting time.
What have you learned from performing live and how would you compare the experience to a DJ set?
I’ve learned that you must beware of Elektron Overbridge, as this narky software isn’t stable at all and can glitch in the middle of your live set and make you sound like a NASA transmission from the surface of Mars. More seriously, I’m not really comfortable playing live, as I don’t enjoy so much to be in public. But I rather, by far, playing live than making a DJ set, I find it way more personal to play your own music and trying to tell a story with it. You can do it with a DJ set, of course, but a live act is a different way of expressing it. Anyway, the thing I enjoy the most is producing music in my studio, not playing it live.
’50 tracks to enhance your robotic implants’ is available to buy now here.