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August 29, 2019

Eduard Kort: 'Practice what you preach'.

Coffee time with the Berlin-based rising star of retro-futuristic electronic music.

Eduard, what is your compositional approach? You always drop great tracks and make it look so easy!

 In regards to making it look easy - that’s just about it. It only LOOKS like that. What you looking at in my videos is just a spliced up showreel of the best moments of the whole creation process. In reality, I could be sitting on a single loop for days on end without making any real progress. With that being said I spend the most time on Chords. I’m a classically trained pianist and a have a natural tendency towards harmony. I think that’s what mainstream music is lacking nowadays - a great harmonic structure with sexy, catchy chords and proper voice leading. Sounds design and technical finesse are great and I love it but in my opinion, a song should sound great even if you play it on a potato.

Do you use any hardware synths or samplers?

I’m 100% ITB except for the odd guitars loop that I play myself. I’m a huge fan of old school synths like the Minimoog and the Juno 106 as well as the classic EMU samplers, but the convenience and the workflow benefits of Vst’ s just outweigh the ones of the hardware. I might grab some fancy gear down the line when I actually can afford it until then I need to stay lean and flexible in my craft and keep my overhead as low as possible. Luckily Acustica is a great alternative for people who want the best out of both worlds - all of my bread and butter compressor/eq/tape needs are pretty much covered!

What do your clients expect when they call you up for a collaboration or remix?

Sound-wise they definitely look for my signature style. I used to produce anything from EDM to Hip Hop but I didn’t enjoy it as much and did it mainly for the money (which is ok, a man gotta do what’s needed to put food on the table). The experience wasn’t bad though. It gave me the needed context to figure out what I wanted to do which is what I do now - timeless, evergreen pop, dance and RnB music with heavy influences from the ’70s and 80s (Like Bruno Mars, Charlie Puth & Calvin Harris). That’s what I’m known for right now and that’s where I want to continue to build my brand. That’s also what clients expect from me when they hire me to produce or mix their record.

How do you feed your talent? Do you have any practice routine?

I’m good when it comes to digesting different kinds of information, re-contextualizing it and applying it to whatever I’m doing at the moment plus I’ve been blessed with excellent memory so I’m constantly consuming some kind of content which might help me down the line. It might be not very structured but I make up for that with sheer brute force and willpower [laughs]. I’m reading a lot (non-fiction), try to play the piano on a daily to keep my chops where I want, although I do struggle with the consistency sometimes I also love to take off my Saturday evening to watch new music/business tutorials. With that being said the fact of me being a freelancer with a messed up sleep schedule makes my usual days look very (very) different from my ideal, but hey - we’re just human.

You have been called by famous producer KSHMR for an official remix. How did that happen?

Instagram! He’s been following me there for a while and we exchanged a couple sentences here and there but I never asked him for any favors. He just randomly hit me up over DM asking to remix his latest single (on a three-day deadline). I’m usually not the tight deadline dude, but if a chance of those proportions comes your way you just say f**** it and do it. Which I did. And he liked it. That’s pretty much it!


Do you mix and master your own tracks?

YES! The reason being is that for me there’s barely a distinction between those steps at this point. Everything from the sample selection to the last plugin on my master bus makes up “my sound” and I wouldn’t want anyone else to mess with it. I’m kind of a control freak there, but that’s ok. If I mix client projects, I’m more than happy to delegate the mastering to one of the many brilliant mastering guys out there.

Which Acustica plugins do you like to use?

Uhh, that’s a tough one. First of all - COLA for a couple reasons: First reason me being invited to the actual sampling session of this beautiful plugin by Giancarlo to VOX-TON here in Berlin. The second reason - it’s super rare and sophisticated. I mean how many of those consoles still exist, like ten? Third reason: It just sounds beautiful. The compressor behaves like an SSL, yet has that British mojo and juice to it. The preamps are so creamy and the EQ curves are buttery smooth.
I also enjoy Sand, Taupe for that vintage tape flavor and Diamond Lift on the master for the final touches.

Do you have any go-to mixing tricks when working on a track?

I don’t want to bring you yet another mixing trick that is cliche and without context, I’d rather like to offer you a different perspective on compression in general. The way most people think about compression is it either “makes things loud” (which it doesn’t) or it “makes them even/sausage-y” which is mostly true on a macro level. On a micro-level, though I love to think of it as movement and texture and shape on an even smaller scale. The reason why I gravitate to classic 70’s records and modern records with that retro flavor (basically everything mixed by Mick Guzauski) is that they have all of that above. You can take a modern, digital compressor and shape a sound to taste like a sculptor, you can also use some of the brilliant Acustica compressors to add texture aka “analog mojo” to breathe some life into a lifeless, dull-sounding sounds and you can use some weird and “out there” compressors to add movement to a rather static guitar take. I encourage everyone to get deep into compression and go beyond the obvious use of it.

Tell us more about the importance of self-marketing when it comes to becoming an independent artist and producer. Do you usually spend more time making music or promoting your skills?

This is not an option anymore. This is the new reality which, unfortunately, not everyone has adapted to yet. If you don’t put out content and build your own community/platform you simply don’t exist, at least in our business. My students often ask me how to get opportunities and collaborations and the only thing I tell them is to create content and to provide value to people. That’s how I got the awesome chance to get endorsed by you guys, that’s how I got to remix KSHMR and that’s how I got to work with over 100 clients from over 25 countries. I just try to give my best, create useful content while being as strategic as possible about it.

Name three qualities a good producer must have to succeed in the business?

Perseverance/Patience, Ability to handle setbacks and failures (a lot of ‘em) and self-discipline. Basically being a hardcore rational individual that stomps his way out of the jungle after the plane crashes and odds are against him or her.


Follow Eduard on Instagram.

Visit Eduard's website. 


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