Cooper Saver: Studio Talk

The disco-house party starter and Permanent Vacation associate let’s us have a snoop around his essential production tools.

Sometimes good things come to those who wait, and in the case of Cooper Saver, this holds true. The DJ and Producer has been bubbling up for the past few years since he began his late night Far Away warehouse parties in LA. After honing his craft as a DJ, he started to appear on remix duties for various labels, most regularly for New York imprint DFA. He has now found homes for his own original material on labels including Permanent Vacation, Internasjonal and Hivern Discs and regularly DJ’s across the globe.

His sound is thick, energetic and infectious, combining the best elements of house and disco to produce some serious feel good moments. Stomping vintage drums, fat arpeggiated synths and plenty of shine make up the backbone of his work. Luckily for us, he allowed us to poke our nose around under the hood of his production machine and check out what lurks inside!

Roland Juno 106.

This was the first piece of gear I bought, back in 2012. It was posted on Craigslist for $400! Even though I wasn’t really making much music yet, I knew that was too good of a deal to pass up, so I drove out to the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and picked it up from a nice older man who probably didn’t understand why anyone would want his seemingly outdated junk. Worked out for me! This synth is an essential classic and I still use it regularly – everything from chords to noisy sound fx.

Deltalab Effectron II.

I love my Effectron II. Rock solid digital delay with all kinds of cool flange and phasing modulation. It was a super popular unit in the early 80s and seems to be a go-to piece among my friends. I’ll toss it on just about anything to see what happens, but mainly using it on vocals and percussion for interesting results. I bought mine after reading about it in a gear article about Factory Floor’s last album – there are very reasonable prices on eBay.

RE-20 Space Echo Pedal.

The pedal version of the Roland RE-201 Space Echo. You’ve seen it before – super common, you can find ’em anywhere. This thing rules, instant inspiration running it through anything. I always have to be mindful of how much I’m using it. It’s also fun to bring it out to a DJ gig – it’s become best friends with my E&S DJR 400. It’s nice to have something that’s so easily portable for gigs or studio sessions away from home.

Novation Bass Station II.

I’ve used this the most out of anything. Probably my most worthwhile purchase ever. It’s Novation’s contemporary remake of their original Bass Station, a pure analog monosynth that’s extremely versatile and super fun to play live or send midi to. You can hear it on most of my productions honestly. It’s capable of so much. My remix for The Golden Filter was made entirely on this thing, apart from the drums. The arpeggiator rocks. The two oscillator combo alongside the sub oscillator makes for endless possibilities. And with a price tag for under $500 this is a serious bang for your buck factor.

Behringer Neutron + Korg SQ-1 Sequencer.

Behringer has been rolling out a few interesting and affordable updated incarnations of its predecessors over the last little while. The Neutron is a paraphonic semi-modular synth, it’s one of my more recent additions. I like using it with Korg’s SQ-1 sequencer, but I can also use it with my Arturia Keystep depending on what I’m trying to do. You can go minimal and bleepy or maximal and fat, and having the ability to work the patch cables keeps it really fun too – I always feel like I’m learning something new with this one.

Korg Monotron Delay.

Stuck on sound FX and weird wacky noises for those subtle details underneath the track? Or maybe a wild static freakout during a breakdown? Turn this thing on. I’ve had it for many years and I always try to use it whenever possible. It’s very simple and also runs a price tag of roughly $40. I keep mentioning price because I want to show that you can put together a super functional and nice sounding studio on a budget – it doesn’t take much (or anything really) to get the ball rolling and little things like these keep it exciting without breaking the bank.

Arturia Analog Lab.

I only got this recently but it’s been such a massive turning point already in terms of ideas and creativity. As you can tell by this point, I keep things pretty simple and limitation is important to me. But there are definitely moments where I feel confined, which is inevitable, occasionally, for anyone trying to make music. Analog Lab felt like a game changer immediately after installing it on my computer, I’m still wrapping my head around it. It’s a lot to take in but everything sounds so good and the layout / interface makes using this a pleasant experience.

Catch Cooper Saver at Mallorca Live Festival in May. 

Tickets and more info here

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