Mella Dee: Studio talk

Doncaster’s Ryan Aitchison, better known as the bass experimentalist Mella Dee, has never been afraid to move between the different spaces of dance music.

An avid hardcore enthusiast – sparked by teenage years spent at his local record shop, Rhythm Nation – he’s gone on to blur the lines between the UK’s dance lineage and the sounds of the American Midwest across a span of releases. With past records on Omena, Dusky’s 17 Steps, Dext Recordings, Digital Soundboy and Redlight’s Lobster Boy, his more recent records have mostly come via his own award-winning imprint, Warehouse Music.

The latest in its catalogue again comes from the bossman himself, with Mella Dee continuing to explore the many functions of the dancefloor through a clever blend of house and techno tricks in four-track EP, Exactly Mate.

Out now on both digital and physical formats, we celebrate the release by catching up with the man in his home studio, where he talks us through the machines most central to his creative process.

Roland Sh101

Picked this up through a woman on eBay a few years back now and it’s a favourite that I can’t ever imagine I’d get rid of, there’s just something about the way it sounds, I use it a lot to fill in the low end but it’s capable of all sorts, especially when it’s hooked up to an external sequencer.

Midas Venice

Not a synth or drum machine but a desk that has always been quite central in what I do when I got into buying outboard equipment, it instantly adds a tone and character for me to work with and the EQ section is actually pretty good for what was meant to be a live desk. Basically it determines a lot of the sound of what I record so it’s very important in that sense, picked this up from someone over in East London within the last year or so and i’m a big fan.

Jomox Xbase 999

Another one that was purchased in the last year but it’s something I love, I used to have the tr8 and that did the job but the Jomox has way more character and again unless it’s to upgrade to the Jomox Alphabase, it’s not something I see leaving the studio for a long time as it sounds great.

Ensoniq DP4 / Yamaha TX81Z

Ensoniq DP4

I’ve probably had this for a couple of years now and its a great all rounder box, does so much and can be routed in so many different ways, I got lucky and got a good price compared to what I see people selling them at now. You see them in a lot of producers rooms and it’s something to try get hold of and keep when possible because as a multi fx box it really does take some beeting, the converters sound amazing in it.

Yamaha TX81Z

Current favourite, and probably one of the cheapest pieces i’ve ever bought, it just sits in the rack and with a little bit of menu diving and tweaking you can start to make it shine and sound like instant Detroit which is a big bonus for me, again get it running from an external sequencer and it starts to bang. basically if you see one of these for a couple hundred quid it’s worth a look for something that won’t take any space but add some character and FM synthesis to a set up.

Mella Dee’s ‘Exactly Mate’ EP is out now on Warehouse Music.

Buy it here.

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