in the studio with: Irish Experimental-Electronic artist Jakliu

'Bluey Orange' is an understated, refreshing arrangment of bubbly drones, toe-tapping beats and so much more.
27 September 2022

By Vanessa B

Irish Experimental-Electronic artist Jakliu (Jack Lewins) recently joined us for an interview ahead of the release of his new single, the beguilingly titled and delightfully chilled Bluey Orange.

A self taught multi-instrumentalist, the Dublin native “aspires to create a transportive and organic sound inspired by the stagnation and instability of early adulthood”. Performing under the stage name of Jakliu, the artist credits a wide range of influences from the likes of Caribou, Four Tet and Mano Le Tough.

Congruent with the song’s minimal verbal content, Jack stated the song is about “the art of staying grounded in your own mind, while the world races past”. The song fulfils this purpose of offering a moment for harmonic and mindful grounding amidst all of the tumult and uncertainty of the world we live in, suggesting a transcendent feeling of ease, and a possibility of rising above it all. Soft, delicate and summery, like a gentle breeze on a warm day that might just transport your consciousness across its current landscape to a wider sense of interconnectedness, perhaps even with a very Zen-like sensation of just letting go.

With its depth and complexity tempered by its simplicity, and synthetic tones blended with organic percussion sounds, Bluey Orange is an understated, refreshing arrangment of bubbly drones, toe-tapping beats and so much more.

You can stream “Bluey Orange” on all major platforms from September 28th and listen to it below. Also make sure to read on for our In the Studio interview with Jakliu where he gives some insight into the gear and tools he uses to create.

Which DAW do you use and why?

I use Ableton but I do use Pro Tools for mixing sometimes. I just think that it allows for infinite amounts of creativity if you get to know it a little. I think the power of drum racks and the sampler within Ableton aren’t acknowledged enough. A lot of people go for expensive drum samplers like an MPC or the Elektron Digitakt but to be honest you have most of what you need inside your DAW.

Favourite piece of gear?

I’d have to say the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer I got from Japan a year back. It was refurbished in Tokyo, and it sounds amazing. I just need to use it on a few tracks now to give them some of that lovely 80s juice.

Do you have a dream piece of gear on your wishlist?

I’d kill for a Dave Smith Prophet, but they’re like two grand so I’ll be saving up for a while. I’ve seen some of the patches people make on it, recreating Aphex Twin & Boards of Canada it sounds so beautiful.

What recording equipment do you have in your studio?

I try to keep it to only gear I will 100% use, because I have previously bought so much clutter that sits there for months gathering dust.  I think a minimal studio setup forces you to study the gear you own, rather than having an abundance of stuff that you barely know how to use.

My studio setup currently consists of a pair of KRK Rokit 5s, Yamaha Hs7s, a Korg Monologue, a Yamaha DX7, a Roland SPD Drum Pad, a Behringer X1622 Mixer, a Klark Teknik Compressor, and a Rode NT1-A microphone.

Which plugins do you use to mix material?

I actually use a lot of the stock plugins in Ableton which I feel often get overlooked. Depending on what I’m looking for really. I do like to use Valhalla Supermassive if I’m looking for a big reverb. Deelay is a great delay plugin that also adds distortion to the signal, which comes out with some crazy sounds if you play around with it.

I think RC-20 is amazing though, it gives an analogue warmth to the mix which is so important to add that human feel.

Like gear though I try to pick a few favourites and stick to them if I can. There are so many plugins out there that do so much, it’d be near impossible to learn how to use them all fully.

How much time would you say you spend in your studio per week?

I think it depends on the mood really. I try most days to sit down and make something, but a lot of the time it’s just noise. I don’t like to force it, I’ll only get into some sort of creative flow if the feeling is there. I’d say I spend maybe 10 hours a week on music, but it really depends on the amount of ideas forming. It could easily be triple that if I’m feeling it.

Connect with Jakliu via his socials below: