Noah ’40’ Shebib is the Grammy-winning producer behind the sound of Drake’s innovative productions and the co-founder of OVO Sound – the label that launched Drake’s career. In this video, he talks about building his Toronto studio with workflow in mind, shares production tips, and explains how MASCHINE and KOMPLETE KONTROL fit perfectly into his philosophy of delivering maximum artistic authenticity through simplicity.
“Simplicity with authenticity at the same time is so difficult,” says Noah ‘40’ Shebib, speaking from his tucked-away, state-of-the-art Toronto studio. It’s a custom space, decorated by a local graffiti artist and designed to help anyone who steps inside feel relaxed and creative, and has become the home for Toronto’s new generation of producers including Nineteen85 (Hotline Bling) and Majid Jordan. A minimalistic attitude is incredibly important to Shebib, who is best known for his production work with Drake, and specifically for the lo-fi underwater sound that has permeated the artist’s past few records. In fact, it was the desire for simplicity that that led to Shebib’s watery and submerged production vibe, created by degrading the sample rate and leaving the top range of the song entirely free for the artist. “It was just me and Drake wanting to do something different,” Shebib explains. “To make a sound that we felt was unique.”
The entire setup of the Canadian producer’s studio is all about paring back unnecessary distractions – everything is embedded so that anyone can plug two cables into their laptop and be ready to go. But even though it’s a quick and simple setting-up process, thanks to Native Instruments, the possibilities are still boundless. “It’s built around Komplete Kontrol and Maschine,” Shebib says. “That’s what this room is for.” Shebib produces with a minimum of fuss, and MASCHINE and KOMPLETE KONTROL assist in this vision.
In particular, MASCHINE’s basic workflow offers the kind of simplicity that Shebib is always striving for. Once programmed, MASCHINE allows him to flip the banks, helping him achieve the different sound that he’s always striving for. “It’s like a starting point, in that it’s very well organised.”
In 40’s setup, this workflow is added to by the power of KOMPLETE KONTROL. “Suddenly now, you can hit one button and see all of your sounds…flip between your patches with one click…” Shebib says. “That is ease of use! When you’re trying to make your production setup as simple as possible, this is a no-brainer.” This is possibly why the 40 has stuck in his home city, which he sees as the best place to conserve resources. “It’s quiet here, and we can focus,” he says. Shebib is happiest submerged in the vast possibilities of production, but just watch out when he comes up for air.
Read more about 40’s production process here.
Listen to some of 40’s biggest records in this comprehensive Spotify playlist.