Started in 2013, FACT’s Against The Clock is a production challenge series that’s grown into its own kind of phenomenon. It asks electronic artists from all over the world to show off their production chops in just ten minutes, inspiring fans and budding beatmakers alike. Here at Native Instruments, we’re just as inspired when we see our gear being used in ways we might not have thought of. To give you an idea, here are seven of our favourite episodes of Against The Clock using MASCHINE, KOMPLETE, and more.
No nonsense party starter Rupert Taylor, also known as XXXY, has moved on from his post-dubstep days to show us that you don’t need to get fancy to lay down a rock-solid club track. It’s a joy watching him improvise so quickly with MASCHINE, dropping a rhythmic backbone in just over a minute. With that out the way, Taylor’s left with all the time in the world – well, at least by Against The Clock standards – to demonstrate his ear for a nasty melodic hook.
Jeroen Snik, better known as Icicle, demonstrates how he achieves his technically skilled drum breaks, layering all manner of drums and risers with synths and instruments from the whole KOMPLETE library. Snik is fantastic at sound design, contorting our presets beyond recognition and tweaking parameters on-the-fly to make sounds that are uniquely his own. It’s great to see that you don’t need to be a master finger drummer to come up with complex rhythms—after all, there’s nothing wrong with drawing MIDI out by hand.
NGHT DRPS, also known as Native product expert Marcel Kussel, works well under pressure. Watch him go through multiple takes of his bit-crushed melody, keeping cool as a cucumber while the cameras are rolling. MASCHINE is at the heart of his studio, syncing right up to his modular gear. He uses it to jam out a beat with an old school grime flavour, smiling and bopping around to his bassy instrumental.
Flux Pavilion, the dubstep hit maker behind Circus Records, gives us a closer look at how he achieves his MASSIVE signature sound (no pun intended). By layering up 4 iterations of the synth at different pitches, he shows how versatile it can be at filling out the whole frequency spectrum. Focusing on detuned saw waves, the resulting lead is complex and attention grabbing, showing off what Flux Pavilion calls his “instrumentation over synthesis” approach. Our favourite part? With just over a minute to go, Flux jumps on the mic to sing a one-take vocal hook.
Now part of the Ivy Lab duo with Sabre, Stray is a stalwart of the London drum and bass scene. It’s refreshing to see a producer take a risk and go out of their wheelhouse on Against The Clock. Here, Stray does just that by effortlessly chopping up vocals on MASCHINE to go over some angelic choral pads. The result is a dreamy halftime flow built for home listening that just goes to show it doesn’t always have to be a club banger.
Sons of Sonix
Sons of Sonix are a pair of up-and-coming hitmakers who have produced tracks for Stormzy, Tinie Tempah and other UK grime legends. Giving us a crucial insight into their collaborative process, they really know how to work together as they trade melodic and rhythmic ideas on the fly. KONTAKT is here to provide a deep 808 bass that works with the dancehall rhythm to balance against the wistful melody made on Omnisphere.
Hyperdub mainstay Ikonika flows in-and-out the box as she layers arpeggios from the Little Phatty with a broken drum workout from MASCHINE, triggering samples recorded off her very own 707. By tweaking MASCHINE’s built in flanger and delay FX, the producer spices up her drums and comes up with a genre-defying club track.