From his cult Soundcloud remixes and his solo albums to his productions for Halsey, Chance the Rapper, Ariana Grande, Jordan Ward, Earthgang, and A$AP Ferg, Lido is one of pop’s most unexpected and versatile producers. Saying he belongs to any one music scene just seems wrong – Lido wraps elements of gospel, R&B, hip-hop, French house, indie rock, and beyond into his style, while drawing on his skills as a drummer, songwriter, and vocalist.
We recently headed to Peder’s Los Angeles studio to find out more about his creative approaches to production – from creating and tweaking unusual drum kits in BATTERY to making multi-layered and richly textured melodies using RETRO MACHINES MK2, the KONTAKT Factory Library, and our KOMPLETE KONTROL S61 keyboard. We also got a glimpse of Lido’s technique for crafting original (and royalty-free!) samples by making his own song fragments and then resampling, effecting, and chopping them. Watch the video and then read on after the jump to hear more from Lido about his best-loved productions.
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“Very often when I start making a song, I’m usually focused on the chords for the writing process, and I’ll try to put more fancy production elements in later on,” explains Lido of his working process with artists like Jordan Ward, Aminé, and Jaden Smith. “Doing too much too quickly can be kind of intimidating to an artist or will be putting too much pressure on them. I think keeping things really simple in the beginning very often helps a song come out easier. I’d rather supply the song with little things that could be inspiring to keep the writer going rather than building a crazy production that the artist now feels like they have to perform alongside.”
“I definitely go through phases with like different things that I like and that I’m inspired by,” he continues. “I have a tendency to gravitate towards warm, analog-sounding things for chords. And then I love drums that are not drums. I usually will find some sort of percussive element that is not an actual drum sound and base the drums around that.” While in the studio with Lido, we got even more insight into some of his favorite productions.
“I’ve executive produced a bunch of projects for artists now, which basically just means that I’m the person that an artist goes to when they don’t really know what to do next on a project. The first thing I really tried my hand on executive producing was Halsey’s Badlands album, which was very focused on building a palette of colors that she could tell her stories over. We had a conversation about “What is the light like in this world? What are the streets made of? What’s the weather? Is there a lot of wind?” and then basically built a big folder of sounds that described all of these feelings, and then used that to build this world that she was trying to create, which is Badlands. So that’s one way of doing it.
“Recently, I had the same role on Aluna’s album Renaissance, where I came in much later in the process. She already had a lot of songs that she really loved that she wanted to put together into an album. So my role became more finding a way to weave the songs together and make everything feel like a cohesive project. Very often, the executive producer role is about finding flow and some sort of cohesion, so that an album can feel like a little world.”
“This production is based around a beatbox loop. This whole thing started out with me literally messing around with a grand piano and beatboxing and making a voice memo of it. Then I looped the good parts of that and I pitched it down an octave so I kind of turned it into a bass and got some claps on top of it. At this point, I had the idea of taking a bunch of drum samples that sounded like they were from completely different songs and making a groove out of that. Battery was really helpful with that.”
“I like physically messing with drums so laying it out in Battery allows me to mess with the sounds on a keyboard and still tweak them as I go and still keep jamming. It’s very rare for me to be using kits – I love putting my own samples in Battery, literally dragging them in and then you can just start immediately turning it into whatever little thing you want it to be.”
BANKS. "Drowning (Lido Remix)"
“This was one of the first official remixes that I did. I had all the stems, I had a clean acapella, and I could just write new music around that so that’s basically what I did. I especially gravitate towards the orchestral sounds and pianos in KONTAKT. The very first thing I put into the remix – which is also the first thing you hear – is a pizzicato pattern which is made with the Solo Strings in the orchestral section in the Kontakt factory library. I just scrolled down and messed around with the sustain and it was super inspiring so I ran with it. Apart from that, I used a bunch of different sounds from Massive on top of each other. I was learning Massive at the time and was just tweaking it and tweaking it – I’m a huge fan of the big saw-like sound.”
“Something I do a lot is I’ll layer very similar things on top of each other with different synths. I’ll have another synth that does the same rhythm as the lead, but just changing one note can kind of make the whole thing feel more aggressive when they’re grouped together. In this remix, the second sound is a preset in Massive called “A Love Lead” that was really fire, and I’m also using a piano sound from KONTAKT doing the same chords as the main synth – all together it sounds nice and big.”
Chance the Rapper "Same Drugs"
“The first couple records that I released were a mix of a bunch of different things. I think that was a time when people considered me to be kind of like a very electronic producer – people were like, ‘Oh, he’s a DJ. He does remixes and stuff like that.’ And then I put out, like, a straight-up R&B package of songs and people were like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, maybe we could do stuff like this with him.’ The Chance stuff came through very organically. I remixed one of the songs off of Acid Rap and I think he heard it randomly and reached out. We got along very well because his palate was so gospel-focused as well, and that’s what I really knew, but he was still down to break boundaries and mix things and switch things up.”
“The Chance stuff was probably some of the first stuff that really put people on to me, and I’m super happy about that. Because the music we did together always came very naturally to me. I still feel like a lot of that music describes who I am as a person and what music happens when I relax and just have fun.”
“A lot of people have asked me about the lead synth sound in this track. It’s actually based off of a preset in Retro Machines, which I was using a lot at the time. I just started out playing this bassline with Jaco Bass and messed with the knobs in the synth to make it a little wider; I believe I found a resonance that I liked and turned up the mod wheel quite a bit. Then I started adding chords and I would record little notes in here and there to fatten it up. It was a little bit straightforward and I wanted it to be weirder and more wobbly, so I added a compressor just to tame it a little bit, a chorus, and then a couple of widening plugins and some pretty dramatic EQ stuff.”
“Also, I used Battery for the 808. When I started out, I thought this was going to be a very simple bassline to follow along and then I quickly realized I’m going to need a whole lot more notes. I found an 808 that I liked, layered it throughout Battery, and just tuned it as if it was a piano roll.”