Sometimes all you need for a banging dance track is an unstoppable rhythm and a nuanced hook. Tweak the hook every couple bars, don't mess with the beat too much, and you've got a potential stomper on your hands.
That's the recipe on Kyle Hall's juggernaut "Dr. Crunch," the largest song on his new full-length, The Boat Party. (You might remember Hall from a recent All Songs Considered electronic music podcast when we premiered another song from the album, "Measure 2 Measure.") Hall, operating here under his KMFH moniker, is one of Detroit's most exciting young producers; his tracks incorporate techno, funk and hip-hop, but usually with a rough DIY edge, so there are always some teeth to whatever he releases.
I asked Hall about how he made "Dr. Crunch," and he offered a detailed response that gearheads will appreciate, but even more interesting than the make and model was the previous owner of the mixing board he used:
""Dr. Crunch" was created with two pieces of gear: The Alesis SR-16 and Nord Lead. I had the SR16 (which is a really basic digital drum machine) from the early '90s doing a few drums, but at the same time having it send MIDI note values to my Nord Lead. From there, I would just tweak some of the parameters on the Nord while my sequence was running. As far as signal path goes, I was overdriving the sounds through a cheap old analog 12-channel board and recorded it straight to a Maxell cassette tape. I really like the nice harmonic saturation you're able to achieve by slamming machines to tape. After I made the track, I found out the board used to belong to Carl Craig and he told me that he did a lot of his 69 project on that board. It's really funny sometimes how gear travels between producers here in Detroit, even amongst different generations! That board probably has about 15 years on me."
The Boat Party is out May 13 on Wild Oats.