In The Studio With Cold Blank: On The Agenda

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Take one part electro-house sizzle and several handfuls of raw ambition, and you’ve got Cold Blank, the LA-based studio team that’s lit up the Beatport charts the past couple years.

The duo, comprised of DJ/producers Chris Gaspar and Manuel Luquin, built its career from a local club night (Smash Disco) to a much-anticipated podcast. Their ascent also included the foundation of a hot music label (Burn The Fire) that has thrust a series of party anthems—from “Los Angeles” to “Raver Booty”—onto the flash drives of global jocks like Chuckie, Moby and David Guetta.

Their self-released debut LP, The Agenda, collects some of these early hits and mixes them with forays into dubstep and Daft Punk-inspired French house, including bumpin’ leadoff track, “Onslaught” featuring Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor. And while the technology to make these tracks has evolved significantly since the group formed in 2008, the defining elements of the sound have stayed the same.

“Cold Blank has always been about heavy basslines—that’s what we agreed on when we first started working together,” says Gaspar. “We’ve gone through a basic process where we have a square wave and it’s just distorted a little bit and compressed. It’s just like a square wave with no filter. Now, we’re just focusing on distortions and layering multiple signals of a bassline. Say what you want about Complextro, but sometimes simpler is better. It can still be complex in the way that you’re writing the bassline and the way it’s processed.”
The group has gained a lot of studio chops from working with peers like Neon Stereo and Electric Soulside, two EDM acts also featured on the album. In particular, Gaspar has learned how to develop a “3D” quality to his mixes by applying a slapback delay to the tracks. For this purpose, the duo uses Camel Audio’s CamelSpace, thanks to its modest CPU/memory requirements.

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