Sonic Youth: Cole Plante on Studio Setup and Debut LP

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New York City – It’s a Friday afternoon in Chelsea, and Cole Plante is at his hotel preparing for his performance later that night up the road at Pacha NYC. For most in the dance world, this scene is a standard scenario. However, the situation becomes far more interesting when you take into account his age: At just 17-years-old, he wouldn’t be old enough to make it past the club’s bouncer at the front door as a patron.

It’s nothing new for the California-born DJ/producer, who first made his DJing debut when he was 14 at Las Vegas’ Rain nightclub opening for Paul Oakenfold. This year alone, he’s copped an opening slot for pop star Demi Lovato’s nationwide arena tour and collaborated with Jane’s Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell and The Summer Set’s Brian Logan Dales. We connected with Plante amidst his tour dates, studio work, and high-school marching-band meets to talk about his production origins and techniques.

DJ Times: Which came first, DJing or production?
Cole Plante: DJing came first, but music is what really came first. I’ve been playing classical instruments since I was really young, so I’ve always had that in me. But in terms of profession, it was DJing because that was a way I wanted to make money for my family. Production was something that I knew I was able to do anyways, and obviously it helps DJing, so I wanted to go into that.

DJ Times: How’s work coming on your debut album for Hollywood Records?
Plante: I’m trying to not come out too fast with it because some electronic albums you see and just feel that they were rushed. I don’t want this album to be a rushed project, and the record label knows that. We’re definitely putting a lot of time in it, with a lot of vocal-driven tracks and instrumentals. Some of it’s stuff that’s out-there and not the norm in terms of EDM. Looking at a release around the end of next year.

DJ Times: What’s your preferred live setup?
Plante: Well, tonight I’ll be using two Pioneer CDJ-2000nexus units and a mixer, but sometimes I use an APC-40 because I can have about 20 channels running left and right and about 100 running down and up. You can throw in beats, a cappellas, rises, builds, and more, all of which you can’t really do with four CDJs. I use that normally when it’s a longer set and I want to build it out to be a journey.

DJ Times: And in the studio?
Plante: My home studio’s pretty simple—just Cubase and Ableton Live. Both of those programs are my favorites. I have the other ones—I sometimes use Pro Tools and Logic—because it’s important to have all of them and be well-versed in them. Besides that, I’ve just got a simple Novation keyboard.

DJ Times: Technological innovation has really taken the DJ and EDM scenes to new places.
Plante: Innovation is so important in terms of live performance and music in general. Live setups went from turntables to CDJs, and now you’ll see people using Novation Launchpads, APCs, and sample-based performances. In terms of production, you used to have so much analog gear that was very expensive, and now you can have some grab a laptop, open up a DAW and some VSTs, and just start making music. That helps a younger generation of kids to express their imaginations in music.

Read more in this month’s Digital Edition