Kenneth Thomas: “This pack really is the best of the best, from my last 10 years of producing!”
If you’ve been clubbing in the past 10 years, the changes are high that you’ve heard one of Kenneth Thomas’ tunes. This DJ and producer from Detroit, USA, has had big releases on Armada Music, Perfecto, Alter Ego and more. With over a decade of studio experience and a sound which moves between trance and progressive styles, Kenneth Thomas was the perfect candidate to create a new pack for the Producer Loops label which you can find out more about here. Time we got to know more about the mastermind behind it…
Hey Kenneth, thanks for taking some time for this interview. First off, how are you doing and where can we find you today?
Kenneth: Hi there, I’m good! Just through the Christmas weekend and gearing up for my New Years Eve event in Detroit. I’m currently in my studio back in Detroit, just getting settled after an amazing couple of days in Shanghai. I played M2 on Christmas night and wow, do they know how to celebrate a holiday!
For those of us who don’t know you yet, who is Kenneth Thomas and what are your signature tracks?
Kenneth: I’m a DJ and producer based in Detroit, USA. My sound has always had range but carries tones of trance and true progressive. I have been releasing music for nearly 10 years on labels like Perfecto, Armada and Alter Ego. My biggest records were probably ‘Ghost in the Machine’ off Alter Ego and ‘The Orange Room’ on Hope. More recently my tracks with Perfecto; ‘Drive’ and ‘The Heart Speaks’ seem to have gained a lot of great support.
Your sound has always been very diverse. For example, your latest track ‘Unstoppable’ is very different from ‘Drive’, one of your earlier works. Despite the diversity, what makes the Kenneth Thomas sound recognizably you?
Kenneth: Even though there can be ranges in energy and tempo on my tracks I always keep a grid of very lush and melodic tones of trance and rich elements. For me, I’m really all about the melody and emotion of a song. I look for music that I emotionally and spiritually respond to, and I try to create those encounters for others in the music I create. Whether it’s deeper grooves like ‘Drive’ or grittier energy in ‘Unstoppable’, both are lush and melodic spiritual journeys.
We believe congratulations are in order, since you’ve just released your first Sample Pack for our label! Well done! How do you look back on the process of creating it?
Kenneth: It was really a fantastic experience going through and putting this package together. I approached this thinking about what I like to see in a sample pack and what helps my work flow best and I applied this.
Is the pack a result of years of creating the perfect sounds, or did most of them come from scratch?
Kenneth: This one really is the best of the best from my last 10 years of producing. These are all samples, loops and FX that are in my personal best sample folder which I pull 90% of all my sounds from when working on music. When I come up with a new snare idea, FX sweep or effect, I will save it in my special folder and reference back to those sounds quite frequently. I really didn’t hold back anything in this pack, it’s the best of the best from me!
Do you use samples and loops in your own tracks as well, actually? Which are some of your favorites?
Kenneth: I do actually use samples and loops. I’m a very big supporter of producers using percussion samples as a base to start. There is one frame of thought where a producer wants to spend hours honing each kick drum or high-hat from scratch, but for me, I want dive into the good stuff right away. And I love having some go-to packs of basic percussion which I can load in just a few minutes and keep the momentum moving. Of course everyone loves the Vengeance packs, and those are great, but sometimes they can be too overwhelming. It can be hard to dig through 100s of kicks or snares to find the right one. The packs I have been gravitating towards more lately are the smaller, more precise packs. I don’t need 250 kicks in a folder, I want 25 or so amazing kicks that I can get to know inside and out. I tried to capture that idea with this package, amazing quality vs too much quantity.
Did you face any challenges while producing it? It’s quite different from producing a regular track, so we can see it might be a challenge?
Kenneth: No real challenges making this pack, it was more nostalgic than anything. One aspect of the pack is that it comes with 4 template kits of some of my most famous records. It was great to dive in and revisit those ideas, render all the original loops and samples. There was some tedious work in labeling and organizing everything, but I think it will be well worth it to the buyers of the pack!
For everyone that’s going to buy the pack – what’s the best production tip you can give them?
Kenneth: Keep producing! Make track after track after track. A lot of new producers these days are trying to get their first track perfect and signed to a big label right out of the gate. It’s ok to make a track, embrace it, learn from it, then move on to the next track. The next one will be better and each one better after that. I see too many producers just keep tweaking that same first record and it can stunt their growth. Keep stirring the pot, keep the creative water fresh! Also, honest feedback from friends and other dj’s is much needed, be ready to take constructive criticism. Lastly, watch tutorials! Get as much influence from others as you can, process it and make it your own.
Once again, congrats! Now, as our last question we of course want to know what’s coming up in Kenneth Thomas land? Any exciting releases, gigs?
Kenneth: So much going on! My label IAMPHOENIX had a great 2016 with a huge amount of Beatport Top 100 Trance appearances, we plan on hitting the road touring as much as possible and the studio docket is packed with some amazing new tunes. Top it all off with the birth of my daughter Grace next month, it’s going to be an incredible year! Thanks for working with me on this package, it was a real pleasure!