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How I Got That Sound: Luke Smith

Foals ‘Spanish Sahara’ By Joe Matera
Published November 2023

How I Got That Sound

As a record producer, mixing engineer and musician, Luke Smith has worked with Charlotte Hatherley, Keaton Henson, Depeche Mode, Chartreuse, Slow Club and Foals, to name but a few. Here he details how he got his favourite sound, on ‘Spanish Sahara’ from Foals’ 2010 album Total Life Forever.

“The song was recorded to tape and was off click. We started off with a kick drum made on the ARP 2600, just a resonant filter with a quick release. The signature sound on this track is what sounds like the ocean or some kind of filtered noise on the left. I had this idea to literally represent Yannis’ lyrics where he references ‘dirty waves’ in the first verse. Clearly a sign for any sound nerd. Noise features throughout the recording in various ways.

How I Got That Sound“I try to make this connection between sonics and lyrics a lot in my work, though I don’t necessarily want anyone to notice. It’s something fun for the session and I feel it imparts a meaningful, musical reinforcement to the song.

“We got Jimmy [Smith] the guitarist to sit in the live room and play through the ARP, because the preamp on it is...

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