Stefan Olsdal from Placebo did our Logic and EMP course recently, and kindly agreed to let us interview him about his time here at GSS.
So we know you as a rock star but EMP stands for Electronic Music Production. It’s easy to understand why you did a Logic course, but not so much the EMP course given the genre you’re known for.
Placebo has fused rock with electronica over the years by using some of the producers we have in the past such as Jim Abbiss and Timo Maas. I’ve also dabbled in electronic music with a side project and have also done a bit of DJing. The reason I took the course is because I wanted to get more in-depth with different types of synthesis, electronic sound design and even beat programming.
Do you think that anything you’ve learnt on the course will have an influence on any future Placebo material?
Everything you know about producing music, whether it’s playing the guitar, singing or tweaking a synth, it’s all about forming your own voice, and the tips and tricks I’ve learnt on the course will certainly contribute to that. I’ve been working on music the whole time on the courses here and at home, putting the tricks and methods I’ve learnt into practice. I’ve found that the way I approach things now is different to how I did before. I find now I work in a kind of optimised way, not only saving so much time when I work on music by getting what I want quickly, I now just know what to do to improve a song with production. There’s so much more scope now, so many more options than I had before I did the EMP course in particular.
When we first put the courses together, we did wonder if doing lots of courses at the same time would be too much for people, but since then, we have been assessing people (including yourself) on the phone before they book, and together we have decided. How did you find doing your Logic and EMP course at the same time?
We are due in the studio in the New Year, and I had this time in London so I thought I’d cram it in and get as much as I could done while I had this window. I thought the pacing was fine for me and didn’t struggle. In fact, I thought the courses complemented each other really well and at times slightly overlapped which was good for me personally as some things we skimmed through in the EMP course, we went in-depth in the Logic course and vice-versa, so I have no regrets doing both at the same time at all.
Do you have any plans for any more courses with us or anyone else?
I’m thinking of doing the mixing course with you guys. I’m building a home studio, and as time goes on, I like the idea of not being on the road quite as much, and being a little more home based. Doing your courses is really part of the long term plan and the mixing course for me is the logical progression. It all depends really on when I can physically be around long enough to attend!
What do you think about our premises at the Arthaus?
It’s great; not just the clean modern set-up with the facilities you have here, or the creative people you’re surrounded by on this amazing building, but you’re in Hackney so you’re in a great part of London with loads going on.
Finally, if you could change anything about your experience with us, what would it be?
At one point on the Logic course I was wondering if we were going to cover grouping. On the last day I had totally forgotten about it, but right at the end Irfan covered it. So no, I wouldn’t change anything. The EMP was a completely new world to me and I loved it. So again, no, I wouldn’t change anything on that course either.