Do you even archive? upsammy

Do you even archive? is a regular column where we’ll talk to labels and artists about their archiving, cataloguing and preservation practices.

Not much more to say about upsammy that hasn’t beeen lauded by every music publication in the the world. She’s probably The Netherlands’ most exciting DJ operating today and her meteoric rise to queen of the underground has been the talk of the town the past 2 year. Deservedly so.

It appears that most younger DJs refuse to be locked into one style, tempo, mood, etc. Upsammy is leading this rebuttal against past standard practice. She whirlwinds her her mixes across every genre leaning heavily on the groove / melody amalgam pioneered by the early tenants of IDM. In her own productions her penchant for melody and bounce are wildly apparent on Nous’klaer Audio Records while more bassy, broken, down-temp percussion come to the fore on her Whities and Die Orakel releases.

Somehow during her past 2 years, upsammy also found the time to score two projects for RE:VIVE. One being her score for J.C.  Mol’s Uit het rijk der kristallen film done in collaboration with Dekmantel and her score for a new cut of the documentary film, M.S. Oranje made by her friend and visual artist Sjoerd Martens for Amsterdam Museum Night 2018.

With all this diversity in her portfolio and more tricks up her sleeve for 2020+++, it must be a lot to manage, information wise. Curious, we had to ask her; upsammy, do you even archive?

How do you manage your digital files? Do you use Rekordbox or iTunes or another tool? do you keep backups of your digital audio files? 

I use iTunes to collect all my music into and then I put all the music I’d like to DJ with in a playlist. Everything from this playlist goes into rekordbox. I try to back-up regularly onto my external hard drive.

Do you tag your material / give it enriching metadata like “slow jammy” “fast banger 3am stuff” “morning set sunrise ambient”, bpms, genre, label etc.?  What’s the thought process behind these tags? are they evolving or you try to be strict? 

I mainly use tags for the tempos: Slowest, Slow, Normal, Fast, Fastest. With those tags I make smart folders, that collect all the tracks between a certain BPM range. I also use energy levels: Low, Medium, High. So if I play an opening set I can easily find the tracks that are not too energetic. So the thought behind this is that it’s easy for me to find tracks to play together for a certain moment, I try not to be divide between genres too much as I like to mix those up. For example, OpxThermin – Cucumb45 would be tagged with Fast and High Energy, or Spleen Tear – Noumen would be tagged Fast & Slow with Low Energy, because I could it play at either a fast tempo half-speed tempo.

You must have a backlog of past tracks that either are works in progress or have been abandoned. What kind of folder structure do you use to manage your production library – are they organized by time period, style, potential album etc. What about titling about labeling stuff you’re working on and their different versions, like nicemelodyneedsdrums.v1.2 or lksjdfklsdfl.v1.5, or something in between? 

Actually all my tracks I just put into a big playlist in iTunes and then test for EP/LP’s in separate playlists. For the title I usually put a v1 or v2 behind, if there are multiple versions.

Any tips or tricks you use to help you be able to recall certain samples, sounds, pre-sets faster? 

In Ableton when I use the Sampler/Simpler/Drumrack, I always try to save the instrument and give it a good name so I can use it later on. The presets I always save as a favorite within the plugin as well. For for my new release I took some samples from my keys (for the door) moving around in my hand and I called it ‘Key Sparkle’. Or a branch that I broke ‘Gebroken Tak’.

What do you wish you were better at or is there a tool / software you wish existed that would make your life easier?

Not really, I think a lot of nice creative solutions can come out of having limits in your production process.

When I’ve seen you play live you had a notebook, what do you keep in your notebook for live performances? 

It’s mostly there for comfort, if I forget about what settings I have for my next track I can take a peek. I usually try to document it as concisely as possible, noting the parameters for my synth or drum computer and what the value is. For example A (for attack): 40 .

Have you ever lost any material that was never backed up? What and how? 

Not yet….