Keeping It Simple with Scarr.

Scarr. is the brainchild of Yash Salvi. Pune based electronic music producer and one half of Feeling Sunsets, with friend & partner Sachin Menon (aka HAEN). Together they both also co-founded Soule Studios - a production house & mastering agency.

Yash was doing his undergrad in Media & Communications when he realised music was his way and dropped out to pursue a career in music. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Ford, Kina, Kasbo, Eden, Tourist and the likes, Yash’s music can be described as easy going, emotive-ambient electronica. 

2020 was a milestone year for Yash, with a slew of independent releases as 'Scarr.' and his & Sachin’s debut EP - Moved as Feeling Sunsets got picked up by Silk Music (now known as Monstercat Silk), receiving high praise from listeners the world over.

Currently, Yash is working on an EP and live set for his solo project, a second album for Feeling Sunsets and a second EP on Monstercat Silk, that just released a day ago. We caught up with him in the middle of all this to get an insight on his production workflow and process.

“My production process is very simple. It’s all about using the right sounds & samples to make everything fit than over-processing any of it later on. I’m always on the lookout for sounds that I like and then experiment using them..”

He shows us one of the tricks that he does on most of his tracks using the stock Ableton reverb and its freeze function to create big sustaining atmospheres that fill up space and sets the ambience to his tracks. 

Here’s how you can do the same:

  1. Add Ableton’s stock reverb on to your channel
  2. Set the Dry/Wet signal to a value between 20-30% based on your taste
  3. Enable automation for the Freeze function and draw your automations on to the clip channel as shown in the video
  4. Enable the Reverb unit’s Device On/Off automation and draw automations where the reverb turns off just before the end of each clip and starts again with the next clip
This works best on shorter samples to give a bit of hang time for the sustained reverb.

Yash’s favourite plugin since 2015 is Lennar Digital’s Sylenth. He uses it to make his main lead sounds but the LFO in Sylenth is one that he wishes could have been better. So instead of automating or using the LFO directly, he re-samples his sounds from Sylenth into an audio track and manipulates it in the audio clip to create an LFO effect. 

You can do the following technique with any audio sample. Check it out -

  1. Double click on your audio sample to open clip view
  2. Under the clips Warp settings, go to Preserve & select 1/16th duration to start with
  3. Enable No-Looping ( -> ) for the preserve setting
  4. Adjust the envelope box amount to your liking as shown in the video. This acts like a gate
  5. You can further play around with the same 3 settings to get different variations from the same sample
“Another thing that I do is reversing samples. Whenever I like a melody or a hook, I like to reverse it which is so simple to do on Ableton, you just hit CMD + R, and the reversed sample creates a very interesting pattern and other textures along with it. I like to use this as a counter to the original melody so it seems like they’re talking to each other.”

  1. Duplicate the audio sample you want to another channel
  2. Hit Ctrl/Cmd + R to reverse the clip
  3. Layer it with the original sample clip to get more harmonic textures
“I love this technique a lot. It’s simple and gives you a lot of interesting output. Back in 2015 I even wrote a song completely with reversed samples that I loved so much. Unfortunately, I lost the hard disk that had all my projects and files from back then.”

Another trick Yash likes to use at pre-drops and at the end of the song is transposing down (or up) at the end of audio samples to create a tape stop effect. 

This is a very common technique used by hip-hop and other electronic producers -

  1. Go to the clip automation section on your audio clip
  2. Under Envelopes select Clips & Transposition to enable automation on your clip
  3. Mark your automation points for the clip to pitch up or down as per your liking
We then got a little more insight into his production workflow and how he approaches his new projects.

"I’m trying to do different things right now, experiment more with drums and sounds I’ve not used. As said before, I like to keep things simple and not overdo them.”

“I always start my projects by writing chords and pianos. That’s my go to. I use Labs (Spitfire Audio) a lot because that’s the only synth I have apart from Sylenth on my laptop. 

I’m big on writing chords in Ableton rather than playing them. There was a phase where I was very dependent on my midi keyboard but I had to move to Delhi and couldn’t carry any of my gear along with me, and had to keep my setup portable so I could write music anywhere I went.

I randomly start with a note. See how it sounds. Then I’ll go make a chord out of it and then build the progression around it. Once I have a good chord pattern going on, I add filler notes. Once this is done, I start writing the other melodic elements like pads & synths..”

“One of my most favourite pad sounds to make is a sine wave with noise. It’s very simple, just open up any synth. Get a sine wave in stereo on 1 osc and noise on the 2nd osc, add some attack. I’ve used this sound so many times on my tracks & I never get bored of it.”

“Once I have all of this, I go and make a bassline. Drums are usually the last thing I do because I need to get the feel of how the melodics sound and then start programming my drums according to that.”

“The first thing that I add when I make my drums is a snare to keep track of time because I rarely use the metronome. Then I add the hats, and finally the kick drum. Recently I’ve started doing more complicated hi hat patterns. If there’s a hi hat sample that I like, I chop that up to a rhythm pattern that I like while listening to the other parts.”

“Another thing that I like doing with my hats is to use Ableton’s groove pool to add swing. I also use this on other drum parts and even melodies that I want a swing on. This is very helpful to make grooves rather than the usual 1, 2, 3, 4 pattern..”

Yash, like a lot of producers, currently approaches his production with the “less is more” concept which works very well for him.

If you liked his process and found some useful tips you can use in your own production, do drop a comment below.

You can listen to Yash’s music and follow him through the following links -

Feeling Sunsets on Instagram -

Creative Auto Filters with HAEN

Sachin Menon, who goes by his artist name HAEN, is a rising star in the Indian electronic music scene. He is also one half of electronic duo - Feeling Sunsets with Yash (artist name - Scarr..), who together also run Soule Studios in Pune, a production house and a mixing and mastering studio.

Within a year of inception of both projects, Sachin has released a plethora of music independently and on some of the top labels in the world as both Haen & Feelings Sunsets. His and Scarr’s debut EP Moved was released on Silk Music (now known as Monstercat Silk), followed by releases on Songspire Records, ​​Traum Schallplatten, Elliptical Sun & Mango Alley Recordings under his HAEN moniker, and a whole lot more signed & scheduled for release later this year. Having a good ear for emotive music, production skills he’s polished over the years and having no boundary for genres is what makes him a very talented, very versatile artist and one to definitely keep an eye (and ear) out for here.

We had a word with him about his production techniques and his favourite tools to use on Ableton Live. Here’s what he’s got to share with you..

HAEN’s go-to plug-in is Ableton Live’s Auto Filter, which he uses in his own unique way to create grooves, rhythmic melodies, chords and pretty much anything else under the sun. “I happened to stumble upon this trick on my own while I was experimenting with Ableton and now I use this on pretty much anything to get interesting ideas. You can try this with anything - midi & audio. The LFO feature is super useful, plus amps, reverbs or delays post the auto-filter helps me build unique sounds. It all starts with the auto filter though..”

In this exercise he’s shared with us how he uses the auto filter creatively to come up with different ideas for his tracks. Let’s have a look.

Here’s how you can get creative with bassline grooves using both midi clips and audio samples.

  • Open a midi channel and drop your favourite VST plugin, select a bass preset
  • Open a midi clip and draw a simple note for your bass
  • Load up the auto-filter and cut the frequency to around 400 hz
  • Open up the LFO amount all the way to 100% and select an LFO shape. Over here we use a triangle wave
  • Adjust the rate in beat mode and find a rate that generates a groove you like
  • You can further enable quantize and select a quantize setting. Each setting gives you a different groove
  • Add some phaze to your sound. Please note, if you’re using Phase on a bassline make sure you use an imager or stereo modulation to control/prevent phase cancellation in the low end
  • You can additionally change the filter mode and increase the drive. Here we use a MS2
  • You can automate the filter for modulations

Voila! You now have a crazy sub/bass groove going on from a simple single note bassline.

You can do the exact same process with an audio sample too. Play around with the parameters till you get something that you like.

  • Load up a bass loop from your samples and add the auto filter to the channel
  • Reduce the frequency range to approximately 100-300 hz. In this example we want the low and mid low range area of the bass sample
  • Enable the LFO - open up the LFO amount
  • Adjust the rate to your liking. You can start hearing a new sequence forming
  • Further fine tune this by activating quantize and choosing a quantize setting
  • Play around with the LFO, rate and quantize settings to come up with really fun & unique grooves
Here’s how you can use a simple guitar loop to create a rhythmic melodic sequence using the similar process.

  • Drop a melodic audio loop that you like and select a small section on that clip
  • Add an auto filter on the same channel and adjust the frequency to your liking
  • Open up the auto-filter LFO all the way
  • Select ‘beats’ on the rate and adjust the rate to your liking
  • Enable quantize and choose a quantize option that you like
  • Add a reverb to the same channel to enhance the sound
  • You can further play around with the Auto Filter frequency, quantize options and the Reverb decay to get really interesting sequences and rhythms
Insane, right? Now again we use the same process on a chord stab sample. Check it out -

  • Select a chord loop that you like. Make sure Warp is enabled on your clip and select complex or complex pro
  • Pitch down audio sample by an octave or to your liking
  • Add an auto-filter. Adjust the frequency, open up the LFO and adjust the rate to your liking
  • Enable quantize
  • Add a delay/reverb to give movement to your sound
  • Play around with the LFO, Rate and filter settings to get really interesting rhythmic chord variations
As shown in the first video, you can play around with the filter types, increase the drive, phase settings and add a different combination of effects to get some really creative ideas out of your elements.

If you’ve enjoyed this exercise, do try it out and please drop a comment and share your experience with us. You can also reach out to Sachin for any guidance or help regarding production techniques or how to make it as an independent artist.

Also go check out Sachin’s music on the following links:

Feeling Sunsets on Instagram -