Quiet Disorder is an electronic duo that consists of DJs Lars Van Dalen and Mike Moorish. This dynamic duo has had an impressive history. They debuted on the legendary CR2 Records, which then led to two astounding remixes that were released on highly acclaimed label Monstercat. They’ve remixed artists like Funkstar De Luxe, Ron Reeser, Twenty One Pilots, and EDM pioneers, the Pegboard Nerds.
Their recent collaborations with the Pegboard Nerds have allowed them to gain some pretty hefty traction. “Go Berzerk” with the Nerds landed them a spot on Spotify‘s Viral charts in the United States, Germany, and Norway. Quiet Disorder is currently signed to one of the largest dance labels in Denmark called disco:wax, a subsidiary of Sony Music. They’ve received support from some of the electronic music chart toppers, including Knife Party, Krewella, Dyro, and NGHTMRE.
How did Quiet Disorder come about? Tell us a little bit about the inception.
We first met about ten years ago through a mutual producer friend. We ended up writing some tracks together, and after a few years, we started to do more and more collaborations under our own names, specifically tech and deep house tracks. Three years ago, we started looking for something different and more melody-oriented. The tracks we were producing under our own names wouldn’t fit the styles we were searching for, so we set out to discover a new project name. Quiet Disorder came about, and we settled on it quite fast.
Fun fact: Quiet Disorder was originally the name for a tech house track that we had produced and signed to a Dutch label. We then quickly changed the name on the tune prior to its release and kept Quiet Disorder for ourselves since we both liked it. It was a great name because we felt like we could produce whatever we wanted to under the name. That’s what we thought back then, anyways.
What’s your favorite song that you’ve ever written and why?
“Go Berzerk” with the Pegboard Nerds is definitely one of them. It happened so naturally, and nothing was planned. We were at Alex’s studio in Norway for quite a few days working on a different track (which isn’t finished yet). The last night before we were to head home, we were messing with some sound design. Then Alex played the riff for the intro, Lars got some ideas for the groove, and we found the vocal sample. Three to four hours later, we had more or less 80% of the track done. A couple of months later we got together again, made a new drop, and finalized it.
Which DAW(s) do you use and why have you chosen that one over the wide array of others out there?
When did you first start listening to EDM and which artist or album really got you interested in the genre?
Lars: My first meeting with electronic music was back in the 80s when I first heard the Pet Shop Boys on MTV. My interest for synths and music would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for those first albums back then. I still like to listen to some of those albums today.
Mike: I was introduced to electronic music when I was nine years old. My closest neighbor had bought a set of 1210s and the Realistic DJ Mixer. I was hanging around his place all of the time listening to the latest house, acid house, and techno.
Take us through your production process. How does an idea for a song go from an idea to a finished product?
It’s different for every track, but it quite often begins with one of us playing around and coming up with some ideas for a break or drop. Then keep bouncing it out and sending it back and forth before we settle on the idea and if we want to move forward with what we have. We produce more on our own than together with all of the sessions being synced to Dropbox. This allows us to get things done without having to be in the same room. And we can work on multiple projects at once.
Typically, Lars will start making a few ideas for a break or drop and then send it over to Mike who will then add a few things and start the mixing process. The session will go back and forth a couple of times before we finalize it and try it in our DJ sets, which is more tweaking after that. We currently have a lot of tracks that we’re working on. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some new ideas for them so we can get them finished and released. We recently had a track that was at 108 BPM but never released it. Then we made a few changes, made a new vocal track, and changed the BPM to 126. That track will be released this Fall!
Working with other producers is a bit different. When we’re sent a track, we give it a listen to see what kind of cool things we can do with it. “Move That Body” with the Pegboard Nerds was actually a finished Quiet Disorder track that we played in our DJ sets but hadn’t signed for release yet. Alex was in the studio with Lars one day and really liked it. He laid out some ideas, and a few months later we made it a collaboration from a remix kit at Alex’s studio.
Going off of the last question, what’s your go-to VST for designing your sounds and why?
We do use the “usual suspects”: Serum, Nexus, Sylenth1, and Omnisphere. Usually everything ends up in audio (our finished productions never have MIDI left). We always process and manipulate the audio to try and make something new out of it.
You’ve recently hinted at creating some of your own plugins. Tell us a little more about that. How and why did you get into creating plugins?
We really love plugins and try to stay up-to-date on everything that comes out. We recently have gotten into Max For Live, which allows you to edit and customize the plugins for your own needs. This gave us the idea of trying to make something ourselves that we would be using every day.
Currently, we’re working on a simple analyzer plugin that helps us visualize the level difference and space between the kick and sub bass in music. This is a nice way to analyze other tunes that sound great and get a visual impression on how the kick and sub are mixed and sitting with each other. It’s based on a setup we use today, built with an Ableton Audio rack but all within one plugin instead of using three to four different plugins to achieve the same result. We’d like to share it later this year as a Max For Live (Ableton only). We’re also looking into possibilities of making it a VST and AU for other DAWs.
Plugin development isn’t something we’re going to spend all of our time on, but if we get ideas for something that we feel would be useful for us, then we might look at the possibilities as to how we can develop something ourselves.
In a previous interview, Lars stated that he grew up in the same town as Alexander Odden (½ of the Pegboard Nerds). How have your collaborations with the Pegboard Nerds aided in your productions? What things have you learned through collaboration?
A lot, actually! But one of those important would have to be working with audio instead of MIDI. Bouncing out MIDI tracks and manually shifting things around is a whole different way of working on music. At the same time, it forces you to commit. It takes some confidence to do this, but if you save your project under different names you can always go back and pull out some MIDI if needed.
Working on getting the kick and bass right has also been a big eye opener. The original idea of the kick and bass analyzer that we have been using (from question seven) comes from the same setup Alex from the Pegboard Nerds is using.
Who is one DJ, producer, band, or artist that you would love to collaborate with and why?
Pet Shop Boys or Depeche Mode because we’d only use analog synths. No computer! That would be the ultimate challenge and something for the history books.
Do you have any plans to go on tour soon?
Nothing planned at the moment, but hopefully one day.
After the mixdown comes mastering, an art that most people don’t understand. What does your typical plugin chain look like? What plugins do you use and why do you use them?
If we’re mastering ourselves, then it usually consists of the following:
- Compressor (Ableton’s Glue most of the time)
- EQ (Melda Production‘s EQ)
- Saturation (Usually Ableton’s saturation or Fielding DSP Reviver)
- EQ (Universal Audio‘s Pultec EQ – if needed)
- Stereo Imager (iZotope‘s Stereo Imager)
- Clipper (Sir Audio Tools: Standard Clip)
- Dither (iZotope)
Tracks that we’ve been working on for awhile we’ve used Wired Masters in London. The end result isn’t far from what we could do ourselves, but it’s always nice to get a fresh set of ears.
Everyone has access to a computer these days; therefore, a lot of people call themselves “music producers.” What advice can you give to someone that’s aspiring to break into the EDM industry?
Take your time and learn the business. Everything takes time, and a lot is down to who you network with. We’ve been making music for almost 20 years, but just recently started getting some recognition. The collaborations with the Pegboard Nerds have been a big help with this. We’ve been working very hard for years. We’ve attended Amsterdam Dance Event for about ten years to network, always staying hungry to learn new things and make friends in the music business to deliver the best we possibly can.
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