“SSL is the sound that’s given us the success we’ve had… and if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.”
Floyd Nathanial Hills and Marcella Araica, aka Danja and Miss Lago, are both prodigious talents in the production world. Based in Florida, these music production heavyweights are regularly called upon by Hip Hop, Pop and Urban superstars to bestow the golden touch on their tracks.
Danja earned his spurs as Timbaland’s right-hand man, the two of them turning in hit after hit for the likes of The Game, Nelly Furtado, Bjork and Justin Timberlake to barely scratch the surface of a long and distinguished CV. Marcella Araica works with Danja as head engineer and production partner – pretty swift career development considering she only qualified from engineering school less than a decade ago. Lightening fast in the studio and always up for creative experimentation, Marcella’s credits include the likes of Timbaland and Missy Elliot, Britney Spears, TI, Duran Duran, Usher, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timbalake…
Marcella met Danja while working with Timbaland, and now the two of them do the bulk of their production work in a home studio that’s recently been built around a Solid State Logic Matrix console. So why SSL, exactly?
“My first mix was on an SSL, and the last mix I did last week was on an SSL,” insists Marcella. “I won’t mix on anything else! The school I went to had several boards, but the SSL was the one that I gravitated to first, mostly because of the simplicity. It’s easy to manoeuvre through it and the signal flow is very simple. The more I worked on the SSL alongside other boards I realised that I really loved the sound of it.”
“SSL is the sound that’s given us the success we’ve had… the sound that we get through that board,” adds Danja. “And for us it’s one of those ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’ situations. We are innovative, we look for the new things and the new toys… we’re always interested in what’s different and how to enhance or to keep creative, but the basis of our sound is SSL.”
As far as Marcella’s concerned, it’s unequivocal. “Matrix is just an amazing board. The compatibility it has with Pro Tools, it runs as a controller, so I’m able to switch that off and on when I want. I love it. It’s just simple. It makes life easy. With Matrix I can work like I’m in a large studio.”
Building their own facility was never on the radar, but since they’ve put the Matrix-based studio in the house it seems neither Marcella nor Danja would have it any other way, as Danja explains…
“It’s the best thing. I’ve been telling everybody it’s just the best thing that could ever happen. And I was so against putting the studio in the house, I was like, ‘there’s no way we’re ever putting anything in the house!’ It makes you lazy, you’ll not get nothing done, it’s too comfortable, it’s not going to sound good…”
“But in fact it’s been just the opposite,” agrees Marcella. “We’ve been so productive. SSL rocks!”
Check out their video here