I was grateful for the opportunity to write some new material without any agenda. It had been a while since my previous projects, The Nine and Alien#Six13. Pulling on influences from my favourite era of music, the 80’s, but giving it a new twist with modern production and mixing techniques. Writing the album allowed me to have a creative freedom and try all sorts of approaches on the production side of things. Working mostly in the box using software based synths and effects, with Logic Pro 9 as my DAW of choice. The setup at the time was an iMac G5 1.6GHz (single processor core!!), external hard drive and a Focusrite 10/10 audio interface for recording vocals and guitars. Quite a modest spec compared to what I’m using today. The iMac used to struggle, but it got through it, but like they say, ‘..it’s not what you’ve got, its how you use it!’
Among the glut of plugins I had some favourites, namely U-he Zebra – a very cool modular style synth with wavetable style oscillators, which produced some quite aggressive sounds, one of which is quite prominent on ‘Where’s the Time?‘ as the main grinding bass line that drives everything along.
The Pro 53 by Native Instruments (a software recreation of the S C Prophet 5 – a beautiful synth featured in many productions of the 80’s) was used quite extensively for those soaring lead lines and tight unison mode bass line sounds that it does so well. We had some hardware synths at our disposal too – my trusty Korg Monopoly, Korg Trinity and Pete’s Moog Prodigy. Guitars were all recorded through Pete’s Line 6 pedal and vocals were recorded using my Rode NT-1 condenser mic.
I mainly used Logic’s Ultrabeat for drum sounds adding that synthetic vibe that all the tracks shared, I’d manipulate drum samples to make them unique and to suit the track. I like layering sounds too. Sometimes I’d use two or three snare sounds to get what I want or I’d layer up synth sounds to make them sound bigger and to have more impact. For me it’s all about creating your own identity. It’s so easy to use a preset sound but so much more rewarding to tweak it and create your own.
One particular track springs to mind – I was doing jury service for a few days and the court was a few minutes walk away from Pete’s flat. It made sense for me to stay there and bring my studio setup with me so we could work on new tracks. On 2 or 3 occasions my presence wasn’t required at the court house so I’d rush back to Pete’s to work on new material and we’d continue into the wee hours when he returned from his days work. ‘I Don’t Cry (For You)’ was the result of that. I remember us thinking we had a hit on our hands!
Looking back, it was a very productive time for me. I was also writing music for TV & film and I learned a great deal regarding mixing and production. So, ‘Stateless’ was an essential part of the journey to where I am now, which I am grateful for that and for all of you who have listened and have made it part of your lives too.
Silent Unseen Productions
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