What inspires you to write a new track?
Anything that has an emotional impact on me. Everyday life, people, those I know and those I meet. Things that have happened in my life.
Do you have a particular storyline in mind when writing a new track?
Yes, I always like to have a storyline to work with. It helps guide me through the writing process and keeps things focussed. It helps evoke the vibe that then influences how the song unravels.
What is your approach when getting your ideas down?
It depends on what comes along first. It might be a chord progression, vocal idea or a bass line inspired by the storyline/vibe. I have some go to synths/instruments that I use so I’m not spending too much time going though all the choices at my disposal. I like to move quickly and keep the ideas fresh as I write.
For you, what elements do you feel are most important when writing a track?
It has to evoke an emotional response, be it through vocals, harmonies, lyrics. Sound choices are very important too, and I like to add emotion through imperfections like distortion, detuning, things that add energy and life to the sounds – movement.
Do you sometimes find it difficult to keep the same storyline or vibe throughout the writing process?
When things are going well there’s a natural flow to the writing process and everything stays on course, but obviously a track will sometimes go off in a direction that’s not in keeping with the originally intended vibe. In which case I’ll delete those parts that are not contributing to the original vibe and create new ideas with the remaining elements.
Do you have any unfinished ideas? If so, what do you do with them?
If I have a track that just isn’t going where I want it to I’ll put it to one side and revisit it if it fits a particular vibe that I’m looking for. Sometimes I’ll hand it over to Geoff to get a fresh perspective on it and he’ll add ideas that are within the vibe I’m after.
How do you get through the times when things are not flowing or ideas are not forthcoming?
I play around with sound design and building my own unique library. I also spend the down time brushing up on my skills through experimentation and watching online tutorials. I find these distractions can lead to times of inspiration.
Do you have any favourite tools or instruments that help and inspire you?
I love Logic Pro X. I use the Alchemy synth a lot for sample manipulation and coming up with unusual/original sounds. I use Rob Papen’s Blue II a lot too. I find the presets inspiring and a great starting point. Native Instruments Battery 4 for drums. It’s great for cutting up loops and manipulating each sound with the onboard effects. There’s also the Reveal Sound Spire synth that’s great for nasty, hard bass sounds and pads.
I still get a lot of satisfaction from old outboard synths though, like the Access Virus A for a proper hands on/tactile perspective, and there’s the MOSS board on the Korg Trinity Plus that I still use for basses, it has some real grit and attitude. It’s great for expressive lead sounds too.
Describe how you feel when you enter the studio for a session.
Very excited. I feel a real buzz. Exhilarated. There’s the wonder of what’s going to happen during that session. I disappear into a little world of my own and I tune out the real world. The whole idea of this is to create an interpretation of my world using sound. I love it! 🙂