“As a music fan, I resisted technology for years, even as CDs were taking over from vinyl during the 1990s.”
I grew up listening to records, cassettes or the radio. My ears were trained to a particular frequency, which in hindsight was actually quite limited. I hadn’t yet grasped the fact that many of my heroes probably winced if catching a tinny version of their hit on the radio.
These days I want to hear music as the artist heard it in the studio or however they want it to sound. Because I have the experience of being in a recording studio and hearing your stuff blasting, pristine-like from the playback monitors. Then wanting your fans or friends to hear the same excitement. Digital technology means music sounds better than ever.
Why do we want to make music that sounds old?
I am aware that digital recording is a controversial topic for some. But I feel confident about saying it because I’ve lived through the evolution of music technology, including gear, sound systems and delivery formats. Believe me tape hiss, vinyl crackling or shrill radio broadcasts were defects you just put up with but were never desirable.
There are software tools that reproduce all the sonic imperfections that engineers and listeners alike were desperately fighting to eliminate. Artists seem bent on recreating the sonic nature of old recordings. Perhaps what people really crave for is interesting song composition and musicality.
Algorithms drive me insane, they describe nothing
What does it mean to make 1980s sounding rock or even Post Rock? This is what the algorithms tell me. I want to get to the bottom of why legacy music is so desired. I have never set out to make legacy music, but I suppose my lived experience of twentieth century pop music will greatly affect my creative approach to songs.
I don’t really worry about retro ambience. It’s the quality of the song writing and performances. Whether performing with acoustic instruments or electrified ones. All the guitars I own are useful and provide the actual tone quality and feel. The guitar is my comfort zone as much as a sequencer is the domain of an electronic artist.
I’m a big fan of electronic music, which has roots in 1970s disco and 80s pop. This is all reflected in my own sound. The guitar just happens to be my voice into this world. Many of my compositions start life as a particular rhythm style, tempo or bass riff.
Tinnitus has probably turned me off distortion
When I started out, it was all about volume, distortion and loud drums. My guitar playing is better than it’s ever been, and I now prefer a cleaner sound. I alternate between a guitar pick for attack or just bare fingers. Inspired by one of my guitar heroes Jeff Beck.
My approach to creating music is very free-form. As an instrumentalist I want to soundtrack visuals or emotions. I have also enjoyed collaborating with other musicians. Because it does actually take a lot of the pressure off!