Jon Hopkins spent 4 months perfecting the synth riff for Open Eye Signal on a 1979 Korg MS-20: “So much effort into trying to make something sound effortless”

jon hopkins
(Image credit: Jon Hopkins/Instagram)

Jon Hopkins' 2013 album Immunity turns 10 this year, and the artist is celebrating its anniversary by releasing a newly remastered version of the record. 

In a post on Instagram, Hopkins opened up about the writing process behind Immunity. "The album was written between late 2010 and early 2012", he says. "I poured everything into it, taking so much care over every element."

"Musically I remember being pretty burnt out by the end of making this record", Hopkins continues, recalling how he spent several months perfecting the main synth riff for the album's lead single, Open Eye Signal. The riff was written on a 1979 Korg MS-20, a legendary semi-modular monosynth that's pictured above. 

"The main riff on Open Eye Signal was created on the 1979 Korg MS20 [...] This riff alone I must have spent 4 months on. The notes were in place quite early, but the gradual changes to the sound took so long. So much effort into trying to make something sound effortless."

Hopkins goes on to detail how elements from the album's title track were recorded as early as 2005 on the piano at his mother's house, using a £25 microphone he'd owned since he was a child.

Hopkins also spoke about the process of remastering the album alongside renowned engineer Guy Davie. "When [we] returned to the pre-masters, I was suddenly wary of messing with it, creatively changing something that people were familiar with and that had become important to them."

"So we went back to the original settings, then ran the tracks through Guy's EMI mastering console. The results were captured in 96k digital, then processed subtly by a Weiss expander. I love the added movement and flow that comes from this recovered dynamic range. It just has a little more breathing space, whilst retaining the grit and intensity it always had."

Though Immunity was Hopkins' fourth album, it was a breakthrough record that introduced him to new audiences. "This record changed my life", he says. "I went from playing 500 cap venues to 5000 cap in less than a year. The whole thing was a whirlwind, and has since given me the freedom to follow any creative route that comes to me."

Listen to Open Eye Signal below. 

Jon Hopkins' Immunity is out now digitally. The remastered vinyl and CD release is scheduled for October 6th.

jon hopkins

Jon Hopkins working on Immunity alongside the Korg MS-20 (Image credit: Jon Hopkins/Instagram)
Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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