From generating online buzz with his self-released tracks in 2013 to co-writing and co-producing Zara Larsson and MNEK’s Never Forget You a couple of years later, things have move pretty fast for UK producer Astronomyy.
Rest In Paradise, his recently-released EP, is something of a concept record, charting the journey of a relationship over its five songs. 2017 will also see Astronomyy working on expanding his Lunar Surf label.
We asked Astronomyy to snap his favoured pieces of studio gear and tell us all about them; here’s what he had to say and to show us.
Spaceman Effects Orion Analog Spring Reverb
“The first piece of equipment I want to talk about is the Orion Analog Spring Reverb by Spaceman Effects. I believe it’s one of the only guitar pedals in production that contain a real spring reverb tank enclosed in the pedal. You can kick it and throw it around to get some splashy noises.
“I actually use it as part of my computer setup to run things like drums or vocals through, as opposed to actually using it on my guitar pedalboard. It’s space-themed so I had to buy it.”
Neumann TLM 103
“I bought this in 2013 with the theory being that if I have a good microphone and the vocals are bad, then I know it’s the vocals that suck and I can’t blame the microphone. I don’t know a tonne about microphones, but I use this for my vocals and it works.”
“I have a habit of managing to accidentally find old ‘80s gear in really great condition. The Juno-106 sounds really warm and is fun to get hands-on with. I mostly use it to fill up space in arrangements as opposed to using it as a lead instrument. Also, I believe I read that the chorus is the same analogue chorus as the original Boss CE-1. It’s a really great sounding machine that feels like it’s alive.”
Goodhertz Tone Control
“This isn’t strictly physical gear but it’s an essential for me. It’s the Tone Control by Goodhertz. This dude makes incredible plugins that are light and fresh and just work.
“I was always taught not to use presets until you know how to use the plugin. But the presets are great, and I mainly stick to those and tweak from there. It contains presets such as Everything Closer and A Few Steps Back. There are useful subtleties that allow you to slightly move sounds around in the mix.”
“Next is a guitar that I bought at a turning point in my life. I wrote the first Astronomyy song on this guitar back in May 2013. It’s a thin line Fender Jaguar. It doesn’t play amazingly and it’s prone to feedback, but I do believe that the aesthetic of something can be enough inspiration to make you want to create.”
Neve Portico II
“I've been using the Neve Portico II Channel on a lot of guitars, vocals and keys. I wanted to take my bedroom studio to the next level by incorporating some kind of analogue hardware that I can run instruments and vocals through.
“It's a full channel strip, including Neve preamp, 4-band EQ and compressor. I don't ride it hard whatsoever, but I use it to lightly sweeten and tighten anything I record through the TLM 103 and any mono instruments that I DI.
“It also has a Texture dial with blue and red silk settings. I've found this useful when recording keys or bass that you like the sound of but aren't fitting well into the mix. “Trying out different silk settings changes the way the sound sits in the frequency spectrum. Basically like a simple EQ preset, and being able to dial in the minimum/maximum with the texture dial.”
“Lastly, my iPhone. I'm really starting to get sick of smartphones but this has been monumental in the process of making music. Admittedly I mostly use it for noting melodies, lyrics and sounds; I don't know how I would ever remember my ideas without it. Obviously, a cheap dictaphone would do, but the best dictaphone is the one you have on you.”