Me in my studio: Novo Amor
Novo Amor, known to his pals as Ali Lacey, rose to prominence with his debut EP Woodgate, NY, back in 2014, which proved a dynamic introduction to his hybrid of delicate electric guitar passages and vast, cinematic soundscapes.
It’s his forthcoming work we’re most excited for, however, as the Welsh multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, sound designer and producer polishes up his latest efforts from his Cardiff-based studio, including new single State Lines.
“It was all bedroom music before,” he says. “Everything I’ve recorded was done when I was living in a house with four other people and a bunch of cats. And I have a lot of song ideas written down, but I’ve never really had a space to do anything with them.
“Now I can just spend time making stuff and experimenting and seeing what comes out of it. It feels like a new chapter.”
Ahead, Lacey shows us round his tasty production, synth and guitar setups, which features a host of classic and contemporary gear.
Novo Amor tours Europe in October/November:
Tue Oct 16, UK, Manchester, Gorilla
Wed Oct 17, UK, Glasgow, Saint Luke's
Fri Oct 19, UK, Leeds, Community Room @ Brudenell Social Club
Sat Oct 20, UK, Brighton, The Haunt
Mon Oct 22 UK, London, Union Chapel
Wed Oct 24, France, Paris, La Maroquinerie
Fri Oct 26, Germany, Berlin, Funkhaus
Sat Oct 27, Denmark, Copenhagen, Vega Small Hall
Sun Oct 28, Sweden, Stockholm, Kagelbanan
Tue Oct 30, Belgium, Brussels, Botanique - Orangerie
Wed Oct 31, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paradiso Noord
Thu Nov 01, Germany, Hamburg, Gruenspan
1980s Korg M1, DSI Prophet Rev2, Teenage Engineering OP-1 & Modal Craft Synth
“The M1 is often my go-to synth for retro string and horn beds or ’80s piano sounds; it also contains some great percussion samples that I regularly layer over my live drum recordings. It’s a great synth for incorporating subtle ’80s elements and magical sounds into tracks.
“The Rev2 is a super-versatile analogue synthesiser and perfect for those more traditional big synth sounds, thick chords and pads, etc.”
2x Universal Audio Apollo Audio Interfaces and UA LA-610 Tube preamp
“The LA-610 is a great microphone preamp to include in the signal path of virtually any instrument recording. When it’s pushed to its limit, you can create some quite nasty tube distortions, which can be cool.”
Audio Kitchen The Big Trees
“A regularly used tool in my studio, The Big Trees by Audio Kitchen is an all-valve amplifier that can create some awesome harmonic-rich distortions.
“I often re-amp drum tracks back through TBT’s to give a thick, crushed and boomy sound. I regularly use it straight DI as the main guitar amp when recording bass or electric guitar tracks.”
1960s RCA Ribbon microphone
“A super-smooth, albeit slightly noisy mic. I often use this mic for acoustic guitars, banjo and vocals when I’m trying to create a less polished, almost lo-fi sound.”
Barcus-Berry contact microphones
“Similar to a stethoscope, they need to be directly touching the sound source to pick up any audio. I’ve used these to get my heartbeat into tracks.
“They can also be really effective for getting the close sounds of electric and hollow body guitars, such as string buzzing or plectrum noise. When placed on the the soundboard of a piano you can pick up some really cool overtones that you don’t usually hear.”
Tanglewood, Cordoba nylon-string, Martin, Mini Martin, Handmade Lapsteel, 1960s Fender Coronado, Ashbury Mandolin, Rally Banjo, handmade electric, Fender American Elite Stratocaster, 1980’s Fender Telecaster, Fender American Jazz Bass.
“Mainly for live use, but also very useful studio tools. The majority of these pedals are made by EarthQuaker Devices - they create some really high-quality and aesthetically pleasing pedals.
“The big green one is a Line 6 DL4, which is super-great for creating thick, rolling delay ambiences live or in the studio.”
Gilmahn Piano and Neumann TLM 103 matched pair
“Kept in the garage below my studio, this 100 year old Hilton & Hilton piano is full of character and super-rich in tone.
“The imperfections and old strings on this piano make it my go-to when trying to get a sound that feels more live and natural.”
1970s Fender Deluxe Reverb, Audio Kitchen cab, Vox AC15
“I will usually use the 1x12 Audio Kitchen cab as an extra speaker for the Fender amp; this can then be moved around to create a stereo guitar sound. I can’t say a bad word about Audio Kitchen.
“The pictured Sennheiser MD 441 microphone is also my go-to microphone for recording guitar cabinets.”