Room with a view
The electronic music heavyweight is back with his much anticipated new solo album entitled ‘Circus Tales’ s a long overdue and hugely welcome follow up to 2009’s ‘Taste of the Low Life’.
Before touring the world, releasing albums and appearing on magazine covers as influential duo Art Department with White, Glasgow was a key player in his native Canada as a DJ, producer and promoter, helping foment the local scene with his own key parties and DJ sets. His vocal work and production style is always truly unique, often featuring haunting sounds and desolate urban vibes that sound like no one else.
The Toronto native takes us on a whistlestop tour of his studio and lets us in on some of his trade secrets.
1. Vocal and Drum Chain #1/Premastering tracks
“When recording vocals, I have a few outboard options I can possibly use, but usually stray towards Thermionic Culture’s Nightingale valve preamp/compressor, into Thermionic Culture’s Freebird valve EQ, then lastly from the EQ, into the Thermionic Culture’s valve Fatbustard summing mixer, into my Apollo 16 sound card, then out to the monitors of choice.
“I use this same process with most drum sounds and loops. These racks also hold the machines I use to pre-master mostly all my music. After I've completed a track/song. I record it directly from the the Logic Pro project to 1" tape to keep as much of an analogue feel to the song as possible.
“Depending on what kind of sound I'm trying to achieve, I can either play it from the tape into the stereo Distressors, into the Manley stereo mastering EQ, into the Fatbustard and back into Logic Pro, or direct from tape into the Manley, out of the Midas mixing console back into Logic Pro.”
2. Roland System 100M x3
“About a year ago, I decided I wanted to find a modular synth that I could get proper use out of making the kind of music I make. As we all know, the Modular synth world has blown up leaving us with many options to choose from when in search for a Modular.
“When I went on the hunt, I already knew I was looking for a classic modular that wasn't a eurorack. I put the word out to a fellow synth enthusiast, who put me on to another fellow who, just by chance, was selling a large portion of his personal system 100m, and the rest is history in the making. At the moment this synth is on strict bass duty and tweaky leads.”
3. Simmons SDSV Electronic Synth Drums
“This drum synth is probably my most favourite and fun drum machine/drum synth to use in my studio! I was fortunate enough to obtain both the drum brain and the original drum pads. This drum synth gets used and abused in almost all the new music that I'm producing at the moment.”
4. Korg Trident
“I have a few Korg synths in the collection, but this is my favourite one to use in the studio. It can be a very beautiful warm sounding synth, almost angelic with its beautiful string section, if you that’s what you’re looking for. Or it can give you something deep dark and tweaky if that more up your alley. Any which way the Korg Trident, with its beautiful filters always sound amazing in the mix. I just had it serviced and a MIDI kit place in it for maximum control.”
5. Prophet VS
“This is one of two Prophet VS synths in the studio. The other is the rack mount version with all the sound banks edited by myself and a few other sound design friends. The one in the pic was also recently serviced with all its buttons changed and all stock sound restored.
“I really like the sound of the Prophet VS as well as its editing features. Both Prophet VS synths were used in both the last Art Department album and my upcoming solo album "Circus Tales" regularly.”
6. Prophet 5
“Here we have a very old Prophet Five. A very warm and beautiful synth with an awesome filter and heavy bottom end. I acquired this synth and an Arp Odyssey for a more than reasonable price, but found out when I got home and plugged them both in, that neither of them worked.
“I just had the boys at the Toronto Synth Repair, located conveniently a block away from my studio, place a MIDI kit in the Prophet 5 and clean up the the crackling sound coming out of the Arp Odyssey. Happy to say both are now being used frequently.”
7. Outboard processing and FX rack
“This rack is dedicated to the outboard processing and FX of any signal input. These processors, compressors and effects are connected to a separate mixer for easy plug in and use.”
8. Fairlight CMI 30A
“The Fairlight CMI 30A is a very interesting and super fun synth to use. This is the anniversary edition which I'm told is exactly the same except for a stock library of amazing sounds and USB options.
“I really love playing with the Fairlight both as a synth and a sampler. It definitely has its own unique sound. Also comes with all the parts of Thomas Dolby "She Blinded Me With Science". Pretty cool!”
9. EMU SP1200
“Definitely my favourite drum sampler. I use this mainly to sample lots of loops as well as my Roland 808/909/707/727 and Linn drum 2. I feel it gives these old yet beautiful sounding drum machines new life and purpose.
“The SP1200 is featured in every song/track on my upcoming solo album "Circus Tales". Again this is a machine that has its own sound and sequencer swing which make the SP1200 a very unique and sought after drum sampler.”
10. Sequentix Cirklon
“I have only had enough time with this sequencer to just touch the surface of what it can do, and that was an easy sell for me. This sequencer will be the backbone of a new project I am starting with my good friend and music prodder Mario J, who happens to be well versed on this machine.”