Me in my studio: Sonnymoon

26th Sep 2012 | 13:48

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon

"This is the studio and equipment we used to create our album Sonnymoon, out now on Plug Research records.

"First I'd like to preface all of the pictures and say that we're one of the true gypsy bands left and don't really have a permanent space that we would call our 'studio'. Since I left my hometown of Schenectady, NY in 2008, we've 'lived' in Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco and have travelled everywhere in between.

"One of the things Anna and I pride ourselves on is being able to work anywhere, especially while we were working on the record. The majority of it was done in my bedroom in Boston with a USB Audio Technica AT-2020 mic, Roland SP-555, computer and MIDI controller. Sometimes however we'd be travelling and work on things in hotel rooms or whatever. Studios have a very odd pressure for us that isn't always conducive to our purest creative flow."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon
The band

"Since the record came out things have changed quite a bit for us. We've added two new members, a multi-instrumentalist (Tyler Randall) and a drummer (Joe Welch) but we still have a pretty utilitarian setup.

"We've been on this kick where we are trying to bring the live experience and the studio experience as close together as we possibly can. Most of the stuff we use to play live is also all we need to record, it's pretty convenient."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon

"I'm really proud of the fact that I've progressed from needing to have the computer up on the table to getting it down on the floor out of both my view and the audience's view. I feel like seeing a computer on stage is a huge eyesore and takes people away from the experience."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon
Studio view

"My main keyboard is the Akai MPK49 which I use to control both Ableton Live and the MicroKorg (man I can't stand those tiny keys) and I also have the MPK25 for when I need to control a second sound from Ableton. Sometimes I'm playing both, sometimes Tyler and I play one each."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon
Ableton Live

"I use Ableton Live because the workflow is so amazing and really supports that philosophy of bringing the stage and the studio as close together as possible."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon
Other software

"I used Logic to mix a lot of things just because I feel like it is easier to think as a mixing engineer in Logic after composing in Ableton.

"I used Tassman and a bit of cSound in the studio for synthesis and ended up recreating a lot of my sounds in Massive for live performance. I've actually just grown to enjoy using Massive and FM8 almost exclusively now because I've gotten so comfortable with them."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon
Joe's drums

"Here's Joe's see-through drum setup complete with Roland SPD-SX Drum Pad in the middle."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon

"Then it gets really nerdy. I was lucky enough to learn cSound and MaxMSP from Dr Richard Boulanger at Berklee so I use cSound mainly for crazy synthesis stuff that I end up bouncing and resampling into Ableton or Logic."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon

"Max is a lot more reliable (for me at least) in the live setting so I've been getting into making different Max4Live objects that do cool sampling or granular synthesis (which actually uses the cSound Partikkel opcode).

"My newest Max toy that I plan to use a lot in the future is this 'PunchSeq' thing that I've been working on where you can use the MPK25 keys to 'punch' in a sequence of up to 64 notes out of time then use the drum pads as momentary triggers to play through the sequence. Each pad represents a different time division (eighth notes/sixteenth notes/triplets etc) and it really allows you to be super expressive with a sequencer.

"We've been trying to solve the problem of playing electronic music without a clock running since we all came from playing non-electronic music with real instruments and have an obsession with human feel."

Me in my studio: Sonnymoon
The table

"So that's all that I have up on the tables. I'm convinced that, because people use computers for so many things these days, seeing one at a concert subliminally triggers something where they stop thinking about the music and start thinking about Twitter or their email they forgot to respond to or whatever… and what do you know the next thing they do is get out their smartphone and now we've lost them from the journey we've been attempting to bring them on.

"We've upgraded from the MBox audio interface to the Onyx 820i which is really amazing both in the studio and live. I have the SP-555 set up on one of the aux channels so that allows me to send my microphone (for my voice or saxophone), Tyler's guitar or the microKorg through the beautiful SP effects. The SP is also acting as a sampler, mostly for ambient sounds."

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