In the next instalment of our DJ Mag TV ‘In the Studio’ series we take a trip to Vitalic’s Paris studio where he talks to us all about the new album ‘Voyager’ the new live show and custom built controller and shows us around some of his prized synth collection including Buchla’s Music Easel…
Can you tell us about your Buchla synthesizers?
“I have two instruments from Buchla the Music Easel the Skylab, these synths are interesting pieces of equipment that are difficult to tame. The Skylab is delivered without a manual and it takes a while before actually making something interesting, it’s a bigger system, more complicated that the Music Easel and also more powerful, it is really experimental and it can be clean and aggressive at the same time. They are both very different from anything I’ve used before. They have a distinctive sound and colour, and in a way, they are ‘alive’. I use the Music Easel a lot as it produces sounds that are not very common in electronic/dance music it has some great textures. You can go from something simple to something really weird, you can really get lost in the sounds, sometimes finding things that are not really useful, but I think it is good to get lost in this type of synthesiser. It is part of the concept; the machine is kind of alive you need to leave it to do its thing, then find a way to get something from it.”
You’ve also got a reversion of the classic ARP2600?
“Yes, the TTSH Mini Meanie is a new version of the ARP2600 synthesiser, which I use for leads and basses and like really 80s stuff, it is the newest addition to my collection, I used it towards the end of writing the album, it is easy to get lost in the sound of this one, the original ARP was used a lot in the 70s and 80s for industrial stuff. I really love this; it is also good for drums and claps. It’s very noisy, very far from the digital stuff, clean and nice, this one is raw and powerful.”
What is your go to synth for fat powerful sounds?
“The Analog Solutions Polymath, this English semi modular synth has a fat sound and very unique filter, it is very powerful too, very good for mechanical sounds and basses. What I really like about it is that it has a great Notch filter quite a vocally sound, it has four oscillators so you can really make a big sound with it, really good for basses, really powerful, loud, bassy, it takes a lot of space in the mix though and you really have to work with it, and the sequencer is great to give some life to the filter.”
The female vocal sample in “Waiting for the Stars” what did you use to process this?
“I used the Roland V Synth XT, I bought it about ten years ago, it is actually my vocal running through the synth on ‘Waiting for the Stars’ it’s an old thing and has lots of presets I really use it mostly for the vocoder, for creating that female style vox effect. The FX gives something really gritty to the audio going through it, it sounds large but fits in the mix really easily. Very good for using on vocals for doubling or adding to it .”
And the Boomstar synth, what do you use that one for?
“The Boomstar from Studio Electronics it is really good for basses, I use the oscillators slightly out of tune, it makes for a fat sound, it is pretty new, there are no presets, I use it in drone mode and play around with it adding filters to make it really scream. I used it a lot on the album for basses and drone noises, it is very warm, its nasty but easier to program than some of the others as it doesn’t have to many knobs but you can still do a lot with it, enough space to experiment with it.”
Check out the video to learn more about Vitalic’s production techniques, the album, his collection of analogue synths and the rather cool one off controller used in his new ODC live show.