Hot off the release of Black Magic, Jacob Moore is here to chat music gear and his songwriting procedure, step by step.
Sydney songwriter/producer Jacob Moore recently surprised us with his first recording in 5 years, Black Magic. The idiosyncratic music video and fly on the wall perspective conjured up plenty of intrigue in the Happy office, as we began to dissect the tune.
Fortunately, Moore offered to share with us his go-to music gear and songwriting habits to provide some more insight. In Moore’s words, this is the rig and songwriting rundown. Let’s go.
Ideas for songs usually come to me at the weirdest/inconvenient of times.
They hit me randomly like a lightning bolt and can be either fully formed in my mind or at least fix a part in a song I’ve been working on that I may have been stuck on in the middle of the night or at dinner with friends, while I’m driving or walking around, naked in the shower… I just never know when some weird song idea will appear.
So first and foremost, I always have the ‘Voice Memos’ app on my iPhone close at hand ready to record and capture any idea in its rawest form. Sometimes these ‘Voice Memo’ ideas stay put as part of the final recordings of a track but usually, I take the initial idea and start demoing & fleshing it out with instrumentation in Logic Pro on my Macbook.
At home, I keep quite a simple recording setup. Usually sticking to the same methods and tools that I have utilised for years & served me well.
Everything eventually runs into my MacBook Pro but for the particulars I currently use:
– A ‘Focusrite Scarlett 2i2’ audio interface (for microphones & instrument inputs)
– An AKAI MPK49 Midi controller
– For microphones, I use a ‘RODE NT1-A’ (condenser) + a ‘SHURE SM57’ (dynamic)
– 2x ‘KRK ROKIT 5’ studio monitors
– A ‘ROLAND SPD-SX’ is mainly used for sampling live content, triggering + extra drum pads
– Plus the 2 vocal effect units I like to use are the ‘ROLAND VT-3’ & my ‘TC-HELICON Voice Live Play’ for extra weirdness
I’m a bloody terrible piano player but I know what I like to hear.
Utilising my Midi Keyboard feeding into Logic Pro, I can easily jot down my idea then edit it my DAW. I do this not just for keys but for all sorts of instrumentation depending on the track.
I usually leave ‘Lead instruments’ like Guitars & Vocal till when I’m ready to finalize a track for mixing.
I like utilizing my quiver of guitars and panning them in alternate sides of the speakers depending on the parts of the track I’m working on, plus ill sometimes utilize the lighter bass strings to fatten up a part.
When miking up an amp, I usually use both a condenser and a dynamic to give the mix engineer more options to use.
In my guitar arsenal I enjoy using:
– Japanese Fender Stratocaster
– Epiphone SG (Tony Iommi signature model for heavier material)
– Epiphone Casino vintage sunburst hollow body electric guitar
– Fender Jazz Bass
– Martinez 6 string acoustic
– Indiana 8 string mandolin
Mixing and Mastering
Personally, I don’t enjoy completing a mix myself because I don’t 100% trust my ears being so invested in a track. So for many of my different projects over the years, I love working with my dear friend Ryan Miller to finish a mix with me.
I usually bring him a mix approximately 2/3 completed – using his vast audio knowledge, fresh ears & friendly nature, I can trust I’ll get exactly what I was initially imagining fully fleshed out into a finished track.
For mastering, I cannot go past the team at Studios 301. Recent projects Mastered by Ben Feggans have turned out superbly.