Gear is an essential part of any muso’s life, but especially so if you create complex and lush electronic soundscapes like Jack Grace. His debut EP River, still hot off the press, proved that he knows his way around a setup, expertly crafting an incredibly meticulous minimal record that we’re still pumping.
Getting into the EP’s musicianship became a priority, and today sees the fruits of that labour. We’ll let Grace himself take it away, as he runs you through the pieces of gear that saw River come together.
Should you be careless, Jack Grace’s mesmerising debut will send you into a blissful time loop of synths, minimal percussion and lucid vocals.
Akai MPC 1000
All the beats for the EP started here. I love these machines, I like using the onboard effects on them as well. Quite often I’ll record a piano or Wurly take, export it out of logic onto the MPC and play it back in pitched or change the attack or decay – It just gives it a different energy, I like to think of it as twice cooked. Also lucky enough to have a custom splash screen (thanks to Cabes).
Shure SM 57
If you are working out of bad sounding bedrooms, noisy share houses or your parents’ lounge room this mic is a godsend. Pete (Spirit Faces, the guy who mixed the EP) begged me to never use one again but for me this mic has always been a big enabler. The trade off is it’s not very flattering.
Korg MS 20
When I bought this synth I always thought I would use the semi modular aspect of it, but it really exposed me as a fraud – at my core I’m a piano player so I always end up using it for played bass lines and very occasionally lead ideas.
I really love the peak filter on this and for a little bit there was running stuff out of the Prophet or Logic through it for fun. After finishing the EP I sold it, hence the lack of a photo. I might buy another one, but like a lot of synths these days they seem expensive for what they are.
Love playing these things. They are really emotional and I’m into the shortened keyboard, makes it more fun for me for some reason. There’s not a lot to say, it’s a classic sound.
You can get a lot wrong on these, they aren’t a particularly intuitive instrument. What I do like about it is it’s not vintage, so it very rarely breaks down. At the start of making an EP I’ll tend to just spend a day or so just making different patches, and then give or take an LFO I’ll use those same sounds across everything.
That’s just cause I don’t really like getting too caught up in synth sounds while I’m trying to write and record. Obviously these plans descend into disarray occasionally and I realise four hours have gone by and I just decided I hate the sound I’ve just created – this synth will do that to you.