An analogue love affair: Twelve Ballet run us through their superb studio setup

Ben and Sam Hope, the sibling duo who go by the nomenclature Twelve Ballet, have become a local go-to for anyone seeking lush indie pop. Their latest single Aren’t We Too Old is as good a starting point as any; a spacey slice of dreamy ambience you should most definitely wrap your ears around.

We’ve been across this duo for a while, but only recently learned they’ve been hiding a pretty mouthwatering suite of gear. As soon as they dropped the hint, we asked them to provide us a rundown of their studio essentials.

Ben and Sam, take it away.

twelve ballet gear minilogue ms-20 mini drumbrute

Which pieces of gear lie at the centre of Twelve Ballet’s starry-eyed sound? Ben and Sam Hope run us through their current setup.

Keeping It Analogue

Analogue gear just has such a nice feel about it, the realness of it is inspiring in its own right. So a lot of the recording process and the gear we choose is because it’s back to basics, because its transistors or oscillators are working together to create epic sounds.

The only time the sound becomes digital is once it’s in the DAW and being bounced. Plus I hate digging through menus. – Ben

Ben’s Guitars

Almost all our songs start with the guitar, mostly because of my obsession with the instrument. I go back and forth between three main electrics, my old Strat, a Jazzmaster and an ES-399.

Each are tuned different so the heart of each one can really ring true. The Jazzmaster being warm and dark and a little brooding. The strat; pristine and cuts like glass, and the ES-399 is silky smooth, almost bittersweet.

All this runs into a pedal board, current favourites are a home-made fuzz pedal, the amazing SuperMoon Chrome for my reverb, and a trusty El Capistan for delay. And then it’s out into a Fender Super-Sonic. – Ben

Drum Kit

It’s a DIY job consisting of a beefy Pearl Picollo snare, some cheap hi-hats and symbols, but most importantly… the kick. I’ve got my kick pedal to hit a sensor which connects to our Korg Volca Kick; and boom.

The massive black box it sits on and what I’m constantly hitting is actually the speaker. Who needs a real kick drum? – Sam

Korg Minilogue

It’s safe to say we like the Korg Minilogue – we have ended up with two of the damn things. Growing up with dad’s record collection which largely consists of awesome ’70s and ’80s jams, analogue synths are in our blood!

This year we really jumped headfirst into making it more a part of our sound. The Minilogue is perfect for setting the scene of our songs, and its main use is the the sort of piano-esque sound that has ended up on all our latest singles. – Ben

Drum Brute

Our main goal has always been to make our sound full and vibrant whilst being only a two piece – this is where a drum machine comes in. With Sam already playing a synthesiser or two as well as singing, and Ben playing the guitar, whilst also jumping on the synth – we are quite literally running out of hands.

So to strategically plot in our own beats and switch between them, it makes performing live somewhat possible. – Sam

Sam’s Hipster Stuff

I really try not use the phrase “aesthetically pleasing” but I feel it is completely justified when it comes to these two beauties. As the lyricist, I like to make the words art as well; firstly writing them out with my beloved Kaweco Fountain Pen, I’m not going to lie; there is something about the texture, font and the specific colour blue that really reminds me of Fallout 4 (I’m not even mad about it).

So I write out the initial lyrics with the pen, in my utmost messy handwriting that I struggle to read later on; but then for the final write up I switch on over to the beast that is my beautiful mustard Tippa S Typewriter. Sure the ‘K’ is a different font to every other letter, but it all adds to the charm. – Sam

Ms-20 Mini

Doesn’t get used much these days, but it fills a very special place in a mix, and played a heavy part in our single June. It gets used in our more orchestral inspired songs. – Ben

Listen to Twelve Ballet’s latest single Aren’t We Too Old below.