Interview with Sturphy

He was the “Ohm Force Honorable Mention” during the Remix Cohmpetition, you can listen to his track here.

When have you started with music production?
I was programming The Music Studio on Apple 2 GS back in the 80’s and I remember thinking, “wow.. these 8-bit simmons drum sounds are amazing!”  I moved on to four track cassette after that which was so much … better?  At least you could flip the tape and hear yourself backwards.

Do you have a band, or do have a regular music work/activity?
I’m typically a one man show.  I enjoy collaborating, but it doesn’t happen enough these days.  I used to play in bands years ago, but I started to have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with audio technology and FX, that drove me to a solo path…

What’s your (home)studio setup?
I try to keep it tight at home. The Big Bits of Hardware:
Apogee Rosetta 200, Digidesign Eleven Rack, Great River ME-1V, Focusrite TwinTrak Pro, Dynaudio BM5A, Frontier Alphatrack, a Mac , various mics, guitars, basses, controllers.

Ohm Force!  Ohmicide (My favorite), Mobilohm, OhmBoyz, Frohmage and Symptohm PE. Pro Tools 8 LE, Reason 4  (50+ GB of refills these days… yikes… how did that happen??), Harrison Mixbus, Sonnox Elite Bundle, Massey (vt3, CT4, L2007, Tapehead, TD5)  (Massey rules!) WaveArts (Tube Saturator, Multi-Dynamics, Trackplug 5), IK – Ampeg SVX, Rob Papen Blue, GForce Minimonsta:Melohman, AAS – VA-1, Overloud Breverb, EZDrummer  (I know I know…), Mellowmuse IR1A, Audio Ease Cabinet, PSP 608 Multidelay, SPL Attacker (secret weapon)

What is your working method when starting a remix? Was it your first one?
I was doing remixes on early DAW’s with no midi years ago… does that count?  That was painful but fun.  I have some remix CD’s in circulation… one of them is apparently in rotation at an Austrian brothel.  I’m not kidding. This was really my first remix in many years, but is it really a remix?  More of a remake.  And a lot more fun.  What was the question again?

How had you the ideas for this Stride remix? Why have you done it this way?
For me this project was about:  Hey, Ohm Force make cool plugs, how can I have fun with this and maybe win stuff?  The Cohmpetition being pretty open ended on style and content, but still based around your speaker-melting plugs, was the right combination for good times. The very first thing I thought was that I could turn the “Stab2” sample into a disco funk guitar riff.  And then it all got wildly out of control from there. My next thought was that if I was going to head into crazy territory, I should keep some aspects of the track very close to the original, so that it’s still recognizable and I didn’t lose folks completely.  I settled on keeping the BPM at 125, and keeping the samples mostly intact rhythmically. I only listened to the original track a couple times… which I think helped in the end as well.

Have you already produced original tracks/songs? Where can we listen to your work?
You’ve heard some of my work in movie theaters and on TV, but it wasn’t music… and that’s all I’m giving you… (evil snicker) Some day soon I’ll have music tracks up for public consumption.

What Ohm Force plug-ins have you used on this remix?
I used somewhere around 25 instances of Ohm Force plugs.  Frohmage, Mobilohm, Ohmicide, OhmBoyz, and Symptohm PE.

How have you use it/them?

Frohmage: I used the self-oscillating end of Frohmage quite a bit.  My favorite spot was on one of the lead samples from Derek.  I automated the filter to match the notes of the synth line from his track so that as the line changed notes, the filter changed notes too.  After automating a few other knobs, I had a space madness 50’s theramin vibe that made me all excited.  I also used Frohmage on the funk guitar coming out of… well.. I don’t know what you’d call that “part”… but the guitar morphs into an oscillator tone that you hear going up and down and ultimately very slowly up in pitch.  I intended that as a riser of sorts, heading into the final disco part.  More filter automation.  I love that you can automate the filter by musical notes.

Symptohm PE: This synth is a tricky bastard.  I used it as a bass pad near the beginning and at the end.  It was also the staccato lead that had the OhmBoyz delay on it when the first break happens.  Symptohm was also one of three synth sounds that made up the disco analog lead at the end.

Mobilohm: I used this one all over the place as it turned out.  The Electric Piano had a thick goopy layer of Mobilohm.  The funk guitars had it.  The synth pad at the end has it.

OhmBoyz: Everywhere you hear a delay.

Ohmicide: Little bits of Ohmicide in many places on this track.  I didn’t go to extremes with Ohmicide because I knew all the Ohm Force would add up quick.  The great thing about Ohmicide for me is the versatility of the split bands and the big selection of presets.  What a great plugin.  You can add “interest” to just about anything in radical or very subtle ways.  The kick gets treated with it when it finishes off the riser section.  The guitars all have a little Ohmicide.  The side chain compression track of the drums has Ohmicide.  The electric piano has ohmicide.

In what do you think the Ohm Force plug-ins are different from others?
Yours are the only plugins I know of where I can turn a harmless looking knob, or just select a certain preset, and end up with speaker melting feedback.  Seriously… have you guys considered mute buttons?!  Never mind, don’t change a thing. There’s a rough, dangerous, edge to your software that turns me on.  (behave…)  Everyone needs software with an angry flavor. Honestly, the funky skins alone are worth it in a world full of ordinary plugin GUI’s.  All you out there downloading Classic Skins from Ohm Force… for shame!  Haven’t we all been Waves users long enough?

What are your musical influences?
The Locust, Battles, Meshuggah, Bartok, Sean Cassidy, The Moscow Coup Attempt.  You know… typical stuff. I am always looking for new musical influences.  I cannot stop listening to Mastodon – Crack the Skye right now.  I’m coming off an obsession with the band Blitzen Trapper.  I’ve also been listening to a lot of old rare funk from vinyl that my friend keeps feeding me.  Maybe that’s where I got the direction for this remix track?

If you’d choose one or two producing/mixing trick/technique you always use, to share with the Ohm world, what would they be?
At the first break, with the quick Symptohm lead notes that have the OhmBoyz repeater line after it, I was struggling with the funk guitar clashing with the lead in the mix.  I tried some EQ, automated levels, but it wasn’t working right.  I settled on bringing up the reverb send and washing out the funk guitar with verb just enough that it dropped into the background when the lead came in.  Without it being too noticeable that it was no longer prominent.  I find it particularly useful to adjust the level on the verb return Aux’s at different parts of a track.  So, for instance, on this remix track, when I got to each “part”, I automated an adjustment by a few DB either way on the three verb Aux’s I had going.  The Room return would drop 2db, and the Ambience return would come up 2db, etc.  It helps set a more noticeable difference between a verse, bridge, chorus, whacked transition, etc.

Eleven Rack is an absolute god-send for guitarists that are experienced Pro Tools LE users.  I really can’t say enough good things about it for studio use.  The sounds are absolutely top notch and sit nicely in a mix.  The integration with Pro Tools cannot be beat.  You can route Eleven Rack in so many useful ways, including without a cabinet.

If you add a convolver plugin like Mellowmuse IR1A, and pick up a collection of guitar cabinet IR’s like Recabinet, your tone options are endless.  I currently record my guitar through Eleven Rack dry to a mono track, reamp into Eleven Rack, use an Aux track return with IR1A and a guitar cabinet IR, and buss to a stereo track when I’m ready to print it.  I can’t remember a piece of gear that I was more excited about… ok maybe The Music Studio circa 1986.

When I’m done programming virtual drums in Pro Tools, I’ll take the pencil tool with the “random” curve, and go drum by drum and drag across the notes rewriting the velocity information.  You can very quickly “humanize” your drums further by dragging that random pencil over the selected notes in the velocity lane and define a specific range that gets randomized.  The bigger vertical range you do, the more vertical velocity change you get, the more like your neighbors kid in his garage it gets.  Then I’ll do a pass where I’m focused on the drums and listening for spots that still need some fine tuning, and adjust them from there. Emphasizing snare hits the right way is usually what will need adjusting.

What are your musical plans for 2010?
Total. global. domination.  Oh wait… musically?  I have a lot of tracks in various states of completion.  I never EVER seem to finish my tracks, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had a real deadline on my home music before this Cohmpetition.  It seems a shame that I’d have to put deadlines on my tracks at home to get them done though, with so many deadlines already out there.

I plan to apply as much Ohm Force as possible and get them finished.  If anyone reading this is interested in hiring me for some audio work, or you just want to try out some old fashioned file-based Internet collaboration, please leave a comment and I’ll contact you (sexy wink).


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